Category Archives: Student life in Sweden

Rackarberget

Student housing is apparently not enough in Uppsala. Therefore, most of students struggle to find a place to live in  (you might like to read Accommodation in Uppsala). I have had guaranteed housing during my studies for being a non-EU citizen at [what I consider] the best location offered by SLU’s housing office: Rackarbergsgatan. This month I am moving out and couldn’t leave without writing a post about it.

Location

This is honestly what I like the most about Rackarberget. It is embedded in a superb location: close to city center, shops, supermarkets, Uppsala University Library (Carolina Rediviva) and of course student nations, where most of social student life takes place.

Location of Rackarberget in Uppsala. Map from Google Maps.

The only place that might seem a little bit further away is SLU. But that has not been a problem for me, because the biking route is very nice. Plus, 12 km (6 km each way) of bicycling a day is good exercise 🙂

Flat layout

There are different types of apartments in Rackarberget and mine is particularly small. We are only 3 people living in a 3 rooms corridor. Bathroom and kitchen are shared. That’s it.

This makes it feel comfortable in a way, because is to small to be a dorm corridor, but it has no social areas to be a real flat. So it is basically just a student flat with everything what is needed smartly arranged.

Room

The room 13 sqm, and furnished, what makes everything so much more easier for newly arrived students. It includes 2 lamps, a single bed, a desk, a desk chair an additional chair and some shelves on the wall. The closet is spacious and the room is quite bright albeit being in the second floor.

Price

My contract signed in 2015 was for 3488 SEK every month. Apparently it changes between years and rooms, so this is not a rule. I think it is an OK price for a furnished room in a nice location.

The view from my window in Rackarberget

You’ll be missed, Rackarberget.

Cheers,

Hernán.

 

 

One year blogging

Stories that are not written will be probably forgotten. This is why I am grateful for having a blog. This year in Sweden has been simply amazing and I am certain that in the future I will cherish after reading what I have written so far on my blog, which resembles very well my most remarkable experiences at SLU.

Rather than a journal this has also been a space to put out there some of my personal opinions, an opportunity to improve my writing skills and most importantly a challenge for creativity. Only those who have written on a blog know how challenging it is to find new interesting ideas and inspiration. Ohh, inspiration. It has definitely been one of the bottlenecks. I consider I am very creative, so I do have many ideas about what to write. However, not always I feel confident, or just in the mood to write them down. Some other times I do find motivation,  but I just sit in front of the computer waiting for words to come.

I am aware that lately it has been harder for me to allocate time on my blog. I think my studies and life in Sweden have come to a more stable point, in which not everything is new, exciting or special. For example, at the moment I am not taking any courses, but working on my thesis, which is a much more slowly and stable learning process. However I am still motivated and hope to bring many new ideas and stories to this space 🙂

Cheers,

Hernán.

First time skiing

I admit I have complained about winter in Sweden, but there are plenty of fun things to do around Uppsala during this time.  Earlier today I went skiing with some friends to Kungsberget, a ski resort 150km north from Uppsala.

Last night we rented a car with Circle K, which has very affordable prices for a 24h period. This morning we started driving at 7 to be at Kungsberget just after they opened. We booked skiing equipment in advance and went directly to the slopes.

First I learnt the basics at the children area, just to get confident and know how to break and turn. After a few times going up and down I felt confident enough to go on a steeper slope, which was extremely exciting and fun! I only fell once and went down very fast. It was a short and intense adrenaline shot. So I decided to go even higher to a more challenging slope!

Going up up up!

Once there it was OK during the first few meters, but I slowly lost confidence and technique what made it not that enjoyable. Not enjoyable as in I fell more than 20 times. As in I spent more time in the floor than skiing down… I think after doing it for a while my muscles got tired, so I lost balance and stability very easily. To make it  worse, l got more and more frustrated every time I fell on the floor what made me angry at myself.

But in all, it was a very fun and different experience. Next time I will hopefully be able to ski more exciting routes without falling so much, haha.

Cheers,

Hernán.

New year’s resolutions

Determination is the key to success, I believe. This is the reason why every year I like to make resolutions and set goals for the upcoming months. Then,  I will share  here my 2017 resolutions.

Get a PhD position

For me this has been a goal since long ago. Actually, I think this was my ultimate goal when I decided to go abroad for a M.Sc. But this year it gets real, time has come for me to start a new adventure.  Of course I have to work hard to apply and get it.

