If you were anything like me you’d love to believe you’re always super organized, and something as silly as losing house keys would surely never happen to you. Still no matter how many times your friends tease you for the amount of times you check your backpack, to see if your wallet hasn’t suddenly disappeared from the last time you checked, the unthinkable can still happen.
I was walking to my class one night when I realized my wallet containing keys to both my building, and room had slipped out of my pocket. Of course at this point all that important information I received on arrival day is just shoved in a drawer now locked up in my room. That’s it I thought, my Uppsala life is over and now I have to live on the streets. Since Studentstaden was already closed I would have had to call a number for someone to come break into my room, which would cost me 2500kr. I know Swedes speak exceptional English but something inside of me always feels bad that Swedes aren’t even able to speak Swedish in their own country around me so I decided against calling for the time being.
Before I arrived in Sweden I was warned by many people that Swedes are typically quite reserved but once the barrier is removed they are proved to be hospitable, and some of the kindest people. 3 out of 4 of the people living in my corridor are Swedish, some quite reserved, and stick to themselves but still friendly. I quite often have very nice conversations with one of my corridor mates so I decided to send him a message to let me into our building, and corridor so I could at least be at home before making any quick decisions. This is when I truly understood what Swedish hospitality meant. He called Studentstaden for me to organize when I could pick up my extra set of keys the next day, cooked me dinner, prepared plenty of snacks and tea, good conversations, attempts at lock picking, and let me sleep on his couch for the night. His kind actions, and words made me feel so much better about the situation. He truly went above, and beyond to make me feel like more of a guest in his home, even though my room was just across the hall from his. As everyone feels when they first move here, the number one thing on everyone’s mind is “will I make any friends?” I can really say I have met so many lovely people through my exchange who have helped me out so much throughout this situation, asking if I needed anything and conducting search parties to find my missing wallet. My other corridor mates that I don’t speak to very often also asked what they could do, and showed me so much kindness.
The next day after retrieving my extra set of keys, and being informed that I would need to spend 3000 kr to change the locks to my room I received an email from the reception office at the Evolutionary Biology Centre that someone had returned my wallet. I can never thank everyone enough for such great hospitality, and helping me figure things out which has now saved me so much money. It has made me appreciate Sweden so much more now, and befriending swedes is a must do as they will treat you with such generosity, and warmth.
So, what’s my advice if you are ever put into this scenario? Firstly, read ALL the information given to you upon move in. Figure out how to easily access important numbers for whom to contact in any given situation. I didn’t realize this until my corridor mate pointed it out but StudentStaden has an extra set of keys for all exchange students. If you lose your keys especially after Studentstaden closes, don’t panic. You will find someone who will let you crash at their place for the night to avoid the hefty fee to break open your room; then retrieve your spare keys the next day. Still try to find the original missing keys to save you the money, and time from having to change the locks. Moving to a new place can seem scary, but everyone else is in the same position trying to make friends, and figure out how to live in Sweden. Most people also don’t know what exactly they’re doing so take a step back, and it will work out in one way or another.