Author: Guestblogger (Page 1 of 15)

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.

Amazing Study Spots that stop your procrastination (For Campus Gotland students) – By: Patricia

If you’re anything like me and find that you’re mostly unproductive at home due to the many distracting things on your study desk, or your gaming console and (non-academic) book always in reach to pull you away from actually getting work done, this is a blog post for you. I’m always in search for new study spots around Visby to get my work done, both by myself or together with my friends or group members. Changing up my study scenery easily boosts my productivity levels and helps me mentally separate “home time” and “study time”. Without further ado, here’s my list of favourite study spots around Visby!

Almedalsbiblioteket – The Library

The library is right next to Campus Gotland, so you can enter both from the street or through Campus. There are individual desks, shared tables, soft couches, and separate study rooms alike, where you can sit with your laptop and work with other students or focus by yourself. Café Foaje is also connected to the library, which means you can easily take a fika break or grab a sandwich if you feel the need to refuel.

Wifi: Yes – eduroam

Pros: The variability of study spots means there’s bound to be something that fits my mood, whether I’m studying alone or need to get group work done.

Cons: It’s a public library, so it can get noisy when there are groups of friends or children around. Luckily, the separate study rooms are always silent!

Productivity rating: 4/5

Study rooms on Campus

When I’m looking for a spot to work silently, or a place to gather with my group members and doodle ideas on a white board, I book a study room in the E Building. These rooms are all different in regards to size and furnishing, which either means I can change up my scenery with ease, or I get very disappointed if my favourite one is booked up. What they all have in common though, is a lovely view over Visby! There are microwaves too, so you can take some food with you if you’re planning to work longer. Bring your campus card to enter during weekends!

Wifi: Yes – eduroam

Pros: You can stay for as long as you need to. Even past 10PM on a weekend. I promise it doesn’t feel spooky, only your procrastination would haunt you.

Cons: The study rooms are often fully booked, so you’ll need to plan ahead from time to time. You can try to walk into an empty study room and stay until the person who booked it kindly asks you to leave, but you didn’t hear that tip from me.

Productivity rating: 5/5

Gather with Gamers in G Building

If you study Game Design, you can access the G Building with your Campus card. Alternatively, if you befriend a Game Design student, you can ask them nicely to let them into this secret lair of theirs. Here, you can almost always find Game Design students working on their projects or playing videogames together to escape from work. There’s even a kitchen, so you can warm up your food.

Wifi: Yes – eduroam

Pros: You can make new Game Design friends and play with board games you can find in this building, or sit together with your laptops to play something together. Wait, am I still writing a post about study spots?

Cons: There aren’t that many places to sit for silent individual work. On an even more tragic note, I can’t enter with my general Campus card, so visiting the building makes me “kinda sus”.

Productivity rating: 3/5

Espresso House

If you promise not to buy the last caramel cheesecake before I arrive, I can recommend studying in Espresso House by Östercentrum. It’s a cozy café where you can always expect to find a free table. You might get jealous of those who only come here to drink coffee, but you can find comfort in the fact that you deserve a cup as well for your hard work. It’s a public space, so the public will be here to chat and be noisy, but I’m usually not distracted by it.

Wifi: Yes – you can connect without a password

Pros: There are many plugs for your laptop. Also the caramel cheesecake is amazing.

Cons: Unfortunately, there is no natural sunlight here, except for that one table by the window. The lamps are great though.

Productivity rating: 4/5

H10 Café

If you wish for lots of sunlight in the early afternoon, bring your studies to H10. In this café, you can sit by the window and occasionally glance out to people coming and going along Hästgatan while you ponder over some new theoretical concepts or try to come up with a fun title for you essay. They even serve lunch here, if you’re in the mood.

Wifi: Yes – ask for password

Pros: Sitting by the window is lovely.

Cons: There’s not a lot of space on the tables, so I’d honestly just bring one book, or my laptop.

