Month: November 2019

Madrid – Uppsala journey – By María

Hello! I guess most of us start writing about life in Uppsala on our first blog, which might seem a bit boring, but as an incoming student I wish I could have read more of these from different people, everyone experiences studying abroad in his/her own way, so here goes mine!

I had one of the most amazing summers just before coming to Uppsala, and what made it so good were my friends. I went on a little trip with some of them, and on July I worked at a music festival, as I usually did every summer, and in which the team feels like family. I think I was not really conscious of what coming here would suppose until that festival was over, and I had to say bye to everyone. In that moment I realized the thing I was going to miss the most was them (apart from my dogs, obviously hahaha). When I got into the plane many different emotions came to me: I was really excited about coming to Uppsala, start my studies here, and meet new people, but at the same time part of me wanted to stay in Madrid.

I arrived here out of the welcome week, meaning one of the university buddies was waiting for me at Uppsala Centralstationen to introduce me to the place I was going to live: a room in a Flogsta corridor, that actually has really good views. I knew the room was going to be empty, but I wasn’t expecting the weird feeling it gave me on the first night. I felt that I needed to go out and roam around just to not feel like that during the next day. This changed two days after coming, during the IBG welcome days. In these days, we (biology master students) were given lectures about university lifestyle, and about living in Uppsala in general, and different activities were planned, including a barbeque on the last day! This was my first actual contact with other students, and I met a lot of people from different backgrounds and cultures that I can call friends now.

Views from my corridor kitchen on a foggy day

Coming from a big city as is Madrid (Spain), that is always crowded, Uppsala seemed too quiet at the beginning, and it still feels like that sometimes… but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do here! During these months I have been travelling around and trying to do as many plans as my free time let me; I went hiking and berry picking to Flottsund, chased auroras staying up late more than once, and visited Stockholm and Gävle.

However, if you plan to visit any place while staying here, I would highly recommend checking the establishments opening hours (specially on small cities, I wouldn’t worry too much about Stockholm). I visited Gävle with a friend on a Saturday and the first thing we did when we arrived there was going to the tourism office to get a map, but apparently, the office closes on weekends… Am I the only one for which this doesn’t make sense? I mean, it’s a tourism office, do they expect more visits during weekdays? Anyway, it’s a beautiful place to go, and really small, so you can probably see full of it in half a day 🙂

Gävle – Old town

Gävle – Old town

Of course there are people who look more for party plans, and maybe Uppsala is not the best place to do it, as many places in town close early (compared to Madrid, in where there are pubs and discos open up to 6-8 a.m.), and it’s not the cheapest thing to do, but if you really want to, you can always find a party in Flogsta and Student Nations; I would say there’s one almost every day at some corridor… You won’t find me in one of these though, I guess I had to experience it at least once, so I went to one of them, but now I know they are not for me.

Now that I have been here for a few months, I have done my first exam, and it’s starting to get cold, I can say I miss many things about living in Madrid, but I wouldn’t change what I’m experiencing here to go back. Actually, I cannot wait for it to start snowing and to go north on December… I’ll probably write about that too, so keep an eye on the blog post updates!

I hope this gives you an idea of what you coming here might feel like!

Best wishes, María

Det finns inget dåligt väder, bara dåliga kläder! – By Simarjit

If you’ve been in Sweden for a while, I’m sure you must’ve come across this saying. Translation? There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing. There are some pretty interesting sayings and jokes about Swedish weather. If you’ve been in Sweden only for a couple of months, you’ll get to know why soon enough. As Ned Stark (RIP) once said,’Winter is coming’.

Don’t worry, there are no white walkers in Sweden. None that we know of, at least. So don’t polish your Valyrian steel swords just yet (Or dragonglass, whatever works for you).

But don’t get your hopes up, facing the Swedish winter is nothing short of going to a war. Okay maybe I’m exaggerating a bit but coming from India, it was definitely something that I needed to prepare myself for, mentally and physically.

Now I can’t help you prepare mentally, that is something you have to do yourself. I suggest reading up on articles regarding what to expect. But I would say this, more than the cold, it’s the darkness that gets to you.

Anyway, getting back to the point of this blog, I’m going to give you a few tips on how you can prepare for the Swedish winter. I’m going to focus on two areas, outdoors and indoors.

First, let’s begin with the outdoors. After all, you can’t spend the winter like a bear just holed up in your room, can you. You still have to carry on with your life, do grocery shopping, go to classes etc. Good clothing is your friend in this case.

So what can you do?

Layers, my friend. Layers. During the winters in India, (Yes, we have winters. Yes, it can get pretty cold up in the north) I would just buy a jacket and that was about it. But clearly, that wasn’t going to work in Sweden. Buying a thick and fluffy jacket is not the solution either. What you want to do instead is wear multiple layers. Not only do they allow you to ‘control’ how much cosy you want to get, you can top it off with a wind-cheater to protect you from the rain or the snow. I myself bought a fleece jacket to keep me warm and bought a weather-coat to insulate my clothing from the weather. Trust me, it works and is more practical in my opinion, as opposed to buying just one thick layer. But that’s just my opinion. To each their own.

