Swedish or not, nobody can resist 'fika.' Fika (pronounced “fee-kah”) refers to taking a break to enjoy coffee and something sweet with friends for any reason, or no particular reason at all. It is an important part of Swedish culture and a living tradition at North Park University in Chicago.

(While on fika - we just visited New York based café, FIKA, to sample ideas for our own 'semla' The result is here: http://www.nordstjernan.com/video/)


The Scandinavian Student Association invites “anyone and everyone” to attend fika every Friday at NPU. The social event has helped cure homesick Swedes and brought Americans closer to Swedish culture.
The vice president of the SSA, Eva Larson, invites the whole community to her house (normally 60-70 people) and she is eager to share the Scandinavian culture with people who might not know much about it.

“I really feel connected to Sweden since I studied in Jönköping. I love bringing Scandinavian traditions to America and to North Park,” said Larson.

According to participant Thor Lindstam, Friday Fika offers the break you need after a busy school week.
“Fika kind of pauses the fast-paced daily life and you have a chance to get in touch with each other,” said Lindstam.

Native Swede Ida Eriksson highlights the importance of fika since she came to America to study.
“Everyone is always on the go here. You need fika breaks where you sit down, relax and interact with people,” said Eriksson.

Participant Mike Green has no Swedish connection outside the people he met at fika.
“I like the intentional community that fika gives to us. It’s a good way to get together on Friday afternoons and have coffee,” said Green.
SSA’s main event is fika but other upcoming events are Scandinavian movie night, floorball match (innebandy) and Kubb tournament.

Erik Kinnhammar

For more info on the University, see North Park University