Productivity rating: 3/5

S:t Hans

This is a popular café because it has a back garden that’s situated amongst old church ruins. If you’d like to work with your study group, this is the best café to meet up in, because it has big tables that will fit all of you comfortably. When it’s warm out, you can even choose between studying indoors or outdoors. If you’re looking for a snack, the carrot cake is really tasty!

Wifi: Yes indoors – ask for password

Pros: Perfect for group work, and the candle-lit tables are extremely cozy!

Cons: It’s hard to predict how full the café is, sometimes it’s relatively empty and quiet, other times there’s a lot of people and it can get noisy.

Productivity rating: 3/5

Almedalen – The Park

There’s no better way to channel your inner main character energy than to take your book or laptop to the park. This one time on a sunny and warm day, I settled down on a picnic table in hopes of getting work done, and it was equally relaxing and distracting to study at Visby’s most famous pretty park.

Wifi: No

Pros: Ducks. You can’t possibly stress about studies when you’re surrounded by ducks!

Cons: Ducks. You can’t possibly focus fully on studying when you’re surrounded by ducks!

Productivity rating: 2/5

That wraps up the study spots I can recommend! Of course, as you settle into Visby and discover more places, you will soon have a mental note of your very own favourite spots where you can be productive both on your own and with a study group. There’s so many cozy cafés within Visby’s walls, and numerous comfortable tables along the halls of Campus. Good luck with your studies!

7 Things to do when you get to Uppsala – By: Arshia

Before I even get into the list – or maybe number 0 on this list is – celebrate! Congratulations on making it to Uppsala University! You’re in for a time full of new experiences, learnings, excitement, and fun!

I remember how I felt when I stepped off my flight; I was so nervous, and there was a feeling of exhilaration making its way up my throat, making me feel like if I spoke, I’d speak in the language of freshly opened soda bottles. Coming from India, a country that is so different from Sweden in every aspect, the drive from the airport to Segerstedhuset felt surreal. But I don’t think you need to be from a very different country to soak in all the differences – simply having a feeling or a voice inside you, telling you that what you’re doing is so new and life-changing and beautiful is all that it takes to make the move special.

That being said, let’s get into the list of things to do once you’ve reached Uppsala!

A view of the cathedral from V-dala nation’s terrace

1: Unpack

I know unpacking seems like such an obvious thing to do when you’re moving to a new university, but I also know that many of us tend to leave the hefty job of unpacking for later. I did at least, and most of my room was taken up by half-opened suitcases with clothes and things spilling out.

Trust me, and unpack as soon as possible. Put things away, give things a place they belong to, make your room a home. As exciting as new places can be, they can also feel daunting and un-homely, so the sooner you unpack and make your room truly your own, the better!

2: Get yourself a sim card.

I know that a lot of you that are from Europe might not need a new sim card, but for those of you that are not from Europe, I’d recommend getting a new sim card for your phone. It’ll allow you to stay connected to your family, your academic faculty, and all necessary groups until you figure out how to set up your wi-fi.

I knew I needed an RJ-45 cable and a router, and since I didn’t want to go through the hassle of being without the internet when I arrived, I got those from home. But, as luck would have it, my router wasn’t compatible and it was a stressful couple of hours until I got myself a sim card with data.

3. Get to know your neighbours!

If you have neighbours, or if you’re living in a corridor and have corridor-mates, head out and try to get to know them. If they’re new, you can plan to explore the city together, and if they’ve been there a while, ask them for help with settling in – where is the nearest grocery store? Is that the one where you get the best deals? Where can I find food that will remind me of home? Do you think I need a bike? Where do I buy one? How the hell do I turn on the shower? (Apparently, there’s a little knob under the sink that you turn and it makes the water go from the tap to the showerhead, who would’ve thought?)

The bike sale at Flogsta

4. Familiarise yourself with Swedish grocery stores and prices.

One thing that really surprised me in Sweden was the lack of a fixed price. In India, we have MRP which is the maximum retail price an object can be sold for, so things are manufactured with prices on them and they will be sold for that price. Sweden has no such fixed price, and prices for things change with every grocery store. So, head to a couple of grocery stores in your area, and get a feel for the prices. Pick one that best suits your needs (or pick multiple, for different items each). This will also help you make a budget later on, if that’s something you’re interested in.

