Month: June 2024

A day in Stockholm – By: Sofía

72 km away from Uppsala we have the Capital of Sweden, Stockholm. Stockholm is one of my favorite cities in the world and if you have a free day and you would like to explore it, I’ll give you options for what to do in a day in Stockholm. 

I like to think of Stockholm as 3 different main areas, the touristic, fancy and the cool area. Gamla Stan is the most touristic part of the city with attractions like the Nobel Museum and all the historical buildings where you can take a picture in the iconic houses you will see in most of the gift shops around.  Then there’s Östermalm which is known to be the fanciest part of the city, for all its beautiful architecture, museums, fancy restaurants, stores and bars. My favorite area is Sodermalm, in the south part of central Stockholm we have Södermalm. Söder is the “hipster” side of Stockholm, where you can find lots of cool vintage shops, cafes and beautiful views of the city.

Stortorget, Gamla Stan Stockholm

So, here’s the plan:


Option 1

You can take the pendeltåg which takes ~50 min and costs around 60 sek, here you need to buy two tickets on from the UL app costing 27 and one of the SL app that costs 25 (both prices for students, you get this discount using the Mecenat app)

Option 2

Take one of the trains either SJ or Mälartåg, this costs around 70-100 sek, check the hours on the SJ app or the Mälartåg app.

You leave Uppsala after breakfast; you take the train and you arrive at T-Centralen.

Now you could go for a beautiful walk to one of my favorite buildings, Stadshuset (the city hall) and then cross to Sodermalm by walking and see the water and the beautiful views.  Then you can go to one of my favorite restaurants Bruno’s Korvar or if you want something lighter you can grab some fika!.

Fika a Vete-Katten, Stockholm

In Sodermalm you can explore the thrift shops and go to the beautiful views of the city.

View from Mariaberget, Sodermalm

After this you can take a break and enjoy an Ice Cream at Stikkinikky. Walking around Södermalm and exploring this area is one of my favorite things, so just enjoy the city, especially now that the weather is really nice.

Stinkinikky, Sodermalm

Then you could explore some museums, go to Slussen and take one of the boats that take you to Djurgården where all the museums are located. 

My recommendations of museums are:

  • Nationalmuseum
  • Moderna Museet (Free admission to Moderna Museet every Friday evening)
  • Vasa
  • Nordiska
  • Fotografiska

After that, I bet you will be tired, so it’s time to go back to Uppsala. Hope you enjoyed this day in Stockholm.

On Thesis Writing and Self-Understanding; Dealing with Fears and Anxieties, and Being Bad at Everything. – By: Arshia

As international students coming to a foreign country, it is so easy to get caught up in an unfamiliar culture, in fending for yourself, and in learning and taking in so many new experiences. And when we do get caught up in these things, the “main event” of sorts – the fact that we’re here primarily as students pursuing a degree – gets lost in the mix.

Or at least, that was the case for me, particularly with my thesis!

While the thought of writing a thesis was always present somewhere in my mind, that somewhere was hardly ever the forefront, until the last couple of months where everything really sped up and I had no choice but to invest every inch of my attention span into my thesis.

My master’s thesis at Uppsala University was the first proper piece of academic research and writing that I produced, especially because my bachelor’s did not have a dissertation or any other lengthy piece of writing. While you may think that that would have made me even more cautious and meticulous with my time dedicated to thesis writing, it actually did the opposite. The idea of a thesis became this gargantuan monster towering over me, and I transcended the fight or flight divide, choosing to just turn the other way and procrastinate instead. As they say, ignorance is bliss.

But of course, the job had to be done, and I had to be the one doing it, and so, come March, I began to truly feel the growing, prickly warmth of the slowly approaching fire that was my submission deadline (in mid-May).

