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27 May 2014

#hogsabroad Update from Health Teams Abroad: Sweden

Hey guys! My name is Will French, and I'm a senior biology major at the University of Arkansas. This Saturday concludes my first full week in Sweden! We've been staying in a city called Jonkoping, which sits along the second largest lake in Sweden, Lake Vattern. Evidently the lake is freezing cold, so swimming isn't going to be apart of the agenda any time soon. The city isn't that big, but we've had a blast walking all the streets and finding all the coffee shops. Coffee breaks are apart of their daily routine here in Sweden. The Swedish call them Fika breaks, where the common Fika break lasts about 30 minutes with a cup of coffee and some kind of pastry.

On Wednesday, we got to go out to the university bar Akademia, which is Aka for short. Evidently the big party night for the students is Wednesday night, so we decided to test it out for ourselves. We also got to visit the Jonkoping Farmer's Market on Saturday morning. The market was packed with people, but the longest line by far was for the new potatoes. New potatoes are a delicacy in Sweden.

Since my study abroad program is focusing on health care we've had a ton of lectures on Swedish health care and made a couple visits to some clinics. Swedish health care is majority run by the state, so basically that means everything is really cheap. For one night in the hospital the cost only reaches a maximum of 80 crowns which is about $12, and all health care for children and teenagers is free. There is a trade-off, however. Swedish taxes are really high! The Swedish government took a survey though, and most Swedish people said they don't mind paying high taxes if they know it is going to health care and other good things. 

 Another interesting thing about Sweden is that the Swedish haven't been in a war since 1812! They decided to stay neutral in WWI and WWII, but the Swedish have been involved in Afghanistan. As a result though, the Swedish have very few if any veterans, so we got some pretty confused looks when we asked about veterans insurance. 

We also got to visit the second largest city in Sweden: Gothenburg. It's a coastal city with a lot of sites and attractions. Some of the more interesting sites include the giant "lipstick" building that locals say looks like a tube of lipstick, the national art museum, and the famous statue of Poseidon. We also stumbled upon a parade where a ton of people were dressed up like their favorite fictional character! I think it was like the Swedish version of comic-con. I got my picture with batman. 


It's been a fun week, but we still have two weeks to go!