First Week in Mora

Posted on February 22nd, 2015 by

Hallå! We now have been in the city of Mora in Dalarna county for over a week and we all love it! My name is Alexa Giebink and I come from Sioux Falls, SD. I am a junior History Major, Sociology/Anthropology and Classics double minor.  I have no Scandinavian heritage or studies in my background. I chose the Semester in Sweden program because I found the traveling program appealing and the classes seemed fascinating.

Mora is a town of 20,000 that is famous for the Dala horse. It was originally a children’s toy but now is a cultural symbol.

Hannah, Me, Becca, Sidney

Hannah, Me, Becca, Sidney

In Mora we are staying at the Mora Folkhögskola (Folk School) founded by famous Swedish artist Anders Zorn. There are more than 150 folk schools in Sweden. Persons must be over 18 to attend and can go to the folk school instead of typical high school (gymnasium) if they struggle with typical studies. The Folk School is unique in that the classes offered depend on the need of the community. There is a general education program for those who want to continue to university, there are classes on sustainable living and caregivers for people with autism, for example.

Formally we are taking Nordic Politics by Lennart Sacredeus and most of us are taking Swedish. In addition to the formal classes we can sit in on any classes offered. Last week some of us attended a Thai Chi class in Swedish. That was interesting!

2015-02-12 15.26.48

Chad, Pat, Hannah, Me, Instructor, Paget, Kenzie, Sidney, Zach

Last Wednesday we had a field trip to the Anders Zorn Museum. We toured Zorn’s magnificent house and then wandered through the art exhibits. Anders Zorn was the son of a women from Mora and a German she met working at a factory. He was raised by his grandparents and his artistic talent was discovered when he was a preteen. The picture of the house below he lived in with his wife Emma who came from a rich family. To prove himself worthy, Zorn had to travel throughout Europe painting portraits of the wealthy and the royal. Zorn even painted two American presidents. A portrait of Taft painted by Zorn still hangs in The White House. He is the only Swedish artist represented in the President’s house.

For further information you can go to

2015-02-18 13.53.34

Sidney and I outside Zorn’s house.


Self portrait of Anders Zorn in his wolf coat. We saw the real coat hanging in the house.

Self portrait of Anders Zorn in his wolf coat. We saw the real coat hanging in the house.

2015-02-18 15.03.01

Mckenzie and Sidney in the silver room.

2015-02-18 15.06.53

Zorn’s carving of his grandmother and mother.

The students have been busying ourselves with a variety of activities including ice skating, attending hockey games, shopping, visits to the bakery and socializing with the Swedish students. Last Saturday a group of us went skiing at Grönklit about a half hour away. It was a beautiful view and a great excursion!

Zach, Pat, Kenzie, Me, Erin, Britta

Zach, Pat, Kenzie, Me, Erin, Britta

To fight the homesickness and to spend some time together as a group we have had family group dinners on friday nights. Two weeks ago we had delicious homemade pie courtesy of Maria Jeremiason. Hannah Birkholz made apple pie for dessert. Last we had American breakfast for dinner including egg bake, cinnamon rolls and lots of bacon! In general the food here is really good but breakfast is not the same. They love their porridge and open faced sandwiches in the morning. I’m hoping for a BBQ night!

2015-02-20 18.18.24

Hannah and her pie!

Hannah and her pie!

Thanks for reading! Hej då (Goodbye)



  1. Roland says:

    Tack för uppdateringen och alla fina och roliga bilder/Roland

  2. Krister Stoor says:

    Hope you had a chance to see the World Championship ski race today in Falun. USA silver and bronze medal Diggins & Gregg, Stephen 10th and Randall 15th place. Looks good for the relay on Thursday. May you have nice and busy days in Mora.