Stockholm – First trip to the capital?

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Stockholm’w view from Södermalm. Credits: Marie Zafimehy.

The first time I went to Stockholm I was 16. I was visiting the Swedish capital-city with my parents, and my siblings. That is the moment I fell in love with Sweden. Everything seemed so perfect – everyone looked beautiful and well dressed, I could not get enough of Gamla Stan and visiting museums, and the landscapes in the archipelago just amazed me. I knew I would come back.

Since then, I have been to Stockholm numerous times – maybe a dozen. But I never get enough. I am still in love with Gamla Stan and Södermalm. I still like crossing bridges, walking Drottningsgatan and visiting the Vasamuseet.

As approximately every destinations in Sweden, you can reach Stockholm by bus or by train.  Once you did, here what I think you should visit if it is your first time there (I will dedicate another post to more secondary visits).

1. Gamla Stan

First, you must take a walk through Gamla Stan (the old city). I think this is the most beautiful part of the city, with old colorful buildings which look very nice on Instagram. It is obviously very touristy but it is a must-go. There, you will find the Nobel museum for instance – and numerous gift shops.

2. Vasamuseet (and others)

The Vasamuseet is the best museum I have ever visited – I am not being over-the-top, it was even designated among the 10 best museums in the world. It displays the Vasa boat, a vessel which drown in Stockholm’s harbor during the XVIIth century. If you have the chance to get a guided-tour, it is even better. I remember the first time, I really had the feeling to be part of the boat and living a real-time experience.

You can also visit numerous other museums, such as the Nordiska museum (about Nordic culture), the Abba museum (about the band), the Modern museum, Skansen (an open-air museum about Swedish history and culture)… and many others!

3. Enjoy the nature and the water

Finally if the weather is sunny, I strongly recommend a trip around Stockholm’s archipelago. The landscapes are amazing and you can take beautiful pictures! If it is cloudy or rainy, you can still take a walk around Djurgården, a huge park built on one of Stockholm’s islands. Many Stockholmers go there to run or simply chill on the grass, when the weather allows it. A must-go!

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Gender Studies – What happens during a face-to-face week 2/2

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Copyright: Unsplash/Vinicius Amano

Now that I have explained what a face-to-face week is, I am going to go more into details when it comes to the workshops, lectures and seminars we attended. I want to emphasize the fact that this face-to-face week really made me feel like I was developing an expertise in Intersectional Gender Studies, something I was still not really aware of before. During this week, I learned how to design a Gender Studies course, wrote (part of) a thesis introduction & a pitch, and participated to a forum theatre. All of these were really rewarding experiences.

Lectures

Of course, we attended a bunch of lectures. They were mainly about career outputs for Gender Studies students and how we could implement our knowledge in a professional framework. What I keep from these lectures is

  • How Gender Studies students mainly choose to study this subject out of interest more than to really make a career out of it, they are just willing to participate in changing our society by understanding it better
  • Gender Studies are about studying, but also about being creative and find innovative ways to teach, write, shoot movies, do politics etc.
  • Gender Studies scholars and students are devoted to equality and tolerance, and that is what makes us a threat to conservative voices. Even though it sometimes a burden, it is also a strength. Because when we acted together and debated among ourselves, I jus had the feeling to be part of change.

Workshops

I think the workshops were the most interesting activities we had during this week. There were four of them.

  1. Write a thesis introduction. With the help of Emerita Professor Nina Lykke, we used creative writing as a start to write an introduction to a chosen thesis topic. We mainly used automatic writing as a mean to encourage our creativity (that means keep writing and when you don’t have any ideas coming in anymore you just write whatever). Then we exchanged texts with our partner, it allowed us to break free from academic rules and have relevant feedback from one of our peers.
  2. Write a pitch for a thesis proposal. Journalist Anna-Maria Söderberg gave us a lecture about her experience as a feminist and queer journalist in Sweden. Then, she told us to write a pitch for our thesis topic: five sentences to catch the reader’s attention.
  3. Forum Theatre. That was my favorite. Forum Theatre consists in performing a play which allows spectators (“spect-actors”) to intervene and replace one of the actors or actresses to change the outcome of the story. Basically, we would play a scene taking place in a workplace where there were tensions around feminist topics once, and the second time, the audience could come and be part of the story. That was super interesting!
  4. Teaching design. I also liked it. It was really interesting to feel like I was on the other side of the classroom and that I could create a whole new class about Gender Studies.

