Life is a series of struggles, happiness, challenges, fears and changes. As of the moment I am facing all of this as I was sent to Sweden as a participant of the exchange program. Being part of “Young in a World Wide Church” is a big challenge, opportunity, and honor for me. As we were sent here in Sweden, I expected how different it was living in a first world country unlike living in a third world country just like Philippines (place where I came from).We are supposed to share, observe, learn, and make ourselves worthy for the chance being here, and that is a big challenge I accepted.
When I lived in Västerås, usually I am being asked by the Swedes I am encountered, “What is Sweden for you?” but before I could answer, they always said two words, “COLD AND DARK?” then they will laugh. It is true that Sweden is cold country and sometimes you won’t see the sun shining during the day, but what I observed is Sweden is the best example in terms of EQUALITY. We cannot put away the fact that there are a poor and rich people in one place, but what’s best in Sweden is because this “gap” is little and all the things are equal no matter how rich or poor you are. I also observed that Swedish people are warmed hearted. It is true that some people are so formal in terms of meeting each other. When you first time meet them they will shake hands with you but when you meet afterwards, hug is the best way they say “hi” to you. Swedes mean what they say. They are man and woman of their words. They are organized who stick with their plans and decisions. Time is the most important thing for them. When you say so, you must do so. They gave importance to their family as much as they can. Sweden is a cold country but it doesn’t affect the heart of the people living on it.
It is an easy task to live a happy life that you are currently used to. What’s hard is when you are starting all and over again, just how you learned the alphabet. You don’t know every people, places, language and culture. You have to learn again the customary way of living, the dos and don’ts, and culture of the place so you could adjust from the society you were belonging now. You will meet new people and you can learn from each other’s knowledge and experiences. That’s the aim of the program, to learn from each other’s experiences, observations, opinions, differences, and to make the relationships better and strong.
We are different in terms of languages, denominations, cultures, foods, weather and a lot more things but what makes us common is the meaning of life itself. I always remember a quote from one of my favorite book series, Hunger Games Trilogy, delivered by a guy named Plutarch in the story- “Nature and Wisdom Never at Strife.”
// Fatimary Gopez