Global Exchange trip to Sweden

28 February 2024

In February, Iris and Amelia (Lower Sixth) had the amazing opportunity to visit Stockholm, Sweden as part of the Global Schools’ Exchange Programme.

We met our host families for the first time at the train station. Meeting Agnes and Sophie was such a core memory that I will never forget. That night we had a tour of Stockholm’s beautiful night lights on their many islands. 

Exploring Stockholm

During our first couple of days we explored Gamla Stan or the old town and went shopping at Sweden’s very own Westfield. We also went ice skating, had real Swedish meatballs at IKEA and even tried IKEA’s gifflar for fika (their afternoon tea) which we loved!

School Life

Iris: Campus Manilla was very different, not only is their ‘Gymnasium’ a mixed day school with super short days, but to get to school every day I would take a ferry. 

Amelia: Swedes follow their own curriculum, and only have 3 streams in the school: economics, humanities and sciences. The Swedish system is certainly less rigid, and it was interesting to hear students calling teachers by their first names. 

Home Life

Amelia: As Campus Manilla is a day school, we spent a lot of time at home too. I loved finding out that Swedes have taco Fridays – where they make their own version of tacos which were delicious. Another unsuspected finding was, when we got our mail for the first time, we had to pour boiling water on the padlock or else it was too cold to open!  

National Days

Iris: During our time in Sweden, we celebrated two national days; Valentines and Selma Day. On Valentines the whole school was decorated with hearts, and at home we filled the day with pizza and cookie making, playing in the snow and watching lots of rom-coms.  We also celebrated Selma Day (which is my second favourite Swedish pastry closely following the kanelbullar!)


With Campus Manilla, we were lucky enough to go to several museums including the Vasa  and the Viking museum. As a group we also ventured off to the ABBA museum and we found British enthusiasm for ‘Mamma Mia’ far exceeds Swedish enthusiasm! 

Our buddies came to Downe only after a few days after we came back, so it was great seeing them again after such a short time! They had a brilliant time exploring our ‘countryside boarding school’, Oxford and London. Overall, it was an experience none of us will ever forget as we have made lifelong friends.

Find out more about the Global Schools’ Exchange Programme here.

Global News

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