Author: Guestblogger (Page 2 of 18)

One Last Semester: Musings of an International Student – By: Arshia

The way you feel when you’re packing your bags the week before leaving for a whole new country is so overwhelming. You’re excited yet so nervous, jumping between telling your mother not to cry when she misses you to being on the verge of tears yourself because you’re going away for such a long time.

In my case, I was leaving for two whole years. It sounds like a lot, doesn’t it?

But here I am now, and I’ve only just managed to blink twice and somehow most of my time in Uppsala is over. I have barely five months left before I graduate (if my thesis gets done on time, and I’m hopeful that it will be), and judging by how the past year and a half have gone by, five months is nothing.

I think about it really often nowadays – the fact that I am leaving. I think about it as I wake up in my room in Flogsta, as I cook in the kitchen I’ve shared with so many other students over the past semesters, as I travel in buses and look out the window at a landscape I have now come to think of as a normal part of my life, as I marvel at the way the snow sparkles under street lights at night. I think about leaving often because while it is so sad, I want to make the most of every living, breathing moment I get here because coming to Uppsala and being a student here was by far one of the most novel, transformative, and beautiful experiences of my whole life, so far.

You expect so much when you know you’re going to a new country to study, but the final experience is always so much more than what you could have imagined, and it is also so much more than the sum of its parts. For me, Uppsala was the first place where I felt truly independent. It was the closest I got to “running my own house” what with doing all my own chores, keeping a budget, buying all my own groceries, decorating my space the way I wanted to, and pretty much managing every aspect of my life. Coming from India, where our lives are way more family-centric, all of this was so new to me, and even though it didn’t take long to get used to it, I can feel it in my bones that it is going to be difficult to go back and undo this independence as I move back home after I graduate.

But, despite knowing that it will be difficult, I am so glad and grateful that Uppsala taught me to be independent because my entire perspective on new experiences has changed. I no longer feel even half the fear and anxiety I would feel because if I could radically change what my life looked like in a country with no support at the start, and be responsible for every move I made, I can do a lot more than I think, and I am way more capable that I believe.

I remember having a heartfelt conversation with a friend I made in my first year here, as she neared the end of her one-year exchange. She was from Japan, and Sweden gave her just as much of a culture shock as it gave me. We sat in the warmth of the late-setting sun, at the wobbly kitchen table of our Flogsta corridor. Her knees tucked under her chin, she spoke about how difficult it would be to go back and re-adjust to a place where she didn’t feel as much freedom. While I empathized with her, I didn’t feel the extent of her words, perhaps because I still had a year left to contend with the same idea. But now, the depth of her words is certainly felt in my body.

But just as I am grateful, so was she. Uppsala gave us freedom, responsibility, accessibility, courage, safety, and nothing can undermine the growth and learning we have encountered and embodied here. 

Even the way I approach relationships has changed. Being able to meet and get close to people from so many different countries has been such a rewarding experience. I think an experience like this does something to you; not only are you more open to people with vastly different histories, you are also left more capable of using this openness to create something really lovely. A lot of people I made friends with did not have English as their first language, and the way we built our ways of understanding each other and making space for each other is nothing short of beautiful. Our languages evolved together in our little circles, as inside jokes and shared memories transcended culture to create our own. Things like being patient, loving, sharing, and caring take precedence over first-level understanding of someone else’s tongue.

As a student of Philosophy (Aesthetics), I’ve seen how my personal research interests have evolved so much here, with my assignments and ideas for future research circling around love and empathy in politically helpful ways. I can clearly see how the relationships I’ve garnered in my time in Uppsala have inspired a lot of that, with my personal life and my academic life running parallel to one another in a way that feels so fulfilling.

All of this to say that I owe the person I am today to the time I was gifted in Uppsala. While I feel relieved that I still have one last semester here, I know it will go by so fast, and I intend the make the absolute most of it. But I am sure that if the past year and a half could change me so hugely, my last five months have a lot in store too and despite knowing I will miss this experience terribly; I can’t wait to see what I learn!

Uppsala Start-Ups and Entrepreneurial Scene – By: Yasmin

Hello! This is Yasmin from Indonesia. I am a Master of Entrepreneurship (1 year program) student at Uppsala University. This time I would like to share some interesting valuable insights about Uppsala’s open innovation ecosystem that supports future entrepreneurs or may inspire your future career after graduation or while your study! This information is gathered through my course experience and some personal research.

During my studies I learn so much about entrepreneurship from theory down to practical things. Things that you may expected from an Entrepreneurship program such as Identifying opportunities, create business plan, pitching ideas, etc. But the reality is, there’s so much more than what is teached in the class and it’s only possible by doing and put things into practice. Meaning, actually try to run a real business.

However, I personally not someone who aspire to become an entrepreneur (yet). But I always wanted to help more startups or any kind of corporation to succeed in the future by keep being innovative and have access to open innovation. The truth is, a business cannot run properly only by business/economy major related people. At some point, it needs diversification from other various disciplines to make it possible. Unfortunately, not everyone has an access to learn how to build a business to get confident in starting something. 

Which is why I feel like the least I can do is to share this knowledge about Uppsala entrepreneurial scene in order to bring more awareness to more variety of people who may get inspired to build or contribute to something in the future.

As we all know Sweden has a long history of innovation which is also supported by the government and the academic scene. One of them is via start-up investment and support programs in many ways. You may have heard about start-up companies and some inspiring stories of them from ground zero to success, having great vision and solving problems to make the world a better place with their innovation and solutions. You may think that it’s only for ‘business/ entrepreneur major oriented people’. Well, the truth is, everyone needs everyone from various backgrounds to chip in and contribute to make things work. It’s only right to at least be aware of how open innovation works (in this case in Uppsala), see where you may be able to contribute or support, and share with more people who may get inspired to step further in building their start-up.

