Sweden is a dark country this time of the year and even darker this year, as my home country descends into some type of politic turmoil and new fascists are taking over our government and every front page new story. In these dark times, I am beyond happy to say that I work in place with more than 50 different nationalities under the same roof!
That academia is international is of course no news and yes, it is of course still a place almost exclusively available to those privileged enough to have access to good education to start with, which is inherently problematic…. but I am going to focus on the positives in this post since crimbo (thanks England for this great word for Christmas) is around the corner and I might have had to many ginger bread cookies (which according to Swedish tradition makes you a nice person…hmmm).
Back to the point – I attended my work Christmas party yesterday were we played a quiz show about the different countries where people in my department came from. Despite having 17 tables, each assigned a different country representing the home place of a colleague; we were unable to cover questions about all the countries as we ran out of the time! Enjoying a traditional Swedish Julbord with people from China, Iran, Poland, Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia and Kenya , just to name a few is pretty amazing. It brings together stories, experiences and traditions from so many places and it makes life so much more interesting. For that I will literally rejoice that we still have so many great, international researchers and student who want to come to this cold and dark end of the world!
On a final note, my Chinese colleague told me that China now celebrates western New Year as well as Chinese New Year. I think this should be the way forward, keep old traditions and adopt new ones from around the world. We always need another reason to celebrate!
Happy holidays & hope you Christmas party was as good as mine!