Also, it takes a while before your brain stops converting everything to the currency you’re used to, but it is possible, and when I suddenly realised I wasn’t converting everything to INR I felt extremely accomplished and efficient. It’s a nice feeling. It feels very wow-I-am-living-in-a-foreign-country-ooOoh.

5. Figure out where your campus is.

Not only that, but figure out how you’re going to get there, and also how much time it will take to get there through different means of transportation. Find your closest bus stop, see what number buses stop there, look for cycling paths that will take the least amount of time (but remember that the snow and the ice will make the roads slippery so take that into account when figuring out how long it will take you to cycle to class).

6. Make your way to IKEA

It does not matter if you have been to IKEA in your home country a hundred times. Do the stereotypical thing and go to IKEA. You’re bound to find loads of things that will help you make your room feel more homely for a good price, and if you’re not looking to buy anything, IKEA will force you to you can eat lunch there! Also, I learnt that it is not pronounced eye-kee-yah, but rather ee-kay-ah, so do with that information what you will.

7. Join a nation!

Do not forget to join a nation! Nations are a super important part of your student life in Uppsala, and joining the right one for you will make your stay here that much more fulfilling and enjoyable. Each nation has things that it is known for. Some are known for their club nights, some are known for the special deals they offer to their members on food and drinks, some for their sports, some for more mellow karaoke nights, so on and so forth.

Whether or not there is a tour of the nations being offered, go on one yourself, with your new friends. You’ll get a feel for the nations’ energies and find one that clicks best with you! Remember, you can join multiple nations.

Also, you can keep up with all the events at!

Lunch at Uplands nation!

Of course, the list of things to do when you’re here is endless and your list 100% depends on you and your preferences; these are just some things I think you should do to set yourself up for a clean transition and a fresh start! Most importantly, remember to have fun and soak in all these new experiences even if they can be accompanied by hints of nervousness because there’s nothing quite like the feeling of knowing there’s so much in store for you!

Welcome to Uppsala 🙂

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend – By: Earl

So, when you are excitedly packing your bags to not only move to a new country, but a new continent, nay a new hemisphere, you well up with joy at the thought of all the things you are going to be able to do, everything you will be able to experience. The excitement is resounding. The thought of the flight experience, what is going to happen when you land, how you will get to where you’re staying, what you will eat. Will you miss home? Of course, you think, but definitely not those first few weeks, because that is your time to take it all in.

Your first fall, your introduction to autumn. That’s something that grips you unexpectedly especially when you are used to two seasons, hot and cold. Everything else is almost hot or almost cold. That’s what life is like in the tropics, I guess. The weather starts turning towards a chill, you start thinking about shopping up for winter, a bit prematurely you realise when you dash to a store to buy winter jackets in the middle of October. Everyone is walking around in light jackets and shorts and you are tempted to convert your sleeping back into a walking ‘nu-age’ blanket taken from the runway of some fashion-esque show somewhere in Europe. I mean you could do that and no one would question you or your sanity at all. Back home? You’d be laughed and ridiculed off, before being dragged to the nearest asylum for an “assessment.” Oh, the freedom of the global north!

When the leaves are all but done falling off and dying on the cyclist infested pavements and as they collect together with the mud and muck that is produced by the unannounced rains, you realise that the beauty of a falling leaf also quickly disappears into the mulch of some random Uppsala street. You think of that other random girl.

With no warning, no announcement, no sign post, no bureaucratic informercial or notification, somebody switches the lights off! Just like that. Day turns to night and night turns to nightier night. You awaken and the sun is not familiar with where you are until later in the day when you have been up for what seems like months. And don’t think it will come and be with you for a while? The sun will not tarry. As soon as you rush outside to catch a few rays of sun, it retreats into the gloomy clouds and in no time, the light fades. With 4 – 5 hours of sun during winter, your sun burnt days are but over, but also your days of enjoying the warm that came with the sun gently kissing your cheeks at sunset. You now wish you spent more time outside when you were back home, because when you were home, you had 350/365 days of sunglight. You can forget it for the next two years.