A start-up does not always have to come up with a revolutionary innovation. Anything that solves a problem or creates a possible demand in the future is acceptable. Moreover, Uppsala’s start-up support ecosystem is well-integrated. They exist to help more businesses to grow and succeed. Some of them even specialize in sustainability matters. Here are some institutions in Uppsala that will accompany a start-up from ideation down to growth, funding stages, and so on. Some of them are fully run by universities or the government, some are also partially run and funded by the private sector and venture capital as illustrated in this picture:

Source: Presentation from ALMI

The closest institution you can access anytime as Uppsala student for free is UU Innovation. They are fully provided by the University to support any student in exploring possibilities of building their own business or innovation. They provide business coaching and networks for future early funding and free grants to test out ideas. If your idea of a product requires some specific machinery, tools, or further research to build your prototype, it’s the best place to ask for further access and recommendations. It could also help you to reach out some of Uppsala researchers who may be interested in your business ideas. They have gathering events like networking parties and business idea workshops to inspire more students in their entrepreneurial journey!

Same purpose as UU Innovation focusing on early-stage startup from Ideation phase down to early pre seed-funding. You can book a business coaching or consultation for free as a student. They also have their own affordable open-office space near the central station. Drivhuset operates in a wider region of Uppsala meaning that you may encounter a broader network of people and resources outside Uppsala University and not just students. It’s a great way to understand how Uppsala and Sweden’s open innovation works for a beginner and get inspired to start your own business.

What makes them unique is, that they have a program called “Team-Up” for start-ups to showcase their business to the people and do some kind of talent matchmaking. It’s like a job fair but for start-ups! If you already have a business and looking for a talent, you can also reach them. Moreover, they have a regular monthly event called “Breakfast Club” where everyone can mingle, network, and listen to one inspiring entrepreneur sharing their stories.

Once you are looking to scale your business further, ALMI is one place to go. It is 100 percent owned by the Swedish state. They provide business development consultation, financing, and access to bigger funding of venture capital and a broader network across Sweden and the Nordics. This applies to businesses in the start-up phase as well as established companies with high growth potential and a scalable business concept that seeks improvement.


My Experience on Team Up Event by Drivhuset, November 2023

I attended Drivhuset Team-Up 2023 event last November and there were a lot of start-ups from digital services, medical tech, blockchain, and even non-digital startups that work on sustainable products and services. It’s a good way to understand more about the company and look for any job opportunities in an early start-up if that interests you.

Some insights that I got from the event: Some start-ups do not openly post their opening in popular job posting (such as Linked In, Glassdoor, The Hub, etc). The reason being is that many of them are looking for talent based in Uppsala and close to the network itself as most of them are founded in Uppsala and prefer hybrid/ offline work arrangements. Since many of them are early-stage startups that recently got funded and are ready to scale their business further, they are still around less than 10 employees on average. I could ask questions and chat directly with the start-up founders, exchange ideas and contact in this event which is a super valuable experience. 

The most popular job openings are software engineers as many of the start-ups are still in the product enhancement phase on their platform or mobile application. Another popular opening is digital marketing and business development whether it’s for internship, part-time, or even full-time. But don’t be bummed if you don’t find a suitable role, sometimes you can also propose a new role suitable for your preferred job role for internship perhaps as everything is usually in an open discussion manner. Some interesting start-ups are also looking for Master thesis student to help their business research in exchange for master’s thesis topics and credit. These types of openings are usually for high-innovation tech startups that looking for more researchers in various fields of expertise like medicine, mechanical engineering, machine learning, and more! What is more astonishing is that some start-ups even looking for a potential C-level manager and co-founder in exchange for future shares and stock options for those who are interested.

Summary:

The opportunities are endless needless to say. I was just as surprised that Uppsala has this kind of supportive ecosystem which we can benefit as students by being involved and getting to know more about it in a very accessible way. You don’t necessarily have the ambition to be a start-up founder yourself to get involved. But I think it’s the best way to understand how open innovation works in Uppsala and Sweden in general and see if you can contribute and learn more from them outside your class while you study in Uppsala.

Here are things to be remembered:

  • If you don’t have an Idea but want to be an entrepreneur at some point? Discuss with them!
  • If you have an Idea but don’t know how to realize it? Ask them!
  • Interested to work or contribute to a start-up? Expand your network and reach them!
  • Don’t have any business background to run a company? Don’t be afraid, they can help and teach you from scratch!
  • Don’t have any capital to test your idea and run your business? You can get access, grants, and funding there!
  • Don’t have a suitable partner or team to run your business together? Find your future colleague there!
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to any of them about your ideas! No ideas are stupid.

I hope this blog inspires you to explore more about the entrepreneurial scene in Uppsala and Sweden in general! Cheers

//Yasmin

4, 5, 6 – Differences in grading systems and grades – By: Sofía

Before arriving in Sweden, I was aware of the differences in the educational and grading systems. During the introductory seminars, current international students shared their journeys of adapting to the Swedish system. I was surprised by the number of international students who faced challenges and even failed in their initial periods. Frankly, I was nervous that I might encounter a similar situation.

Grading scale at Uppsala University

In Mexico, many of us grow up with this fear of failure, leading young students to mainly focus on memorization rather than truly understanding concepts. Progressing from one grade to another often involves memorizing concepts that tend to fade over time. Let me be clear—I am grateful for the education I received. Mexico has great universities and amazing teachers who inspired me with their passion and love for science. However, my experiences in Sweden have unveiled a contrasting approach: here, the emphasis is on genuine learning, placing the focus on individuals to take responsibility for their learning journey rather than solely on the grade received in an exam. Each faculty at Uppsala University decides on their own grading scale. My programme in Uppsala has the grading system is G 3 (passed), 4, 5, or U (fail). Most of the time, achieving a 3 requires getting 50% or more of the points correct in the exam. For a 4, it’s between 70-85, and for a 5, it’s 86-100. Receiving a ‘U’ allows a chance for a retake without the need to retake the entire course or pay extra fees. The concept of retakes might be negatively viewed in Mexico, often accompanied by additional fees and limitations on achieving a grade higher than 70, which is the passing grade in Mexico.

