Month: January 2018

Uppsala University is Europe’s 7th most beautiful university

Uppsala University was last week named Europe’s seventh most beautiful university when Times Higher Education listed the ten most beautiful universities in Europe:

  1. University of Bologna, Italy
  2. University of Salamanca, Spain
  3. University of Coimbra, Portugal
  4. University of Rostock, Germany
  5. Aarhus University, Denmark
  6. Gdansk University of Technology, Poland
  7. Uppsala University, Sweden
  8. Grenoble Alpes University, France
  9. Trinity College Dublin, Republic of Ireland
  10. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia

Anyone who has ever been to Uppsala and seen the city for themselves know that Times Higher Education were absolutely right to include Uppsala in their list. However, for those who are still eager to visit Uppsala for the first time and see the UU campus areas for themselves, I thought I would talk a little bit about the different campus areas and university buildings that make Uppsala University one of the most beautiful universities in Europe!

The building Times Higher Education refers to the most in their ranking is the university’s main building, which was inaugurated in 1887 and was built in a Romanesque Renaissance style (with many columns, statues and a whole lotta marble). In the middle of the building is the grand auditorium, which seats about 1800 people (on notoriously uncomfortable chairs, bring a pillow to sit on for longer events). The university building is still, despite its magnificent and historic environment, frequently used for lectures, events and academic ceremonies. There is for example the conferring of degrees, when those who received their doctor’s degrees during the past year receive their doctor’s hat or wreath of laurels. The ceremony includes firing cannons (this is done outside without actual cannonballs), Latin and people wearing ball gowns and white ties.

Photo: Aishvarya Tandon

The auditorium of the university main building
Photo: David Naylor

While Uppsala is the home to many historic university buildings, there are also new ones being built to meet the changing needs if the university along with its staff and students. The single newest UU building is the Segerstedt Building, which houses the university management and administration staff. It also houses a Service Centre where students can get help with most of their questions related to being a student in Uppsala. The Segerstedt Building is located in the middle of one of Uppsala’s most historic areas, next to both the Uppsala Castle and the Botanical Gardens. Down the street is the Evolutionary Biology Centre, which also houses the Museum of Evolution.

The Segerstedt Building
Photo: Mikael Wallerstedt

Before the university central administration moved to the Segerstedt Building, they were spread out at a number of different addresses in Uppsala, but the university management had their offices in a building popularly known as Skandalhuset, or in English “The Scandalous Building”. It is located across the street from the university main building and got its name because of the scandal that arose in the 1910s when people realized that the newly constructed building was taller that the university main building. This was of course unacceptable, and consequently, Skandalhuset got its name. Since then, quite a few buildings that are higher than the university main building have been constructed, but Skandalhuset remains the most scandalous building in Uppsala, at least when looking at what the building is called.

Carolina Rediviva.
Photo: Stewen Quigley

Auditoriums and central administrations are important to have, but what university would be complete without a library? All campus areas at Uppsala University have their own libraries, but the central university library is called Carolina Rediviva and is located at the top of the Carolina hill in the middle of Uppsala. Its construction was completed in 1841 and used to house not only the university library, but also functioned as the university main building until our current one was inaugurated a few decades later. Nowadays Carolina Rediviva is not only the home to thousands of meters of bookshelves, it also houses the university library’s cultural heritage collections. While parts of Carolina Rediviva are being rebuilt until 2019, students are still welcome to sit in the library and study, though it might be a bit noisier than it usually is.

Reading room in Carolina Rediviva
Photo: Magnus Hjalmarsson

These are of course only a few of the Uppsala University buildings that contribute to Uppsala University’s place at Times Higher Education’s list. If you want to explore all of our campus areas, you can do so at the Uppsala University Campus Guide:


What does Sweden mean to me? – By Karolína Lorenzová

I remember the day I arrived in Sweden. The very first thing that amazed was the stunning sunrise in Malmö right next to the Öresund bridge. After I began my day in Malmö I started moving towards the coast to take a ferry from Oskarshamn to Visby. I could see a beautiful nature, never-ending forests and all these cute red houses which are so typical for Sweden. 🙂

When I arrived in Gotland, I realized was going to live on the island for the following 10 months. It was something completely new to me and also a bit weird seeing a little dot in the middle of the Baltic sea and realizing I was 150 kilometres from the mainland.

However, I fell in love with Visby! It feels like being on holiday for 10 months. J Okay, it is not a real holiday because our master programme in Sustainable Management is only one year, so it is quite intense but where else to study sustainability than on this green island? Moreover, I can enjoy all the beautiful sunsets almost every day because Visby is considered the sunniest place in Sweden. J (and the TripAdvisor does not lie).

What I really love about Sweden is fika. No matter what, there is always a time for fika! And after I learned how to fika, it has gained much more importance to me. It is not just a word, it is a very significant part of the Swedish culture and it is not a surprise that Swedes are one of the greatest coffee consumers in the world (since I moved to Sweden, my addiction to coffee has heavily increased and I have to say that I highly contribute to the statistics).

What surprised me about Sweden? Haha, I would say all the typical Swedish dishes which are actually not Swedish. Halloumi cheese, tacos and ice cream! My Swedish flatmate cooked tacos for us on one of our first days in Visby and I was sort of confused whether I moved to Mexico or Sweden.

