Sweden has always seemed to me to be a country of laid-back, easygoing people who don't take themselves too seriously. I don't know if that image is correct but Andy Nyman, the host and creator of the Polarbear Podcast, fits right in with my perception.
[UPDATE, Sept 26th, 2012: I'm pleased to report that, after going dark for a few years, the Polarbear Podcast has returned! Doing a podcast is a lot of work, so for this reboot Nyman has taken out a number of the special segments of the previous podcast, and is looking to make a shorter podcast that comes out more frequently. The first new episode came out in late August, and another one has appeared already. See more information at the Polarbear Podcast website.]
|Banner of the newly rebooted Polarbear Podcast.|
Polarbear Podcast offers interesting and often humorous glimpses of Sweden as seen through the eyes of an average Swedish family guy who wants to help listeners learn a bit about his home country.
My favorite episode of the Polarbear Podcast came last December, when Nyman described the customs of a Swedish Christmas and New Year's Eve, and told us about his family's preparations for the holidays. To me, there are few vacations I'd love more than a Swedish Christmas.
The show features several regular segments. There's a brief travelogue description of interesting historical or cultural spots in Sweden—not the typical sights you'd read about in a tourist guide, but places that Swedish residents know of.
Another segment called "Swe-News" offers short new tidbits involving odd or scandalous news items from Sweden.
There are a couple of segments from regular guests, both from the U.S. One is "Email from America," from a listener who'll sometimes contrast American and Swedish approaches to issues. In another segment, a Swedish woman living and working in the U.S. gives her insights on being a Swedish expat wife and mother living in America.
The podcast has recently begun offering brief lessons in the Swedish language. (In keeping with Nyman's self-deprecating style, the segment is called "Swedish as a Seventh Language.")
Each episode also features a few new podsafe songs by Swedish artists in each episode. Often they are mellow folky tunes, but Nyman recently gave listeners a shot of adrenaline when he played a song by a heavy-metal band.
If you've ever been interested in learning about Sweden and life in the country today, check out the Polarbear Podcast. It's a fun glimpse into life in contemporary Sweden.