Co-tutor meetings

Besides lectures and workshops we had co-tutor meetings where each of the three groups was meeting to discuss assignments. One of them was a presentation we had to give on the last day. Otherwise, we chatted, laughed and talked about feminism and so many other topics. That was one of my favorite part of this face-to-face week: being able to speak about my predilection topics with equally-interested people in a chill atmosphere. We even had dinner all together on Wednesday night!

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Gender Studies – What happens during a face-to-face week 1/2

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Credits: Unsplash/The Climate Reality Project

I have not been very active for a week. Why? Because last week was very intense. I was taking part in the second “face-to-face week” of my program, “Gender, Intersectionality and Change”.

Reminder: my master is online

If you remember right, in the first post of this blog, I explained that my master program was online and that I had deliberately chosen to move to Sweden. Although all of our classes (tutor-meetings, lectures, seminars) mainly via Skype or Microsoft Teams, we must attend three “face-to-face weeks” during the year.

The first face-to-face week took place last August, at the end of the month. However, I could not attend it because I was working in Paris. In order to get credits anyway, I had to write a compensatory assignment to make up with my absence. Thus, I was very excited to be part of this second face-to-face week to meet my classmates!

What does this week look like?

It looked like an intense week full of classes – I must admit I am not used to it anymore. We had class from approximately 9am to 4pm everyday. The schedule comprised workshops, co-tutor meeting and lectures all around the same subject: “Career Paths and Professional Communication”.

This course is worth 6 credits and aims at showing us in which way we can apply and use our knowledge in Gender Studies in the labour market. Basically, we learned how to be a Gender Studies expert in our own professional field from research to journalism. We had some readings to do before each class and we were discussing it altogether.

It was really interesting to see that most of us – we were 20 present out of 40 – had chosen Gender Studies out of interest, and did not expect to really have a career fully linked to this topic. I realized, thanks to all our classes, that I was developing a real expertise in this field and I feel more confident about it now!

I will post a second post later this week to go into detail regarding our workshops and what we actually did during all of our classes.

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Swedish toolbox – How to get an ID Card

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Now you know all about the personal number and how you need it for everything in Sweden. Once you got it, it is useful to get yourself a Swedish temporary ID card, it is for instance easier to create a bank account if you have one. And it is pretty simple to get one.

1. Get an appointment with Skatteverket

Skatteverket is the Swedish tax agency. They are the one in charge with all your administrative paperwork, which most of the time revolves around your personal number. In order to book an appointment, you just have to visit their website and choose an available slot at Linköping’s bureau.

2. Get your current ID & pay

Once you got your appointment, you only need two things to apply for a Swedish ID-Card: your current ID Card or Passport from your home country and pay 400kr (around 40 euros). In order to pay, you need to transfer the money to a bank account linked to Skatteverket – they give you the reference on their website – and print the proof you’ve paid.

3. Skatteverket’s appointment

On your appointment day with Skatteverket, you must bring the proof of your payment and your current ID. They will take a picture of you and verify all of your information. The appointment is very fast and after 15 minutes, you get a paper saying you ordered a Swedish ID Card and you can choose wether you want to receive a text or an e-mail to inform you when your ID Card is ready.

4. Fetch your ID Card

It usually takes 10 days to get your ID ready. Once you receive your text, you can go to Skatteverket and get your card without any appointment. You just need to provide the paper stating you ordered your card. Then, you are all set!

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Swedish dictionary – Swish

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Swish mobile app screenshot.

Sweden is famous for (almost) being a cash-free country. Here, all shops and restaurants take credit card payments without any minimal amounts. Even on the Christmas Market, all the stores were taking the card. However, credit card is not the only way to pay without cash. Most of the time, Swedes use also Swish, a mobile-app which allows you to transfer money easily.

How does it work?

Besides owning a smartphone, in order to get Swish, you need:

  1. A Swedish bank account
  2. A Mobil Bank-ID

In other words, you obviously need to have a personal number. Once you have installed the app, it will guide you into linking your bank account and your phone number to your Swish account (it is pretty easy).

Swish? What for?

Once the app is all ready to be used, it is very useful. Indeed, you won’t have to carry cash anymore in case you need to give money back to your friends who paid you a beer in Flamman or got you a coffee during your last fika. All you need to do is enter their phone number and fill in the amount you want to transfer to their bank account. Of course, they also need to own a Swish bank account. It is so common in Sweden, that you will often hear the words: “I can just Swish you”. Pretty cool, right?

 

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