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8 Ways to Humiliate Yourself in Sweden

Sweden Student Work
by Madelaine Triebe Sep 29, 2015

1. Assume all Swedish girls are easy

Don’t think you will get laid just because you’ve watched too many commercial movies portraying Swedish girls dressed in bikinis looking for guys to oil them up. Assuming this, you will most likely just end up being perceived as someone with the mentality of an ignorant frat boy.

2. Think all Swedes are blond and tall

We live in a multicultural world, so please don’t think Sweden is backwards enough to have a homogenous population.

3. Eat the last cookie

Don’t grab the last ballerina cookie left on the tray. It will cause an awkward silence in the room and the company you’re with will silently judge you. Do your best to avoid being greedy and politely ask if someone else wants it. If someone asks you if you want it, graciously say no (even if you actually do want it).

4. Hug someone you’ve just met for the first time

A handshake is more than enough, so keep your physical interaction with strangers to a minimum. Hugs are for friends you have known for years and the cheek-kissing thing, well, let’s not even go there.

5. Insist on privatizing the healthcare system

Don’t try and argue that a system based on expensive health insurance is better than paying tax and giving everyone access to the health care system. There’s no better way to alienate yourself from the Swedish culture than to smash the consensus of fairness.

6. Call strangers “love,” “darling,” or “honey”

You want to be nice and friendly, but Swedes get suspicious when people use affectionate words towards strangers. Average Joe, the cashier at ICA or the Sales Assistant at H&M will perceive you as fake and that warm friendliness you’re trying to exude will be greeted with a cold hand.

7. Argue against gender equality

Don’t try to argue against paternity leave and working moms or that advertisement with boys playing with Barbie dolls is a bad thing.

8. Ask where the polar bears are

There are no polar bears walking the streets in Sweden — it is cold, but not that cold. Polar bears live on the Arctic Circle and the only bear you can find is the brown bear and, no, not even they roam next to you on the sidewalk. Hit the forest if you want to encounter one or take the plane to Svalbard to watch the polar bears. 

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