Culture Collaboration

Filip Sahlstedt


H. Trofast

Walking through his home city Jönköping, Filip enjoys traveling wherever and whenever he can. Filip has been to many parts of the world and this year he makes his debut in America.

Mikayla Davis, Editorials Editor

 Hello everybody, or Hej allihoppa as they say in Sweden. Filip Sahlstedt is a foreign exchange student from Jönköping, a city on the shores of Lake Vättern in southern Sweden. You may have seen him on the soccer field or perhaps the lacrosse field. He is spending his junior year here in America for the first time ever because he wanted to experience a different way of living. He has left behind his mother and father, as well as his two older siblings.

 Filip easily admitted one of the biggest changes he experienced during his transition from Jönköping to Raleigh was the culture. The social atmosphere has been very difficult for him to adapt to, in terms of how people communicate and interact. For example, during his time in North Carolina, Filip has noticed that cars are a rather big factor of our society; people hangout in their cars a lot and use them to get everywhere. While In Sweden, you have to be 18 years old to drive, so teenagers walk or take the bus, which goes everywhere in the city. Filip also noted, “Sweden is more relaxed with rules, both in school and at home. In Sweden curfews are not a thing.” It is a very different culture, how people act and behave. He explained the cultural difference in communication eloquently as he stated, “People are definitely more outgoing with people they don’t know. It’s easier to talk to people here, especially when you’re from somewhere else because a lot of people want to know stuff about your country. When I walk down the streets here, people are like ‘Hey, how are you doing?’ even if I’ve never seen them before, they’re just polite.”

 There are numerous other differences between our society and Filip’s city in Sweden. One of those substantial differences being the typical diet of Europeans. There are significantly less fast food options in Europe. Filip explained that they have the basics, such as McDonalds, but Southern American favorites like Bojangles and Chick-fil-a? Forget about it. At his old high school he would eat lunch on campus, where he was served fresh produce daily which was prepared like a home cooked meal. Now he goes off campus everyday with his friends, yet another way he has adapted to American culture.

 Still need another reason to move to Sweden? Aside from tasty school lunch, Sweden also provides free education. College is free, and the long stressful application process is ditched. To apply for college, students simply submit their grades or a placement test score to the university and major of their choice. There are also no dorms included with the universities; instead college students rent apartments in the city. The government in Sweden obviously differs from ours here in the US. In Sweden, they have a prime minister and a pure democracy. Everyone votes as they please, and the most votes wins rather than voting zones complicating things. Politics do not divide people nearly as much in Sweden. In Sweden political standings are much more private thus less controversial.

 Traveling is very enjoyable for Filip. He and his family go somewhere new nearly every year. He has been to all of Europe as well as multiple countries in Africa. This year Filip has ventured off without his family for a much longer vacation than usual. Though the transition has been somewhat of a struggle, Filip has been able to handle and enjoy it. At the end of this school year, he will return to his home in Sweden.