It’s hard to believe that after more than a year of planning, I’m now almost two months through my exchange in Uppsala, and it still feels kind of surreal.
The most jarring thing that stood out was the weather, since I landed in the middle of winter, and it was dark by 4pm. The good thing about that is that the days are getting longer, and it’s not as cold as before. It’s actually been a very mild winter, by Swedish standards, and there’s only been a few days of snow (sadly).
Apart from that, settling in was quite easy. I live in Flogsta, which is where the vast majority of international and exchange students are, so it was easy getting to meet people and socialise since its always abuzz. Everyone gets allocated to a corridor, which has about 12 people, but no one’s pressed for space. We each have our own rooms and bathrooms, and share the kitchen and living room. All of us in our corridor get along well, which definitely helps.
Student life is very active here, and a lot of it revolves around the student nations. The nations are essentially associations that organise activities and events, which are run by students for students. There are dinners, gasques (formal balls), pubs, clubs, interest groups, choirs etc. Once you’re part of a nation, you can go to any other nation’s events. Uppsala is a uni town, and the university itself is the oldest in Scandinavia, having started in 1477. It’s been fun getting to learn and participate in the traditions that have existed here from centuries ago.
Studying here is very different than from back home, because you typically do one or two topics per half semester, instead of doing four simultaneously for the whole semester. Lectures aren’t recorded and attendance is compulsory, but there’s only about four hours of class a week. There’s a fair bit of preparation and independent study outside of class, but there’s still a lot of free time which has made it really easy to travel around the region. I’ve been to Stockholm, Gothenburg, Lund, Malmo, Helsinki and Copenhagen so far, and am leaving for Lapland later this week in the hopes of seeing the Northern Lights. I also have some upcoming trips planned to Eastern Europe and Norway.
Exchange has been amazing so far and I’m looking forward to the rest of my time here!
Nathaniel Ramesh student of Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice Bachelor of Business (Advanced Leadership) undertook a semester exchange at Uppsala University, Sweden in S1 2020