Bonding with classmates over Swedish Christmas traditions (and a cool idea to organize a group trip)

With Christmas approaching, one cannot help but spread the joy among friends. I believed before moving to Sweden that I would make friends from my Master’s course, but little did I know that in just 4 months, I would feel like I am among family! The BioMed Master’s fam proved its worth in a lavish Christmas celebration weekend last week. And it was AWESOME. We got to bond as a group and to learn about the Swedish traditions!

We are a lovely bunch, but we are a big bunch. Accommodating a classroom of 40 people is not an easy task. Thanks to the organisational skills of a few classmates (Emmalove!), we managed to book a big cottage house (Solvik) in Värmdö right outside out Stockholm. It is a group of small cabins by the lakeside, owned by the student organisation of Karolinska Institutet (Medicinska Föreningen). You can book to visit when you want to have a party, sauna, go canoeing, hang with friends, walk in the woods, enjoy the peace and quiet or watch passing boats. It has 30 beds and if you divide the costs, it is really cheap per person. How cool is that?

What we did in Solvik is called “Julbord” (literally “Christmas table”), which is generally celebrated with family on Christmas eve and  with friends on the weekends in December. A Swedish Christmas table involves pickled herring, cold meats (a special Christmas ham), meatballs and sausages, then the hot dishes including lots of potatoes and cheeses and sweets – lussebullar (saffron buns) and pepparkakor (cinnamon cookies). A proper Julbord would not be complete without glögg (the yummiest ever, spiced mulled wine).

We all had a great quality time when we sat on the table and spent the whole weekend together. We even exchanged gifts as secret Santa and then danced the night away. Needless to say we ate everything like maniacs, too! We played charades and generally laughed our hearts out!


I will hold the memories of this weekend dearly. This is one of the reasons why I wrote this piece; to never forget. One motivation for this blog was to share my experience with the prospective students, as always, but the second was to honor the lovely people that made this all happen.

‘Till the next time!

KI Instagram Ambassador: follow @kistudents

P.S. Share with us your best pictures from your Christmas holidays! Post pictures from your home country (or from wherever you are spending your time-off school) and show us what you are doing these holidays! Tag #KIholiday and don’t forget to Geotag them, for a chance to be reposted on the @kistudents account!

How to find me (personal media):
– email:
– LinkedIn: Christina Neofytou
– Instagram: @christie_inabow

Pictures by Christina Neofytou and Katharina Koetter. Featured image by Tina Sayari.

For more information about how to re-create our trip to Solvik, click here.

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