Hej hej from Uppsala! Today marks my eighth day in Uppsala but I feel like I have been here for months.
Uppsala is a town about an hour north of Stockholm, and everywhere can be reached by bike within about 40 minutes. There is no specific university campus, rather the buildings are spread all over the town, which makes things interesting as my electives are from different faculties. The scenery is very picturesque and the Swedes really take pride in maintaining their gardens. The university was also founded in 1477, which almost seems ancient coming from Australia.
While on exchange I am studying one equivalent subject, Quantum Physics, and two electives, Basic Swedish and Wind Power Management. Other students in social sciences don’t have many contact hours at the university, but my timetable ranges from 4 to 17.5 hours a week. This was more hours than expected, so I’ll really have to try and squeeze in travel on weekends but people from my corridor are equally as excited to travel with me.
Living in the student accommodation in Flogsta is much more fun than I expected. Flogsta is the infamous accommodation block known for its “Flogsta Scream” and many house parties.
Within one week of arriving, there have been two parties that somehow manage to fit well over 100 people into a small corridor. Flogsta housing is made up of twelve people in a corridor that all share a common kitchen and loungeroom, but each person has their own bedroom and bathroom. Some people I’ve met have quiet corridors that don’t speak to each other, but my corridor is filled with people from all over the world that enjoy good company. We’ve already spent a few nights staying up late and playing cards, and it’s nice to have a new family to come home to.
The exchange experience so far has been very organised, from providing shuttle buses from the airport to the university, walking tours around the city and activities at every student nation. I’ve heard stories of other exchange students having to find their own way everywhere and set everything up themselves, so I’m really grateful of the effort Uppsala University has put into their exchange students. They also set up multiple flea markets, providing bedding, winter clothes and bikes that were left behind from students in previous semesters.
Nations at Uppsala University are groups that were initially set up in the 1600s to help students of the same dialect find each other. Each has their own building, many with a pub, club, study rooms and a library, and they all provide different social activities. During orientation week, we were given temporary cards for access to all the events, but there are so many activities to attend and too many nations to choose from. I’ve already attended two fikas, a quiz, a walking tour, a Swedish crash course, board games, a free breakfast and a beer pong tournament. The only difficult thing is trying to find time to sleep!
One of the most surprising things I’ve discovered is the number of Australians here. Most people thought Sweden was a random choice, but it seems to be quite popular. As of yet I’ve only met a few Swedes because they like to travel and enjoy hotter summers, coming back right when the semester starts.
My classes are starting next week, and I’m excited to finally meet people in the same course as me. I’m enjoying the summer while it lasts, before it drops to -18˚C and we’re knee-deep in snow. As for now, it’s settling in and making the most of orientation!
IMPORTANT!! My most important tip for preparing for exchange: Tell your bank! Three friends had their accounts locked because their bank thought it was fraud, and they weren’t able to get anything for a day or two.
Bachelor of Science
For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit: www.global-exchange.uts.edu.au