One thing I miss from UR is our dining hall, which is a sentence I thought I would never write. Students here don’t have a meal plan, and must frequent the local grocery store for all their eating needs. Thankfully, there are some eating areas to be found in the multiple academic buildings on campus.
The building I frequent the most is Engelska Parken! Here is a picture of the eating area. Not as much variety as our dining hall, eh? But the coffee and food is always delicious.
The style of teaching here is also a little different from back home.
It is very discussion based. Usually, we read an article for class, and then the professor breaks us up into smaller groups to discuss what we read. To finish up the class, we come together as a class and share what we learned. Much of what we learn is self-taught. This has taken a lot of getting used to. I am also enrolled in a class that never meets until the final exam!
The self-motivation for academic pursuits will only get tougher as the weather keeps getting more and more beautiful. At last, some flowers are beginning to bloom! So excited to see the full impact as spring gets closer!
His name is Ingefära, which means “ginger” in Swedish.
He is a cat that lives here in Flogsta and he is known for traveling. He even published a book about his travels and he’s only 2 years old! What were you doing when you were 2?
We were pleasantly surprised to open the elevator door outside our corridor only to find him waiting inside! We played with him, fed him, and provided him time to sleep before he took off on his next journey. I look forward to seeing him again.
Since he’s been gone, I’ve kept myself busy with a new job. Last week was my turn to take out the trash! Sweden is very environmentally conscious and we have 6 different containers depending on the type of trash being disposed of: plastic packaging, colored glass, metal packaging, newspaper, cardboard, and clear glass.
Looking forward to not having to deal with that for a while!
Thankfully I didn’t have to spend too much time wallowing over Ingefära’s absence or my trash duty. Last weekend, a nation hosted a “Chocolate Gallop” with over 40 different chocolate treats. We arrived late but were still able to make off with some delicious treats. Woo-hoo! Until next time!
There is a stereotype that Swedes are very reserved and don’t like to let loose. Au contraire! Saturday night, some friends and I trekked to the nearest karaoke bar! Volunteers sang many hits that were very familiar to my American ears. I also heard some Swedish songs that all of the locals seemed to know! Very talented performers remain to be discovered in little Uppsala.
I, of course, am one of them. Before I get embarrassed and take this video down, take a peek at us revolutionizing “Oops!…I did it again!” by the incomparable Britney Spears. (I’m the one in green)
I also had the pleasure of being served food by the Flogsta chef. Yes, there is a chef that has lived in the typically student residential dorms since the 1980s. He likes to live here because he travels often and doesn’t need a lot of space to feel at home. Students are encouraged to text him in advance of their arrival and share the level of spiciness they are comfortable with. Then that very day, they can come by for dinner and eat to their heart’s desire.
My dish had a 50% spicy level. It’s an Ethiopian dish! Funnily enough, that’s one of the few countries the Flogsta chef has never visited, yet it’s his favorite style of food to produce. This is injera bread, which is used as a vehicle for the sauces, meat, and lentils on top.
Finally, we got our last wave of snow! Ain’t she a beaut?
We went to one of the Royal Palaces that hosted the Treasury! This museum hosts some of the monarchy’s most treasured jewels, crowns, and swords. We were not permitted to take photos of the artifacts but here’s a stunning picture of what you see when you first enter the museum.
The Hallwyl Museum allowed for some photography! This house once belonged to the Count and Countess von Hallwyl and boy oh boy did they live up to their noble names. It was a really cool insight into the late Victorian period of Stockholm (and it was free!) Check out their pool table, their marble bathtub, and marble shower!
We also swung by the Royal Dramatic Theatre. The beautiful building was founded in 1788 and renowned architects, artists, and interior designers worked to make it so breathtaking. Unfortunately, most of the shows are solely Swedish, but maybe if I learn Swedish in time I can give it a try?
Here is also a pic of Gamla Stan, or the Old Town. Very interesting to see where old meets new. It’s one of the greatest preserved medieval areas in Europe. Stockholm was founded in 1252.
There were many attractions, such as bookstores, bars, restaurants, and little ice cream shops, including this Nutella haven.
There’s so much to do in this city. It is so convenient that it’s only 40 minutes from Uppsala. Uppsala itself has some great historical attractions, which I can’t wait to share.
As a student attending Uppsala University, it is crucial to join at least one.
Nations are made up of students, and the organizations hold events and offer a large variety of clubs so one can get involved with other students.
There are 13 nations, which are named after regions in Sweden. They have been around for centuries, and while previously students were only allowed to join the nation that represented their region, now the rules are much more relaxed.