The thing is, all of this points to the moral of the story being “do not procrastinate” or “slow and steady wins the race” or some other clichéd ending – the weight of which I am not denying – but, as students, as people, as human beings experiencing life, we know that nothing has as simple a solution, and knowing the right thing does not automatically translate to knowing how to execute it. I knew all through the earlier semesters that I should be starting my thesis work, I knew I should have been studying when I chose to just waste time watching Netflix instead. But I physically just could not bring myself to do anything. Thesis writing then became much more than just “writing a thesis” for me. Not only did I have to do the research, write, edit, omit, fine-tune, and review, I also had to start, truly, from ground-up. From myself, my fears about not being able to produce something worthwhile, my anxieties about not making myself or the people around me proud, my worries about wasting this opportunity to learn that I had been blessed with.

And of course, every other aspect of life does not conveniently “pause” when there’s a big task to be done, and so, having to juggle thesis writing and the anxieties surrounding it with eating well, staying active, maintaining a social life, interpersonal relationships, other academic responsibilities, and everything else made me feel like I was in an ocean, weighed down by the drenched fabric of my clothes that got heavier and heavier as I just tried with growing desperation to stay afloat.

I had this (mistaken) idea in my mind that if not done perfectly, there was no worth in what I did, regarding not only my thesis, but also life in general. If I do not produce the best thesis ever, I have failed. If I do not succeed in managing every aspect of my life with a smile on my face, I have failed. But how stupid is that? Even writing this down now, I can only think, “Gosh, Arshia, it was never supposed to be that serious; yikes.”

Somewhere along the line, in the middle of April, it clicked in that I should not be worried about whether or not I can produce the most worthwhile thesis, or the most worthwhile lifestyle ever, but that I should really question myself instead on if it was worthwhile to pursue impossible levels of perfection if it meant living in a constant state of worry and fear and hopelessness. The answer: no. Immediately, no.

I also have to thank my supervisor for helping drill this thought into my head that it is way more important to write two hundred crappy words than to write fifteen perfect ones, because at the end of the day, you will have two hundred words that you can edit and make better, instead of a nearly empty document that will glare at you and keep you stuck in the same loop.

Once it truly settled into my body that I was allowed to be imperfect, unfiltered, and downright bad, I produced draft after draft after draft. My rigid guidelines for my life also eased up alongside my thesis writing. If I didn’t eat the most nutritious meals for three days straight, who cares? If I didn’t go to the gym in three weeks, how does it matter? If I didn’t see any sign of human life outside of my reflection for a whole week, that is okay! That’s the gorgeous thing about time (and wonderfully, also the thing we fear the most), it moves. Just because my room is messy doesn’t mean it will always be messy. I could spend four days straight, doing nothing but writing in a growing tip of a room, but there will come a day when I draw open the blinds, clear my desk, fold all my clothes, and wash all the dishes as the sunshine and fresh air pour in through my windows.

My thesis and my reflections on who I am, what I value, and how I hope to achieve what I wish to achieve, everything improved with time, and surprisingly, all I had to do, was do. As international students, especially those coming from less-developed countries where the competition is tough, the finances are hard, and the expectations are high, it is really easy to slip and fall through the cracks of our own inhibitions. We want to be successful; we want to make not only ourselves, but also our families and our communities proud; we want to help others around us also come up with us. With these piling expectations, it is often typical to wish to be nothing short of the best, but there is no hope of being the best at something (not that I any longer believe the best is necessary) if we do not get really comfortable with being bad at everything.

I guess I did end this with some sort of moral, but the moral of this story, unlike a lot of others, isn’t telling you to do a certain thing or be a certain way. It is much more basic than that, and has no requirements. Just Do. Just Be. Things will start moving from there, because that’s what they do. We just have to start somewhere.