My first exams

My first exams were last October, and I have now received all the grades from them. But before I share how it went, let me describe how the exams were. I took three courses during my initial period as a new Uppsala master student. They were demanding, and I soon realized the necessity of investing considerable time in studying for them. I started studying a month in advance. While exams in Mexico are usually one or two hours long, realizing that exams here spanned five hours left me in a panic. The exam halls are approximately 30 minutes away from the city center by bus, so I had to wake up very early and catch the bus to get there. The exam halls are spacious rooms filled with computers, creating an intimidating atmosphere, and you often take the exam alongside students from different programs. There’s a bathroom available, and you can access it as many times as needed. Additionally, you’re allowed to bring your own food, water, coffee, or any other necessary items. Your phone and belongings remain outside in lockers. Initially, I doubted my ability to remain focused and seated for the full five hours, but the state of stress and adrenaline made time fly by.

Is passing enough?

I passed all my exams, but upon receiving my grades, I experienced mixed feelings. Back home, achieving a good grade is the result of one’s effort, but here, despite pushing myself hard, I barely passed or managed to get a 4 (75-85). It felt like settling for just passing. When I shared my feelings with my Swedish classmates, they all tried to explain that in Sweden, passing is more than sufficient. It took the reassurance of the tenth person to finally calm me down. I needed that reminder of how challenging it is to be an international student—learning in a different language, in a different system, far from home, and in my case, studying completely new topics from what I pursued during my bachelor’s degree. I needed to remind myself to be kind to myself and to prioritize genuine understanding and finding my path for future work.

Enjoy learning!

Consequently, I’ve decided to stop comparing myself with others, to adjust my goals, and focus on a different type of learning—a journey where I embrace the process and enjoy learning, rather than pressuring myself for an elusive perfect score (a ‘5’). I’m now concentrating on relishing the experience of pursuing my master’s at a remarkable university in the beautiful city of Uppsala.

My advice for you is to remember that you’re doing fine. Focus on your goals, take deep breaths, and appreciate the process while prioritizing your mental health. A grade doesn’t define your worth or capability.

FRITIDSBANKEN (as Swedish as kanelbullar) – By: Artur

Around the end of November, winter weather truly starts to kick in around Uppsala. The nights are long, the days are short, it gets colder, more icy, and more snowy. Sounds like a perfect recipe for the “winter blues” to hit you, right? Not on Sweden’s watch!

As you probably know, the Swedes really enjoy exercising. The gyms are always full, and there are always people running, cycling or Nordic walking, which is something I was introduced to when I moved here. The Swedes are also known for their love of being outdoors: hiking, camping, cross-country skiing, they do it all with a little help from Allemansrätten. But most of these activities require some sort of specific equipment which can be very pricey sometimes. So what do you do if you just moved here, if you didn’t bring your gear or actually never owned it, and if you don’t feel like spending the money to try something out just once? That’s where my favourite Swedish institution so far comes in: Fritidsbanken. Literally “Free Time/Leisure Bank”

Fritidsbanken is a project that started in 2013 in Värmland (the region in Western Sweden, not the Student Nation). Its purpose is to serve as a library for sports and outdoor equipment. You just go there, find whatever gear you are looking for, give them your name and a (Swedish) phone number, and you get to take anything home on a 14-day loan. The best part? It is all completely free! Fritidsbanken is financed and supported by the Swedish Sports Confederation and other Swedish institutions. They also rely on equipment donations, which help them make sure that access to all their goods is free for all.

“like a library but for sports and leisure,
EVERYONE CAN BORROW AND ALL IS FREE
Welcome to Fritidsbanken”


My friends and I went there searching for ice skates, but I was legitimately impressed with the amount of things they had when I walked in there. From skis to hiking backpacks, badminton rackets to footballs, ski boots, helmets, goggles, they have a variety of sizes and styles. I wear size 44 shoes, which I think is the most common shoe size for men here in Sweden, and they still had at least 6 pairs of skates I could choose from.

After trying out the skates and finding a pair that fit me, I just had to check out. But before that, I had an internal debate about whether I should take anything else. Maybe a helmet, since I had only skated 4 times before in my life and never really learned how to. Maybe some Ice Hockey or Bandy equipment in case I felt like trying out some typically Swedish winter sports. I ended up settling on taking only the skates, but all other options were available and I might try them out in the future.

One important thing to be aware of, though, is their opening hours. There are two units of Fritidsbanken in or close to Uppsala. One of them (the one I went to) is the Industristaden unit, located in the industrial zone south of the city centre, and the other one is a bit further away in Gottsunda. Both of them have the same opening hours: from Monday to Thursday between 2 and 7 pm. So if, like me, you plan on grabbing your gear for a little weekend adventure, you better plan ahead!


After you’ve chosen all you want to take, you just have to check out. It’s a very simple procedure: you just go to the “cashier”, show them what you’re taking, they ask for your name and phone number (has to be Swedish), enter it into their system and you get a text with a link to all the information relating to your loan. I even heard from a friend that if you need the skates you’re taking to be sharpened, for example, they can do it for you there for free as well. You get to keep the equipment for up to 14 days and just have to bring everything back in the same conditions you got it.

On Saturday, I met my friends to go put our skates and skills to the test. It was a really cold and windy afternoon, there was some snow laying on the ground and the sun had shined all morning but was starting to hide behind the clouds. It was a perfect early winter day to go enjoy another facility Uppsala has to offer: a free ice skating rink!

At Studenternas, right next to the football stadium, is the ice rink where Bandy matches are held. Next to it, there is a free skating area that is open to whoever wants to use it to play sports, practice their figure skating, or, as was my case, try to learn how not to fall every other minute. It is a very nice environment, full of families, friend groups, couples, and people enjoying their own company. Everybody respects each other’s space to the best of their abilities and it is a really fun activity to get you out of the house and into the cold winter air for a few hours. Don’t forget to dress warm and do a good layering job, though, because staying outdoors for long when it is cold might be dangerous. Wear a good scarf, a beanie, thick socks, and good gloves as well.

