If you live in Uppsala or plan on moving here, you’ve probably heard about its (in)famous student neighbourhood: FLOGSTA! Home to around 1,000 Uppsala University students, it’s the city’s most popular and traditional student living area. Surrounded by lovely woods and rather interesting traditions, Flogsta is a big part of student life in Uppsala. But sharing a corridor with 11 other people you just met doesn’t come without some challenges. In this text, I want to give you my account of what it’s like – the good and the not-so-good – to live in a corridor room in Flogsta.
Just like most things in life, living in Flogsta has many aspects for which we can point out the pros and cons. I’ll discuss a few of them in no particular order and based solely on my own experience. I am aware that different people might have very different impressions about the same things and also that not all Flogsta corridors are the same. However, I think that an honest personal account (somewhat of a case study if you will) is a good way to give eventual readers a more detailed insight into what it feels like.
I should start by addressing (no pun intended for a text about accommodation) a crucial point for choosing Flogsta: the price. It’s probably one of the cheapest options available for students who are just moving to Uppsala. Since the housing market in Sweden is anything but simple, being able to get a roof over your head via the university’s housing office is one of the easiest options for international students. I’d say the main reasons why I decided to live in Flogsta: it is cheap, it was easy to organize through the university and I didn’t want to sleep in the streets.
The thing I get asked the most is about sharing the corridor with 11 other people. Honestly, that was my main concern when moving in and I think that is true for almost everyone. I won’t say it is the easiest thing in the world and that all is perfect, but it is definitely less of an issue than I had anticipated. The fact that each room has its own WC and shower really helps make things easier. Personally, I think I’d have a hard time if I had to share that with other people. But I know of many people who live in different student housing areas where they do share a shower, for example, and they are fine with it. In the case of Flogsta corridors, the main shared facility is the kitchen. They are rather large with two sinks, two stoves, and plenty of fridge/freezer/storage space. Also, because people have very different schedules, it often happens that you end up having the whole kitchen for yourself. Of course, sometimes you may run into issues such as the kitchen being full just when you are in a hurry to leave. However, that has only happened to me once in the month or so I’ve been there, so I don’t consider it much of an issue.
I’d say that having corridor mates is actually a very positive aspect of living in Flogsta. As I said, I was a little worried about moving into a corridor with 11 strangers and having to live with them. But since my first day here I noticed that it was a great opportunity to make friends from other programs who you might otherwise have never met. Many students living in Flogsta are in Uppsala for only one or two semesters, so most of the people you meet when you first get here are also new to the city. That means that they are usually also looking to go out and make friends. It was definitely the case in my corridor (as evidenced by the fact that we threw our first birthday party just two days after most people got here). Now we often meet in the kitchen and have meals together, we go to the pubs and clubs in the Nations, we watch sports, and sometimes we just sit around the kitchen table to chat in the evening. This, of course, is a different experience for each person but I feel very lucky to have met my corridor mates and to be able to enjoy what Uppsala has to offer along with them. Although I was worried about the number of people in the corridor, I’d say it is more of an asset than an issue.
Something about Flogsta that is an actual issue (and will likely become even more so come wintertime) is the distance to the city centre. Flogsta is located around 3-3.5km to the West of downtown Uppsala, which is actually not a very long distance. You can easily walk it if you have the time to do so and there are also buses going everywhere in the city. But the cheapest and usually fastest way to move to and from Flogsta is by bike. It is not hard to do so, the bike lanes are great and it doesn’t take you more than 10-15min to get to the city centre. However, despite Uppsala being a generally flat and bikeable city, there are basically only two hills that might annoy you when cycling around: one is the one by the castle (Uppsala Slott) and the University Library (Carolina Rediviva), and the other one is in Flogsta. The “bad” news is that you’ll normally have to climb both of them when commuting. It is not really a challenge as they are quite small hills, it is just annoying. To me, it only means that on warmer days I’ll be sweating a bit when I get somewhere. But it’s good to know that you are not alone! Because there are so many students living in Flogsta, you’ll normally have company for the ride.
The Flogsta Scream
Of course, no account of life in Flogsta would be complete without talking about something that makes this area arguably famous worldwide: the Flogsta Scream. Every night at 10 pm students living in Flogsta open their windows and scream as hard as they can into the night. It only lasts for around 1 minute so it doesn’t bother anyone who isn’t joining but it is a great way to let off some steam and help you deal with the pressure of being a student. The tradition is believed to have started in the 1970s or 80s and is still very much alive. Especially around exam weeks, you are sure to hear the scream and you’ll probably end up wanting to join it. This “cry of angst”, as the University’s website puts it, is great for relieving some of the stress that is inherent to student life and is also a fun activity to do along with corridor mates, neighbours and friends. It also works as an informal clock, as sometimes I’m distracted, with no track of time, and upon hearing people screaming, I know it’s 10 pm and it’s probably time to get ready to go to bed.
A place where memories are made
All things considered, I enjoy living in Flogsta very much. I’ve met amazing people, taken part in interesting traditions, and had so many nice moments with fellow international students. Even though I’ve been here for around a month, Flogsta already feels like home. It may be a bit of an odd area, some could even call it outright weird, but to me, this is the kind of place where memories are made. I’m certain that the experiences I’ll have here and the people I’ll share them with will stay with me for a very long time.