I joined Södermanlands-Nerikes nation, nicknamed Snerikes. Founded in 1595, it is the oldest nation of Uppsala University.
I attended the Recce Reception where there was a mini fair with tables promoting the activities they offered, followed by an informal dinner.
Shown above is the appetizer provided before our dinner. Some crackers with the option of butter or cheese as a topping! By the candles were some mustard, rosemary, and oregano to have with our yellow pea soup.
During the dinner, they showed us their choir, their improv group, and their band. All three are open to any students, regardless of the nation they chose to join!
Here are two videos of their band because I couldn’t pick between the two:
This song may sound familiar for any Aladdin or Broadway fans!
This is more of a traditional song played by the Swedes. It’s also common to start ball-room dancing while they play!
This week I went to two activities sponsored by the nations.
Kalmar nation holds a mixtape circle every other week. For the mixtape circle, the group picks a theme. For the next meeting, each person has picked a song that they feel goes with that theme. We all share and discuss the music. Because we are all so different, the mixtape circle is a great way to discover other music that maybe you wouldn’t usually listen to.
To the right is a journal that is passed around as each person shares a song. We all write down the name of the song and the artist, and this list is then shared through a Facebook group. The big sound system to the left is the magical box that we hear it from.
I’ve also started attending an improv group hosted by my very own nation. I fell twice during the acting exercises and am currently recovering from the pain.
I have to bounce back quick because there’s so much to do!
I’m a little biased but I’m pretty sure I live in the best student residential area in all of Uppsala University.
To prove it, here’s a little tradition I’d like to share:
The Flogsta Scream occurs every evening at 10 p.m. sharp. Students open their windows and scream out into the night. Simple, right? The tradition goes back decades! Though I haven’t measured the decibels, I think the loudest screams occur on Sunday nights.
In addition to traditions, I have made some wonderful friends in Flogsta. In the Flogsta residential area there are several apartments. The apartment I live in has 7 floors. Each floor has two corridors on opposing sides. Each corridor has one kitchen shared by approximately 12 people. I share a floor with native Swedes and other international students hailing from Brazil, Australia, the Netherlands, Japan, Canada, and USA.
Swedes really love cabbage. I tried a stuffed cabbage roll, which proved to be very savory.
It’s also been confirmed by some Swedish friends that they like to put bananas in almost anything. It can be found on pizza or mixed with some rice and chicken. I had the latter, which made my dinner subtly sweet.
As I’ve been introduced to food from Sweden, I’ve also been introduced to food from other areas of the world.
Here is some fairy bread, which is sliced white bread spread with butter and covered with sprinkles. Apparently, it has to be cut into triangles and the Australians are quite proud of this delicacy!
This is a Dutch Stroopwafel. It tastes best when placed in a microwave for 2 seconds! This lets the caramel inside melt. It was heavenly!
We also had a sushi night on Sunday hosted by my Japanese friend. I got to roll Sushi for the first time in my life! We were all proud of our handiwork.
It’s nice to know that wherever you go, you can discover other cultures!
Hi! I’m Olivia and I am a junior at University of Richmond. I am majoring in Biology with a minor in Healthcare Studies.
I’ve never been to Europe before and, as the baby of the family, never experienced much independence either. I set out to form new experiences by studying abroad in Uppsala, Sweden. Uppsala University is a leading international research university, and I was anxious to join its numbers.
Postponing the inevitable of being alone in Sweden, I was joined by my mom and aunt in Uppsala on January 11th. This was a sneak peak of my new home from the window of the airplane. Frozen ice and snow never looked so appealing!
Before I could move in, I had to explore Stockholm with my family. On a train, Stockholm is only 40 minutes away.
This is one of the many busy streets of Stockholm. We went on a Hop-On Hop Off, which is an all day bus service that provides tours of cities. My mom and aunt were too tired to explore the royal palace, libraries, and museums of Stockholm, but I imagine since the city is only 40 minutes away, I’ll be back soon to explore properly.
This is a peak into my room. At Uppsala University, the rooms for students are owned by different housing companies. You pay rent each month. It is typical to have a single room with each room having a private bathroom. Each hall shares a kitchen.
Classes started this week, and while many people feel comfortable biking (in icy cold weather!) I prefer the bus. The city buses in Uppsala are extremely punctual. They have an app that provides timetables, and if you enter your location and where you wish to go, there is always a bus ready. While it’s simple enough, I’m still getting used to it as I have fallen victim to being at the wrong bus stop many times!