When I first left Sydney it was a sunny 44 degree day; 24 hours later – I was standing in deep snow in -18 degrees, waiting for the bus to Uppsala. It’s safe to say my body was in shock, but within days I had adapted and was finding any excuse to go and play in the snow!
Uppsala is a truly beautiful student town, and is just 30 minutes from Stockholm, full of life and fun. Most of that fun is run by the “nations” – which are a kind of fraternity/sorority thing – as a student at Uppsala University, you have to join one of these student nations, and trust me, you want to. The nations are a place for only students to hang out, eat, drink, party and much, much more. They organise events daily which means there’s always something to do, and makes it easy to meet plenty of other students, both Swedish and internationals! This is the nation I joined called ‘Snerikes’ (short for Sondermanlands-Nerikes, an area of Sweden) and yes, it’s in a bright pink castle.
The choice and range of classes offered at the uni are great PLUS they’ve all been run really well – very flexible, and very discussion based, meaning less assignments and more interaction with classmates. The learning environment is completely different to anything I’ve experienced before and the facilities here are really nice too, here’s a picture of where some of my classes are (in the turret of the castle!)
Yes it may be cold, but the sun is always out and the sky is almost always blue. At the moment, the sun is rising at 5am and setting at 9:30pm. Spring here is beautiful. There’s even a massive 3 day festival which happens at the end of April called ‘Valborg’ which is to celebrate the beginning of summer – people come from all around Sweden and Europe to the small student town of Uppsala to drink, lay in the sun and celebrate together!
That is the view from my room here in Uppsala. I live in Flogsta, which is a very lively student area (where most exchange students choose to live), not because of the high standard of living, but for the community and social side of things. I’ve made a great group of friends from all different countries (mainly Belgium, The Netherlands and Australia) and all 15 of us eat dinner together in a different persons corridor each night. Another very unique thing about Uppsala are the ‘gasques’ which are balls/formals that the nations put on for students. A chance to get dressed up with your friends and be fancy for the night (and trust me, the Swedes go all out).
Another thing I’ve really loved while here is the ease of travelling. Not only is Sweden extremely organised in every aspect of their public transport (very unlike Sydney, whoops) but I’ve found it really easy to go travelling around Europe on the weekends or between classes. I’ve had the chance to drive across Sweden, up to Norway and check out the Northern Lights and go dog sledding in Lapland, as well as visit Rome, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Estonia, Berlin, Prague and Krakow – but to my surprise, I always call Uppsala “home” when in these cities, and always look forward to returning to my own little Flogsta room surrounded by friends.
Thanks to UTS Global Exchange, I’ve been able to have the trip of a life time. Not only are you looked after by UTS but Uppsala University makes the transition into uni here super easy and extremely enjoyable 🙂 I’ve met friends for life, learnt to live independently, had time to experience the Swedish culture and traditions, ticked a bunch of places and experiences off my bucket list, and been pushed out of my comfort zone in the best way possible. Here’s to the rest of exchange and the adventures to come!
If you have any questions or need some tips – don’t hesitate to get in contact with me 🙂
Clare Harding, 12025250
Clare Harding, 12025250