Tag Archives: student life

Things no one tells you about living alone.

I still remember having the idea of living by my own a couple of years ago, when I was doing my bachelor’s degree. Back in Mexico I lived quite far from my university, so moving closer to campus and living by myself wasn’t a crazy idea. Having my own place to put whatever I wanted, eating ice cream for dinner with no one telling me whether it was allowed or not, waking up whenever I wanted and so on. You guys get the point, the idea of living alone in theory is simply beautiful.

But not everything is joy and happiness, living alone implicates a lot of responsibilities. So, I decided to create a small list of things that no one tells you about living alone.

1. Groceries

Buying groceries is not an easy task, it takes a lot of time to think about what you need, how much money you have (this is the biggest problem most of the time, especially as a student), remembering what ingredients you have in your house that could be useful and what ingredients to buy.

groceries

Going on a grocery-shopping spree with a lot of fresh vegetables, and a lot of food might sound as a great idea at the time of shopping, however having them stay fresh and eat everything within expiration limits is the biggest challenge by far.

expiration date

Carrying your shopping bags all the way to your house is like working out 3 hours, trust me groceries are heavy and it becomes a challenge.

carrying groceries

2. Laundry

Doing laundry is a pain. White clothes, black clothes, color clothes, water temperature, amount of soap, fabrics softener, revolutions per minute of the machine, washing cycles, time, drying method, folding your clothes, and I could go for hours. Doing laundry is like an endless equation with infinite variables to solve. (I just put everything inside the machine and press random buttons until it starts, but I’m working on in don’t worry)

laundry_1

3. Cooking

Cooking for one is a difficult task, either it’s too much food which is nice because you can save for another day, or it’s not enough and you starve to death. I think that this GIF sums up my cooking skills.

cooking_fail

4. Cleaning

Cooking means dirty dishes, and that’s the ugly part, even for those of you who like to cook you will agree with me that doing the dishes is the worst part. Even if you don’t cook anything at your place you will need to dedicate at least 2-3 hours each week to clean your place, otherwise dust starts to become a problem.

cleaning

Of course when you live alone you can do pretty much whatever you want. You can sing in the shower as loud as you want, cook your favorite meal everyday, wake up whenever you want, have ice cream for dinner (I’ve done this a couple of days ago). So now you know, living alone comes with a few drawbacks but it’s worth it.

A gist of March events at Borås

I’m often asked what’s it like to be a student in Borås. Other than studies and assignments, there’s plenty going on. I often attend guest lectures, events and meet up with people from the industry.

sofia_sabel-jumperfabriken-1787

Meeting people from the Industry

Last month, we have H&M buyers and buying assistants meeting students to talk about the job as a buyer at a global fashion company. We also had Company Day where various companies and NGOs were here to present thesis projects and collaborations for the students. Companies present include IKEA, FOV Fabrics, SweRea, Silva Sweden and more.

It’s already mid March but there are still plenty of upcoming events for the month

sofia_sabel-swedish_school_of_textiles-4254

15 March: Lecture with Robin Cornelius, founder of the Swiss company Product DNA

Product DNA is a Swiss company specialized in the traceability of supply chains and the promotion of transparency in consumer goods. The lecture ‘Traceability, the new dimension in textile CSR policy’ will be about how to make the textile value chain more transparent in order to meet social and sustainable challenges in the textile industry.

19 March: Textil Kraft Grand Opening at Textile Museum, the Swedish School of Textiles 

The grand opening is a free event which begins with a ceremonious inauguration at 12:15. Textile Craft is about the textile industry through the ages,  along with development of machinery and its impact on the industry. The full program include Q&A’s on textile industry and performance by theatre group Skapet.

20 March: International Student Brunch

Easter is coming and it’s time for the International Easter student brunch. The concept is simple. Students bring a typical (Easter) dish from their home country and get to enjoy the buffet with food from all over the world!

