Even though this site is created and written by a private person I believe this is a trust worthy source. My first reason for believing that is I don’t think anyone would want to sabotage a countries reputation by disparaging their food. So this isn’t a blog where anyone has written their personal opinion about Jamaica’s political position or in any way tries to angle anybody’s opinion about Jamaica as a country. My second reason for believing this is a trustworthy source is the fact that the founder of the site has put out a picture of herself and on the side of that she has written a little story about her interests in cooking ethnic food. Whether this information is true or not is discussable. It simply seems to be a blog where a private person who has a lot of knowledge about Jamaican food has written a few facts down. Also the information matches the fact that has been written on other sites.

I think this source is reliable. My first reason for believing this is that it looks like the person that has created this site has put a lot of time and effort in it. Though I am sure some of the information is wrong since there are a lot of countries that has been evaluated. For an example when you read about Sweden there is to me some information which I do not agree with. Maybe that is because I can’t look upon Swedish people as an outsider can. The information written on the site has been sent in by a private person who has been to the country or has information about it. Then a member of the site checks the credibility with at least two different sources.  One reason for why the source may not be reliable is that a person can search for information on the internet without knowing anything and send it in. Since the site only compares it with two sources I believe there is a lot false information posted on the site.

I believe this site is reliable since it looks like they have put a lot of effort in it. The information posted on this site is exactly the same as on other sites or blogs. A reason for why the information on this site may not be reliable is that I can’t find a person responsible for the site. No names or pictures has been put up to make me completely sure this information isn’t false.

comparing the countries

I just got home from the airport and I felt obligated to write my last post in this blog! I have had a wonderful time and even though I miss everything about Jamaica it feels good to be home. I have read my friends blog posts and compared the countries. It has been really interesting to read about their time abroad and even though it seems like they’ve all had a great time I’m sure they haven’t enjoyed their time as much as I have!

Jamaican food is just like Australian and South African food inspired by different cultures. Both Jamaican and Australian food is inspired by English, Asian and African cuisine. I think it is great that countries actually has been inspired by other food cultures and mixed it together with their own food. It shows that the world is becoming more and more

Australians and people in South Africa seem to be bolder than most countries when it comes to what they put in their mouths. They eat food that I had never before thought was possible!  What I was most surprised to hear is that you in South Africa actually eat sheep head. It would take some persuasion to get me to eat that! I thought the Jamaican food was quite something but in comparison to the sheep head and the crocodile it became very normal to me.

I think drinking is a common denominator between Jamaica and Ireland or at least a prejudice you have about both countries. If someone asks you to picture a Jamaican or an Irishman in your head you often see a pirate with a bottle of rum or maybe a dwarf with a glass of beer in his hand. And even though that is an amusing assumption that Irishmen and Jamaicans get hammered all the time it isn’t really a truthful picture. Drinking isn’t actually their work but it is something they do at Friday night when their two days of freedom is waiting.

Jamaicans and South Africans have the same social rule about addressing someone you don’t know quite well yet with a title that fits the person for an example Mr. or Mrs. to be polite in South Africa you address a friend’s parent with their oldest child’s name and then say ra or ma depending on if it’s the mother or father you are talking to. I don’t think I could ever get used to that honestly!

Irish people and Jamaicans seem to have one thing in common, both countries differs from Sweden when it comes to time. Both are a lot more spontaneous and they don’t take planning as serious as swedes do.

South Africans seem to be a bit more open to strangers than Jamaicans are. It seems there wouldn’t be any awkwardness if a complete stranger came up to talk to you. That seems weird to me as a Swede but that is probably just because people in Sweden are naturally shy and introvert. Though swedes aren’t completely asocial, I wouldn’t be totally surprised if an old lady would start shouting at me regarding my biking skills. It seems like Australians are the opposite of Swedes when it comes to how you act towards strangers. They seem to be really nice and welcoming. The one thing I reacted to regarding Aussies is that they every time they exit a bus they shout “thanks!” to the bus driver. This is impossible for me to do since every grumpy bus driver is my sworn enemy, and have you ever met a bus driver who isn’t grumpy in Sweden?


During their celebrations Ireland and Jamaica seem to have their dress codes in common. It is tradition for both countries to dress up in a color that is symbolic for their country. The Irishmen dress up in green clothes while it is tradition for Jamaicans to wear clothes in the same colors as their flag during Independence Day.


South Africa celebrates heritage day, a day to celebrate the different ethnical heritages in the country. There is no such celebration in Jamaica but I think there should be since just like South Africa, a big part of the population comes from different countries.

As you can see there are a lot differences and similarities between all these countries. I think it is interesting that countries can have so many similarities even though they are situated on the other side of the globe.

My sources

My uncle

My uncle on my dad’s side re-located to live in Perth, Australia some 30 years ago and he has also been the one who has helped me out a lot with this assignment. Since he has been living the Australian life for quite some years now, I trust that the information I’ve been given is reliable. Though, of course, there are still differences in how people live their lives, and so is the case this time. I fully understand that the way of living I’ve gotten described to me is just one way of living in Australia, and that there are so many other ways of celebrating things, so many other foods to eat and so many other ways to behave.

