While many international students will return home for the holidays, some have decided to stay in Lund and experience their first traditional Swedish Christmas.
Lundagård interviewed two international students – Naomi Fee from Germany and Timothy Parker from New Zealand, who are both studying media and communications – to hear their take on what this holiday season will bring.
Why are you staying in Lund?
NF: I really want to see how Sweden celebrates Christmas, and I’m looking for a Swedish family to “adopt” me to get an insight into the Swedish traditions. I’ve always loved Sweden since I was a small child. I guess I just have this romantic picture of Sweden.
TP: I’ve come a long way, and it’s expensive to go home. My girlfriend’s family is here in Lund, so we’re going to have a Swedish Christmas. My family’s coming just after Christmas, and it’s nice to have a white Northern-Hemisphere Christmas—it’s a novelty for me, so that’s cool.
How do you usually spend the holidays?
NF: Usually I celebrate with my family. We celebrate on the 24th in the evening: we go to church, we have a dinner, we dance around the Christmas tree and we unpack our presents.
TP: Christmas in New Zealand is summertime, so we have a barbecue, my family comes over and it’s pretty relaxed. Last time I had Christmas in New Zealand, people didn’t even have shoes on.
What are you most excited for?
NF: I’m mostly excited about food! I’m interested in the decorations, what kind of songs they sing, if they go to church or not… I hope it will snow so we can have a white Christmas! I’m also really curious about the Lucia tradition.
TP: Everything! The feeling of coziness I get, just being inside, having a woolen jumper on. I’m also looking forward to the food because most of the year I eat vegan, but for Christmas I’m going to take a break from that and have some traditional Swedish food.
Will it be hard to be away from home?
NF: No, I’m mostly really excited about it! I mean, I have a good relationship with my family, but I’m more excited than sad that I’ll be missing out.
TP: I haven’t lived in New Zealand for about six and a half years, so that feeling of being homesick is almost gone now. I’m used to traveling, but yeah, I miss my family, so I’ll be Skyping them for sure.