‘The night is dark and full of terrors.’ Those writers were on to something. A lack of Vitamin D in your system will leave you feeling like half a human. Seeing everything dark all the time literally eats away at your soul, and if you’re not careful, will find yourself falling into the winter “slump” were everyone retreats into themselves and become a depressed, anti-social (I laugh as I write this) members of society. You will leave home whilst it is dark, walk into a lecture and buy the time you decide to do a quick pass through the library before you head home, it will be dark outside. It won’t be that the sun did not come, but it came and went back, before you had a chance to experience it.

Would I call this a solution-based blog post? Not really. I won’t spoil you that much. I want you to discover it on your own (wink wink). Or maybe I’ll shed a few pointers here and there. Just do what everyone else does. Take supplements everyday like a junkie; start a month earlier. Go to the gym like you on something. 2 hours every two days works more wonders than you would expect. The university has a sun room (or light room, or star room) somewhere. Go there and get some fake sun. It is better the fake stuff than no stuff at all. This is the time when people should be more social and not the opposite. Hang out more with friends, party, do sleepovers or whatever you do for fun. Just make sure the activities are not sun-based, because, well…

So, embrace the dark side. It will be over…eventually.

Great job, you got out of bed today! – By: Sam

Warning: this post will not be a happy one and deals with depression.

Hej hej, so we all know posts where many people give tips and tricks on how to battle (winter) depression. You get tips like, take vitamin D pills, enjoy the sun while its out, or talk to friends or family. But sometimes, life is harder than that. Some days, you don’t want to get out of bed, you don’t have the energy to go outside or talk to anyone. What then?

Well, honestly, some days are as they seem; they’re going to be bad. You’re going to want to stay in and just not deal with any issues that day and that is totally ok. We are all led to believe that being sad or depressed is a weakness, and something we must combat and get rid of as soon as we can. But it truly isn’t that easy and some days it’s best to just feel awful and embrace those feelings you’re facing. So, this post won’t be tips on how to get rid of the blues or combat them, but a post on how to deal with awful days and embrace these feelings so you can make the best out of an awful day. Let’s begin…

I have days where I do not want to come out of bed or even exist. How can I possibly go outside and enjoy the sun if getting out of bed is already my biggest struggle? I don’t. These days I just stay inside and take my time with every step I take during the day. I take my time to get out of bed, make the simplest breakfast I can, and on days that I don’t even want to eat, I at least drink water to get something in my body. Instead of going to the university or forcing myself outside and getting dressed, I rinse my face with water and give myself one compliment to start the day. Even if the compliment is simply “great job, you got out of bed today!”. Rinsing my face wakes me up a little bit and the compliment shifts my mood a tiny bit so I can at least continue with my day. But trust me, even rinsing my face or giving myself a compliment can be hard, but I force myself to do this because I know it does help me, even if it’s a tiny bit.

On “good” bad days, I also put on my comfiest clothes to feel cosy inside. If I have time, I also put on my favourite song and try to dance or sing a bit to get some happiness and energy for the day. I then get myself back in bed and try to understand what could be making me feel the way I am today. But honestly, most days there isn’t an answer to this, and I have to learn to accept that my mood today just isn’t the best. The rest of the day, I try to put on comfort tv shows or movies, play videogames, write in my journal to get my feelings off my chest, or just cry it out. I feel like getting my emotions out helps me feel better and at least gets it off my chest instead of cropping it all in. If I have energy, I also try to do something fun and creative, like draw, paint or even play my piano. It also helps to get my feelings off my chest and just be free and truly feel what I’m feeling. One day, I simply coloured a blank page completely black and while it might not be the most creative or pretty thing, it really did help me and made me focus on something other than my awful day.