I’ve found a lot of useful information from these pages, and after having controlled the facts I’ve used with several other sites on the web I can say that they are relatively reliable as well. I am still aware that it’s Wikipedia though, and that anyone can change the information. Therefore, I’ve tried matching the facts with other sites and asking my uncle about them, and everything I got out of it has shown to be true, or as true as something taken online can be. I think I can say that no matter what site we choose to take information from, we can never be 100% sure that everything that’s said is correct. But I’ve tried checking my statements as thoroughly as I can, so I’m hoping there are no errors in there.

This is the site from where I took the information to compose my blog post about Christmas in Australia. It might not look that very professional, but after checking the facts it gave about how Christmas is celebrated in Sweden (which was very accurate) I decided to trust that the facts it gave about celebrating Christmas in Australia were correct as well. It also states (at the end) that the information was composed by students from a school in Western Australia and, assuming the information actually is taken from the students, I believe it is correct. I am however aware that the way of celebrating Christmas that I’ve described is only one way of doing it, and that there are so many other traditions as well.

This is the site I used when looking for information about the etiquette and general behavior in Australia. After checking their article on etiquette in Sweden, I decided that it was reliable and chose to use the information I found on that site to compose my post about the etiquette in Australia. I am aware however, as with all the other sources, that errors might occur regardless of this.

A site that I found after just browsing around the web for a while. I am aware that it’s not that serious, and I haven’t taken it that seriously either. I only used it to search for whatever prejudices foreigners might have about us Swedes, mostly for fun and not for actual serious opinions.



Independence Day

Independence Day


One morning I woke up to the sound of reggae music and people cheering. I crawled out of bed and looked out the window. The only thing I could see was a blur of yellow, green and black. I had to pinch myself to make sure it wasn’t a dream. As I looked out the window my memory started to come back. It was Independence Day!


On the street all people had dressed up in clothes in the same colors as the Jamaican flag, dancing feverishly to the beats of Reggae music. Dressed up in my usual slacks and t-shirt I was the one who differed from the crowd. I asked some people what Independence Day was all about. Apparently you watch or participate in parades and eat a lot of food. I also found out some of the biggest Reggae artists had come to Kingston to sing. I was thrilled to hear that! Not only was I going to listen to some great music I was also going to take part of probably the most important day for Jamaicans. This was actually the day that Jamaica became independent from the ruling of Britain.


My heart was pumping along music that was coming from down the street, and I made my way through the crowd to see what was going on. A Bob Marley look-alike and his band members was playing loud reggae music at the beach. Almost everyone around me was singing along and danced wildly to the music. I was of course surprised to see people shoving their passion so open heartedly, it’s nothing you see on the streets of Västerås. It was such a wonderful feeling to be a part of that feeling of fellowship.


Later on that day a parade took place at Kingston’s main street. Women dressed up in provocative clothes were belly dancing to the rhythm of drums. The show was breathtaking and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything in the world.


That night I went to a party which was held at a restaurant. We ate a lot of delicious food, but most important of all, we had a blast!


I think it is a shame that Swedes Next Swedish national day I will do it like the Jamaicans, cheer and show I’m proud of being a Swede!


Here is a picture I took of the parade!

Picture comes from:

Home, sweet home

I am once again back home in my room in Västerås, and have had some time to settle down and come to terms with the fact that I’ve actually been in Australia, on the other side of the world! It has been such an experience, and I am so happy I got the opportunity to do it! Since I came back home, I’ve also had the time to sit down and read through the blog posts of Emma, Erica and Evelina who also has been travelling all around the world. I find it to be amazing that we’ve all experienced so many things that differ from our own culture, and that we’ve all managed to prove that the prejudices we might have about certain countries most of the time aren’t true at all!

To me, it sounds like Erica and Emma were the ones who got to experience the most differences from Sweden out of the four of us, seeing as they went to countries having a completely different culture from ours. Even if Evelina went to Ireland, and I to Australia, these countries are still quite influenced by Europe, whilst Jamaica and South Africa are very different. In Jamaica, for instance, the people seem very liberated in the way they behave and look at life. This differs a lot from Sweden, since we tend to be very controlled, composed people that are afraid of strangers and of doing things the wrong way. Another thing that struck me about Jamaica and Ireland in particular was the way they celebrate their holidays. It all seems so festive, like they REALLY are celebrating the reason for it being a holiday. Here in Sweden we never celebrate anything alike St. Patrick’s Day or Independence Day, the closest thing we get is winning the World Cup in soccer or hockey, which really is a shame I suppose, because we could celebrate things for real if we made an effort to do so! Something I also noticed was that South Africa and Australia are quite alike when it comes to having a big diversity of inhabitants, coming from all different religions and backgrounds. This has caused both countries to have a lot of influences from all over the world, and many different dishes to eat, as well as many different ways of celebrating holidays! It was also very interesting to read Emmas blog post about the traditions in South Africa, because I had no idea that as many as 80% of the people living there were Christians and celebrated Christmas and Easter! I have no idea what I’ve thought before, but it was definitely something new to me. It was also very interesting to get to know that the Irish people doesn’t share the same view of time as the Swedes do, and that they think it’s fine to come several minutes late to a meeting! This would be very frowned upon here in Sweden, since people would find it rude to be that late for an appointment. It also goes to show that maybe we need to learn one thing or another from other cultures, and not to be so tightened up all the time. Who knows, maybe that stranger on the bus isn’t trying to eat you, maybe he or she is just being friendly!

Signing off for the last time!