As they say: “There’s no bad weather, just bad clothes”


To me, Fritidsbanken is something that sums up a lot of the good things I like in Sweden. It’s a community-based institution whose main goal is to get people to go out, exercise and enjoy themselves and the company of friends. This sense of togetherness and the idea of staying active during the dark and cold winter months are crucial for students that just moved here. Having the chance to do all of this, and especially for free, is another example of why student life in Uppsala is among the best I have ever seen. Not even some snow, ice, and darkness can avoid it. In fact, they only add to the whole experience 😉

Navigating “Free” Time as a Student – Managing Stress, Being Efficient, and Working Smart! – By: Arshia

One of the most important parts of academic culture in Sweden is the amount of trust and responsibility put on the student to study by themselves. On one hand, that comes with a lot of advantages since, as a student, you’re able to figure out a schedule that works for you, and study in the way that best suits your strengths, habits, and patterns. You’re viewed as an independent, responsible individual (something that I think also contributes to the lack of hierarchy in Sweden’s academic institutions). On the other hand, if you come from a vastly different academic culture (like I do!), it can be difficult to hold yourself accountable and do the work that is actually expected of you without the pressure of a professor telling you to do it!

Now that I am in the second year of my Master’s and am faced with a lot of “free” months where I have no classes because I’m entrusted with steadily working on my thesis, I’m in the process of figuring out how to work productively and smartly. Here are some tips from me (and also my thesis supervisor) that worked for me, and may work for you too!

Build a schedule that feels familiar

The most difficult part of navigating free time is not having a schedule to hold yourself to. I’ve had countless conversations with so many friends and corridor mates about how having long free periods makes it tough to keep track of time since nobody expects you to be anywhere or do anything. Combating this means making a fixed schedule for yourself. Draw up a chart and stick it to your wall, schedule study time and put it in your calendar the way you would do for classes. What’s important is that you make it look and feel similar to what your classes for your courses would look like. For instance, if you have three classes a week, schedule three study sessions, and then three additional pre-class prep sessions.

Prep sessions could involve skimming through literature, looking for readings, narrowing down to questions you want your research to acknowledge and answer. The main study sessions on the other hand would involve properly diving into the literature, getting to the meat of how to answer the questions you set aside, actually doing the work you prepared to do.

Set realistic goals

When dealing with mountains of readings and literature review, it’s easy to both feel overwhelmed, and also overestimate how much work you’re actually capable of doing, and doing well. There’s a limit to how much information we can retain and properly make use of, and so it is of the utmost importance to recognise our human-ness and set realistic goals.

I was one of those people who would promise myself to read one or two papers a day, but then when I would actually sit down to do the work, I would realise very soon that I had bitten off more than I could chew. This was not only because the papers were hard to read (because sometimes they would be manageable), but because it is incredibly time-consuming to properly understand, analyse, and take notes from a paper.

My entire studying game changed when I went from setting myself one or two papers a day to half a paper. It takes a lot of stress off your shoulders when you know that you need to only do half a paper. Less stress means that you aren’t rushing yourself, and your brain is less cloudy to actually read the paper. You can certainly do more than half a paper if you get into the flow of it, but even reaching the half-paper mark will make you feel accomplished, and you’ll have the energy to come back and finish it the next day, knowing that there’s not much left!

Writing less, consistently is better than writing more, sporadically

This point is kind of like an extension to the last point, talking about writing instead of reading, but it is important nonetheless.

When I had trouble finding motivation to write and did not know where or how to start, I voiced my concerns to my supervisor who gave me this advice! He said that it is much better to aim to write a hundred imperfect words a day than setting a bigger goal of a thousand perfect words a week. Setting a small daily goal keeps you consistent, and pushes away the possibility of procrastinating until the last couple days of the week. Returning to your work on a daily basis also ensures that you’re actively thinking about it and about ways to improve it, and by the end of the week you can actually end up with a thousand decent words that are ready for editing!

Realise that normal is the norm!

Some more words of wisdom from my supervisor – strive to be normal!

We all tell ourselves that bad days aren’t the norm, but we also need to realise that good days aren’t the norm either. So, just as we wouldn’t get used to the idea of not studying at all, we shouldn’t get used to the idea of studying extremely productively and successfully every day just because we had a couple of good days in a row.

Aim to have a really normal day, and rely more on discipline than on sporadic feelings of motivation. That way, you won’t feel upset when you don’t have the best study session ever, and you will also know that having a bad study session doesn’t mean that you are stuck in that state. You will just bumble along steadily and calmly, and will end up doing much more work consistently.

Separate your spaces

Having separate spaces for different parts of your life is incredibly important to align your mindset with the task you have set yourself to do. If you study in the same space that you also use for relaxation, it can be difficult to shift mindsets and be prepared to focus when it is time to work. Inversely, it can also take much longer to relax even when you put your books and devices away because your mind now associates that space with working and not resting.

Study in cafes, dining rooms, or one of the many wonderful libraries Uppsala University has to offer (I love the library at Engelska Parken, and also Carolina Rediviva).

If you don’t want to go outside because it’s too cold for your liking or you want to save money and time, you can also demarcate spaces within your room! My laptop recently broke which means that I cannot move it from my desk, so I cannot go to the libraries with it anymore. To work around this little setback, I’ve made my desk my designated work/study space, and even when I want to take a short break, I get up and shift to my bed, or the couch, or head to the balcony for some fresh air!

Take breaks!

While this means that you take breaks in between study sessions, this also means longer breaks! If you’ve been given a month without classes, you have to strike a nice balance between working and studying, and actually doing things that bring you joy, help you relax, and recharge you. Take the weekend off and spend time with your friends, grab a bus ticket and visit one of the many small towns and cities around Uppsala, sign up for events at the nations, or you could even work at the nations to meet more people and surround yourself in a different atmosphere! If you can, take a flight or a train to other cities in Sweden, or to the countries around Sweden!

There’s a whole lot of things to do in and around Uppsala, and Sweden as a whole, and since you’re a student here now, you should do as much as you can to make the most of this experience of being in a new city and new country!

