This is a list of comparisons and predictions of what I think things will be like abroad.

Category VA IL FR / SE Predictions Actual France
Smells Fresh, rustic, old, humid, occasional whiff of pig farm when the wind changes. Clean, urban, a foul smell here and there on the red line but nothing bad. Old, cobble stone, brick and mortar, fresh bread and random spices / Fresh, clean, Mountain air slightly heavy with humidity. Urban, a foul smell here and there but pretty much what Chicago smells like, it is more dry then I expected, cold in the morning and hot in the evening.
Food Very southern, lots of beef, pork, BBQ, soups, stews, cornbread, biscuits, butter, baking deserts, sweet tea, and home style / family style sharing. Traditionally a steak and potatoes town, still is. But due to it’s urban nature and ethnic neighborhoods, everything under the sun is here. From authentic Japanese sushi, the typical Midwestern watermelon and fried chicken to gourmet Italian and French cuisine. France I think will have much more simple food for the day to day, but richer and higher in quality. I feel the wine ( especially the AOC ) will really blow my mind. Sweden, I think will have more focus on fish because of the low cost. But since it was a poor country I think they will have strong traditional foods that are basic but will really please my pallet. I really want to try Köttbullar, the Swedish meatball. I expect their beer to be amazing. The wine has really blown my mind, it’s absolutely amazing. The food is pretty good too, just watch out for eating to many kabobs. As for Sweden there are many fish dishes but mostly they only show up during the holidays. One thing that is interesting is the Julmust and Apemust, it’s holiday Coke-a-Cola, it tastes a bit more fruity too. Anyways for the most part Sweden’s food is pretty Americanized and the meatballs are a must try. Check out IKEA for some cheap eats too.

There will be more to come, but I got midterms coming up.