"I'm leaving on a jetplane, don't know when I'll be back again"

My final day here in Australia has arrived, and truth to be told, it feels very weird and wrong to leave my host family and all the friends I’ve made behind. I mean, we are hopefully going to stay in touch, but it’s not like they live a weekend-trip away. I’ve had the time of my life down here, and I wish my blog could have covered everything I’ve done and experienced. Although, I still have my memories of this trip and that is enough for me. I’ve also managed to do what I said I’d try to do in the first blog post, and that is to shatter some of my prejudices against the Aussies. Turns out, Aussies aren’t at all the stereotypical Crocodile Dundee-person many of us imagine (though, I did meet a few of those too!). They are the most laid back people I’ve ever met, and everyone seems to be so caring and happy all the time! And, they don’t eat larvae, which was one of the things I was most scared about having to face when I got here! Haha, I can’t believe I actually thought they did! Turns out I was so very wrong in so many ways, but the reality was so much better than I ever could’ve imagined! I am really going to miss it here, but at the same time I miss everything back home as well. I will return, someday, no doubt about it!

See ya' later, alligator!


Traditional food

When I camped on the beach one night I bumped in to a couple of men who were making a bonfire on the beach. I came up to talk to them and noticed they were grilling over the bonfire. I instantly became very interested in what Jamaicans like to eat and what traditional Jamaican food is. They told me the food a Jamaican eats consists of a lot of seafood such as fish and shrimps. But of course they eat other groceries like chicken and rice. You make your food from what you can find in the woods, fields and in the water. They told me part of the Jamaican population is vegetarian because they want to be one with nature. This aspiration is mostly a Rastafarian lifestyle. Jamaican food is influenced mostly by West-African and Indian food but it is also inspired by British, French, Spanish and Chinese cuisine. The men were cooking escovitch fish, a very common dish loved by most Jamaicans. When they were cooking the food they were not modest about using spices. I couldn’t imagine it would taste good. Though I was pleasantly surprised, the food was exquisite. The fish was spicy, no doubt about it, but not overwhelming. I have never tasted anything like it.

To drink they just passed around a bottle of rum. Since I felt that would be a bit strong for me I drank a Coca-Cola.

To say the least, Jamaican food is spicy! But do not be afraid of trying your way through the many dishes. I can promise you will find something in your taste.

"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle aaall the waaay..."

Merry Christmas everyone out there! I know it’s a day late, but I have been so busy with everything else surrounding Christmas that I haven’t been able to write even a sentence here up until now! We are on our way out to meet up with some friends of my host family in quite a short while, so I’ll just give you a quick briefing on what Christmas in Australia means!


Well, as you might know already, Christmas in the Land Down Under isn’t celebrated on the 24th of December as it is back home in Sweden, but it’s celebrated on the 25th instead. Christmas here involves just as much razzmatazz, lights, decorations and hype as anywhere else in the world, minus the snow. The houses are decorated with lights and Christmas-y things, there are Christmas stockings being hung up around the house (despite the lack of fireplaces…), the Christmas bushes are being decorated with help from the kids in the house… But there is no snow! It has been quite odd to spend my Christmas this year playing cricket and other games outside in the grass, rather than building snowmen or having snowball fights, but I do have to say that I can’t complain about it being 35 degrees Celcius either! And of course, when it is this hot outside, you don’t want to spend your day inside, right? Can you guess what the Aussies do instead of having their Christmas supper at the dining table in the dining room? They have picnics at the beach! Well, of course, not all families do, but my host family usually does that, alongside a bunch of other people from the neighborhood. We packed all the Christmas food in a bag, grabbed our towels and swimwear, and headed down to the seaside! Once there, we unpacked everything again, and I got to taste the most delicious meal ever! We had roast turkey, chicken and ham, gingerbread cookies, mince pies, shrimps and lobster, sweets and Christmas pudding! I’ve never been so stuffed in my entire life, it felt as if I was a roasted, stuffed turkey myself while I was sitting in that burning sun after the meal! And all of a sudden, I realized that Jake was gone. I asked the mum of my host family where he’d gone, and she said that “He’s off to buy the paper”…. Aha! It felt kind of nice to at least have some of the traditions I’m used to left! And while I was sitting there, looking out across the water, I saw something red moving in the distance. Squinting my eyes, I realized the red thing wore a red hat. As it got closer, I started laughing uncontrollably. Onto the shore, on a surfboard, slid none other than Santa Claus, dressed in a red t-shirt, red shorts and a red hat! Running across the beach in a perfect Baywatch-manner, Santa delivered packages to everyone and then disappeared on his surfboard again. I have never celebrated a Christmas like this one, but I haven’t had as much fun either!

I’ll talk to you later!

G'day mate!

As far as the famous phrases “G’day mate!” and “Cheers, mate!” goes… I cannot tell you how thrilled I was when I actually heard it from a real Aussie the first time! It was something that I almost only thought existed in the Hollywood-films, but the Aussies actually use it as a phrase of greeting, which (to me) sounds so… I don’t know, relaxed? It feels so much better to be greeted with that than by a simple “hello” for some reason, and I think that the Aussies have realized that as well! Another thing that I found pretty interesting is that Australians are used to using the first name of the people they meet, even if it is the first time. This might not seem odd to a Swede, but I know it does to most people from other nationalities, like England. Oh, and the BBQ’s! Jake told me that if you get an invitation to someone else’s house for dinner, it’s almost always for barbeque. Most of the time, you’re supposed to bring your own beer or wine to drink, and sometimes you even bring the meat you’re going to eat! When we were on our way to that birthday party I told you about earlier, I also learned something about the way you walk in Australia. As you might already know, they have left side-traffic when driving their cars, but did you know that this also the case when walking? Everyone always keeps to the left as often as possible, and while going in an escalator you’re supposed to keep to the left for everyone that needs to pass by. I found this to be extremely confusing in the beginning, since I’ve been taught to always keep to the right! But hopefully this will sort itself out as time passes, I just have to get used to it!