I hope these little tips and tricks help you stay on top of your academic work in ways that are more efficient and productive, and leave you with less stress and worry. While stress and anxiety can be common parts of being a student (especially a student in a foreign country), it’s best to do what we can to improve our experience so that we’re left with more space and energy to enjoy the nicer parts of student life!

What are some things you like to do to stay motivated, disciplined, and productive?

The Rindi Rendezvous: Making Friends and Memories in the Student Union Scene – By: Nathaniel

Socializing when you’ve moved to a new country can be really daunting. From my experience, I have found joining the student union, Rindi, to be very helpful for socializing, interacting, and getting to know the great people and students through fun activities here at Campus Gotland. Due to Campus Gotland being a tight-knit community, whether you are studying, participating in guilds, or want to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with friends, it is very easy to find yourself spending a lot of time in the Rindi Castle. The café guild holds pop-up cafes which are popular due to the affordable and delicious goodies that are offered.

I am a member of the Sound Guild in which I have been very active. I had my first DJ set a few weeks ago which went well. So, it has been very interesting learning to mix different genres of music and set up sound systems.

Rindi can help build a sense of community and belonging on campus. You are able to meet so many other students who share similar interests or hobbies and you are able to learn about different cultures and understand others perspectives outside of academia. The guilds or clubs that I’ve mentioned before and below are some of the communities that one can be a part of at Rindi. They also have study sections that are categorized by what you study such as LeGo(Leadership and Engineering), Envis(Environmental and Earth Sciences), and VisEkon(Economics) which provide opportunities for students to develop leadership skills and take on leadership roles. You can gain valuable experience in organizing events, managing budgets, and working with others. Or just by participating in events organized is a way to be active within the community.

So apart from the study sections, Rindi has its own board. As a student union, Rindi appoints board members who often advocate for student rights and express students’ concerns, both on campus and in the wider community.

In summary, joining a student union can provide a range of benefits that can enhance your university experience. From community building to leadership opportunities to advocacy, there are many reasons to consider joining a student union at Uppsala University, Campus Gotland.

Some of the clubs (guilds) that you can take part in at Campus Gotland

Café Guild: Where you can bake and host student cafés. Which are held weekly on Sundays and Wednesdays at Rindi.

Kitchen Guild: Where you can cook alongside others with similar passions with students. They plan on providing lunches quite soon!

The Sound Guild: Is where you have the opportunity to learn how to DJ and set up sound systems.

Rindi CineClub: Provides the opportunity to help organize film screenings for students here at Campus Gotland which as a Rindi member you have access to discounted prices.

Rindi Sports Club: Is a community where you can play tennis, paddleboarding, football, basketball, and badminton on a weekly basis.

Castle Guild: They help with repairs and requests from other sections and clubs. If you need anything made you can ask them and they will do their best to craft it for you.

Bar Guild: They run the student bar every Friday. They have the chance to practice their bartending skills while serving drinks to students.

Fire Guild: Do you like playing with fire? At the Fire Guild, you learn to use Fire poi’s and staff and from to time, you perform what you’ve practiced for students at school events.

Apart from all the different activities that go on, I would recommend going out of your comfort zone to socialize and initiate the conversation because I can assure you that everyone is more or less too shy to start the conversation. 

Getting the most out of the nation life – By: Andis

While living in Uppsala you will obviously encounter nations as a crucial part of your life here. You already know or have heard that each nation has a pub where you can hang out, clubs to celebrate being young for reasonable, student friendly prices and other fun activities. However, a great way to find your home, here so far away from all your friends and family is to get active in a nation. But what does that mean exactly? Let me give you a short introduction in what it means to be active, how to get active and what do you get for doing that!

What can you do?

Sustaining an organization like a student nation is actually much harder than you might expect. There are many parts in the organization that need to work together and collaborate to provide all the wonderful activities that nation does. There are a lot of positions that you can take to be a part of this wonderful mechanism. The most common ones are the ones in clubwork. Clubwork is a part of the nations that works with the pub, clubs, events and gasques. Therefore there is a need for a lot of people in different positions to make this work. Do keep in mind that in different nations you might have different names or amounts of certain positions, I will share the structure of the nation I am active in – Kalmar nation, but it could vary a bit!

The spine of the clubwork is the clubworkers of course! There are usually around 10 positions for clubworkers and they are the ones making sure you can go and hang out in the nation pubs! Clubworkers are in charge of either the bar or kitchen during a pub night and also the staff that works in the pub! It is the most common first position to take in a nation because you can really get into the ground level of the operation and understand exactly how a nation works! You can apply to be a clubworker and take the position for one semester, where you then would be in charge of the pub, usually one night a week! Other positions in the clubwork are clubmasters – the people organizing clubs, fika-masters, who are in charge of fika, headwaiter, kitchen master etc. The latter ones are a usual second step after the semester as a clubworker and it works very well too since you already have experience in how the nation works and can continue working in it!

But that is absolutely not all, the nations have other positions that deal with other parts which are just as important. There are the marketing team that makes sure the nation is presented in the best possible way on the social media and posters, the recceförman and international secretaries, who make sure that new students are welcome, feel at home and get all the information you need. There are marshals and flag bearers who participate in the more traditional activities and are very important in representing a nation and making sure the events run smoothly. Each nation has a newspaper, so you can become an redactor of the newspaper and a librarian who keeps sure that the nations libraries are in check. There are also archivists working with keeping the legacy of the nation safe, song masters, who lead the songs in gasques, different positions for the different activity groups like theatre, choir and other! And of course the qurators who are in charge of part of the nation, 1Q is in charge of the nations administrative side and representation, 2Q in charge of finances and economy and 3Q is in charge of the restaurant business – pub, clubs etc. Some nations also have a 4Q who is in charge of gasques and rent outs. These positions (except the qurators) are a usual second or third step after being in the clubwork and that is when you have been in the nation for a while and are ready to more administrative work in the nation!


As you can see there are so so many things you can do at a student nation and each of them are very important to keep the nation working. Furthermore, it means that everyone can find a place where they belong and do what they do best!

Where to start?