The time I spent working on my thesis ended up being the most transformative part of my master’s, because I realized I was capable of much more than I originally thought. Something that I find really interesting and paradoxical about this is that the thesis I did end up producing wasn’t the most ideal piece of writing to have ever existed. It didn’t solve all the problems of the universe as I initially, childishly, hoped it would do. So, even though I did not produce something that I had dreamed of, what I did end up producing was more than I thought I was truly capable of. Perhaps that goes to show that some part of us, squandered deep down in our subconscious, knows that every single thing we do cannot be miraculous (there’s a reason that miracles are miracles), but the expectations we encounter, both within ourselves and in our environments, make us wish that it could be so. So even though I did not create magic, I am so proud of what I did end up writing because, retrospectively, I see improvements in every draft. I see improvement from the first assignments I did when I came here two years ago too, to the concluding paragraphs of my thesis. Not only that, but I see how my mindset changed, and I was able to cast aside a lot of fears that weren’t serving me, but were simply keeping me stuck and unable to do anything at all. And that is so much more than one ideal piece of writing. That is comforting knowledge, emotional stability, and a growing openness to constantly learning more.

I guess that circles me back to what I said in the beginning of this post; something we often forget when we move to a foreign country; we are, primarily, students. We are here to learn, to get better, and as long as we remember that it is okay to not enter the field as professionals with 27 years of experience and a million citations, but as exactly who we are, we’re going to be okay.

When you only have less than 1 year as a Uppsala Student – By: Yasmin

Hi again guys, it’s me Yasmin writing for my last blog as Uppsala Student Ambassador (yes, unfortunately). I wrote this blog on Sunday, May 26th, 2024 which is also correspondence with 1 more week before my final thesis submission and graduate at the end of May which mark the end of my journey as a Uppsala Student. I am stressed with the thesis, yet I took a little bit of break writing this to reflect on my overall journey here as non EU/EEU international student in Uppsala University.

My purpose with this blog is to give you insights on some of my regrets on what and how I could have done better or planned better when you have less than 1 year left as a Uppsala student. This blog is intended for fellow or future students about things you may need to be aware of beforehand and make the best of your time with such limited time, especially as an international student.

Time surely goes by fast especially since I studied Master of Entrepreneurship which is only a 1-year program instead of 2 years here in Uppsala. Ironically, here in Sweden most of the 1-year program doesn’t last for full 12 months, but officially only for around 10 months (August-May). Even our residence permit ends just two weeks after we finish the program. Therefore, I cannot even extend my stay until the summer here in Sweden to experience the iconic Swedish midsummer tradition. Even for people who study for 2 years in Uppsala, the time when your student residence permit ends will come eventually. For most cases, it will end around June.

Therefore, here are some of regrets, suggestions, and things I wish I could have done better:

Apply residence permit / coordination number (for 1 year) as soon as possible

As you may have heard this is important for everyone living in Sweden to get access to insurance and also get back account. Gather info as early as you can before you come to Sweden and during your first month, you go apply. I regret that I procrastinated on doing this since I only could apply for a coordination number, didn’t know that it was actually possible for people without personal numbers to create a Swedish bank account with a coordination number. You can only officially apply it once you are in Uppsala, it may take up to 1 month to get your number, only then you could apply a bank registration which will take another 1-3 months.

Network and be as social as possible during the first 2 months in Uppsala

Making friends and networking is crucial during your study abroad. It what makes the whole journey special and more valuable on top of your study. You never know what the network and good relationships will people might bring you in the far future. So, the first 2 months in Uppsala is usually filled with many opening ceremonies for international students coming from the faculty, the nations, and lots of student community.

This is the best period to explore and mingle with diverse people from around the world! The weather would also be nice when the late summer-early autumn still lets people to party and travel a lot. The classes are also still considered light at the beginning of the semester. So you could put more priority on socializing during this period. The reality is, for some people, getting to know new friends by themselves might be difficult. Therefore, the help of some networking events and parties happening a lot around this time will give you a plethora of opportunities to meet with people you resonate with! Nations exist for that reason. Everyone was super open and in the same spirit of networking during that period.

I regret not doing this networking more often during my first semester as I was focused more on my studies and searching for internship opportunities for my second semester. Even when I did, I only focused on things that related to my subject / my interest. I did not let myself to go out of my comfort zone and explore more things around to meet more diverse people. I did not even join the nation since I thought it would be a waste for me since I’m only here for less than 1 year anyway and I spent most of my 2nd semester doing part-time work and thesis already.