My host family is taking me out to see the Sydney Opera House in a few minutes, so I have to get going! I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!



I noticed quickly that Jamaicans aren’t as ruled by time as Swedish people are. My first week on Jamaica I lived with a woman called Sofia and her family who had been kind to invite me into their home. I noticed the family’s life was very spontaneous in comparison to Swedes. It feels like in Sweden you put everything you are supposed to do in a schedule. If you are supposed to hang out with your friend you have to decide when they are coming, who’s coming and where you are supposed to meet. My host family was quite the opposite. When someone wanted to meet them they just stopped by the house or vice versa.

I must warn you people! If you meet someone new on Jamaica do not forget to address them with Mr., Mrs. or any title that fits the person. If you do not, it is considered extremely rude. It might feel a bit awkward in the beginning but you will get used to it.

Jamaicans both talk and laugh a lot, and when doing so, they do it loud! They don’t think about talking with, as we call it in Sweden, “small letters”. Not even when I sat on a five star restaurant no one was thinking about keeping their voices down like we do in Sweden. To me it felt like my company was screaming at me. So if you ever travel to Jamaica and feel like they are shouting at you, don’t be alarmed! They are probably not angry at you.

"Don't worry... Be happy!"

You know how everyone always says that Aussies are the nicest and most down to earth-people there is on this planet? They couldn’t be more right! As I told you in an earlier blog post, I followed Jake to school yesterday just to get the feel of the day-to-day life of an Australian. But I got to see so much more of the real Australian culture! All the other students seemed so laid back and calm about everything, even the ones that had forgotten homework or assignments! Bobby McFerrin’s lyrics really fit in with the Australian way of living, which could easily be described as “Don’t worry, be happy”. And they’re all very polite and outgoing! Seeing as I was there as a foreigner, and one from the “exotic” (how is that possible?) country of Sweden as well, I got asked so many questions! And everyone said hello to me upon entering the classroom, I genuinely felt very welcome in a country so far away from home. Us Swedes have a tendency of ignoring people we don’t know, and the fact that we blankly refuse to talk to people on the bus or the subway feels so odd after spending quite some time here in Australia. And not to talk about riding on the bus! Jake and I went on the bus to school, and every time the bus stopped and someone got off, they shouted “thank you!” all across the bus. I started to snicker and asked Jake what was really going on, and he told me that it’s a normal custom in Australia to thank the bus driver for the ride before stepping off! I found this to be almost astounding, because it has never crossed my mind that you should do so. Maybe this is the reason why some bus drivers are so cross back home in Sweden… Hmmm….

All in all it has been a wonderful day, and I’ve enjoyed it tons! I’ve met some of Jakes friends, and hopefully we’re going out to the beach to play some volleyball this weekend!


Can you have too much to eat? I think so!

I’ve been to a real Aussie-barbeque! A friend of the family turned 18 today, and we went to their house to celebrate her birthday, which meant I got to try a lot of traditional and common Australian dishes that I’ve never heard of before (and I can tell you there were not a single larvae to be found)! Sarah, the mom of the family, told me that the Australian food culture has a lot of influences, both from England, Italy, Germany, Asia and South Africa but also of course a lot of influences from the aboriginal culture, the culture of the original inhabitants of Australia. I got to try out all sorts of things, and since the Australians are very fond of barbeque, I’ve tried all sorts of meat you can think of! Amongst them was kangaroo (which was delicious and tasted almost like deer) even though it’s not commonly eaten in Australia, but the family had bought some just for me to try it!  I also had rattlesnake (which tasted almost nothing on its own, I had to drench it in sauce!) which was a bit scary at first, but I’m glad to be able to brag about trying it! I also tried out a sandwich with Vegemite on it, which is a very common thing to eat in Australia. Basically, it’s like Nutella, only very much saltier and with no taste of chocolate at all. I did like it though, but I think it will take some getting used to! Oh and then it was desserts… I mean, how can you NOT love desserts? There were so many cakes and cookies and biscuits and… I think I was in heaven for a while! Amongst my favorites was the pavlova, which is a meringue  cake covered in cream and with different toppings, and the lamingtons, which are sponge cakes covered in chocolate icing and cocoanut. Both of these desserts are widely popular all over Australia and New Zealand, and I really enjoyed them as well! To go with all this, most of the adults had beer or wine, and the younger ones had sodas or lemonade. I even got to try out a cup of Milo, which is a beverage similar to the Swedish O’boy. Over all it’s been an awesome day, and I’ve met so many new people! It’s getting really late here though, and tomorrow I’m following Jake to school to see what it’s like so I have to get to bed!

I’ll talk to you later!

"I come from the land Down Under, where beer does flow and men chunder..."