The nation might sound like a complicated organization and quite hard to understand, getting active is so so easy! The only thing you need to do is take a shift at the pub! Just look up the staff facebook group of a nation, if you can`t find it, just go to your nation and ask around! It is very simple to take shift and start working, you can even earn a teeny tiny bit of money for doing so, but the friendships gained this way are precious. You can start working at the pub, clubs, gasques or fika and that is the perfect way to get to know people who are active and put your foot in the door of the nation! Usually people start working in the pub for a semester and then decide to take a position, commonly a clubworker since you are now accustomed with how the pub works. The nations usually have an informational evening to tell more about what it is like to be a clubworker and then you just apply at the qurators office and hopefully get elected and start your journey!

What are the perks?

The thing about taking a position at a nation is that you usually do not get paid for it. It is voluntary since it is just students working to provide fun times for other students. That is actually my favourite part of nations – students working together for students! However, when you are active in a nation you get to spend a lot of time together with other positionholders and you make the most wonderful friendships and memories there! It is a perfect way to find your home away from home just like they intended when they founded the nations in 17th century. When you are a clubworker you also get fun perks like the KK card which lets you in any nations club for free and with the option of skipping the queue, which is obviously wonderful. And you can take another person in with you! You also get to go to KMK dinners, where you get a fancy dinner together with all clubworkers in all the nations and you can celebrate the life of a student in Uppsala. Some nations have other perks, like a discount in their pub, free entrance and skipping the queue in the nations clubs etc (these are the examples of being a position holders in Kalmar nation! But once again – everyone loves being active in the nations because of the friendships and family feel of the organization!

My journey at Kalmar nation (so far)

When I was looking up universities in Sweden, Uppsala caught my eye exactly because of the vibrant student life within the nations. I knew that I will want to be active in a nation straight away so I started literally the first week I was here. When I registered to Kalmar nation I asked – what do I do to become active, and got the tip to take a shift at the pub. Next day I was in Kalmar kitchen flipping burgers, without even knowing that the people I met there that night will become the best of my friends! After a few weeks working the pub, clubs and gasques I got offered to take a clubworker position since not all of them were filled and I accepted straight away! I became a clubworker without really knowing what it means, but I was sure that I was up for the adventure of a lifetime! I started working in the pub every week and making strong bonds with my fellow clubworkers and other people in the nation. Soon enough I was at a point where at any time I could go down to the nation and meet up people and hang out without even making plans, cause the family vibe in the nation is incredible. Once the autumn semester of 2022 was coming to the end I decided to take a position of a clubmaster – therefore taking up the responsibility of organising clubs next semester.


And so I did, it was my favourite position so far and very valuable experience since at times I was in charge of 20-25 people at a single night! It was fun coming up with the themes of clubs, learning how to set up DJ technique, working with our wonderful staff and making friendships that will last a lifetime! I got to experience Valborg with my wonderful friend both partying and organising events. When the spring arrived everyone in the nation was such a nice family, we were hanging out every day, having picnics, beach days and going to trips together. At the end of spring I decided to take up the position of a recceförman therefore being in charge of organizing events for new students and welcoming them into this wonderful Kalmar family! And that is what I have been doing this semester and I have absolutely loved it! Seeing new fun people join the nation and start their journey of being active in Kalmar has been absolutely wonderful!


In the end I just want to say that if you are in Uppsala for 2 years, 1 year or even just a semester, getting active in a nation is a perfect way to find your little family and make friends for life! It is a wonderful concept and really makes a difference in your life here in Uppsala! I would advise everyone to start this journey in a nation they like, cause the perks are just priceless. I am so happy that I made this choice and I really enjoy it every single day!

Tips on Writing Your Statement of Purpose – By: Daisy

About a year ago is when I started seriously writing my statement of purpose for my application. I was extremely stressed about it and didn’t really know where to start, but eventually I calmed myself down and did as much research as I possibly could and managed to write an brillant one (or perhaps just an okay one but hey! I got accepted!)

In this blog post I am going to give you a few tips about writing yours so hopefully your experience goes smoother than mine.

Disclaimer: this is all just from the perspective of a student. I am not on the admissions team and don’t know for absolute certain what they specifically look for. These are just things I found while scouring around the internet and what I thought would be helpful 🙂 

1: Start earlier and don’t rush!

The application opened a few weeks ago and you have until mid January so it feels like there is still loads of time left, but you don’t want to leave it until the last minute. While I am unsure of the inner workings of the admissions team, I’m pretty sure that the exact date you submit your application within the time frame doesn’t really matter, everyone is judged equally. 

My advice would be to start seriously thinking about it now, and when you get the chance, spend a week or two on it. That includes the research, the writing, and the proof reading. Personally I had some people read it for me too, in order to get some more perspectives and also to double check all my spelling!

2: Make sure you know the rubric of your course

Read and reread the course syllabus and expectations of the courses you are applying for. It will definitely make you look like a better candidate if you are referencing things directly from the course description. This will show the admissions teams that you are passionate and confident about your choices

3: Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself!

This is an essay that is all about you. Of course it is relevant to referencing specific things that relate directly to your studies but it also serves as an introduction to you as a person. I referenced certain things about my life that weren’t necessarily about my course but were relevant to me as a person and how I might approach life at Uppsala university and what I can bring to the table.

4: Don’t forget to reference Uppsala/Sweden

As we are all international students, we are all planning to come to Sweden for a reason and don’t be shy to talk about that. Mention precisely what it is that drew you to Uppsala University/Sweden in general. This will include you doing some research about the area and the student life, and then you can talk directly about it. This will show firstly that you are eager, and also that you have a goal in attending here. 

5: Don’t stress too much!

Of course it’s important but it’s there as an introduction to you, and goes hand in hand with all your other documents and as long as you show passion and give the sense you are well prepared i’m sure it will all be perfect!

I look forward to seeing you in Uppsala soon 🙂

101 Guide for Muslim Students in Uppsala – By: Yasmin

Hello everyone! Some of you may already know me from my first introduction on our Instagram @studyatuu (Do follow us~) let me re-introduce myself. I’m Yasmin from Indonesia. As you can see from this blog title itself, if you happen to be a Muslim and a new student in Uppsala like me, then this blog would be very useful for you to know the basics. Even if you are not any of them, some information I share here might be interesting to know as well. It may be very personal but it is important to address.