But on really bad days, I just try to rinse my face, give myself a compliment and then get back in bed and do completely nothing. Of course, I still bring a bottle of water with me to bed because if I’m going to be sad, at least I can be hydrated while doing so. But I don’t force myself to do more than I can and just allow myself to lay in bed and gather my feelings. It sounds sad, but some days that’s all one can do and that is ok.

Of course, as a student sometimes you cannot afford to just lay in bed and do nothing. But instead of pressuring myself to get everything done as I usually would, I set some small goals for the day. Last time, I had to read sources and write paragraphs for my essay. Instead, I chose to only read my sources or at least read the introduction and conclusions of my sources and make short notes on topics or sentences I think would be important for my essay. This way, I at least made a start and the next day I had an idea on what I can write about. One other time, I needed to just write my essay and that day I had no energy to come up with academic sentences. So, instead I wrote down my thoughts and what I wanted to say in different paragraphs. I wrote down things like “I really want to write about Bourdieu and his concept of Habitus and field. I need to explain the educational field since my topic is about xxxx”. These were very vague comments, but it helped me the next day when writing, since I at least had something on paper and knew what I wanted to do. So, my tip for bad days where you still need to do something is to not force yourself to do too much when you know you simply cannot. Do what you can, even if its “bad”. Because trust me, doing something, even if its “bad”, is better than doing nothing.

Ending this blog post, I want to remind you that these bad days do pass but shouldn’t be ignored. It is okay to not be okay and it is okay to do less. Don’t overexert yourself and just do as much as you can to go through those days! Even if its just drinking some water and crying it out. Trust me, we have all been there and there is no shame in it!

And if you have trouble getting out of those bad days, the student health services are always here to help you. And trust me, you might not want to talk to anyone, and you might feel ashamed for how you’re feeling, but they truly do want to help and sometimes simply talking to them can help. You can also tell them you do not feel like going outside, and they can possibly arrange something for you via zoom. This way you can still stay in bed but still have someone to help you through this. It is also very important to tell your student coordinator that you are feeling this way if it is affecting your schoolwork. They are also here to help and can help you find solutions to this.

Stay safe, please be kind to yourself and you can get through this!

Xoxo, Sam

My First Diwali Away from Home – By Arshia

Diwali is a big deal for several people in India. I never considered myself to be very religious, but spending my first Diwali (in a long, long time) away from home made me realise just how important it was to celebrate the festival with my family.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with this Hindu festival, Diwali is the festival of lights, and mythologically, it signifies the homecoming of a victor after good has won over evil. It’s a time of love and bonding, not only with your loved ones but with your community as a whole. I have memories of celebrating by bursting firecrackers with my friends as a child, and even the neighbours we never saw would come out to share a sparkler or two. Everyone’s in a good mood, dressed in their vibrant, festive best, sweets are distributed all around until you don’t remember which box of sweets is whose, and everyone’s houses are covered in strings of lights and lined with rows of diyas (little lamps made of clay with a cotton wick to light).

As I grew up, the excitement of the crackers faded, and while the festival wasn’t marked with its usual hustle-bustle, it was still a time to bond with my family over a special meal, or to help my mother roll out the wicks for the diyas. We would still dress up, if only to take a hundred photographs that my parents would then sift through to send to the extended family groups with the usual “blessings from our family to yours” message. In short, it was still a time filled with love and togetherness.

I joined Uppsala University this autumn, and faced my first Diwali away from home on Monday, the 24th of October. In the week leading up to Diwali, my Instagram feed was a myriad of people I knew having several rounds of Diwali parties, and I could feel the homesickness creeping up my throat. Without realizing it, Diwali had made its importance known, and I missed the little things I’d do if I was at home with my parents and my younger sister. I hadn’t made any particular plans for Diwali myself, even though I did have a group of Indian friends.