If you planning to get an internship for spring/summer, start looking early!

The Swedish internship job market isn’t necessarily easy to get I tell you. Especially for international students, your best bet would be to work in a startup or small company that is more open to international students. Although some big Swedish companies may also have some openings, the problem would be that the competition will be much higher. Not to mention some companies still prefer their talent to speak Swedish as a plus point. Some course program has an internship as one of their credits as an elective, some don’t.

Therefore, consider to actively looking for opportunities starting from 3-2 months before your internship credit / preferred time. This can be done by actively searching via LinkedIn, the Career at UU portal, or even getting some opportunity via networking in Sweden. In most cases, companies hire talent on a first come basis, therefore make sure you apply early,  update your CV, and stand out from the crowd! Make use of the Uppsala career help team to get tips on understanding the Swedish company and industry better as there might be some unique insights you can utilize to help your application journey.

This also goes to if you plan on doing a thesis in a company setting. It is common for companies to advertise on Linked In about looking for thesis internship talent where you can apply for your thesis topic if you want to. Again, the timing may vary a lot so keep aware of it.

Travel as much as you can!

Having a Swedish residence permit means that you are eligible to travel around EU Schengen countries so make sure you don’t miss any opportunity to travel! Plan ahead would save you a lot of money. There are also many budget airline options to travel around countries, or train and busses options if you fancy trying it out. You will be surprised how cheap it can get to travel around Europe, so make sure you browse appropriate tickets and accommodations. Most of these countries are enough to be explored in a 1-2 day setting, so you can consider planning some travel during normal or long weekends and put the longer travel plan on winter holidays.

I did travel a lot in the span of 10 months, my suggestion is to travel during the low season of autumn (Example: Germany, Netherlands, France), travel to a warmer country during winter like Spain / Italy to cure your winter depression (haha) or go challenge yourself to the Arctic Circle city like Kiruna or Tromso in Norway during the winter season and try some winter sports like skiing! Try to explore the eastern and Balkan countries also on your list! Keep in mind that starting from April, the ticket price will gradually rise. (So prioritize a more expensive country first in your list, if you want)

However, I do regret that I did not travel to Sweden enough for the entire period when I could have done so! UL region is so big with lots of small cities around, so make sure you utilize the monthly bus ticket to explore more Swedish UL cities. You most likely subscribe to a bus during winter time.

Have a clear goal of what’s after graduating

We know that most of us already have some plans after graduation, but the reality is, once you step in Sweden and dive into the routines, and get exposed more to practical implications, you may need to reevaluate again your plan after graduation. Ideally, you need to start seriously thinking about it after your first 3 months of studying and getting to know how things work in your field.

Decide on this “Do you consider going back home, or do you want to stay and continue to work in Sweden?” For people who are firm that they would continue giving impact back home, things may be simpler. However, if you want to continue your journey in Sweden then you need to seriously make a thorough plan during your stay in Sweden especially when you have limited privileges as an international student. The earlier is of course the better plan it will be

Be aware of the immigration policy/rules for your next plan!

You should always check on Migrationsverket on the rules that apply to you when you need to extend your residence permit due to studies, or changing your permit after graduation into job seeking visa, or even the job permit visa and understand every consequence that it has (documents and financial wise). Therefore, you may need to prepare around 1-2 months before your student permit ends if you want to stay in Sweden after graduation. Be resourceful, ask the relevant source, share the info to others, keep up to date.

Make sure to have great memories with your friends!

Last thing, make sure to spend more times with your friends at the end of the period. Not all people stay in Uppsala and Sweden in general after graduation, keep in touch with everyone and make sure to have lasting memories together to make your summer time more meaningful~ I regret to not having enough time to do with more of my friends, but hey at least I tried and we ended our journey with good remarks

Hope these things bring you insights in a way~ I’m grateful for whatever the time I had in Uppsala despite it being less than 1 year. (I am planning to go back to Indonesia due to some personal reason and career). Thank you for all the memories and friend that I will cherish forever!

Yasmin signing out from Uppsala, May 2024!