I have been living most of my life in Indonesia, the biggest Muslim-populated country in the world. That being said, getting access to halal groceries, Mosque, and religious activities is very easy and natural anywhere. This is not the case now that I moved to study abroad in Sweden as a minority. A Muslim student. But worry not, Sweden takes pride in equality and tolerance in all aspects including religion. It provides a lot of freedom for anyone to practice any religion. I also feel fortunate that I have been in touch and guided by fellow Muslim community who have already been in Uppsala months before my arrival. But then I realized that it may not be the case for everyone especially when they just arriving as new students with little information regarding this matter. So here are the basic things for Muslim students in Uppsala that you have to know~!

Halal Food

The first thing you do after settling down your housing would be grocery shopping. I remember the first day I went to Willy’s and ICA (Sweden’s supermarket chain) to do monthly shopping just to realize that there weren’t many certified halal products. Worry not, at least Willys and ICA do have halal frozen chicken and meat (for example ICA Basic chicken and Willy’s Eldorado Chicken). However, you are less likely to see any special halal section in the major groceries. Therefore, you really need to check the packaging to make sure of the ingredients, and Halal logo for meat products. For things other than meat products expect that you would likely find it in the Asian section. But the selection is quite limited. There was a thought of being vegetarian and buying vegetarian products only. This is not bad actually, since Sweden’s supermarket has enormous vegan product options. However, I was not prepared to commit to being a vegetarian myself. But then again, I believe in my belief that as long as the product doesn’t contain any substance I should not consume then It’s fine. In most cases, you can check out the product ingredients in English. In case it’s in Swedish you can always ask the grocery staff, they are friendly and helpful as most Swedish do speak English very well. But in case you don’t want to bother them, I recommend using “Google Lens” on your phone to translate everything faster. Aside from groceries, there are also some halal restaurants (Usually kebab & falafel dishes) even halal Asian buffet restaurant chains in the city such as “Pong”. The campus cafeteria also has lots of options to choose mostly in buffet settings and vegan options. Don’t be afraid to ask the staff anyway.

In addition, here are some Swedish words that you may want to memorize:

  • Fläskfilé: Pork Tenderloin
  • Tjocka revben: Baby Back Rib, Back Ribs, Pork Loin Back Ribs
  • Kotlettrad: Pork Loin
  • Kotlett i bit: Loin Roast
  • Fläskkotlett: Pork Loin Chop
  • Sida: Pork Belly
  • Skinka: Ham
  • Tunna revben: Spare Ribs
  • lard:  ister
  • Vin: Wine
  • Öl: Beer
  • Liquor: Sprit

Halal groceries

If you feel more comfortable buying halal products or specific types of meat, there are two major halal-curated groceries in Uppsala: “MultiMat” and “Uppsala Orienthus”. Multimat is located in the Stenhagen area which is closer to those who live in Flogsta student housing. Meanwhile, Orienthus is closer to the Kantorsgatan student housing area. Both stores have an extensive selection of imported Middle Eastern and Asian halal products. They also have fresh vegetables, fruits, and an in-person butcher at the service. I have explored both groceries and I would say in terms of price it’s pretty similar, but Orienthus has more fresh and frozen product selection. Many Asian stores around the city also have a selection of halal products like ramen, sauce, and instant spices. However, expect everything to be more expensive in general than the other well-known supermarket chains in Sweden.

Multimat

Orienthus

Prayer time

For most time of my life in Indonesia, the average praying time has never changed drastically since Indonesia is near the Earth’s equator. This is not the case in Sweden being so north on the globe when daylight saving time can change drastically within days resulting in the changing of prayer times. Take note that It could change very quickly within a month. During winter time, prayer times are much tighter from one prayer to another. Make sure to plan ahead in case you have classes and activities in between praying times. Tips from me, make sure to install a prayer time application (Example: MuslimPro), turn on the notification on your phone, and set the timing to “Uppsala Islamiska Förbundet” (meaning: Uppsala Islamic Federation).

Exiting or skipping a class due to religious purposes is also widely accepted as you can always inform your lecturer beforehand for permission. In my personal experience, sometimes I do need to excuse myself to my groupmates for a praying break in between group discussions and anyone would be fine with it.

Prayer place

Uppsala has only 1 major mosque in the city located a bit north around the Kantorsgatan area. Which is quite far from most of Uppsala University buildings. The Friday prayer is often not delivered in English. But generally speaking, there are actually many Muslims around Uppsala other than the International Students that you might encounter around the city.

However, It would be quite inconvenient to go back and forth there every praying time especially when you are in between classes, hanging out, or simply far from your housing. Thankfully, most of the university buildings are open every weekend until 10 PM and some of them are open even on the weekend (Example: Ångström building). Just remember to bring your student card in case you plan to visit at night or on the weekend to gain access. The reason is that you may find some pleasant spot to do your prayer inside the university building. Although there isn’t any specific “Praying Room” for Muslims, most buildings have a common quiet empty room usually hidden in corners in the basement first-floor area that can be used to pray by any religion. Be aware that some might have opening hours. Here are some words you may want to look for in the building map: 

  • Bönerum = Prayer room
  • Andrum = Breathing space
  • Vilrum = Resting room
  • Stilrum = Still room

As for Friday prayer if heading to Uppsala Mosque too far, Ångströmlaboratoriet, Biomedicinska Centrum (BMC), and Akademiska Sjukhuset are some university buildings that host the prayer delivered in English. It is a great way to meet and interact with other fellow Muslim students from various disciplines in this way. Do not hesitate to ask for detailed directions from the student reception or check out the building map.

Muslim Community

There are not many official Muslim communities in Uppsala, but I suggest following some of them on Instagram and facebook group for any events and announcements. (Example: @uppsalamuslimskastudenter). The Uppsala Mosque also has a website that provides public events, charities, and daily community workers who will actively support and guide Muslims to be a natural part of Sweden.


