The Column of Babel: Lisa from Sweden

Courtesy of Cleo Tobi

Californians may take the abundant sunshine for granted, but Lisa Damberg, an international student working on her master’s in civil engineering, will miss the sunshine when she goes back home to Vdxjv, Sweden.

Damberg couldn’t have imagined a better place to spend the past year.

“I love Irvine!” Damberg said with a big smile. “It’s sunny and it’s warm and it’s very close to Newport and the ocean.”

Aside from the weather, Damberg has enjoyed the sports UCI has to offer. She became a member of the women’s rowing team initially to keep in shape, but the teamwork and camaraderie of the sport has her thrilled with her decision.

“[Rowing] is great. It’s the most different experience I’ve had while traveling,” Damberg said. “We don’t have college sports at all in Sweden so it’s such an opportunity to be a part of a team like that and try something out in a different way.”

Of course, many international students must deal with the language barrier when they come to Irvine. Because of Sweden’s education system and lifestyle, Damberg’s transition to a predominately English-speaking country was a smooth one. Damberg has been studying English in school in Sweden for almost 10 years. Aside from her schooling, Damberg also said that Sweden does not make any extra effort to dub movies. The country of about nine million people also hears English music quite frequently. These aspects of the Swedish society make it an inviting place for an American or English-speaking tourist to visit.

“The thing is, if you go to Sweden, you have to go really far away to find somewhere where you really have to use Swedish,” Damberg said.

Damberg’s time in Irvine is unfortunately coming to a close this December. Although she will miss her easy access to Yogurtland and her crew teammates, she will greatly miss the beaches and sunny skies of the West Coast.

Words to take with you to Sweden:

  • Hello: Hej (hay)
  • Goodbye: Hejdå (hey-dow)
  • Please: Vänligen (van-lee-in)
  • Thank you: Tack (tak)
  • Yes: Ja (ya)
  • No: Nej (nay)
  • Do you speak English?: Pratar du engelska? (pra-tar doo in-gil-ska)
  • I don’t speak Swedish: Jag pratar inte svenska. (yag pra-tar in-ta-sven-ska)
  • How much is it?: Hur mycket kostar det? (her mih-keh kos-ter da)
  • Where is the restroom?: Var finns toaletten? (var fins toe-a-let-an)
  • I’m thirsty: Jag är törstig. (ya eyah to-shtee)
  • I’m hungry: Jag är hungrig (Ya eyah hoon-gyery)