This past week was DIS core course week. Core course week is a three-day study tour program that accompanies your Core Course. During Core Course week, students travel with their relevant core course to various parts of Sweden such as Malmo, Uppsala, My Core Course is Positive Psychology, as we traveled to the Gothenburg, a coastal city in western Sweden. We started the week with guided tours and guest lectures and ended with the program in Gothenburg.
Royal Citing (Side Note)
Last week marked the opening of Swedish Parliament. Every year, there is a formal celebration that commences the political season. My host mother is a member of Swedish Parliament, so she insisted I attend. The spectacular ceremony takes place outside the parliament building with each politician walking from the Royal Castle to the Parliament building. Royal officers, guards, and security surround the building as onlooking spectators crowd for a glimpse at their favorite politician or the King. Inside the parliament building, King Gustaf XVI gives a ceremonial commencement speech and there is typically a reception (due to covid restrictions, this was not possible). I saw King Gustaf XVI being escorted by horse and chariot into the building. I was star-struck to see royalty with my two eyes,. It was an interesting cultural experience considering the US does not have a royal family. I felt like a true Swede cheering for the king. Despite the fact they do not hold any political or formal power, the Swedish monarchy are great foreign ambassadors representing the nation. Their ceremonial and representative festivities also help preserve Sweden’s cultural practices.
The first day, we toured Fryshuset, a nonprofit organization serving students throughout the greater Stockholm area. Fryshuset hosts both a youth center and public school providing education and after school programs across multiple fields such as arts, entrepreneurship, and athletics. Their mission strives to grow and develop youth by igniting their passions and offering programs and support. There is a strong focus on helping students reach their full potential based on their own personal interests. For example, there is a professional music studio where students can obtain a music production degree.
Following the tour, we attended a lecture with a guest speaker about deradicalization. The speaker worked for Exit Sweden, an NGO support group that issues support and rehabilitation for ex members of extremist groups.
The next day, we had a guest speaker give a lecture about Character Strengths. I found it interesting how we can use character strengths to overcome adversity and our flaws. We took a VIA character strengths questionnaire in preparation. One of my top five strengths was love, which I’ve never perceived as a character strength.
During the second half of the week, we began our journey to Gothenburg. The previous semester, I participated in the forensic psychology core course where we also traveled to Gothenburg. I was excited to revisit the city with a positive psychology framework. It was a great bonding experience traveling with my fellow classmates and deepening my understanding of positive psychology.
Upon arrival, we checked into the hotel and enjoyed a lovely lunch. After lunch, we participated in a forum theatre workshop. Coined the “Theatre of the Oppressed”, forum theatre attempts to simulate real life scenarios to rehearse solutions that will alter the outcome for the better. The audiences, or spect-actors can jump in any role in the rehearsed scenario. Personally, I found the workshop a great interactive tool to help victims and people in disempowered positions.
The next day, a local gave a guided walking tour around Gothenburg. We visited famous and historic areas around Gothenburg. One memorable monument was a statue of King Gustav II Adolf, the founder of Gothenburg, where he points and declares where the city should be built.
During the tour, we stopped by the open-air memorial for Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat/businessman who saved hundreds of Hungarian Jews during World War II.
Following the tour, we carried out our acts of kindness activity. Our professor provided 200 kronor, and in groups, we were to perform an act of kindness. Our group decided to donate our funds to the local church which we visited during the tour. We felt the church supported a noble cause due to their LGBTQ+ branch and providing religious support to the local community.
That afternoon, we had a few hours of free time so I decided to visit the Gothenburg botanical gardens. They had an eye dropping curation of flowers, a rock garden, and Japanese garden. I definitely recommend visiting!
On Saturday, we sat in on lecture at Gothenburg University about body positivity. We discussed how well-being is associated with a “positive body image” with the supporting theoretical concepts. We performed a free writing activity where we listed our body’s abilities and strengths. I thought that the activity was insightful and felt an immense gratitude for my body’s capabilities. Following the lecture, we applied our learning in practice by playing Boule, a French game similar to Bocce. I’ve played Boule before, so it was no surprise that my team won the mini tournament 😉.
Later that afternoon, we headed back to Stockholm to embark on our journey home. Core Course week was an enriching academic and personal experience. I loved seeing how our classwork applied to the real world.
This is Leaf reporting, stay tuned for more adventures away in Sverige !