You should also invest in a nice pair of boots that will keep your feet warm and safe. Safe how, you ask? When the snow falls, it looks beautiful and all, but boy does it get slippery. And if you don’t want to break your bones by slipping on ice, then boots is the way to go.

Now, let’s get to indoors. I’ve just got one tip for you but it’s really effective. It worked wonders for me and that is… drum roll please..

LIGHTS! Lots of them. Get a lamp for your table, another one for your bed. Another one for that corner of the room. Seriously, get more lights for your room. During the winters, your productivity can take a hit and the way I deal with it is that I close the blinds of my window at around 4 PM and turn all the lights on (I have 4 extra lamps in my room in addition to the ceiling lamp). Then, every hour or two, I will turn one of the lamps off to fall asleep at just the right time. It seriously helps when your room is bright. And the fact that you can’t ‘see’ that it’s dark outside, you tend to stay active.

So there you go my friend, now you’re all prepared to face the winter. But seriously though, it’s not that bad. Especially when the snow falls. Taking a walk in the forest when it’s all snowy is the best thing you can do during the winters. It is beautiful!!

Good luck!

How to save money in uppsala as a student? – By Bernabé

Perhaps you’re not surprised to hear that Sweden is an expensive country. Actually, the country of IKEA and ABBA is one of the most expensive countries in Europe. But wait a second because it is not true at all. With some tricks you can save money, not so much but you can take some kroner at the of the month to spend in some beers with your friends in a nations.

Going to weekly Bruised Food Club Market

Every Friday at 15:30 in Ungdomens Hug, Bruised Food Club organize this market that has the aim to give completely free food to the people instead of throwing in the trash. This food is mainly a leftover of some supermarkets or farmers, so is still good and tasty. There you can find vegetables, bread, fruit or milk and pick them up to your place completely “free”. I mean free in quotation marks because you can leave tips and money to Bruised Food Club and help with their mission to give this second live to that food and reduce the food waste in Uppsala.

This is their Facebook profile if you want to catch up with their latest activities

Second hand shop and marketplace

If you will live in Flogsta you will be really lucky if your room has the basic items. So, if you want to fill your room without exceeding there are two solutions: Second hand shop and Facebook marketplace. In the first you can go to Erikshjälpen or Myrorna and an impressive variety of second hand things. From small items such as screens, TVs, routers or lamps to big stuff like couches, small wardrobes, heaters, etc. Also, if you cannot bring with you, they can bring to your place for 200-300 kr. So, you can order with a group of friends a divide the 300 kr because you pay the trip, not the item.

The Facebook marketplace is no rocket science and it works as a normal marketplace in your country. You see an item and ask to the seller. If it still available you can take and reach an agreement with the seller to take it. If you are lucky, some of them can deliver the item to your place for free. In addition, you can find good bikes for 600-700 kr or temporally rooms (for a couple of months).

Finally there is a cheap option but you have to wait a pair of months. At the end of each semester (around November and December) some students leave their items in the bottom floor of Flogsta and you can take them free. You can surprise yourself of the treasures that you can see. For instance, some friends have found disco speakers, grills and small barbecue or freezer.

Dollar Shop and NetOnNet

As its name said is a shop where most of the thing cost 10 kr or 1 euro. In the Dollar Shop you can find a huge variety of things, from cleaning products to chocolate and candies, without forgetting the house or university stuff that also is really cheap if we compare with some supermarket brands or specialized shops. I usually buy detergents, shampoos, day-to-day things and candies there. Although looks like so far from Flogsta, it just 7-8 minutes by bike and less than half an hour by walk.

Also, if you had time and space in your bag, I would recommend going to NetOnNet. They sell electronic things to an affordable price. The routers (a good one if you will spend the whole year) cost around 200kr, the adapters and extension cables cost between 20-60 kr and the TV and screen are affordable. However, the heaters are at the same price to other shops but if you buy in October or September it will be cheaper than in November or December.

Ica Offers

Also, for Flogsta inhabitants, the ICA downhill Flogsta will help you to save money. At the beginning of the shop there is a small area with good offers and prices. They usually have cereals, coffee, sweets or chips. Also, if you go to the fridge behind the bakery stand you can find precooked food and meat with a price reduced more than a 50% in much of the items. That´s because it will expire in a few days so they reduce the price in order to enhance the customer to buy it.

Another advice is to buy with the head and no using your stomach or not guiding by the offers. Buy if you need to eat something.

Going before 22:00 to the Nations

If you are member of a nation you can go to the club whenever you can. However, if you meet with some friends in your nation or if you go to your friend´s nation you have to pay, normally, 60 kr. So, in order to save that money you can go before 22:00, go inside and the guard can seal you. Now, you have two options: going to the club if you want of going to the bar and enjoy some beers with your friends. Personally I usually take the second option and have some beers before enjoying in the pub.

I hope that this post was useful for you and help to save a bit of money for your stay in Uppsala

See you around