That’s exactly the experience children get at Sigtunaskolan Humanistiska Läroverket (SSHL).
The boarding school just north of Stockholm is set against a typically Swedish backdrop, rising up on the shore of Lake Mälaren in one of the region’s most scenic towns.
During term-time the school is a beehive of activity — wherever you look children are playing football or rowing, dancing or debating. Combine the fritids fun with SSHL’s reputation for academic excellence and you have all the makings of a truly outstanding boarding and day school.
But SSHL has one unique difference, and it’s there that the school really stands out.
For Swedish children who have lived or are living abroad, it presents the rare opportunity to reconnect with their heritage.
It’s among the reasons Sara Svensson, whose background is Swedish-Eritrean, chose to study at SSHL.
“I love being a boarding student. It’s like a home away from home” enthuses Sara.
SSHL is set in a stunning location just north of Stockholm. Photo: Sigtunaskolan Humanistiska Läroverket
For the 18-year-old, living alongside fellow boarders who come from all the far corners of the world is enriching, eye-opening and, most of all, fun. She loves learning about all their different cultures, while at the same time exploring their shared ‘Swedishness’.
Or as Sara puts it: “It’s an amazing school, it brings together people from all over the world.”
When they’re not studying or taking part in other extracurricular activities, students get the full Swedish experience.
From summertime traditions like crayfish parties and the graduation celebrations, the school is as committed to teaching students about Swedish culture as it is providing them with an outstanding education.
And when it comes to the education itself, there’s a flexibility that’s hard to find at other schools. Students can choose between the International Baccalaureate (IB), taught exclusively in English, or Swedish programmes which can be taught in Swedish or English.
“I’m taking the IB and I love my subjects!” says Sara. “It’s based on coursework and you do a real variety of subjects, which is something I really enjoy.”
She’s now taking a combination of subjects including maths, English and Swedish, as well as global politics which she plans to later study at university.
All four of Marika Wäreborn's children attended SSHL. Photo: Sigtunaskolan Humanistiska Läroverket
For Marika Wäreborn, whose four children all attended SSHL, the school’s attention to pastoral care is among its most appealing features.
“For those of us who live abroad, SSHL is a fantastic opportunity for our kids to grow up in a safe environment. It’s a learning curve to go into boarding, but they all enjoyed it a lot.”
Both Marika and her husband are Swedish, but all of their children were born and raised in London. Growing up abroad, SSHL gave them the chance to rediscover their roots and brush up on their language skills.
“They are very passionate about the school and have very fond memories. They have made friends from all over the world and have a good social base in Sweden which is tremendous and invaluable,” says Marika.
What’s more, she adds, by having the option to study either the Swedish programmes taught in English or the IB, the school opened doors for all of her children, all over the world.
“SSHL opens another door, and that’s all you want for your kids, to open as many doors as possible.”
This article was produced by The Local Client Studio and sponsored by SSHL.