Eventually, the 24th of October rolled along and I found myself sitting dejectedly with a reading for my next class. My phone buzzed with pictures from my family dressed in their glowing traditional attire, and it suddenly struck me that sitting dejectedly wasn’t all I had to do. There might be several thousand kilometres between me and my family, but hopping on a video call with them would take a couple seconds at best. Two rings later, I could hear the distant sound of crackers being burnt at my apartment complex back at home, and my phone was crowded with the smiling faces of my parents.

The call didn’t last long, but it was more than enough to lift my spirits and remind me to keep the spirit of the festival alive by myself. Diwali is also a festival that calls for an intense cleaning/repairing session of your entire house, and so, as mundane as it might sound, I pulled out a round of sewing and repaired a tear I made in my clothes while getting a pantleg caught on a random nail on my bike (Uppsala things, I guess)! I folded my fresh laundry, and decided to make myself a special meal, preferably something that I had never tried making before, and it wasn’t hard to find a recipe like that since I have cooked approximately three times before coming to Sweden, and I am very basic with all my meals.

I settled on a tofu salad (very non-Indian, I am aware), and while I was cooking, I bumped into my Indian friends, who also had nothing on their plate apart from studying or working. Fortunately, we collectively decided to put everything aside for a while and spend time with each other. Sitting at the kitchen table, we shared stories of what we used to do for Diwali growing up, and it was so interesting to see how different everyone’s celebrations looked back at home.

I have this distinct memory of zooming out and looking at that moment – the three of us, laughing and talking over a shared meal in a typical common Flogsta kitchen – and feeling like that was Diwali celebration enough. To sit and spend time with people you enjoy spending time with, to share, to spread good feeling, to remember what is good and what to be grateful for, and to try and create more of those things. I mean, isn’t that what all these festivals are for anyway?

I ended up with a very strange but very memorable Diwali, and it was one that I felt genuine joy and warmth in, despite the absence of the fire-lit diyas.

I think what I’m trying to say is that, things can look so different when you’re in a different country, enveloped in a foreign culture that takes you so far from your own. But that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate in your own little way; in a way that makes you feel the core happiness that is seated at the centre of the time you spent with your loved ones. Celebrations don’t have to look like they did back at home, they need to feel like home.

Studying Amongst Rauks: Campus Gotland’s Unique Environment – By: Patricia

Fossils are actually a little bit responsible for how I ended up studying Energy Transition at Campus Gotland. I was still in highschool, sitting in one of my environmental science classes, sleep deprived as ever – being an International Baccalaureate student – when my teacher posed the question to our class as to whether we know where some of Sweden’s most incredible fossils can be found. Sitting there, I wanted to make an effort to actively contribute to the discussion, and my memories drifted to a time when I was much younger, on a field
trip, deep in nature, squatting as I searched for fossils… on Gotland!

My answer was, of course, correct. Across this island in the Baltic Sea, rocks that indicate global extinctions and other prehistoric events are just abundant. Remembering my short class trip to Gotland as a mere 12-year old inspired me to spend the rest of my lesson looking up university possibilities on the island – of which there was actually just one… I was amazed to realise that not only does Campus Gotland offer some exciting programmes related to the environmental sciences field I was interested in, but the campus is even part of Uppsala
University, Sweden’s first and oldest university. There and then, I knew I wanted to study here.

I’m currently in my third, and last, year of studying Energy Transition – Sustainability and Leadership. I don’t study about fossils much, I almost forgot about my fascination towards them during the period between highschool and the start of my new life on Gotland. They have a way of reappearing in my life though. During an evening walk by the seaside near the university, I glanced down at my feet and happened to notice a stunning little fossil. Besides it lay another. And another. Once I squatted down to take a closer look, I couldn’t unsee the
beautiful fossilised bounty of the seaside.

During my occasional travels around Gotland, a must-have on my agenda is finding rauks – fascinating limestone land formations created by wave erosions during the course of Gotland’s geological history. One of my favourite Gotland facts that I learned during the Visby tours, which Uppsala University offers to new students every year, is that this island’s bedrock is formed of prehistoric, fossilised coral reefs, some of which withstood the course of crashing waves over time and remained standing as isolated land formations. These are the rauks, hard limestone rocks that contain fossilised remaints of the prehistoric reefs Gotland
was formed on.

