Grattis på studenten!

Today is graduation day in Sweden. This is what it looks like:

That right. Trucks full of half naked screaming Swedish teenagers jumping up and down, blaring dance music, screeching whistles, and spraying each other with cans of beer. ALL OVER THE CITY. Many of the trucks I’ve seen were leaking massive rivers of beer behind them. It smells kind of like St. Patrick’s Day in the US.

Many of them also wear these hats (everybody loves a uniform!):

B3WGFMThis does not make them recently graduated sailors. This is the traditional graduation hat! The Swedish version of a mortarboard, kindof.

Thanks to a little trip to wikipedia, here is a fantastic (and historical) comparison of the variety of Scandinavian “student caps”:


1943 student caps: Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish.

I find it hard for Americans to adjust to the Swedish use of this hat. I guess that’s just the power of uniforms, that we just instinctively want to shout “O Captain, My Captain!” when confronted with a white brimmed cap, even worn by drunk teenagers.

One interesting thing about the role of students I’ve noticed here in Sweden is that once you’re finished with gymnasiet (that’s high school here, not gym class), you’re pretty much considered an adult. Young Swedes can’t wrap their head around the idea of parents driving them to college and helping them set up their dorm rooms, they think that’s crazy.  Maybe this is because college is (mostly) free in Sweden, but by the time you get to university, it’s considered a job, whereas in America it seems like more and more that college is just considered an extended childhood.

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