21 March: Tips and tricks in how to perform well at a job interview

A career workshop with opportunity to get tips and feedback on your CVs at Career Services

Nov’15 – 24 March: HYBRIDERNAS POESI exhibtion, Textile Museum

This year’s recipient of the Nordic Award in Textiles is a visual artist Gunvor Nervold Antonsen from Norway. The exhibition displays works from the later years of her powerful style, where two- and three-dimensional objects in various materials and techniques come together in expressive installations.

28 March – 3 April: ESN Student trip to Russia and Helsinki

A mini getaway to Russia and Finland at student price! Travelling with big overnight ferries between the cities and transportation from Borås and to Borås, this popular trip has been fully booked.
Image credits: Sofia Sabel/imagebank.sweden.se

Sweden Survival Kit for Students

Winter is coming and it’s getting darker and colder. Hopefully this basic Sweden Survival kit will make your stay and studies in Sweden a little brighter. All set for winter?

Getting through the cold and darkness

  • Layer up! Not only its better for insulation, it is easier to remove with the layers when it gets warm indoors as compare to wearing one thick layer. Check out Gimmy’s dressing for winter guide!
  • Invest in a functional jacket. I know nothing about functional jacket before moving to Sweden. I always thought the thicker the coat, the warmer but yet I was still freezing. In the end, I bought a functional winter jacket, not only it keeps me toasty warm, it is also much lighter and 100% water-and-windproof with high breathability. 
  • Use a reflector. Hang it on your jacket or stick on your bike, it’s all about safety in the dark. It’s available in supermarkets.  
  • Candles can create nice and cosy ambiance but do beware of fire hazard.
  • Don’t let darkness get to you. Taking vitamins may help such as vitamin D since there isn’t much sunlight. If you feel down, stress and/or homesick, visit the student health center and talk to a nurse or the health counselor at your university. There are also many things to look forward to – a white winter, Lucia celebration, semester break, Christmas markets and food, Christmas sales and shopping … 

DSC03946Former digital ambassador, August Liu and me on a frozen river in Umeå

Getting through wet & snowy days

  • Again, the functional jacket. The water-and-windproof features can prove handy. I hardly ever use an umbrella in Sweden.
  • Waterproof mascara. Not exactly for survival but ladies, we all know mascara smudges can be annoying especially with the unpredictable Swedish weather from short intense summer rain to snow storms. 
  • Keep your feet dry. No, you don’t want freezing toes or slippery soles. A good pair of winter shoes can be beneficial or simply layer up your socks.

DSC038491859My all-purpose functional jacket.

Getting through studying in Sweden

  • Shop and save. Utilize your student discounts when shopping/buying books with the Mecenat card and/or the free Studentkortet card. Visit secondhand stores for unique finds and bargains. I bought my vintage oak chairs at the secondhand store for 50 SEK each and the wood also ages beautifully with time, amazing finds.
  • Networking. Raghu said it best. Networking is out of my comfort zone in the beginning but it gets easier with more practice. One way to kick start is during university events such as career days or company days. Be proactive and keep in touch with external speakers who are invited to give a workshop or lecture in your university. This is how I get my internship at IKEA.
  • Use old bike. Some student towns are notorious for bike thefts so don’t invest too much in a fancy bike. If you do, park it somewhere safe.
  • Start early! Whether it is about accommodation search, internship search or thesis collaborations with a company. Many companies have early cut-off dates for internship/thesis opportunities as they make plans for their upcoming business calendar. I apply for my internship the season before, about 4 months in advance.
  • Have FUN and experience Sweden. Not only during student events/parties but also get in touch with Swedish traditions such as Easter, Valborg, mid-summer, crayfish party, Lucia celebration, Christmas markets, julbord and more. Don’t miss out Swedish food. Keep a lookout for events and festive activities in your university and local kommun. 

CIMG0621Getting ready for crayfish party.