I’ve now been here in Sydney for about four days, and now that my jetlag is gone I have managed to do so many things! Jake, the oldest son in the house that is the same age as I am, has taken on the task of showing me around Sydney, and teaching me more about the Australian culture. In return, I tell him and the rest of the family and their friends about the life in Sweden, and I can tell you that there are some pretty funny prejudices about Sweden! For example, one of the first things that Adam asked me (the youngest son) at dinner the first night, was whether we had polar bears in our gardens often or if they just come around occasionally, just as they have snakes. Unfortunately we don’t, I answered him, but we do have reindeers up North just like the ones Santa has! That seemed to get his mind off the fact that we don’t have polar bears walking the streets, but instead brought us onto the topic of climate. Many of the people I’ve met are astounded by the fact that we manage to survive in the cold here up in Scandinavia. I, on the other hand, am blown away by the fact that the Aussies survive in the heat that’s down here! They also seem to think that all Swedes are blonde (which many of us are), that we’re complete freaks about our health, and that we’re very quiet, friendly and almost a bit scared of being angry, and definitely scared about doing anything wrong! It was very interesting to hear these thoughts, and to share my own as well. We had many great laughs at some of these prejudices, and we shattered some of them as well! I will most definitely not see myself and Swedes in the same way again…!


I'll get back to you as soon as I can!


Arriving at last!

After 24 hours of being on the move, I am finally here in Sydney, Australia! The travel here went pretty smoothly, though I almost missed my connection flight from Kuala Lumpur and here due to the first flight from Stockholm being delayed… But I did catch it after running like crazy towards the gate, and I could almost hear the tunes of Survivors “Eye of The Tiger” as I did so… Must have looked quite amusing! It wasn’t until I was on that flight that I started becoming nervous. What about the family I was going to live with? What if they really are the answer to all my prejudices about Aussies? What if they do eat larvae and snakes and crocodiles for dinner every day? If so is the case, I can only thank McDonald’s for keeping me alive… But of course, it turned out to be the sweetest family I have ever met! They greeted me at the airport, and then we drove the half hour drive that it takes from the Sydney Airport to their home, right by the coast. I can even see the famous Opera House from here! The family consists of the mom, the dad, their two sons (11 and 17) and their dog, and they’re just like any other family, not the larvae-eating cowboys I had imagined!


I am now all settled in, with my bags unpacked, and my first day here has been amazing! Due to the jetlag though, I haven’t been able to do that much yet because I am soooooo tired I think I will fall asleep with my head on the keyboard soon! But before I can go to sleep it’s dinner-time, so I have to leave!

I’ll talk to you guys soon again!


Hello you, sitting infront of your screen!

What do you do if you want to explore an entirely new country and culture? What do you do if you want to see if all your prejudices about a certain country are true or false? You could do a simple research about the country in question, or you could take things to the extreme the way that I am going to do. Tomorrow, I am getting on a plane for one of the longest flights of my life. I am going to the land Down Under, to Australia!


I am going to spend a few weeks together with a family called Johnson in Sydney, to learn more about the culture, the language, and the way of living in a completely different country on the other side of the Earth. The flight is almost a mind-blowing 24 hours in total, so I will have plenty of time to get used to the thought of what I am actually doing. So far, I’ve been in some kind of denial about leaving everything that’s comfortable and safe here at home, to go live in a completely new country of which I know very little! But this is also a part of my plan in travelling there, because I want to test the possible prejudices I might have about Australia. See if they are true, or if I should re-make my preconceptions about the folks from the Land Down Under. I think we all have prejudices towards people, no matter how many times we claim that we don’t. If I were to ask you to think of a  French person, I am pretty confident that you’ll get an image in your head resembling a tall, skinny man with black hair, a bit of beard and a beret, holding a glass of wine in one hand and a loaf of bread in the other. Am I right? No? What if I asked you to picture an Aussie then? A man of average height, muscle-y and with a cowboy hat, with the accent of Crocodile Dundee, capturing crocodiles for a living and eating rattlesnakes for breakfast?


The point I am trying to make is that most of us have prejudices about a certain group of people, or individuals too for that part, no matter how much we try to deny it. When we meet a new person, we automatically register their looks and behavior before even talking to them, and making preconceptions about them. This is because we have matched a certain group of people with a certain way of expected behavior based upon how the majority of that group acts. As both you and I know, prejudices are far from always being true and many times you can find yourself realizing your preconceptions were completely wrong! Sometimes they are true though, but that is a whole different matter…


So, I am going to Australia. The plane leaves rather early tomorrow morning, and I can’t wait to be off! My bags are all packed and piled up down in the hall, so I should be off to bed so that tomorrow arrives faster! I’ll get back to you guys as soon as I’ve settled in.



In this blog I am going to write about my trip to Jamaica. I am going to spend three weeks in the country and I am going to reflect upon the food, etiquette and the traditions. Three of my friends are also going to travel abroad and write about their experiences.
What I am expecting of the people in general in Jamaica is that they are going to be very friendly towards strangers and that they will greet me as a family member. Maybe that is an overly positive view but I will still keep my hope for the better.I am going to spend three weeks in the country and I am going to reflect upon the food, etiquette and the traditions. Three of my friends are also going to travel abroad and write about their experiences.
In this blog I am going to write about my trip to Jamaica. I am going to spend three weeks in the country and I am going to reflect upon the food, etiquette and the traditions. Three of my friends are also going to travel abroad and write about their experiences.
What I am expecting of the people in general in Jamaica is that they are going to be very friendly towards strangers and that they will greet me as a family member. Maybe that is an overly positive view but I will still keep my hope for the better.

my sources


 This site was very useful to me when looking for facts about Irish cocking. It had all the facts that I needed and the way it was laid up made it really easy for me to find exactly what I wanted. The site it self is an Irish travel guide, and because the whole site is devoted to spreading information about Ireland I find no reason to why I shouldn’t believe that the information is correct.