Campus Gotland is located in an environment where winding down after class in a fossil paradise, and hiking to a rauk field, is all possible. I spent all my life living in capital cities where such was unimaginable, hence sharing my new home with such rich geological pieces of history fascinates me. I feel lucky to have started my university studies in a place that’s this peaceful, stunning, and so close to unique natural formations.

Many ask where I’m heading next, in June when my studies at Campus Gotland come to an end. In 20 years, I simply hope to imagine myself being knee-deep in fossils, with the same sparkle in my eyes as the one I’ve got that first evening during my seaside walk. I return to that spot often during my time in Visby, sometimes for a mere casual walk, other times with gloves in my pocket ready to keep my hands warm in case I pause to browse through the coast’s fossils.

If you would like to experience the serene calmness of walking through a rauk field, you’re welcomed to visit some of my favourite ones around Gotland:

  • Lergrav: The first ever rauk field I’ve been to. Lergravsporten, a majestic rauk arch you can walk through, catches the rays of sunset if you visit the area in the evening.
  • Holmhällar: This is where I stayed during my field trip when I was 12, but the place doesn’t only feel special to me. The area is abundant in fossils and a variety of captivating rauk formations.
  • Snäckschimpansen: The closest rauk to Visby, found in Snäck. It’s exciting that I can walk here any time without having to plan a trip around it. I hear this rauk is a much newer formation than the ones you usually find around the island.
  • Gamla hamn: The “postcard rauk”. This is the one you will find on most photographs of Gotland. It’s all the way on Fårö, so it’s a full day trip away. I thought it was a lot taller in real life!
  • Digerhuvud: Also on Fårö, it’s Sweden’s largest rauk field. I spent a sunset here, and it was unlike anything I’ve experienced in terms of nature’s magic. The endless stretch of rauks along the coast were captivating.
  • Lickershamn: This is just a half-hour ride from Visby. I was here on a rainy, misty day, and got to spend some truly peaceful moments around the rauks in this area.

Thank you for reading my little blog entry about how it’s party thanks to my fascination towards fossils that I discovered Campus Gotland. If I inspired you to go fossil-hunting or visit a rauk field, remember to brush up your knowledge prior to your trip about where it’s allowed to climb rauks or take fossils home with you, and don’t forget to leave nature the same way you found it.

I’m leaving you with a peculiar fact that always makes me smile a little: on Fårö, you’re not allowed to stack stones to make rock towers – moving stones away from their place is not permitted in efforts to conserve the natural landscape and the habitats of animals that dwell amongst the rocks.

Traveling in and around Uppsala – By: Sam

Traveling in Uppsala is very easy! There are many busses that go every 10 minutes during the day or every 30 minutes at night. To use the bus, you can download the UL app and this app is so easy to use to know when and where to grab a bus to go anywhere in and around Uppsala. You can also use the app to buy bus and train tickets, but you can also buy a bus ticket on the bus, to avoid using the app but that can be more expensive. The only downside to getting a bus is that it costs money to travel each time and sadly there is no student price, but when it’s cold, raining, or windy, or your bicycle is broken, grabbing the bus is a great option!

Instead of a bus, lots of people in Uppsala also use a bicycle. Bicycling is very easy in Uppsala and many students and people in general travel by bike in the city. There are many bike roads separate from the car roads which makes these bike paths very safe and easy to use. It is also very easy to navigate through the city and it’s also a great way to keep moving and enjoy the city from a different perspective. You can also cycle into many forests and discover Uppsala in a totally different way. Bicycling can also be faster than a bus, since you can always grab your bike and go somewhere else without having to depend on a bus schedule, and using a bicycle brings you closer to the destination you need. Just make sure to buy a good lock for your bicycle, since they can get stolen in the city.

