Tag Archives: Uppsala

Halloween Special: Swedish candy!

I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of Halloween, especially because when I think about it, I can only think about CANDY! And I’m definitely a candy lover, that type of person that can eat all the candy in the world and never complain.
The thing is, since I got here I realized how candy is part of Swedish culture. Every supermarket that I go, I see a magic wall like this:

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The hardest part is to pick your candies, since you have so many different options. You have different chocolates, jelly beans, gummy bears, little fishes with fruit flavor and goes one. But after picking your candies, or choosing a little bit of everything because you can’t decide, you just have to weight your bag and pay! It’s a simple, full of options and delicious process.

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But let’s talk about the most unique of them: the black liquorice flavored candies. People said to don’t come near this candies, but Swedes love it (most of them) and this got me very curious. So I tryied and let’s say that is a very different flavor. Generally, international people don’t like this particular candy, but it is cultural here in Sweden and a few other countries. People say that you have to get used to the flavor and even that people that have this candies in their country have different taste, so that’s why they like it. I really thought I was a total candy person, but after trying this, I realized I’m not all about that.

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Sweden is known for its candies. Kids actually have a special day for eating all the candy they want: called Lördagsgodis, translated as Saturday’s Candies, which means a day on the week to stuff yourself with sweets and don’t feel guilty about it! And I said kids, but whenever I see the magic candy wall, I see students, old people and mothers with new born babies in their arms. Now you can see how important candies are for Swedes, right? So if you are a candy lover like me, you will love Sweden!

Why Uppsala?

Hello again!

Today is going to be all about Uppsala, about the university and city I chose to live in for the next two years whilst I do my masters. Since I had so many different motives for coming here, I decided to share them with you.

Let’s start by saying that Uppsala University was the first university in Sweden, founded in 1477. Fun fact: this means that the university is older than my own country (Brazil was “discovered” by the Portuguese in 1500).  Also, in the last couple of years, Uppsala University has been on the list of best universities in the world. If this does not impress you, keep reading, because I have even more motives for you!

Uppsala is a city for the students. Everything here focuses on trying to integrate the students. Making them socialize and feel like they belong here. It is a unique experience to be surrounded by young people and to see how the city adapts to receive thousands of students every year. Another plus here, is that in Uppsala you have a student price for everything!

Uppsala is also an awesome place for international students. People here are always willing to communicate in English so everyone can understand. For example, the majority of the Facebook events for the nations have a description in English. Everyone tries to integrate the students that can’t speak Swedish, so you don’t feel left out. This applies to the Professors, restaurants, banks and everything else.

Now comes the fun! Uppsala is famous for it’s student nations. Here, you have thirteen different nations to choose from and be part of. They are responsible for the fun parts of living in Uppsala. All of them have restaurants, libraries, pubs and parties, and have that student price I spoke about too. It gets better! Another cool thing about the nations is that you can work there. Which is a nice way of making new friends and getting extra money at the end of the night.

So, when are you coming to Uppsala? 🙂

A little trip home…

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I’m back! Apologies for the small hiatus but I’ve been busy you see. Since I haven’t posted in almost 10 days (yikes), I’ll update you on what’s happened.

After the horror that was my exam, I went out to celebrate with my friends. Since Halloween festivities always begin early (just like Christmas), we decided to go out a week before Halloween. Me and my friend Claire popped by the fancy dress shop in Uppsala, stocked up on (pricey) face and hair paints and cycled home to prepare. Little did I know that I would be the one painting everyone’s face that night, but I didn’t mind. Since I have a GCSE in Art, everyone agreed I was probably the most qualified to do this; little did they know, I got a C.
Anyway, I began with my own face, a spooky pumpkin. The orange paint made me look like a yellow cheese puff, but a little dab of black around the eyes and a touch of eyeliner I eventually began to resemble a pumpkin. Then I began with John and Claire who wanted to be skeletons, this wasn’t too hard but it’s rather interesting to see how they both reacted differently to having eyeliner applied. John seemed genuinely terrified to have anything that close to his eyeball, but Claire took it like a pro. Boys, you have nothing on us. Then Davide wanted to be a sloth. Lord knows what a sloth has to do with Halloween, but he seemed adamant so we made him into a lovely spooky sloth. Basti came over with nothing particularly in mind so we made him into a mime, not bad for improvisation. We also met Laurence at his later for drinks and as you can tell, he also wanted to be a sloth, but after some wine, I believe I may have forgotten what to do, and well, he quite simply looked like a child’s drawing. Nightlife here is so varied. All of the student nations have their own events so whether you’re into dance, rock or R&B, there’s something there for you. We went to a nation called ‘Snerikes’ which we’re all part of. They have a bar downstairs for those who want to talk but there are more rooms with R&B, Dance and cheesy euro pop (my favourite).

