I had mixed feelings about travelling to Uppsala to what would be my first trip outside India. I was excited to explore a new place with a totally different culture. At the same time I was also apprehensive of leaving my comfort zone. Eight months into my Swedish adventure and the thought process has completely changed. Uppsala has become a home away from home. I feel that I have made the best possible decision by choosing Uppsala University for my masters. The biggest gain is the chance to study at a renowned University with world class facilities located in a beautiful country known for innovation, opportunity and equality.
There are quite a few other reasons why Uppsala has captured my imagination. I have listed some of them below:
People: Swedes are known to resemble their weather i.e. cold. Well I feel this pre conceived notion is quite exaggerated. I agree that they don’t like ‘small talk’ but most of them are quite friendly, polite and always willing to help. Moreover most Swedes can speak English and so language will never be a problem. To add to that Uppsala has a lot of expats (mostly students) and this leads to a pronounced multicultural vibe.
Location: Uppsala is located less than an hour (by train) away from Stockholm which permits hassle free travel during the weekends to check out what the capital has to offer. Arlanda airport, the main airport of Stockholm is situated just 35km south of Uppsala. It is actually closer to Uppsala than to Stockholm.
Biking: One of the first things one should buy here is a bike. The cheapest and easiest means of commuting around Uppsala is by a bike. Reasons for biking: 1) saves money 2) environmental friendly 3) good for health 4) perfect joyride. Uppsala is a bike-friendly city with dedicated bike paths everywhere .No matter what the weather is, a bike will never go out of trend in Uppsala.
International class: One thing that is guaranteed is that a normal class at Uppsala University will have a mixture of students belonging to different nationalities. In my programme, there are students from different countries ranging from Paraguay to Poland and Indonesia to Iceland. This provides a scope for cultural exchange like never before.
Student nations: Student nations are the heart beat of a student’s cultural and social life in Uppsala. Each of the 13 nations is named after a specific region in Sweden. Each nation offers a plethora of activities that are ‘for the students, by the students’. Noteworthy mentions include cheap food, accommodation, scholarships, work opportunity, club nights, formal dinners and musical events. I frequently work at a student nation and trust me it is the best way to meet new people and to socialize.
Scenic beauty: Uppsala is a picturesque city that is wrapped in history. The many tourist attractions the city has to offer include the royal mounds, ruins and burial sites of Gamla Uppsala, Uppsala castle, Botanical garden and the Linnaeus museum. ‘The Right of Public Access’ allows everyone to enjoy the beauty and adventure of the Swedish countryside. It permits the public to roam freely on private land, to hike or camp overnight and to pick wildflowers, mushrooms and berries. I haven’t yet experienced the thrill of an outdoor adventure on long summer nights. But I have exciting things planned in the coming months.
I am almost halfway through my master programme and it has been a wonderful experience. I have survived the cold winter months and now it is time to cash in with the pleasant summer just around the corner. I am certain that coming here was the right choice for me and I am sure that you won’t regret it either.