Bicycles can easily be bought at second hand bike stores, or at bicycle sales held every so often at Flogsta and Gottsunda. Second hand bikes work well, so you do not need to buy a new bicycle for an expensive price. And if your bicycle ever needs reparations, second hand shops can also help with that for a decent price. You can also buy second hand bicycles on Facebook marketplace! Second hand bicycles are a great way to save money and recycle used bicycles.

Can’t get a bicycle and don’t want to use the bus? There are many electric scooters you can rent in the city. Apps such as Voi and Tier show you where the nearest electric scooter is, where you can activate it and rent it for as long as you want. They can be rented for a day, for a week or even a month! It’s a fast, easy and fun way to explore the city and also an easy way to include your friends if they visit you and don’t have a bicycle to travel around.

Whether it’s a bus, a bicycle or electric scooter, Uppsala is an easy city to travel around! And if you’re ever feeling active you can also easily walk around the city too. I love my bicycle, what’s your preferred method of transportation?

Second-Hand Shops/ Thrift Stores in Visby – By: Valentine

When you arrive in a new country you really want to make your flat or your dorm, the most unique and comfortable place! But as a student, spending all your riches on it is not the sole purpose of your coming to Sweden. So….. Why don’t you try to do that by going to second-hand shops? You could find a lot of things at an amazing price while preserving the planet from overconsumption (probably the sustainability girl in me who talks now XD ) In this blog, I will try to guide you through different second-hand shops around Visby and maybe you will find super cool stuff that no one else has 😉 

Let’s start with PMU Second Hand

It is located around 30 min away from Visby (Osterport) but it is worth the visit! 
This second-hand shop is the PARADISE! Really it has everything that you need: glass, plates, books, cool vintage Visby postcards, clothes, and even pieces of furniture. The thing that I like the most about this shop is that the items change depending on the current season. For example, the first time that I went there was during Christmas and I found so many cute Swedish Christmas decorations! I was so happy. It was amazing to bring so many unique items to France and put it on my Christmas tree and decorate my flat with them 🙂 Also, you can find some Gotland tourist items which are one of my favourite things to thrift: So if you want to have some souvenirs really go there! It will be less expensive and you will be super happy to have found it. Also the staff there is super nice 🙂

My second favourite thrift store in Visby is the Red Cross

It is a charity shop so you can find these types of shops all over Gotland but the closer one is 15 min away from Visby (Osterport). 
It is a very nice shop with a large selection of clothes! You can find what you like inside. It is smaller than PMU but still with a lot of stuff, you can find: plates, glass, mugs, clothes, CDs,… But the thing that I like about this place is that people with disabilities have jobs and are reusing old pieces of fabrics to create tote bags, scrunchies, aprons, and a lot of other stuff and sell them in the shop and you can have even more unique pieces while doing a very nice action by supporting their work! I always find really unique pieces there such as the Pippi frame or the Gotland Mug! This place is also a café so if you want to thrift as well as a break from all the shopping and hunting that you have been doing this is the perfect place 🙂

My third place is actually Antikvariat Drotten(Antiquarian Drotten Map) 

It is located inside the city and is a very unique place! 
You can find a bit of everything in Swedish and a bit of English Books. It is not open often so check out the time schedule before trying on going there 😉 

My fourth thrift store is Re: Dress

It is actually located next to Osterport. 
It is a very small shop that is kind of hidden but very nice to go to. This is more of a luxury/ expensive item shop! So if you want to check it out and you are ready to spend a bit of money for a very unique piece of clothing, go for it 😉 

The last two places are further away from Visby and are places that I haven’t been but would love to go and try. Those places are Kattstodet Gotland and Ateranvandarna Gotland ! 

Well, I hope that I gave you some of my love for thrift shopping and that you will love to find your own very unique pieces from Sweden and on the same occasion win some money and save the planet! 

Here is the list of all the thrift shops with their addresses and time schedule so you can be ready to go when it is open! A reel was also shared on our Instagram account study@uu where I go to the first two thrift stores !! 

Have a wonderful day! And meet you in the Second-Hand shops 😉 

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