There’s always a chance that you might encounter a Muslim friend in your own class or even in your nation. Sometimes I met new Muslim students from other courses and nationalities coincidently in the “Praying Room”. I always try to keep in touch with them just in case we might need each other through times during my stay here in Uppsala (Especially during Ramadhan month).

All being said, I hope that this could help in some way to give you a glimpse of living as a Muslim to adapt better in Uppsala. Despite being known as everyone respects any religion as we should respect others too.

Vi ses!

Buckle up! Things to do during low season on Gotland – By: Sway

A hidden gem in the Baltic Sea, a charming island full of roses, ruins and rauks (limestone formations) has been my home since 2022. Originally, I was enrolled for a one-year programme, but just after a month studying here I had a change of heart and decided to stay on this beautiful island!


This year I have arrived around the same time as I did last year, which was in mid-August, about a week before the start of the semester. Around that time, it is usually still very lively, warm and sunny here in Visby. All restaurants and bars are open, tourists from all over the world are strolling through the streets, having their meals or fika (Swedish coffee break) outside in the sun and buying typical goods and souvenirs. Sometimes it is even too crowded. This is due to the cruise ships, that bring in large groups of tourists, who often don’t stay longer than a few days except for the festivals or big events like Almedalen- or Medieval Week. Which is a pity considering that Gotland has so much more to offer than just Visby town. Seasonality is a worldwide phenomenon and challenge in the tourism sector, linked to the climate and holidays. The liveliness doesn’t last until low season, which is essentially all three seasons except summer.

Last year I didn’t manage to go to any restaurants and most cafés before low season hit, so most of them were closed by the time I finally had time aka was settled in. Simply, because I didn’t know. I guess one could argue it’s because I’m a city person, thus very used to having everything available almost 24/7.  Well, that is certainly not the case in Visby, so I had to wait an entire year before I could try an ice cream at an ice cream store that offers over 200 flavours of gelato amongst other things. (I was off the island because of my internship, which made me miss the entire spring, different story.) In the end, I was disappointed as my expectations were so high after hanging on to that missed out chance for a year.

Seasonality

And I know for a fact I’m definitely not the only one here who is going through that struggle with seasonality. As a good sustainable tourism student, this of course inspired me to list some nice things that you can do during low-season on Gotland. Looking back, I was pretty lucky last year as I heard about Farö, a small island north of Gotland, in my first week of school. My new friends and I decided to rent a car from the gas station nearby and go on a small road trip adventure. We were lucky to catch one of the last sunny days, so we even went swimming on our way in the Blå Lagunen (Blue Lagoon), an artificial lake and former limestone quarry.

Farö on Gotland.


Later we had some tasty Räksmörgås, a typical Swedish sandwich with shrimps, and went to see the famous rauks that look like faces. Fun fact: The ferry company Destination Gotland even compares these face shaped rauks with the Moai statues, saying that you don’t need to travel that far or outside of Europe to go to the “Eastern Islands”. A little extreme but I like the idea behind it. See for yourself on the photos of the rauks below (photo on the left).

So this would be my top tip, rent a car and do a road trip around the island! I personally always rented from Wisby Biluthyring (car rental in Swedish). A manual car costs 480kr for an entire day with basic insurance (last update late August 2023). You’ll usually get it with and need to return with a full tank. As for destinations, the island Farö is a must-see, it is over 1h by car from Visby. In Farösund, there is a ferry that takes you to Farö in 10 min, it is for free and is going every 30min (from 5:30-21:30). On your way, you can check out the Blue Lagoon in Lärbro and/or the real lake Bästetrask close by.

Fårö and the rauks

On Fårö there is plenty to see. If you are interested in culture and history, the Farö Museum and Bergman Center about the famous film director Ingmar Bergman are worth a visit. And of course the rauks, there are numerous along the west coast.

These are the most famous rauks you can find on Gotland:

  • Jungfrun in Lickershamn (North-west of Gotland)
  • “The Dog” or “Kaffepannan in Gamlal Hamn (Old Harbour) nature reserve (Farö)
  • Face rauks in Langhammar’s nature reserve (Farö)
  • Rauk area in Folhammar (East of Gotland)

I’m very bumped that I still haven’t been to the last one in Folhammar, as I typically went to the northern part of Gotland, every time someone was visiting me or my friends.

There’s also a rauk not far from Visby, if you go north to Snäck. That one looks like a chimpanzee from the side (photo on the right).


Aside from rauks and ruins, you can find stone ship graves for even more viking vibes, and they are all scattered around the island.

A stone ship grave on Gotland.


Around Visby

In or around Visby there is also plenty to see! Walk along the city wall or along the coast, discover the botanical garden and lover’s gate, the Visby domkykra (cathedral) and Almedalen park. There are a lot of cute little shops with homemade crafts, for example on Adelsgatan which is one of the shopping streets within the city walls.


If you’re looking for something with a group of friends or classmates, go for a BBQ outside and enjoy another dreamy sunset. In winter, probably perfect with some Glögg (mulled wine). There are numerous public grill places, for example the one close to Campus Gotland at the ocean or on Galgenberget and Södra Hillarna. The latter is an amazing nature reserve, perfect to explore on a Sunday and also a great spot to show your (future) guests aka family and friends that visit! It’s south of Visby, around 30 min walk by foot to the official entrance. In the park you’ll find several BBQ spots, there’s no reservation schedule, it’s first come first serve. Btw this is how it looked in Södra Hillarna after a blizzard this March:

Finally, the reminder to have a good fika whether as study break or meeting with friends. Before coming here, I had no idea how big the Swedes are on their coffee and sweets. Trust me as a German I know strong coffee culture (especially in offices), but fikas are just next level. Go get yourself a kanelbullar (cinnamon bun) from a local café in town with some tea from Kränku – the Gotlandic tea shop, because you deserve it.

A cappuccino in a cup resting on a table in front of a sunny window.


I hope this helps you all to go through the bit chillier and calmer time on Gotland. Most importantly, stay positive and don’t overwork yourself!

Over and out <3

/Sway

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