 On this site, I only used the poem about the Irish stew. I didn’t like how the web page looked and it hade more information about what the Irish used to eat, and I wanted to know what they eat now. One thing that I thought was good was that there was a recipe of a traditional Irish stew.

I think this site was great, it had very useful, relevant fact. It covered the four main questions I had about St.Patrick’s day. If I’m going to be picky, the texts could be a bit longer but other than that, there’s nothing to complain about.

I only needed this source to confirm what I already knew about leap year in Ireland. But what I liked pith this web page was that it had information about how the tradition started. has a lot of information about different weddings and that’s why the information is believable to me.

Out of all the sources I used, this was by far the best one. It was easy to navigate on, and had lots of facts. There were experts you could ask but you could also add stuff yourself, which made me a little bit suspicious, because I did not use Wikipedia because of that but all and all the information was relevant and the site serious so I decided to use the facts.


Is maith an scathan suil charad. A friends eye is a good mirror

I’m sad to inform you that I'm now back home in Sweden. I’ve had such a wonderful trip and made some great friends at the same time which made me leaving twice as hard. However, there are some things I have to look forward to! One of them is meeting my fellow bloggers again. We haven’t got the time to get together and share our experiences yet, but of course I’ve read all of their posts. It was interesting to se what differences and similarities exist among the countries. And here’s what I noticed:


In Ireland, Jamaica and South Africa, you can’t call people you meet by their first names. But I found it quite out of the ordinary to greet them with their oldest child’s name(plus ma or ra), which Emma told us that they do in South Africa. And just like Erica, it took me a while to get used to not saying peoples first names. But I feel that when everyone is so kind and polite it should be considered friendlier to call people by their first names, like friends do.

Similar to Ireland, South Africa is very proud of their country and its traditions. But they had more new, modern traditions which from what I’ve learned Ireland doesn’t really have. I like the fact that they came to the conclusion that you don’t only have to celebrate things that happened a very long time ago.


Australians thanking the bus driver when they go off?! And I thought the Irish people were extremely nice! After reading what Alicia experienced in Australia, I have to confess that the Irish are not even close to being that approachable. How are we going to come back to Sweden and not think that everybody is rude? From what I learned from her blog posts, Aussies aren’t as reluctant to talk about some topics which are really sensitive for an Irishman to discuss. And honestly, me being proud about eating lamb stew (which was, if truth be told really out there for me) didn’t seem that cool at all after reading about her eating things like kangaroo and rattlesnake.

 I found out two main things that Jamaica had in common with Ireland. The first one I noticed was that Jamaica had a similar point of view regarding time. And both I and Erica had at first a hard time understanding it. In addition to that fact, I reacted to that the Jamaican way of celebrating Independence Day is similar to St Patrick ’s Day in Ireland. But in Jamaica it’s bigger, wilder and more like a party. It would certainly have been fun to have seen!

The biggest difference between Ireland and Jamaica according to me was the fact that Jamaican cooks with groceries that they find in the woods. It made me realise that every country isn’t like Ireland or Sweden. Some don’t use as much technology like we do, but they get on fine anyway. It’s possible that they’re even more happy than other.


My last post...

That is right, I am going home. And I am going home with mixed emotions; I really long for my family at home, but it will be hard to leave my new family here. I am so glad that I decided to do this exchange, and it has been such an experience. And from what I have read from my fellow blog writers, they have been just as amazed by experiencing a whole new culture as I have been. One thing that we all have written about is the fact that people actually talk to people they do not know, which leads me to one conclusion; Swedes need to start talking! Seriously! It becomes such a better climate when people just say a genuine “Hi” or “How are you?”. I think it is time for Sweden to follow several countries examples and start being polite!


I also realised, that we have both similarities and differences in our traditions and cuisines. And it struck me that it is just these similarities that makes different cultures so interesting. Because even though it is fun to realize that you have some similar traditions with a country on the other side of the earth, it is the differences that make things interesting.


So I would like to say to the people of the world (since I know that every body on earth is reading this) that we should learn as much as we can about different cultures and try to learn from them. But we should never let go of the things that makes our country our country.


And that really is all folks, I got to go because I have a huge craving for some Swedish meatballs!





For the facts in this blog I have used these following internet sites: (traditions) (traditions and etiquettes) (traditions) (food) (food)


I thought all these pages were really good, I got all the information I needed, and they all were serious and had their facts right. Since this was mostly tourist information- sites, it is possible that they have brought up things that are typically South African, but that few actually do these days, to make the country seem more interesting. But I have tried to ruled out that so I got the information about the real every day-life. I have also tried to use several sites so that I could control my facts.




To prepare myself for this trip to South Africa, I took it upon myself to read a little about the South African etiquettes, so that I would not make a fool of myself. I learned that the worst thing you could ever call a South African was “rude”. And it turned out to be quite true. Everybody here is very polite and kind and I feel so welcomed even by people I just pass in the street.


