Prior to attending Gustavus Adolphus College, my cultural connection to Sweden was limited to the Swedish meatballs my grandmother made and my innate love of coffee. However, at Gustavus I heard stories from friends who had gone to Sweden and was inspired to experience the country my ancestors came from. The fall after my Junior year I journeyed to Stockholm to participate in research at Karolinska Institutet, and while I was there I fell in love with the Swedish people, aesthetic, and nature. During December of 2016, I returned to Stockholm to take part in the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar (SIYSS) and Nobel Prize festivities – all made possible through sponsorship by the Swedish Council of America as part of the Glenn T. Seaborg award.
The SIYSS is an annual weeklong event for young international scientists, arranged in connection with the Nobel festivities by the Swedish Federation of Young Scientists. This year, 24 of my peers gathered from 18 countries to participate in eight days of events culminating with the Nobel prize ceremony. During the week, I became close friends with several of my fellow scientist-participants and learned something new about each of their cultures – and each of their research projects as well! This program was an incredible opportunity to grow not only the bonds between us as individuals, but also strengthen the bonds between our countries.
Day 1. December 3rd Arrival Day
On my first day in Stockholm, I was greeted in the airport by Mariam Andersson and Thomas Gustafson, two of the 12 SIYSS coordinators for the week. These coordinators were graduate students from universities across all of Sweden (Lund, Upsala, Karolinska, KTH, etc.). After exchanging greetings I was whisked away to af Chapman, a ship moored directly across from The Royal Palace.
That evening, I met up with two friends, Magnus and Karin Fredricson, for dinner. The Fredricsons hosted me for the Midsummer Holiday two years ago while I was doing research at Karolinska. It was so fun to see them again and catch up on their lives.