Month: May 2020

Choosing Your Nation – By Camille Cabrolier

A new semester approaches, you already received your acceptance letter and while you are preparing the last (big) details before moving to Uppsala, you might be wondering which Student Nation you should choose and why you should even bother going, why they are so special, so let me share with you some tips and information about them.

Here is hoping Corona (SARS-COV-2) does not ruin anyone’s’ Fall plans though.

Nations are the heart of Student Life in Uppsala, you can do anything there, and I really mean anything. From studying to partying, from sports to eating and much much more!

Now, even though there is no secret formula on how to best choose your Nation, there are some things you can do to figure it out. If you want the fast or a tiny help, you can go to this blog post that has a very nice flow diagram about the Nations.

If you want to know as much of every Nation as possible before choosing, you can start by going to the Welcoming activities that Nations host during the International Welcome Week and go talk to the people organizing, I promise they will be friendly and happy to tell you about their Nation if you ask them. The second thing you can do is talk to the ones that are representing their Nation in the Welcome Fair, there especially they will be “selling” their own and answer every single question you may have. But more than only asking questions, use this time to just talk with them and see how you feel, talking with whom do you feel more comfortable?

Then it also depends on what you are looking for in the Nations, do you want to have more housing options, more available scholarships, party for free a specific day, fika discount, artistic activities, a small and close community? Of course, you can always look for all this their websites, but it is likely to be in Swedish and everything might not be there, so the best way to find out is by talking with the active members. You will find them in their respective Nation and in the Welcome Fair, it will be crowded, but don’t worry about it and talk with everyone for as long as you want.

What can you do in each Nation? That is for you to find out, but all of them have a Pub, with good burgers, beers and more. I have 3 favorite ones, but you should go try them all before picking (#Hint: Some use homemade patties and some don’t). Can you find the one Nation that serves mashed potatoes instead of fries with their burger? Every Nation opens their pub on different days, but you can always find at least one, even Sundays.

If you like partying, you came to the right place, Nations have agreements within them, so the week starts on Tuesday with Snerikes party, on Wednesday it is Norrlands turn, Thursdays it is Stockholms and Fridays are for Värmlands. On Fridays, you can also find Ostgöta or Snerikes sometimes. You can always enter all the parties for free before 9 pm and if you are a member of a specific one, you enter for free to their party all night.

If you are a food lover, apart from the pubs, some Nations have breakfast like Norrlands and Stockholm, or lunch like Stockholm with their salad bar or like Norrlands, Östgöta, and Västgöta. You can find delicious Fika in Kalmar, Göteborgs, Norrlands, and more. On Saturdays, Gästrike-Hälsinge Nation hosts a Pancake bar at brunch time, and on Sundays Snerikes has brunch.

If you like singing Göteborgs has Karaoke Thursday.

If you like sports you will find different sports groups in Gästrike-Hälsinge.

If you want to learn Latin dances, Värmlands has Salsa and Bachata classes on Sundays.

And if you like role-playing games, V-Dala has many D&D campaigns every Sunday; while in Gästrike-Hälsinge you will find Boardgames evenings.

Most Nations also have libraries, choirs, spex (theater groups), special lectures, Gasques, Balls, and most important: Very nice and friendly people.

Now one last tip, once you’ve decided on your Nation, a great way to start meeting the members is going to the Cleaning Day. Yes! I did say cleaning. They happen once a month on every Nation, there, Full-Timers and Half-Timers gather to clean the house along with everyone else willing to help. The day begins with a breakfast, then tasks are distributed, and teams go clean until it is lunchtime, when everyone stops what they are doing and have lunch together and sometimes play games before going back to your duties. When everything is done, it is time for the Sexa! (A nice dinner but not elegant like a Gasque or Ball) You celebrate a successful cleaning day, eat good food, have some drinks, sing many typical Swedish songs and have lots of fun with your new Nation friends 😉

And remember, at the end of the day, it does not matter which Nation you join because joining one gives you access to all of them, Amazing! And worst-case scenario, you can always change it whenever you want, or better: You can join more than one!


