During our first full day in Sweden, we have wandered the halls of the Royal Palace, cruised around the city on a boat tour, and chowed down on reindeer. By far the most impactful part of my day was around that dinner table with some of the most intelligent people I have the opportunity to call my peers at TCU. We come from different walks of life with a vast array of experiences, and here we are connecting in Scandinavia. Conversation centered on respecting differences in opinion is such a privilege. It should not be so rare, but it is in the hostile world we live in today.
We spent three hours engrossed in issues such as Black Lives Matter, marriage equality, transgender bathrooms, separation of church and state, nuclear energy, and corrupt charity. We did not always agree, but the floor was open to all to share their opinions. This all began when we were interrupted by protestors marching past our restaurant. Our whole group shushed so that we could find out what their cause was, and we soon discovered that they were with Black Lives Matter. There have actually been multiple protests of these type throughout Europe since recent events in the US. Often, the groups march to protest outside the US embassy, although I do not know if that was the end destination of this group. At the same time, it is currently pride week in Stockholm, so the city is covered in rainbow flags and there are different events planned. Both of these issues sparked a conversation about the progressiveness of millennials. Our generation has grown up in the midst of huge social changes. We have seen the plight of minority groups fighting for their rights since we can remember. Many of us have become passionate about causes of our own, either for justice for ourselves or people that we feel particularly passionate for. This combined with our college educations tends to provide the stimulus to push our generation towards having more “liberal” social views. Despite that, all of us still have variation in perspectives depending on the region and background we came from.
It was fascinating to hear the opinions of my peers and to compare their views to my own based on our experiences. It truly is a wonderful privilege to be amongst a cohort of well-rounded, respectful, and driven young men and women and to get to be challenged by their questions around a delicious meal in a beautiful place. It could not get better than moments like this.