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From left to right: John, Davide, Basti and Claire

So I went back home to England for a couple of days, my timetable was a little empty that week and I had free time so it seemed obvious to take a few days to visit my parents and boyfriend. When I left Uppsala on October 29th, I hadn’t seen any decorations anywhere but as soon as I arrived in Newcastle, the shopping centres were covered already! People tell me that the brits love Christmas but I didn’t realise this until I moved away. So of course, as one must do during the (nearly) Christmas period, you have to shop! I found a couple of amusing hats that my mother unwillingly offered to model. She also told me she’d be unhappy if I put pictures these on Facebook. I did stay true to my word; I put them on my blog instead for even more people to see aha. Prior to this we had a lovely afternoon tea but they gave us so much food that we felt as though we were waddling our way around the shopping centre. Although I live in Sweden, being in Europe allows anyone to travel freely without restriction. It was possible for me to finish class in Sweden by 12pm and be home in England in time for my dinner 8 hours later. This just goes to show that even if you move to Sweden, you are not restricted to staying in Sweden. Since, it’s possible to fly from one end of Europe to the other in under 6 hours; you can visit countless other European countries whilst staying here. Many students from outside of the EU take advantage of this opportunity since flights are often so cheap!

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From left to right: Tea time!, the most awesome hat ever and evidence of the Christmas hype beginning in October!

Before my trip back to Uppsala, I, my parents and boyfriend went for a Sunday dinner down at the beach. They all had a Sunday roast and I had fish and chips. I made the most of the large healthy meals I was getting since I get lazy living on my own and sometimes substitute chocolate for meals… my boyfriend James posted out a giant box of Cadbury’s chocolate out to Sweden for me and I’m ashamed to say that I’m 65% of the way through finishing it.

I was back in my bed in Sweden by 2am this morning and in class at 1pm. Now I’m sitting waiting for my Swedish class which is offered free to all students. Although it was nice having a break, I’m ready to work hard again (so I hope) in the final push up until Christmas. It’s supposed to snow tomorrow night so I guess this is where it begins… the Swedish winter.

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All together!

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12 Weeks Later…

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In two days’ time, I will have been in Sweden for 3 months. They say that you’ve officially lived somewhere once the 3 month mark has passed, so there you go. I live in Sweden.
I feel like I’ve been here forever, yet at the same time, it feels like no time has passed at all. When I look back on the whole experience, I can’t believe that everything I’ve done has been crammed into 12 weeks. There are only 8 more until I’m home for Christmas and then before I know it, I’ll be half way through my first year. 12 months ago, I would have had no idea that in a years’ time, I’d be 1,500 miles from home. It’s crazy how much can change in a year but more so how much it can change you.
I would say that I’m pretty independent, I’ve lived in student housing for the past two years back in the UK and I’m more than capable of looking after myself. You think you have it all under control. You’ve convinced yourself that you’re prepared for adulthood and it can only get easier from there. Then you move abroad…
You’re a stranger, a foreigner and you know no one. All the food in the supermarket has a funny name and people act differently to what you’re used to. You’re also living in an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people and if that’s not enough, you have all your studies to content with.

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What’s the Swedish for hot-dog buns? I can’t find hot-dog buns; will I find hot dog buns in Sweden ever again? I can’t deal with this.

Even though it may seem overwhelming, you find yourself gradually conquering each task and finding things a bit easier. It’s not that everything is getting easier, but that you are getting a little stronger, more used to your environment. I guess it’s something everyone fears, not being able to keep going, but if you wait it out, give it a chance, it always gets better. I say this because I found it hard moving here, although there was nothing wrong with Uppsala, it was hard for me to adapt. I now look back on the last three months and I’m happy to say I’ve overcome the silly little struggles that once seemed like mammoth tasks. As I feel more content with myself and where I am, I realise that I’ve adapted and grown up and that in itself is exactly what I set out here to do.
All the seriousness aside, I guess I could update you on my latest movements! Firstly I recently just sat my first exam here… I’ll not quite discuss how that went aha, but what I’ll tell you is how strange the experience was! First of all there are toilets IN THE EXAM HALL… like what is that about?! I mean, they’re in individual rooms, not cubicles (that would be embarrassing!) but I find it fascinating that you can just get up when you want and wander to the toilet for half an hour if you wish. Secondly, you are allowed to eat, and I don’t just mean small snacks like a chocolate bar or whatever; people are bringing in boxes of pasta, sandwiches, full on meals that they just sit and munch on mid exam. I’m used to the whole ‘put your hand up and you’ll be taken to the toilet’ and ‘no liquids that aren’t water’ scenario, but there are people drinking tea and coffee and whatever they fancy. I am amused.

Oh I also have a vendetta against one of my neighbours. I mean, I’ve never met him/her but I know that they’re somewhere close since I can feel the vibrations of their music almost every night. I’m not one to complain, but he/she played dubstep at 8am once on a Sunday morning. There’s a word for people like that but I can’t say aha.

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If you’re going to play it loud, at least play something good -_-

I go home in 5 days for a quick visit to see my family and boyfriend. Free periods are like gold dust here since they don’t have reading weeks (it’s a week off class to ‘read and study’ – yeah right ha). One module finished and another immediately begins but my timetable freed up so I booked a flight and I’m very excited for that! Anyway, must dash, I’m dressing up as a pumpkin tonight for a pre-Halloween party and I must buy orange face paint.

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