Simply for convenience

  • Know the closing times. Shops, supermarkets and especially Systembolaget! As you know Systembolaget is closed on weekends, so get your stash ready on weekdays.
  • Learning Swedish. The most effective way for me to learn Swedish is SFI in the local kommun. Some kommun offer evening classes which may be easier for students. Many of my SFI classmates did not speak English and this is what makes learning Swedish more effective. It is one good way of meeting new people and learning different cultures.
  • Swish! It is an app that allows you to send payment using your mobile phone by entering the payee’s mobile number. Very convenient for splitting bills when you are dining out with your friends. Splitting bills is common in Sweden. If you already have a Swedish bank account, you can download the app for free. I was in a restaurant buying take-away last week and I placed my order and totally forgot I left my wallet at home, but guess what,  I swish!

simon_paulin-dinner_with_friends-4961Image: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

Christmas is around the corner, do you know the Swedish Christmas Spirit Essentials? Have you got your glogg and julmust? I’m really looking forward to a white winter and the Christmas markets. Now it makes me hungry thinking about Christmas food.

Featured moose image: Folio/imagebank.sweden.se

FREE online tools that can make your student life a tad Easier

One thing about studying in Sweden, no matter which university you’re studying at, is that there can be LOTS of assignments, group work and projects. In fact, students are often encouraged to work with different people in different assignments as a good way to know your classmates better and learn from each other. Of course, this is also the reality in the ‘working world’ where we can’t choose our colleagues and have to work with different people all the time.

Working in groups brings me much closer to my classmates and we learn so much from each other, especially with our diversity. On the other hand, from my experiences, one of the main challenges is that my group members and I live in different cities and some of us commute long hours which can be rather inconvenient to meet up outside the timetable, especially during longer term breaks where everyone is away. But, fret not. Working virtually with the right tools can be very efficient too!

There are many online tools out there but here are my Top 5 most-used, can’t-live-without FREE online tools that I use all the time. Why? It’s simple, efficient and free.

1. Google Docs for almost EVERYTHING

What I like is the ease of everybody working and editing on the same document at the same time where we can literally see exactly who is typing what, at a glance. Sharing is easy, it auto saves, comes in several templates and can be downloaded as Microsoft Word, PDF, Excel, and PowerPoint.  It’s very easy to use, just make sure you re-check the format/margins when you download the document to avoid slight variations.

Google Docs - create and edit documents online, for free. - Google Chrome 2015-10-18 125830.bmp Image from Google Docs.

2. Prezi for FANCIER presentations

Beautiful, ready-made templates that comes in different styles and better still, it’s fun and engaging. You can sign up for free with the public account and also add members so that the team can edit the presentation together, wherever they are. Click here for a raw sample of my group presentation.

Prezi Sample Image of my group’s presentation from Prezi.

3. Trello, everything at ONE GLANCE

The good thing about Trello is that it tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process – at ONE glance. Basically, Trello helps to keep track the project status and allows you to stalk on each other’s tasks and progress. It organizes projects into boards, a different board for a different project. A Trello board is a list of lists, filled with cards, used by you and your team. It comes with checklists, progress status, comment and files upload features. It’s really not that complicated once you see it.

maxresdefaultTrello image from Bertranddo.

4. Dropbox, the art of SAVING & SHARING

Ok, you know this. Simple, create a folder and share the files with selected people/your group. I also store some of my personal documents and photos there. The Dropbox app allows you to access the documents readily, so you always have it on the go, wherever you are.

5. WeTransfer, go easy GO BIG

Send files of up to 2GB (free version) through WeTransfer. The shared files has to be downloaded within a certain time period but that doesn’t matter. No complains, it’s FREE. I use this quite often even for assignments and work, often for sending high resolution images.

WeTransfer - Google Chrome 2015-10-18 124410.bmpImage from WeTransfer.

With the above tools/apps, it helps to facilitate virtual group work, wherever we are. We also create our own Facebook group for group discussions and file uploads. This helps us to be more efficient and productive. Of course, we also meet up in persons to set the goals and agenda as often as we can and to check on the work progress. I hope this also works for you and your group. Feel free to share any awesome online tools out there which you use.

Featured image taken from my group’s mood-board presentation.