One thing I found particularly different from Sweden was that when you go home to people, you should always greet the parents with the name of their oldest child, and add ma or ra to the end. That will translate into mother or father of… I did not know this before I came here so that was something my host family taught me before we went to visit some of their friends. They pointed out for me that it was very important to greet the parents right because, if you do not, it will seem very rude.


This still is quite strange to me since in Sweden, you only call people by their first names, otherwise you will seem very old fashioned. But now that I have come to think of it, Sweden separates from the rest of the world on this matter, since we never use sir, mr, ms, or mrs, even if we want to be formal. Another thing that is different here is that people actually talk to people they do not know. And I really think that this is something note worthy to us Swedes (since it is quite well known that we seldom talk to strangers). I think that talking to your fellow man will be good for the country’s  unity.


That’s all folks!





Okay, so I really had no idea how the South African food was going to be like, but it turned out to be like the rest of the country, inspired by many different cultures. It is hard to generalize but I will give it a try. The food here is very simple. Do not get me wrong, it is delicious, but similar to Swedish food there is not a lot of complicity around it. The food often consists of some kind of meat with a side dish of vegetables (again just like Swedish food). Different kind of stews often occurs as well. Braai is Afrikaans for “grilled meat” or just “barbeque” and there is a saying that you should never come between a man and his braai (there is definitely a similarity to Sweden).


But of course there is a lot of differences between the Swedish and South African cuisine, so if you feel like a daredevil, why not try crocodile sirloins, fried caterpillars or why not try the sheep head? All these dishes are supposed to taste very good, but since I have always been afraid of insects and don not like the thought of eating someone’s brain, I will not be trying that for long. But perhaps I should ask my host mom to make crocodile for dinner…?


But apart from certain restaurants with insects on their menu, there is a lot of “normal” restaurants as well, and just as in Sweden you will always find a pizza restaurant around the corner.


That’s all folks!





If anyone were to ask me about South African traditions before my trip, I would not have much to tell them. I think I would have said that they have many traditions similar to us in Sweden, since about 80% of the South African population are Christians, and practically all our Swedish traditions originates from Christianity.


As I guessed South Africa and Sweden have many similar holidays, for example Christmas and Easter, but they also have many other traditions which I first experienced during my first week here in South Africa. And during that week my host family was celebrating Heritage Day (September 24th). It is a holiday where you celebrate the diversity in South Africa, since there are many people with different ethnicities here. From my point of view this seems like a perfect tradition for South Africa, I mean, South Africa has eleven official languages! And that says a whole lot about the cultural diversity here.


My “host-mom” told me that Nelson Mandela, and his congress, created seven new holidays when they came to power after apartheid in 1994. One of them was Heritage Day, others were Human Rights Day, Freedom Day and Workers Day. Many of these holidays are in memory of the horrific things that happened during apartheid.


I think South Africa has many good traditions, because many of their holidays and traditions are much more modern than ours. They also help to bring the country together and reminds everyone that something like apartheid never should happen again. They celebrate human rights, something we often forget, or take for granted in the western world. Maybe we should learn from South Africa and focus on days like Women’s- and Children’s Rights Day.


My host family took me to a local Arts Festival to show me some of South Africa’s cultural life, and I experienced that it was a big mixture, just like the rest of South Africa. What I also found out was how hard it was to be a cultural worker here, since there is just not enough money. South Africa’s four biggest symphony orchestras are dissolved or are about to be dissolved. So, even though the local stage is large here, it is hard to get any further than that.


I am not saying that Sweden is the cultural centre of the world, but I do hope that South Africa’s cultural life will grow to be at least as big as Sweden’s, because I think South Africa can show the world how you can mix different music styles, art techniques, cultures, yes whole cultures, and make it so much better.


That’s all folks!



Hi there!


This is my first post on this blog. It is going to be about my time as an exchange student in South Africa, and will be able to read about my encounters with a country far away from my home. I will be focusing a bit extra on the traditions, the cuisine and the different etiquettes and I am going to compare these to the Swedish equivalents. Since I am writing this blog with three others I am also going to compare my experiences to their.


I am going to South Africa super excited and eager to know more about this intriguing country which I, and perhaps you, know so little about.


That’s all for now folks!



Beannachtai na Feile Padraig. Happy Saint Patrick's Day.

I have had a blast this weekend, and it’s all thanks to St Patrick. When he was 16 years old he was a slave in Ireland. Six years later he finally escaped and did not return to Ireland until many years later, then as a missionary. St Patrick was an essential man when converting the Irish citizens to Christianity.


During St Patrick’s Day people all over Ireland arrange big parades celebrating Irish culture. Here in Dublin there’s also every year a huge festival with tons of things to do. I’ve been listening to some great Irish music and street performances. The festival is a week long and everyone who’s visiting are so friendly and happy! You won’t go an hour without talking to a person you’ve never met before. That hardly ever happen in Sweden, I don’t know if it’s because they’re shy or just not that interested in other people.

Of course it’s not required to wear green clothes, but everyone is happy to do! I didn’t have anything green to wear, but it wasn’t hard at all to find green clothes in Dublin. I’ve also purchased a flag with a picture of a shamrock which is an Irish symbol.

