Sweden <--> Ohio: Student

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I haven't died, gotten ill, or fallen into a ditch - though I haven't posted in a while or taken many pictures.

Nor has my brain rotted in my head - wheels are still turning, cultural adjustment is taking place, and I'm still making observations.

However, I feel slower about these - not quite sure of my conclusions. Still percolating.

Two subjects at the moment: the Swedish school system and their astounding focus on individual choice and democratic decisions as a basis of their process in a way that I can barely picture or comprehend. The school visits we'll be making next Wed and Thurs should be instructive in this area.

Secondly: drinking. There's a very different cultural expectation than I have experienced elsewhere on the subject. I am curious about this area both from my interest in discovery as well as from a public health and addiction perspective. I'm curious how addiction is defined, treated, and handled socially and culturally and what/if there are public health repercussions of this cultural model of drinking (which involves fantastically heavy drinking on the weekends and complete sobriety during the week - and I'm not talking only about college students).

There seems to be a pervasive refrain of 'trust/listen to the child' here that sounds mundane but in experience is quite extraordinary. I am curious how this intersects with a medical process whose first step (in the US) is a highly coercive manipulation of the patient into accepting both the medical definition of their situation as a 'problem' and the medical treatment for the situation which involves a period of dependency and external rule-making.

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