Now, I am heading towards the end of my studies, but I have been having a very good time in Gotland so far and can highly recommend this place to everyone, who wants to be focused on their studies, being engaged with other people (campus is super small, so you always encounter the same people which is nice!), enjoy a bit of the student’s life and getting lost in tiny streets of Visby! 🙂


Being a Clubworker – By Rhianna Rees

Cleaning days, cooking food, bar work, late nights, serving dishes, washing up. All unpaid, all mandatory, altogether. The life of a clubworker is not glamorous, it’s not flashy or prestigious, it’s not for everyone. But what it is – is a rewarding and incredibly fun collective experience. The people you work with become your best friends, the people you serve are your nation’s members, your course friends, your co-workers.

Like the minions in ‘Despicable Me’ they are the hard-working cogs in the system that help the nation run the way it does. They are the ones that contribute to the successes of gasques and other formal nation events, they train to be bartenders, pub managers and cooks and go on to be active members and full-timers at the nation. You’d be hard-pressed to find a curator or full-timer at a nation who didn’t initially start as a club worker…  it’s almost a rite of passage.

In my first few weeks at my nation I had no idea what a club worker was – I had some idea that they were the people that ran the events at the nation. It was only when senior members started to tell me stories about how they made their best friends at the nation through the club work. Adventures involving workers weekends, New Years parties, after-gasque parties, sexas. You put in long hours and work very hard, you give the nation your all for one, two or even three semesters, depending how involved you get.

The team working a gasque

We had keys to the house, locked up at the end of the night. I was a part of a select group of people who understood so much more about each other, I knew what their work ethic was like, what their dreams were, what their approach to their studies were. When you work alongside someone in this setting it’s very easy to really know a person. They’ll be some of my closest friends for a long while to come. There are many after cleaning day Sexas that I’ll remember for a long time to come (the bits I can remember at least!).

Work hard – play hard. That should be the motto of the club worker. We work, but in return we can attend the KMK Sexa and the KMK Ball – these are collective nation experiences and heaps of fun. Also, although every nation is different, almost all clubworkers receive a ‘KK card’ – the elusive, all access, never paying card that lets you skip the queue of most clubs, 04s or other evening nation events with a guest. If you manage to find time when not working, it’s the best benefit to utilise. We worked together to organise great nights out with a large group and a guest each.

The team I shared my time with was fantastic, and I’ll miss working with them a great deal.


Life in the Baltic Island of Gotland – By Daniel Kelly

When I told people that I was coming to Sweden to pursue a master’s degree, I got 2 questions;

  1. Why Sweden?
  2. Why Gotland?

Sweden can be answered simply enough, with beautiful people, great universities and everyone able to speak English! Plus studying Sustainable Management, Sweden has green policies galore such as journeying towards fossil fuel free energy and proactive recycling measures.

But Gotland?

To those who don’t know, Uppsala University has a campus on Gotland. When I saw my programme took place at Campus Gotland, I wondered what was significant about this campus being the other programmes didn’t mention a location. Of course, a quick search points to this big island in the Baltic Sea.

Having decided to come to Visby the main town of Gotland some 90 kilometres from the mainland, I wondered about island life. Things like whether there would be a supermarket sprung to mind. Waiting at Nynäshamn harbour terminal to journey across the Baltic, all I could see was a big white wall out the window, I thought who would put that there? Turns out that this great steel wall was in fact the ferry that was going to take me to Gotland. I guess I wasn’t the only person going to be on the island with a ship that large. I was not alone in my romanticised view of an idyllic rural life on the island, my roommate brought 6 months of supplies on the ferry! Our worries were in vain finding multiple supermarkets!

Does one go mad with fresh air on the island or what is there to do? There’s activities ranging from climbing walls in old warehouses, saunas where you can dip in the Baltic sea if you’re inclined to losing toes, movie nights in an ecovillage and afternoon tea in full Sunday best before a visit to one of the longest caves in Sweden.

Although there are plenty of activities to keep one entertained, it is still a small place and requires some creativity to keep yourself busy. Visby is a tourist hotspot during the summer but a different, far more chilled out, place during the academic term. Usually we have some nice homecooked dinners and fika on quiet days! I knew this before coming and was looking forward to a change in pace from the hectic lifestyle I was leaving behind.

Visby consistently ranks as one of the sunniest places in Sweden. Being Sweden, this may not be a feat worth bragging about yet I’ve grown a real appreciation of the sun, especially the orangey red reflections across the sea it as it sets. Everyone has their own spot for the sunsets and whether it be from the waterfront, cliffs or across the city, you can’t but be awed by its beauty.

Travelling is one pursuit I haven’t really engaged in here. Even with the youth fare (25 years old and under) on transport, it’s still a chunk out of the student budget. This has meant that people tend to stay in Visby rather than breaking off into groups for weekend getaways. I have managed to explore other parts of the island too and got up to see the famous Rauk’s (limestone sea stacks) of Fårö.

Hygge is distinctively Danish, but as a Swede once told me it’s a concept that is very Swedish too. It can be used in a variety of situations from dinner with friends to me-time curled up under a heap of blankets, candles lit and book in hand. Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) doesn’t have an exact translation into English but can be interpreted as cosiness. Gotland to me is the epitome of Hygge!

As I write this in my home town of Dublin I am looking forward to going back to the Scandi chilled lifestyle I’ve come to embrace. The days will be getting longer and warmer, so bring on semester two!