Getting on a plane to Stockholm following a few months of backpacking across Europe, the idea of having to begin study again was not at all appealing. After arriving in Uppsala, any such concern quickly disappeared, and I knew the next few months in this beautiful place would be amazing.
Uppsala is a student paradise. The city is small, with students making up most of the population. We ride bikes everywhere. Stockholm – a seriously world-class city – is only 40 minutes away. The University is spread all around town, with some of my classes in the same building as the local H&M. There are (literally) hundreds of exchange students, which means meeting new and interesting people every day.
It has been a very fast first month, full of lots of adventures. Sweden has an exciting history of tradition, which has led to some interesting experiences. We had the ‘Reccegasque’ last week, a 12-hour event resembling something like a ball at home. It started with all the students marching to the castle, and finished with all the guests jumping on their chairs and singing traditional songs. My personal favourite tradition is fika, which means to have coffee and cake. Everyday means a latte – something that was seriously lacking during my travels through Eastern Europe – and a cinnamon bun. Although we are spoilt by the immaculate English language skills of all the Swedes, learning the language is something I was always committed to. This has proved much more difficult than expected – the Australian accent is not susceptible to such a delicate language which has so many vowels.
The student dynamic is plenty of fun. Life is centred around 13 Student Nations, and the events and activities they coordinate. Each nation is named after a region in Sweden, with the local students joining the area they come from. I decided to join Södermanlands-Nerikes Nation and Stockholms Nation, because they have the most convenient bar nights. Also, because they have a number of fun activities, lots of food options, and some beautiful libraries and buildings.
In between all these fun things, I tend to forget there is actually study to be done. Classes are run differently over here, with courses held in blocks of time rather than all at the same time. This means only taking one class at a time, which makes life a little bit too relaxing. It’s a really interesting dynamic being in class with people who have come from all over the world.
Uppsala is a perfect place to do an exchange. Scandinavia is a beautiful part of the world, and the lifestyle is a fabulous experience. I still have 10 weeks to go, and am already dreading the idea of ever having to leave!