Hej Hej from Uppsala! My name is Shane and I’m currently on exchange in the beautiful town of Uppsala, Sweden. As I sit here and write this blog I can’t believe how fast my first two months on exchange have flown by.
Uppsala is a beautiful historic city which is located approximately one hour north of Stockholm by train and is around thirty minutes by bus from Arlanda Airport. (If you’re reading this blog and considering studying at Uppsala University, I highly recommend flying to this airport, especially as the university organizes free shuttle bus rides to the welcome centre on the recommended days of arrival!). The city is filled with so many gorgeous streets, and the architecture of the buildings are simply amazing. Running through the city is the Fyris River which I love to look at everyday as I make my way to class – especially as the snow makes a blanket over it, it’s truly a majestic sight.
The historical Uppsala cathedral- the tallest church of the Nordic countries- is the beautiful centre piece of the town, with a fascinating history surrounding it and being an important site for some of Sweden’s historic moments. There are also a number of fascinating museums throughout the city such as the Gustavianum. The city is also filled with a number of cute cosy cafés, cobbled streets, and thousands of exchange students from across the globe.
I live in a place called Klostergatan, which houses approximately 200 students. Klostergatan is a superb accommodation option as it is located right in heart of the city. You therefore have access to everything you need from food options such as Max (A Swedish fast food outlet that has some of the best burgers you’ll ever eat ), shops (H&M, Zara), Supermarkets (ICA, Hempkop), and important facilities such as the Uppsala central train station. The parties at Klostergatan are not as grand as those held at Flogsta, however with it being in such a prime location I think Klostergatan definitely makes up for it.
Back at UTS I study Environmental Science, however here at Uppsala University I am using my free electives. I do four subjects here; Basic Swedish, Evolution in the life of history of earth, The life times of Dinosaurs, and Religious life in Sweden (If you’re thinking of picking any of these subjects feel free to contact me!). When I first looked at my timetable I was shocked, as I saw I had weekend classes for one of my subjects. Yes! You read that correct! I had uni from 10-3 on the weekends. However, this was all part of the experience and only lasted for the first two months, and then I was free to travel to other countries and explore this beautiful country. My favorite subject that I’m currently studying is Basic Swedish. I find Swedish a relatively hard language to learn, however my teacher makes the classes incredibly fun and enjoyable. If you chose to learn basic Swedish you’ll have classes twice a week. I have mine from 8-10 on a Monday and Wednesday.
Another aspect I have loved is immersing myself into Swedish traditions; such as fika. Fika by far is my favourite! Fika is the act of having coffee and cake with your friends- where you take a break from life. One of my favourite cafes in Uppsala is Kafferummet Storkens, which is located right in the city square. Sweden is also famous for their Kanebullar (cinnamon buns) which are absolutely delicious.
One of the coolest things about studying at Uppsala University are the student nations. Student nations are essentially clubs that represent different areas of Sweden. Each nation has their own building and these are scattered all along the city. At each nation you’ll find a bar, restaurant, and a club. They’re fantastic places to hang out and enjoy cheap drinks and food. The nation I’m apart of is Stockholms.
Not only is Uppsala a great destination to study in, but it’s a fantastic location to use as a base for any other sort of travel. Denmark and Norway are a train ride away, whilst Estonia and Finland are a boat ride. While you’re here in Uppsala though, I would highly recommend taking a trip to Lapland. Lapland is absolutely incredible. I got to see the Northern lights in Abisko national park, visit the ice hotel, go dog sledding, and visit a beautiful Fjorde in Narvik, Norway. I also got the opportunity to meet the Sami people (the indigenous people of Sweden) and feed reindeer.
I was always unsure about going on exchange. But it’s honestly the best decision I have ever made in my life. I have learnt so much about myself and also about the world. For anyone who is thinking about doing an exchange at Uppsala or anywhere else in the world, definitely do it! Take a leap of faith and broaden your horizons. You’ll make friends with people right across the globe, and have the time of your life. Don’t even hesitate about applying because in the end we only regret the chances we don’t take.
If you have any questions about life in Uppsala feel free to contact me!
Bachelor of Science