Month: March 2023

A Solo Adventure – By: Earl

The time came for me to celebrate yet another turn around the sun. This was not my first birthday in Sweden, well in a way it was. See, I left home in August, and my birthday is in January but during my first year in Sweden, I thought, why not go somewhere and celebrate my birthday there. So I packed up my bags and grabbed my partner and we headed to the airport. Merely two hours later, we were in beautiful Vienna, Austria. So in essence, this year was the first time I celebrated my birthday on Swedish soil. But enough of trying to figure out the meaning of it all, let me get right to what I want to talk about.

This year I decided to celebrate my birthday alone. I love people, love being around people, interacting and finding out about them, who they are and what makes them vibe and all. I thrive in people settings where you meet new people, converse etc. I guess that’s why making friends in Sweden has not been too taxing for me. I’ll call it a gift. Without being a pest, I just hang around until you decide I am super awesome and you just have to be my friend. Nothing awkward though, so don’t stress.

So, back to the story (I don’t know why I keep getting sidetracked). I decided to have some “alone time” this year for my birthday and got on a bus and headed to a nature reserve I have always wanted to go to. Hjälstaviken Nature Reserve, located only an hour away by bus from Uppsala, is a dream. It has a large marsh with reeds, a lake great for bird watching in the warmer months and hiking trails that are both challenging and rewarding. The forest areas provide a nice serene escape from the rush of the wind in the reeds or from the busy road. It is like stepping into a different world, but so is almost every nature park in Sweden. I have a monthly bus card, so I used that as my ticket. Going during the week was a bonus, there was almost nobody there, and I made sure I enjoyed my alone time. I didn’t walk the whole route, I wasn’t about that life! I chose 2 tracks, one led to an observation deck the other led to an open area where I sat for a quiet picnic. I had bought my food before I got on the bus to leave of course, but I have been made aware that during the summer months, when the place is always packed, there is an area with a kiosk and all.

Here’s a few takeaways from my time in the wilderness alone

  1. Time in nature is always rewarding. There has never been a time when I’ve taken time off from a rather hectic Masters schedule and regretted it. I am always glad I went out and just breathed.
  2. Being alone is not and should not be scary for more extroverted people. I tend to shy away from areas where I find myself without people around me because I am an overthinker and tend to go off on a tangent, so I am happiest when I am distracted by other people or doing something. The heavy breathing from the hike made sure my focus was on the present and cleared my head of any worry or stress
  3. Most areas and parks are easily accessible by public transport. After I got off the bus I walked a little bit to get to the nature reserve (about 20 minutes). Other parks have stops closer, whilst others are quite further away. Don’t forget to include that.
  4. Some areas are very isolated so you need to always be careful in case of an emergency. Keep a fully charged working mobile, a bottle of water and a snack. Swedish Nature reserves are popular and Swedes love the outdoors so most of the time you are guaranteed to see someone.

So remember that being alone is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it is a perfect time to rediscover who you are, your purpose and where you are heading.

My journey to find home… – By: Sam

As a second-year student and student ambassador, often times I have been
asked the question: why Uppsala University? The world is filled with various other
prestigious universities and gorgeous countries rich with opportunities. But I
have chosen to study in Sweden. A Northern country known for the cold and hard
winters, gorgeous nature, and, of course, the famous Ikea. But I come from a
country where the sun kisses my cheeks everyday and where the beach is
always 5 minutes away. I lived in the Netherlands, where the tulips bloom and
where boats sail through the canals. So, why did I choose to come Sweden of all

I wanted to start a new adventure. I’ve lived in Aruba for 18 years and after high
school I decided to move to the Netherlands. I love Aruba and it will always be
my home, but I longed for the cold and seasons I didn’t have. I wanted to see the
leaves fall of the trees, feel the cold air on my skin and experience the flowers
blooming in the spring. I yearned for a new beginning and a new experience. I
lived in the Netherlands for 5 years. Started my Bachelor and finished it.
Experienced the sorority life and Dutch culture of riding my bike to every corner
of the city I lived in. I enjoyed meeting new people, having cool roommates and
experiencing the beautiful countryside of the Netherlands. A place I could call
home again. But then corona hit…

It was an isolating life. I finished my Bachelor thesis and was looking at a
master’s degree, but I felt trapped in my home. I love the place and it is very
close to my heart, but I wanted a new beginning again. Somewhere new to
explore. So, I looked for places abroad to continue my journey and happen to
stumble upon Sweden. A country up North I have never been to nor ever thought
to explore. In one google search I saw nature I have never explored, a cold I have
never experienced, a country I’ve never even thought about. An interesting and
new place. An unexplored area, a place for me to discover. My new home

I found various programmes that caught my eye, but which city will I pick? The
country is so big. I am from a small country, an island even. In the Netherlands, I
lived in a small city. I can’t move to a big city, that’s a big step. A step I am not
ready to take. So, why not a smaller city, a less dense city? But I want to
experience the capital, so perhaps a city close to the capital? How about
Uppsala? I quickly type Uppsala into my search bar and stumble upon a quaint
city surrounded by nature, rich in history and buzzing with student life. I find a
city that excites me and makes me want to call it home. I immediately apply for
my programme and await the day I get accepted.

It’s the day of the results. I am nervous. I am scared, but I am most of all excited.
As if my body knew I would get accepted. As if my heart new it could find a new
place to explore and love again. I open the website, and I read my result. I am
accepted! I jump in glee; I run around the house and cry of happiness. I did it!
Flash forward to the day before moving to Sweden. I am leaving behind close
friends, leaving behind family once again and leaving behind a country I once
called home to pursue a new adventure. It’s a bittersweet ending to such an
exciting start of an adventure I had in the Netherlands. It’s reliving the sad
feeling I had when I left my island of Aruba to pursue my future in the

Netherlands, but also the excitement of a new start in a new and unexplored
country. I wake up the next day, grab my luggage, leave my apartment and go
to the airport. I am ready to leave my home away from home.
I arrive in Sweden. I am welcomed by an excited team of students and all the
information I would need to start my journey. I reach my apartment and settle
my things. I start my programme, meet new people, make new friends, explore
new areas, find comfort in new things I never could have imagined. A year has
passed, I walk through the city with a smile on my face remembering where I
was a year ago. A scared but excited girl with so much awaiting her. A girl ready
to face anything coming her way. A girl that has yet again, found her home.