Meet Chantelle. A kiwi expat in Stockholm.
Where have you been living as a Kiwi expat?
What took you there, what do you do?
I’m doing an exchange semester for my final semester of my law degree.
How do you find living overseas on your own – had you ever lived alone before?
Nope, this is my first time living alone. I love it – although cooking and eating by myself can be a bit lonely. I also seem to either have too much food or not a proper meal. So its always best having friends round to cook for.
Your favourite spots?
Stockholm is amazing because there is so much water and natural areas right in the city. There is a forest and a beach just behind my suburb, which I love to go walking around.
There are also a lot of great lookout spots where friends and I would just sit in summer with our takeaway “fikas” (coffees) and kanelbulles (cinnamon buns), and just chat away and people watch!
What do you miss most about home?
Fish n chips with L&P on the beach with friends.
Worst thing about living there?
Lack of UV light. Seriously, 5 hours in all of November. I don’t think NZ ever gets to 0 during the day time on UV light exposure
Best thing about living abroad?
Experiencing new cultures and falling in love with new cities. Even though I speak minimal Swedish (so hard to learn when everyone here can speak perfect English and so they just respond to my attempts of Swedish in English), its amazing how homely Stockholm as a city now feels. Like a home away from home.
What would you recommend doing in Stockholm, with only a weekend?
Weekend, well this really depends on whether you are here summer or winter… But assuming it’s winter the first stop would be Gamla Stan (the Old Town).
In Gamla Stan, one side is full of tourists, but there is the smallest road in Stockholm and famous little quaint houses in Stortorget the oldest square. Chockladkoppen and Fabrique are two cute cafes I’d highly recommend too. Grab something to takeaway and head over to Riddarholmen, the island parallel to Gamla Stan – it has a beautiful view of the Town Hall and Södermalm.
On Friday experience the madness of Systembolaget, the state-owned monopoly on alcohol retail sales. Any central location from about 4pm on a Friday will have a constant stream of people going in to stock up, as they close by 7pm and only open Saturday 11 – 3 (closed Sundays). Stockholm caters for a diverse nightlife. A few of my favourite clubs are Marie Laveau, Koh Phangan, Sturecompagniet and Vampire Lounge.
The next day, wander from Sergels Torg to Kungliga Djurgården along the waterfront. At Djurgården there are many museums to choose from, the most popular being the Vasa, though my favourite is the Spirits Museum.
Wandering around Södermalm is also a must. There are beautiful views back towards Gamla Stan, a gorgeous old church – Katarina Kryka, Fotografiksa (photo gallery) vintage shops and wonderful places to just people watch.
At some point of the weekend a Swedish sauna is necessary, some are little floating buildings on the lakeside so have the option for a cold plunge after. However if the weather is warmer there are great places to swim or experience the city by boat on a ferry ride to an outer island in the archipelago to go hiking, or even to the new Royal Palace in Drottningholm.
What’s the best experience you’ve had in Stockholm?
I was lucky enough to secure a seat for the Welcome Reception for International Researchers at the Stockholm Stadshuset, where there was a reception in the Blue Hall (where the Nobel Banquet is held) and then we had our own dinner up in the Golden Room… pretty amazing place and surrounded by many researchers and academics.
I also got to go visit the Nobel Museum the week when the laureates were announced, which was pretty amazing and inspiring. This week there are lectures and dialogues as part of the Nobel Prize week. The Autumn semester is a great time to be studying in Stockholm.
But to be honest the most fun I have had is showing my best friend my new city, the people, the places and sharing the experience with her.