The Online Challenge – By Margaret Aligbe

2020 has not been the best year, from Australian bush fires, trade wars and then coronavirus pandemic. What started like just another outbreak became bigger than what anyone would have imagined. It was not just another flu, another hoax, it remains a global challenge affecting our lives and every sector of the economy. Who ever imagined facemasks, hand sanitizers, tissue paper, food, hand washing, not touching our faces and not shaking hands or hugging each other would become such a big deal? No, this is not a drill, it is reality…… We are live in 2020.

Melker Dahlstrand/

The pandemic meant borders, schools, offices, places of worship, tourist sites would remain closed and everything would move online; work, academics, businesses, conferences, governance, relationships would all online for this long. People remain stranded in different places across the world and then it is scary because the virus spreads in such a way that some people who are carriers may not even become sick and they can spread it without knowing. Hence, we must stay indoors and contain the spread to flatten the curve.

It was always a luxury and envious to be working from home but now it has become harder having everyone at home (especially people with family members) and then trying to keep up with schedules. You are no longer voluntarily working or studying from home the way you have always imagined; it can be emotionally and physically overwhelming. This also meant as a student, my classes would move online, all my courses. Thankfully, I was done with most of this semester courses and I had just one left but even then, I must say spending so much time online is challenging. Online education is harder than you imagined.

Before I had classes at either SLU Ultuna (the Swedish University of Agriculture on the other side of town) or the Uppsala University’s Geocentrum, group work was done physically and then some bits online. As someone who prefers reading hard copies of documents, books because of the stress reading online was an unhealthy choice for my eyes, it gets even challenging. I must be online for the class as slides will be insufficient for understanding sometimes because there will be things said, questions asked that will be helpful, read course recommended articles online, do group work online, I even have my weekly fellowship with Mosaic church now online…… it is an online challenge. I miss my classmates, every one of them even those at the “hey!” level (because I can’t be close to everyone in a class of over 50 students). We only see ourselves when it is ZOOM time.

Also, Netflix is online (because sometimes, you gotta’ chill with Netflix)

Susanne Walström/

The good thing is that Uppsala University and SLU study schedules are flexible enough to save you from being an online zombie and I have managed it well. There are so many resources online for academics and updates on coronavirus. My lecturers have been of tremendous assistance and reply inquiries so fast. My department, course counselors and even university management have been open about asking for help when you need one. Also, as a scholarship recipient from the Swedish Institute, they look out for their international students, which means you are not alone.

There is no lockdown here in Sweden, so I can go out for some fresh air while taking a walk. Sweden is a country that naturally practices social distancing because it is a culture of people who love their personal space and avoid conflict. You will understand after living in Sweden for some time, that it is nothing personal and nothing sinister or mean (LOL), it is what it is. I don’t even have to try that hard to social distance myself. (Thank You Sweden!)

Susanne Walström/

Being online always is a challenge these days and I know I am not alone. It can be emotionally draining with all the propaganda, conspiracy theories and fake news on major social media platforms but you have the power to switch things on and off when they are not essential to your goal and daily schedule. You can also focus on the positives of being online, follow genuine leads and draw on things that boost your positive energy. As a student of Sustainable Development, I have discovered a lot of good webinars on topics like Degrowth, Political Ecology, Green Energy, Climate Education and other sustainability inclined discourse, articles that has been educative. There are also free and subsidized courses online you can enroll to learn things you have always wanted. Use your data wisely and make the most of the situation.

Coronavirus is not a hoax; it is something serious that has left us all reflecting on life. Being indoors and spending more time online as a student is a challenge but I make the most of my experience and focus on what counts.

Keep washing your hands and take your hygiene seriously. Always remember to stay home if it is not essential to be out there and yes, keep your distance (it is that serious, LOL!). This also means I am always eating since I go out only when it is essential. My next trip to fridge comes after I finish writing this.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Football leagues, NBA, NFL, everything, every place we used to scream and hang out……even the famous Valborg celebrations in Sweden was suspended. We miss life as we have always known but Life is precious and that is all that counts now.

Maximize your online living and Please Stay Safe!