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Sweden impression: truth-seeking and sticking to nature
Author:Zhao Yifan  Date:2019-10-22  Clicks:

On July 31, I embarked on my study tour to Sweden with full excitement. During the intercultural communication summer camp, I made many like-minded friends. Hiking in nature, we explored the poetic and picturesque landscape. We appreciated idea exchanges during those lectures.

The program started with a lecture named “Soft power: the role of national images in cultural exchanges” by Jens Allwood from Marston Hill, an intercultural center for quality of life in Sweden. Prof. Allwood pointed out that information sharing, instead of common translation and communication, is the crucial factor in intercultural exchanges. The goal is to study communication among different cultures, which can be achieved by analyzing the interaction among people with different opinions, beliefs and values.

In the address, Prof. Allwood presented interesting symbols of many countries. For example, frog stands for French, kraut for German and bear for Russian. He concluded that cultural exchanges were mostly about conflicts and battles in the past. As a result, cross-culture understanding was always presented in a negative manner, while the mobilization of effort, positive self-attitude and loyalty, the self-assessment of one culture usually build itself into a positive or at least vague image.

Prof. Jens Allwood delivering a lecture

Language, a carrier of intercultural communication, tells the outside world and people’s inner thoughts. Accordingly, learning Swedish can help one understand Sweden culture better. When we studied Swedish, Prof. Allwood told us that Sweden enjoys 99% adult literacy. Standard Swedish is the country’s official language. While distinct regional varieties descending from the older rural dialects still exist, they are only used by very few people in out-of-the-way areas. It made us feel the necessity to pass on languages, which entail cultural and ethnic identity.

Prof. Allwood’s daughter teaching Swedish

The refreshing Marston Estate was also an intercultural center. There was a sound climate of freedom and tolerance for failure, appealing to recluses and academicians alike.

Prof. Allwood led us to a study, or a tiny library if you like, which housed his own biography and works in cross-cultural study. To our surprise, books written by some Chinese scholars were covered, too. Among them were The Illusion of Intercultural Communication through Global Media by Shan Bo and Liu Xue as well as Intercultural Virtual Community: Connection, Trust and Identity by Xiao Jun. All of them are professors from WHU School of Journalism and Communication.

Prof. Jens Allwood(right) and Prof. Liu Jinbo(left)

Here in Sweden,

we seek for the truth and pursue the natural state

Here in Sweden,

We get rid of hustle and bustle to find our true selves.

What is Sweden?

There are 21 different answers in our 21 people’s eyes

Let us gather all the fragments of inspiration and let Sweden enlighten us,

Right now and forever.

Four Chinese students in the summer camp

The world has witnessed vanishing distinction of many countries, while Sweden keeps its uniqueness in high quality of desired by many people.

Idly wandering

Buildings in the Scandinavian countries are bright and elegant marked by flowing curves. Slight tinges and simple decorations are typical there, just like the style of IKEA, the Swedish-founded multinational group.

Sweden houses

The quiet estate invigorated our senses once worn out by city life; the relaxing environment released our tensions once brought about by fast pace. Amid singing insects and sweet flowers, the small town was blessed with beautiful scenery which enchants its admirers.

Sight in front of Marston Estate

The Swedish enjoy themselves either by growing plants in their courtyard, or by savoring delicious blueberries, beer, champagne and endless meatballs. They seem to live a rose-colored life.

Swedish meatballs

Sweden is paradise for both visitors and residents. Admit it or not, locals are generally proud of their high welfare state.

A Scandinavian street

Moon River cuddles boats under the bridge; the shallows welcome divers and surfers alike. Swedish families take delight in the lakeside vacation. Life philosophy there empowers the people to live it to the fullest.

Family outing on weekends

In this vast world we embrace multidisciplinary impacts

Intercultural exchange is favorably received, no matter where we are from.

Photo by Zhao Yifan

Rewritten by Zhou Siyan, edited by Zhang ShiqiShen Yuxi and Hu Sijia

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