1.  Fika is a must.

Sweden is known for their love of fika. Fika is a break during the day when you enjoy a coffee, tea, or hot chocolate and a small pastry. Swedes have fika sometimes two to three times a day. Fika is usually offered at most club events, and even a lot of Swedish people take a break during the business day to enjoy a warm cup of coffee and dessert. I personally recommend a hot chocolate and a warm cinnamon bun. (Cinnamon buns are so popular that they even have a day—October 4th—dedicated to celebrating them!)

2. For Cheap Food, Go to The Nations

The nations are student organizations that run bars, clubs, sittnings (3 course meals), brunches, and lunches. These meals are open to all students who have joined a nation, which most students do within their first few weeks in Lund. There, you can get lunch starting at 30SEK, a brunch buffet starting at 40SEK, and a three course meal for about 120SEK. They have all sorts of food including: falafel, soup, Swedish desserts, waffles, burgers, and shakes. Practically every day, the nations have some event running where you can grab a bite to eat. You’re bound to find a nation that has food you love!

3. Swedish Cuisine Is Hard to Find

I have been in Sweden for about 3 weeks and have only seen one place that serves traditional Swedish food—Ikea. In Lund, I’ve seen American food, Italian food, Mediterranean food, Japanese food, and even Bulgarian food, but no Swedish food. So unless you want to travel to Malmö, don’t expect to be eating too much Swedish food, unless you want to make it yourself. While Swedish desserts are easy to find, actual Swedish meals are quite rare here.

4. Go To A Taste of Sweden

If you want to try Swedish food and don’t want to make it yourself or travel to Malmö, definitely go to A Taste of Sweden during orientation. You can try everything from caviar from a tube to sour milk to pickled herring. While not all the food may not be to your liking, you should definitely step out of your comfort zone and try all the dishes they offer at the event. Where else are you going to try reindeer meat cheese from a tube? The sweet potato mash and a ground beef dish resembling meatloaf with cabbage were two of my favorites. The sour milk, on the other hand, is definitely an acquired taste. It’s a small creamy side resembling yogurt, except its not sweet, so it’s like a blend between sour cream and yogurt. Even if you don’t think you’ll like a dish, I recommend trying it because you don’t know when you’ll have another chance.

5. You Don’t Look Far For Great Restaurants

Burgers, falafel, and pizza places are on every corner here in Lund. Often, you don’t even have to go to a separate restaurant to find these. There are shops that sell both falafel and burgers and pizza shops that serve pizza and burgers. It’s great for friends with different food preferences! I recommend trying Lundafalafel. They serve kebabs, falafel, and burgers, and they are open until 4am on the weekends. It’s a must have late night snack for people in Lund.

6. Not All Restaurants Have English Menus

While most people in Lund speak English, very few restaurants have English menus. It is not unusual to see menus entirely in Swedish. This leaves you with four options. One: learn Swedish, or at least basic Swedish food items. Two: ask the staff. The people working at the restaurant are usually more than happy to translate the menu for you, but I wouldn’t ask them to translate every item on the menu to you—that could get awkward. Three (my favorite!): use a translation app. These can usually translate the bulk of the words, but it isn’t perfect. There will still be some things that you have zero idea what they are—even Google can’t always save you. Four: be adventurous and just try something! All the food I’ve had at restaurants in Lund so far have been amazing. You can’t really go wrong with anything you choose!

7. American Food Is Easy to Find

If you are homesick—don’t worry—you can find American food here. Lund has a Burger King, a McDonalds, and lots of Subways. If you are craving some fried chicken, Malmö is home to a KFC. Malmö also has a Pizza Hut and Dominos. If your map app tells you that there is a Pizza Hut in Lund, don’t believe it. I walked across town while craving Pizza Hut, but there was no Pizza Hut there, just another pizzeria in its place. The pizza was absolutely amazing, but it was still disappointing not to have found Pizza Hut. Unfortunately, if you are missing Americanized Mexican food, you’re out of luck. There are no Taco Bells, Qdobas, Chipotles, or Del Taco, so fill up before you come. Even Mexican food ingredients are hard to find. It took days of searching to find black beans, and the Mexican cheese blends do not taste the same as back in the States.

8. Candy Stores Have An American Section

Missing Reese’s or Snapple Tea? You won’t have to go too far to find them in Lund. Most candy shops feature an American section that lets you find most of your favorites. Half of the display is usually devoted to different kinds of Reese’s products, which I am grateful for. The most entertaining thing of the America section is definitely some of the names. Want Cool Ranch Doritos? You won’t find them here—they are called “Cool American Flavour.” I highly recommend visiting the candy shops here whether it is to stock up on your favorite Swedish and American snacks or even if its just to see what Swedish people think of American junk food.

Christine Pahel studied abroad in Lund, Sweden, in Spring 2017: