Where to begin! I’ve been in the sunny clime of Uppsala Sweden for three weeks now and it is a far cry from anything I have experienced but my word, what an experience I am having.
This city is the definition of a student city. Being Sweden’s fourth largest (with a population of just 140,000) may not seem to be a draw for students and yet around 25,000 students descend upon Uppsala every year. I travelled to Uppsala by bus (And yes, you do pass a huge IKEA…and a Volvo dealership…) and the moment I stepped off was met my ‘Buddy’ who kindly informed me to drop all my things off at my accommodation because “There is a party at Flogsta tonight!” Having not been to Uppsala before, getting lost on the way back to Hotel Uppsala (accommodation with two floors for students) was inevitable and yet was one of the most satisfying first evenings in a city I have spent as it is nothing short of beautiful.
I awoke a tad groggy in the morning and decided to settle in for the first day and do all the mandatory paperwork which one is plagued with when going on an Erasmus. However my ultimate top tip for Uppsala is from my second full day. Be forward. The university has a huge amount of international students visiting so there is no need for the standard first day jitters and instead meeting people is about attending events at Nations (which I shall explain later) and throwing yourself into the Uppsala experience.
Uppsala also offers Basic Swedish for students which, although not mandatory, is a great way to instigate conversation with the famously introvert Swedes!
(PS Everyone here speaks fluent English, which is nice when you see words like ‘Realisationsvinstbeskattning’ and begin to think that it’ll be one of the longest years of your life)
Sweden in Seconds Part One:
One word: Systembolaget. Although Systembolaget (“affectionately” nicknamed ‘System’) isn’t the only place to buy alcohol, it is the only place to buy alcohol over 3.5%. You also have to be over 20 to buy alcohol here. This is because it is government owned chain and the government here in Sweden are trying to curb alcoholism in the young. As most astute students have eloquently noted however “It doesn’t.”