Finish successfully my M.Sc.

Hmm, well, this is kind of obvious. But I just want to do my best on the time I have left. This of course is mostly work hard on the degree project (read M.Sc. degree project ).

Do more sports

Ahh, the cliché. But seriously, I even signed up for the gym and have been training. Motivation is high so far.

Travel more (within Sweden)

2016 was full of adventures in many different places. This year I hope to travel as much as last year. Actually I would love to see more of Sweden!

Save money

This is kind of another cliché and is contradictory to the previous one. But still I want to be more efficient with my expenses.

 

Write

Yeah, I hope to get much more written. Specially here at my blog.

 

Cheers,

Hernán.

Holidays in Sweden

December is definitely a special month for students living abroad. Besides being the last month of the year it has two major holidays that are usually spent with family, but not enough official work/study free days to go home. Plus, quite expensive flights (specially for me). However, I managed to enjoy my time Sweden eating Pepparkakkor and Glögg 😀

Christmas was very social and cozy. I took part in the Christmas party at the Biocenter, where I am currntly doing my M.Sc. thesis and also at Gotlands Nation, my student association. Additionally during Christmas eve I had dinner with my family-in-law who flew from the Netherlands.

The Christmas party at BioCenter included a quiz and a typical Swedish christmas dinner. Picture by Cajsa Lithell

The week after Christmas I had a very nice trip to Dalarna, a region north from Uppsala. There I went to Fulufjället National Park and made a short hike to see a wonderful waterfall completely frozen. Additionally I also visited Sälen, which is apparently the biggest ski area in northern Europe.  Although I did not dare to ski I did dog sledding which was a very nice experience, even more because the natural setting was simply beautiful!

Waterfall at Fulufjällen National Park in Dalarna

Some international students – and even locals say that winter holidays in Sweden are awful. However, I do not regret staying and would not mind doing it again.

Cheers,

Hernán

Bye bye November!

December I am glad you are here, because November was terrible. Terrible as in awfully dark and cold. Actually, I have heard more than one Swede saying that November is the worst month of the year. And I completely agree.

Indeed, I think that the transition from autumn to winter makes it cold enough to think twice before going out, dark enough to be tired all day and rainy enough to make biking inconvenient. Additionally, since it is not cold enough to turn rain into snow everything is grey and muddy outside. Interestingly, this year the snow record in a single day was broken in the Stockholm area (read Hello winter! ), which made everything cuter. However it melt away few days after and everything was grey again.

Altogether, this made my mood grey and ugly as the weather was. I guess I do not need to explain the low rate of posts publishing last month. Hehe. Luckily I have been coping  with it and feel much better now.

Until next time,

 

Hernán.

 

 

 

Hello winter!

It is not a secret that Sweden is cold. Actually, I think most of the people immediately associate Sweden with white freezing winters (read The coldest I have ever been). However this week it was extreme, since a snow storm hit central Sweden and gave more than 30 cm of snow in some places.

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On Wednesday snow was all over SLU

The snow was expected to come some day soon, but not in this quantity! Wednesday It took me by surprise and made biking more challenging than usual…

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Bike road from SLU to city center.
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I took a selfie on the bike road. Do you see the snow flakes falling behind?

Still, it made everything incredibly beautiful! Actually, most of the people wish the snow could stay until December, but sadly it will most likely melt down next week.

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Thursday morning some roads had already been cleared making biking easier, but snow remained beautifully on trees and roofs

I thought snow was just cold and inconvenient before I came to Sweden, because we do not get any in Colombia. But now I appreciate its beauty so much! Just look at this pictures. How not to love it?

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The old graveyard covered by snow

Hoping for more snow to come,

Hernán.

Sick week

Last week I got some fever that sent me to bed for a few days, therefore I was not able to write any posts! however, I have recovered and I am back to writing now 🙂

After I started feeling bad I decided to call 1177, which is the Swedish healthcare number. There I talked to a nurse and she booked an appointment for me that same afternoon. As soon as I got to the healthcare office in Uppsala I met a German friend at the entrance- she had also been sick for weeks now. Apparently every time Autum arrives, and temperature decreases everyone gets some kind of virus/cold/flu as I did myself.

After many cups of tea and some good rest I recovered and I am back on track.

Cheers!

Hernán.