Month: March 2017

From tropical to Sweden By Mayra Rulli

What is the first thing that you think when you have always experienced a warm and nice weather and are thinking in applying to study in Sweden for example? I don’t know about you, but the first thing that came to my mind was ‘how will I survive the cold’? Do not get me wrong, as every person that come from warm countries, I always dreamed to see snow and build snowman and whatnot, but when you are faced with the reality of ‘is it okay to live in a place that reaches -20°C or less during winter, you kind of wonder if you will be able to survive, when the minimum that you have ever experienced in your life was 5°C with a lot of layers on. Now I can tell you, it is worth every freezing hand when you get to wherever you are going when it is really cold and snowing.

It is not something that you adapt to in the first day, but it is something you can certainly adapt to and enjoy after a while.

Do you know why we that come from warm places are so afraid of real winter with minus temperatures? The answer is simple: in our countries, we are not prepared for cold weather. When it is cold here, you do not spend a lot of time outside, true, but once you are inside anywhere, you can wear whatever you want without fearing that you will freeze to death. In Brazil for instance, if it is 10°C outside, in my hometown we will sleep with two or three blankets and it will be cold, because it is 10°C inside too, we do not usually have heating system there. That is why we are so reluctant when dealing with places with real winter where temperatures go way below zero. Seriously, it is in some ways easier to live here during winter than it is back home, because you do not have to worry about the cold unless you are outside, and really, you do not stay out that long.

One thing that is quite annoying about the winter is to put on all those clothes before going outside. It is not that you need to have many layers on, it is more the fact the you need: a winter coat, a scarf, a hat, gloves, thick socks and boots (which are much more annoying to put on than nice flipflops). Imagine having to put all these on and then biking to where you have to go, for example to a café to fika (you must know what is fika if you pretend to come to Sweden, and you will love it) with some friends. When you get there, you have to take your coat, hat, gloves and maybe some other layers off, because inside it will be cosy and warm and you are quite hot to have biked there. Then, when you are done you put everything back on. Well, quite annoying, right? But the thing is, you get used to it quite fast.

Despite all this, there is nothing like seeing the snow falling from the sky. It is beautiful and hypnotising. The snow and the cold are not the problem, really. When the temperature is really low, like -10°C or -15°C, it is great to go outside. The air is fresh and the snow is nice, soft and you can have some nice snowball fight with your friends and do some snow angels, you will love it, seriously. However, the problem comes when it starts to warm up a little, then the snow melts and everything is ice and humid. Not cool. Biking on the snow, not a bit problem. Biking on ice, well you are always thinking this time you are going to fall, but you do it anyway. Swedes survive, why don’t you? It is cool, and then you can tell all your friends back home that you are fearless and you do bike in the snow/ice, no problem.

The most amazing thing is that when the temperature is super low and there are lots of snow in the ground, everything is white and there is much more light. Moreover, it might even be sunny, then you have the best days of winter. I have not tried it, but I super recommend a skying trip or ice skating. My Swedish and other European friends love it and say that this is the most amazing part of winter. Being outside, skying and skating or just playing with the snow. You might want to say ‘I am an adult, I don’t want to play in the snow’, yeah, right!

You might miss the warmth of the sun and some sunlight (we can talk about that later), but everything about experiencing the cold, snow, biking or walking in this weather is so new and exciting that you will enjoy it, maybe not the ice though, ice is scary, but you will manage. I am quite sure I will survive.

I am really excited about the change from winter to spring, everyone says it is amazing. Most of us from tropical countries have no idea how it is because we do not really have four marked season, things back home do not change gradually. I am looking forward to this, and that is something else to remember, Sweden is not all about winter.


TIME TRAVEL IS REAL! By Jackson Kinyanjui

Yes! The time machine has not been invented yet, but according to my experience in Sweden I will definitely prove this fact wrong. My name is Jackson Kinyanjui a guy with a humble background from Kenya, a country in Africa, where the sun never sets and the animals run free in the wild.

They say if wishes were horses then everyone could be riding one, this horse came riding to me on July 2016 when I received an email confirming my scholarship to come study in Sweden. In my wildest dreams I could not see myself stepping out of Kenya. I jumped up and down in joy not giving a bother if anyone was looking at me. I prepared for the journey but nothing had prepared me for what I was going to expect in Sweden.

I felt like a newborn child experiencing everything for the first time, boarding an airplane, seeing snow, using the washing machines, ovens and many more. I waved to my family as I boarded the airplane so happy I was I took pictures with the flight attendants. Finally, I stepped into Sweden. I have never seen many WAZUNGUS (white people) as we call them in Swahili at one seating I thought to myself. This felt awkward, but then I tried to smile to them and some did smile back since I was taught the easiest way to connect with a person is through a smile.

This was a time travel into the future seeing new innovations at work. The bio fueled buses… internet and Wi-Fi connectivity everywhere… constant power supply… and electric appliance at arm’s reach. Yes! I believed I had travel into the future. This was all good but a bit of me missed the African food and I remembered I had carried some corn flour from home. I went into the kitchen and made a home meal away from home known as UGALI. I invited my Swedish flat mates to come and eat and they enjoyed the meal.

After a few months’ winter started and snow fell and afternoons turned into night time. This was the last proof I need to put the last nail on the coffin that time travel is real. It was my first time seeing snow, so I went outside and like a kid in a candy store I played with the snow. This surely was and will be the best time travel experience I got.




Where we are in the application process?

This is an exciting and anxious time for those of you who have made an application to Uppsala University, as well as other universities in Sweden and around the world. On 24 March, the first notification of selection results were published. Uppsala University received over 16 000 applications from 174 different countries around the world, so the competition was fierce. To those of you who were admitted to a Master’s programme at Uppsala University, congratulations! We look forward to welcoming you to Uppsala and Gotland in the autumn. Some of you may have been placed on the reserve list and I will talk a little more about what this means in a moment. Unfortunately, there will also be those of you who were not admitted to a programme. There are two reasons that this may have happened. Either you did not meet the general or programme specific entry requirements, or you did not submit a complete application on time. We hope that, whatever the reason, you will consider applying to Uppsala University again in the future! Continue reading

My admission anniversary by Lucie Kulhankova

From the day in late August when I came to Uppsala until today I had a lot of “small” anniversaries. A year since I finished my bachelor studies, half a year in Sweden, three months since the last time I spoke to someone in my native language…This week I am having a different kind of anniversary. It´s going to be exactly one year since I knew I was coming here. And I know that if you applied to a university (and especially if you want to move to a different country) you will remember the day you got the sweet news about having a spot in a classroom.

However, I realized, thinking back on that day that when I checked the results and saw that green button saying that all is well, that my brain went a bit nuts. I cannot actually recall what my first thought was. It had to be either: Well damn, I am actually doing this, or: I do not own any warm enough clothes. I went through something that I can only describe as a brain meltdown. After a while, I stabilized at a healthy scared to happy ratio and finally called my parents and gave them the good news.  Continue reading