One thing that you might notice within your first few days here in Sweden is that Swedish cities are really quite small. Only the Scandinavian capital Stockholm manages to claw its way past the 1 million mark. Uppsala is mostly a student town with a population of around 140,000. Despite their small size, Swedish cities pack a lot of character and have plenty to keep you occupied.
The University itself is over 500 years old and is one of the oldest in Scandanvia. You can see how the uni has spread its various faculties all over the city of Uppsala and how much of the town is based around the university. The university has many absolutely stunning buildings which help contribute to its rich history and can be really fun to explore.
Despite being a relatively expensive country, there are plenty of budget friendly things to do around here to keep you occupied. In Uppsala we have student nations that represent the various regions around Sweden. The main idea behind the nations was to make it easy for students who came from different parts of the country to get in touch with people from the same area. The nations are responsible for a large part of student life as each nation operates either a pub, a nightclub, a restaurant or a combination of all three. The nations use student labour which I use to describe the provision of labour in exchange for food which is actually how many of the nations operate. This is why the nations are some of the cheapest places to eat which is in part what makes them so popular.
The University has a series of museums and greenhouses which are free for Uppsala Students. Visiting the tropical greenhouse is a wonderful way to escape the cold and monotonous white that is the snow and enter a lush green world filled with warmth and wonder.
The Gustavianum is a great little museum that is located in the old University Hall. The museum hosts an old anatomical theatre where students could gather round and learn about the different parts of the human body, although now you pretty much have to just try to picture what that would look like seeing as it has been decommissioned. The museum also contains various artifacts from Ancient Egypt as well as an exhibit on Vikings.
There’s also a Zoology museum for those of you who enjoy stuffed animals and by that I don’t mean the cuddly kind your parents may have given you as a child. Various stuffed wild animals can be found in this museum, including a stuffed kangaroo which took me by surprise. This is also of course free for Uppsala Students. The best part of the Zoology museum lies on the top floor where they have skeletons of various animals as well as a rather intimidating full scale moose.
If you get bored of the offerings of Uppsala university then you can enjoy the various other features of Uppsala. The cathedral is obviously Uppsala’s most famous landmark with its twin towers serving as an important navigation tool for those of you trying to figure out how to get to the city centre. The inside of the Cathedral is open to tourists during certain hours when services are not being held. If you ever find yourself around here, it’s definitely worth a look.
A nice stroll along the river can be a nice way to kill some time. At night, the riverside really comes into its own.
If you really get bored of all the things that Uppsala has to offer, I suppose you can take a 40 minute train ride to Stockholm which has more than enough to keep you occupied for days on end. If you really have nothing else to do, you can join me while I rest under this tree leaf.
Sameed Khan – Autumn Semester 2013 – Uppsala University