Linnea Nilsson: Sweden to Sacramento

Linnea Nilsson was a Health Science student at the California State University, Sacramento. Interview and photos are conducted and taken by yours truly. On a side note, Linnea was the first person I met in California. We later became roommates. She was truly an essential part of my exchange. 


Why did you decide to do exchange at Sac State?
I wanted to do my exchange in the USA to experience new cultures, especially the American culture. So, I applied for five different universities in the US, and Sac State is the one I got. My major is health science, and Sac State has a big department for that, which gave me opportunities to take interesting classes in my field.

What was your favourite thing that you learned about American culture?
I liked that the Americans are very open (compared to the Swedish culture). They talk a lot and say what’s on their minds. If you’re on the bus, or in an elevator, there’s always someone who says hi and smiles at you, which I appreciate a lot since we don’t really do that in Sweden.

I also got to know that the Americans are very engaged in stuff, such as sports and events. I really enjoyed when everyone went to a game a supported our team together. And there is such a good atmosphere. At games at home, there are often fights between the supporters. But at the games I went to in California, people were cheerful and happy.

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What is your favourite memory from exchange?
It’s really hard to pick only one favorite memory, because I got a lot. But one of them is definitely going to Hollywood for Thanksgiving with my sister and some of my new-found friends from all over the world. We went shopping on Black Friday, spent time on the beach at Santa Monica and had a great thanks giving dinner that ended with a night at a really nice Mexican bar. It was the perfect weekend.

What is one thing about Sweden that you missed while you were on exchange?
The thing I missed the most was actually Swedish coffee (I think everyone knew that lol). I’m used to drinking very dark and strong coffee, which is not usual in the US. So I often made my own coffee or ordered with extra espresso shots at cafes.
I thought I would miss my family and friends more, but since my family came visit and I Facetimed with them and my friends, it wasn’t that bad.

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What destination do you want to travel to next?
My next travel will be to Hawaii and hopefully New Zeeland. I’m going to apply for an internship at a health care center in Hawaii, but if I don’t get it I will go there on vacation. Me and two other friends went there a few days before Christmas last year, and I fell in love with it. The people, the climate, everything. So, I felt that it wasn’t enough with only five days there and therefore, I’m going there after my graduation. And after Hawaii (depending on the internship), I think I’m going to New Zeeland to visit my friend who’s going to be an au pair there. I have never been there before, but it looks amazing so I would really like to explore it.

In Malibu

The skies were not so blue the day I visited Malibu.


I giggle whenever I reminisce on my Malibu adventure. A newbie traveller, completely unaware that Malibu is its own city. Wait Malibu isn’t a beach along the LA coast? My mind was blown learning the ever so basic Greater Los Angeles area geography.

I was staying at a Santa Monica hotel and Malibu was a bucket-list destination for me. I assumed putting “Malibu” into my GPS would be a suffice method to get to the beach. I later found out there are multiple beaches in the city of Malibu. Yikes!

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Pre-Malibu picture. I’m devouring a Nutella cannoli from Carlo’s bakery. Damn, that pastry was so freakin’ delicious.

Malibu Pier

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After a 30 minute Uber ride (I literally thought Malibu was a 5 minute drive away), I found myself at the Malibu Pier. I wish I filmed my reaction. The whole pier, and I mean the WHOLE pier was filled with fog.

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Thinking this smog would eventually clear out, I decided to fill my bikini body with some Mexican food – A new obsession I developed while in California. Finding the nearest restaurant – it was literally across the street – I ordered my favourite Mexican dish… Quesadillas!

Feeling stuffer than ever and not giving a damn, I was ready to hit a nearby beach for some sunlight, sand, and to consume those Malibu vibes. Having little knowledge about the Malibu beaches, I basically played Russian roulette with a list of beaches. The winner, El Matador beach.

El Matador

The fog did not clear up. In fact, I’m pretty sure it got worse. I knew I would despise myself if I didn’t at least glance at the beach. So, I gained the confidence (even with my super full stomach) to rip off my outfit and strut down the beach in my cheetah print bikini. Body positivity, no matter what shape, size, colour or ability is everything to me. I wanted to capture a few pictures of myself near the rock formations. They were absolutely breathtaking.

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To reflect on my Malibu experience, yes the fog absolutely sucked. But, I wasn’t going to let something so insufficient to ruin my day. The skies weren’t blue, but the views were still as extraordinary as I anticipated. To be given the opportunity to travel to such a naturally beautiful destination was rewarding on its own. Fog, or no fog, I am grateful to have consumed such beauty in Malibu.

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