I have now been in Uppsala for just over two months and looking back at what I have done in this time, it really has gone so fast. Apart for the cold mornings as low as -14 degrees the weather hasn’t been too bad. When I first arrived the sun was setting at about 3:00pm however 2 months later its already back to 6:00pm.
Uppsala is a small beautiful town just North of Stockholm. It is a lot quieter compared to living in Sydney which was a nice change. The town is a student town; the majority of residents are either local students or international students. Considering it is a small town, everyone shares the same interest in partying. Within Uppsala, they have a thing called “Student Nations” which is where you go to eat, drink and party. This is the best bit about Uppsala, as it allows you to get out and meet new people. The nation I am part of is called “Snerikes.” Each nation has different events throughout the semester and most importantly during the week. For my nation our “club night” is Tuesday nights. They hold many other events throughout the semester, such as Gasque’s (balls/formals), songbook parties, end of the month parties and much much more.
The accommodation where I live is called Flogsta, which is where the majority of the other exchange students live and I cannot recommend it more highly. You will have a friend just down the corridor or in the next building and never feel lonely. In Flogsta, we always have the infamous Flogsta parties, which is where everyone comes to one persons corridor, which leaves it incredibly dirty afterwards, but it’s a good place to meet other exchange students, as well as get to know the other people in Flogsta.
Classes at Uppsala University are a lot different compared to our classes at UTS. You only complete one subject at a given time and then when that subject is all done and you have completed the exam, you move onto the next subject. First looking at my timetable I was bit overwhelmed when seeing I only have 2 2-hour classes a week, thinking what would I do with my time but of course there was out of class work that needed to be done. I have just completed my first subject and luckily for me, my class has been full of swedes with the exception of about 5 or so other exchange students. This has been really good as I have been able to meet locals rather than just hanging out with the other international students. The different faculties have different campuses across town, I am studying business so I am in the Ekonomikum building. They really encourage group work and collaboration here where most subjects consist of many group projects. You sit regularly with your group and complete them together which for me, with weekly group assignments allowed me to meet a really nice group of friends. But the best bit about class is that you stop in the middle of every class for a 15 minute break called “Fika” (meaning coffee and cake). This isn’t just limited to class though, this is something you will do a lot with your friends.
One of the best things about Uppsala is how easy it is to travel. After only being here for two weeks I was already off to Copenhagen for a weekend away with a new group of friends. I got to go to Iceland to visit the Blue Lagoon and see the northern lights. While writing this I am just returning from 2 weeks in France where I was able to go skiing as well as sit in the sun and enjoy the warmth. Next I am off to Russia on a cruise and then to Turkey. As you can tell travelling isn’t too hard.
For me, I have been very lucky to meet a really nice and helpful group of friends from all over the world, who have made my exchange so much better. With nightly dinners and fikas I have not once felt lonely or home sick while being here. If you haven’t gathered it from my post, I cannot recommend coming on exchange more highly; it has been the best decision in my life. It has not only benefited my degree but also given me the opportunity to explore a new country and broaden my horizon to what is outside of Sydney. Not only can I recommend exchange so highly, Uppsala is the place to come! Because of the Global Exchange program that UTS has with Uppsala, the university has gone out of their way to welcome me into their small town. I have learnt how to cook, wash my own clothes and live on my own which I think my parents are still a bit surprised to hear me say “hold on I’m just finishing off my laundry.”
If I can give you one piece of advice, it would be, be prepared for the question and confused look on your face when you introduce your self as Australian and they just look at you and go “Why Sweden?”
Maeve Hughes, 98109832, Bachelor of Business, Uppsala University, Sweden