The first month of my exchange in Uppsala, Sweden has come and gone and there is not much chance of it slowing down any time soon. This is almost certainly because every day has been filled with so much fun, excitement, travel and learning.
I am studying at Uppsala University which is located about an hour north of the nation’s capital Stockholm. There is no distinct campus, instead the university has buildings spread all across the town. I will never again complain about having to walk between classes at UTS. Compared to the relatively young UTS, Uppsala university is over 500 years old and the tradition and architecture is on full display everywhere.
While on exchange I am taking all free electives. I am being exposed to many courses that I would not usually be able to take with engineering at home. These courses include ‘Courage that changes the world’, ‘Actors and strategies for change’ and ‘Climate Change Leadership’. All are very distinct and each week I yearn to not miss the classes. Courses are made up mostly of guest lectures from a range of different worldwide professors along with interactive workshops. It’s slightly challenging to compare the teaching styles to that of UTS as I am not taking any engineering classes over here, but I do find all the coordinators here a little more relaxed, friendly and flexible.
Compared to my engineering classes back home which generally take up at least 3 days a week, here I only have 6 hours of class. This left me with a lot more time to explore the city and get involved with nation life. These are kind of like societies back home but way bigger and are the centres for absolutely every activity imaginable. Since arriving I have participated in choirs, pub crawls, wine tasting, ice skating days, yoga and fitness sessions just to name a few. Each have their own massive building and thus are the social scenes of the town where you get to meet and get to know your fellow students. One of my favourite experiences so far has been attending choir rehearsals and gym sessions. These are entirely run in Swedish but the emotion, context and a bit of translation from the friendly swedes allow me to enjoy these activities as if I was a local.
The experience as an international student has been delightful. The university organised orientation on our arrival days, picking us up from the airport and taking us though everything we would need to know for our time at Uppsala. Most international students live in the housing complex Flogsta, here you can always find a friend to have a chat or to grab some fika. Also don’t worry about getting around, everyone has a bike and rides everywhere, I have never seen so many bikes in my life.
The week of orientation was filled with activities by nations and concluded with the welcome gasque. This very formal dinner went for 13 hours, included marching through the streets of Uppsala with a band, a welcome by the Vice-Chancellor, multiple choir performances, 3 sets of pre-drinks and a dinner that we never wanted to end.
I would highly suggest to any student looking to go on exchange to come to Sweden and in particular Uppsala. They have a range of subjects that are often not available at UTS but in particular the culture is something that you will learn to love and feel truly a part of. I am certainly going to miss it when I head home. However, before that I look forward to taking part in many more activities, learning in class and of course travelling around Europe.
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Diploma in Professional Engineering Practice (Electrical)
For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit: www.global-exchange.uts.edu.au