People go to long lengths to transform their cities so it looks like green paint bottles have exploded over it. Some even color the rivers green, I think it’s both crazy and hilarious at the same time!

I don’t think we have anything close to this in Sweden. The only time we get a little patriotic is when the Swedish hockey or football team plays a championship game.

Ireland is a country with such rich culture, and it’s really great to be a part of it, if only just for a few weeks. Nothing could be better with being here right now, except from it not being leap year. An old lady told me the most amazing and cute story of how she got engaged, and she allowed me to share it with you. As you probably know, leap year occurs every fourth year. In Ireland it wasn’t accepted for women to propose to their man. When St. Bridget one day went to St. Patrick she complained over this, and St. Patrick gave women one day every forth year when she could. That day is February 29th.

When Lily, the old lady was 20 years old, she knew that Harry was the man of her dreams. But he never proposed. They both lived in the UK at the time. But he somehow he agreed to coming with her to Ireland, and then she popped the question and they’ve been living there happily married ever since!

 So if you have met your prince charming, don’t hesitate to come here!


B'fhearr liom liomanaid. I would prefer lemonade

Then hurrah for an Irish stew
That will stick to your belly like glue.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect when dining in Ireland. I knew that I couldn’t depend on fast food restaurants like Mc Donald’s everyday, because I had to attend some dinner parties, in classic Irish environments. I consider myself lucky to not be here during the oyster festival, because quite frankly oysters scare me a lot. But I’ve run across a lot of seafood, which I’ve been told have recently become very popular to include in their cooking. I don’t speak for everybody in Sweden but from what I know, oysters and seafood (except from fish) isn’t cooked a lot back home.  It’s been hard to get an answer when I’ve asked people about some traditional Irish dishes. They don’t have an Irish version of meatballs or a dish that when you think of Ireland, immediately pops up in your head. But something almost everyone told me was the most Irish thing you could eat is an Irish stue, usually made with lamb. I had never eaten lamb in Sweden, and I’ve been told many times that it tastes like “a cardigan” which means I think, that it’s dry. Now afterwards I can’t really tell you if that’s how lamb tastes, because I’ve never really had a cardigan stew for dinner. But I can say that I really enjoyed the food that I got.


It’s very normal to go to pubs in the evenings, and the most famous Irish thing to order is a Guinness beer or Irish coffee. Not that I have tried it for myself, the Irish drinking age is 18 just like in Sweden. But a pub isn’t just a place where you drink. It’s a place where family and friends can meet and relax. I don’t think we have pubs that families go to together, it’s more friends that go together if you’re in your twenties. When families gather together in Sweden it’s more common to get a cup of coffee together.


Slainte! (cheers)



Ni lia tir na nos. Every country has its own customs

If you are by nature a sensitive person, the Irish way of making jokes may offend you. At first I didn’t understand why they where making fun out of me all of the time. But soon I realized that there wasn’t anything wrong with me, it’s simply how they make jokes and it is not personal at all. And Irish prejudice about Sweden is that we’re not so good at making jokes, but I don’t think they found me boring and humorless, at least I hope so!


Something that I noticed pretty quick after my arrival was that compared to Sweden, some things are not socially accepted to discuss. This is because a big majority of the Irish population is both religious and conservative. Mentioning for example abortion is almost a taboo, which you certainly don’t speak about. Probably the worst thing ever to say when visiting Ireland is that the Republic of Ireland is a part of the UK. It’s like saying Sweden and Finland are the same country, and who wouldn’t object to that?


On another hand, Irish people are extremely polite when it comes to conversations. And they never act in a way that could be seen as arrogance. To stay honest and humble is key! Also always remember to keep eye contact when greeting someone. This Irish quality is something I appreciate a lot, because I feel that sometimes in Sweden you can get the feeling that people are just nice and polite because they have to. Saying “nice to meet you” may mean without you knowing, the opposite.


As most of my close friends know, I’m pretty good at making a fool out of my self. But with this story, I would like to say that if it happened in Sweden, people wouldn’t think I was doing anything strange at all. So please tell me in the comment section what you think.        

Ok... So naturally, I’m the complete opposite to a time optimist. My first week here I had an appointment in Dublin. Being the typical Swede that I am, I got there with plenty of time to spear. But the time of the appointment came and went, and the person I was supposed to meet did not arrive. 15 minutes late, I saw him walking into the building as if he had all the time in the world. Finally when he arrived, and asked me if I was ready to start the meeting. “Yes, I’ve been here for about a half an hour” with a smile, so he would understand that I wasn’t mad at him. The look he gave me then is almost impossible to explain, but it was very clear to me that he found it very odd that I was early.




Ticead amhain go dti an Dublin, le do thoil. One ticket to Dublin please

I’m going away for 3 weeks and I couldn’t be more exited! Do you want to know what my final destination is? I’ll give you a few clues.

It’s the country with green plains, shamrocks, Guinness beer and lepricons.

You guessed right! I’m going to Dublin, Ireland. And during this few weeks you’ll be able to follow my journey and also my three friends’ journeys in other countries on this blog. Exploring the culture in Ireland is something that has intrigued me for several years, and the fact that I now finally have the chance to fulfil this dream is truly amazing. I’ve chosen three main subjects to write about, and they are Irish etiquette and customs, food and drinks and Irish traditions.

I have to go and pack now, my plane to Dublin leaves in 2, 5 hours!


Välkommen till min nya blogg!

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