“Hi Moa! I saw your post in the International Students at USC group chat and I wanted to reach out. I’m Maddy and I’m also from Stockholm! There is another girl, Niki, who is also Swedish. Do you want to grab lunch sometime before we go back to California?”
Fast forward to over a year later and I am proud to call Maddy and Niki two of my closest friends.
Like the popular house music supergroup, Swedish House Mafia, Niki, Maddy and I make a group of three. Since I am a sophomore, Niki, a junior, and Maddy, a senior, we all live in different apartments around campus. We don’t even share similar majors, the unique yet shared experience of being from the same country brought us together. These ladies pulled me through my toughest days at USC and made the good days even better.
As much as I love California and am thankful that I get to experience the American college life at my dream university, I am beyond grateful that I met Maddy and Niki and that we share the same cultural background. Because who else would I rant to about the fact that the United States does not have osthyvlar (aka cheese slices)? Not to mention the confusing Fahrenheit scale, or the use of different cups, let alone feet, inches and miles. Do not even get me started on the recycling system in this country… But, it isn’t all that bad. Not at all.
I made amazing friends at USC, not only Americans, but people from all over the world: Brazil, Norway, France, Australia, England, Mexico, Italy, the list goes on.
In my experience, growing up as a third culture kid: living in New York, Stockholm, New Delhi and Zurich, international kids tend to attract one another. Let me tell you about this one time where the three of us got together with a bunch of guys from Brazil after a night out.
We always speak Swedish with each other, unless we socialize with people that do not speak our language. However, this particular night, the Brazilian guys spoke Portuguese as we made our way to their apartment. Naturally we started speaking Swedish. For some reason, the Brazilian guys thought it sounded like we yodeled.
With one look at each other, it was decided, let’s roll with it.
“We do actually yodel!” Niki said to one of the guys. He looked skeptical at first, but when Maddy and I started explaining that it is a part of Swedish culture (it’s not) we sparked his interest. Thirty minutes later we told the guys that they teach you how to yodel at school in Sweden beginning in fourth grade. We dedicate full days to practicing our yodeling and often perform during celebrations.
Eventually, we changed the subject altogether, the night came to an end and we all went home. Funny enough, we ran into the same guys a couple days later. They seemed to recognize us more than we recognized them until one of the guys said “Oh, you are the girls that yodel!” At first we felt confused, we do not yodel, do we? Then we realized, “yes! That’s us!” Unlike the Swedish House Mafia, we do not make music. We do not make catchy beats that are performed on the biggest stages in the world. But, I guess you could say that after this experience, we may or may not form a yodel group. I promise you, unlike the real Swedish House Mafia, we will never split up.