Tag Archives: winter

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A winter walk around Kiruna at -20°C

I took this short movie when I went walking around the town of Kiruna, in the north of Sweden. It’s a pretty amazing city, and in the background of the featured image you can see a hill near Kiruna where there is a ski slope, which is also an amazing place to see the northern lights in winter since you are high up without lights and have a panoramic view.

Kiruna fun fact: They are actually moving the whole city center to another location since it was built on top of a mine that they want to keep exploiting!

 

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Beautiful Landscapes of Winter Lapland – Part 1/2

I just wanted to share with you some beautiful winter pictures of IMO one of the most beautiful areas of the world: Lapland.
DCIM102GOPROSemi frozen rivers.

DCIM102GOPROView from the top of the Abisko mountain.

DCIM100GOPROThe snow piles up on top of traffic signs.

DCIM101GOPROVillages covered in snow look like a fairy tale.

DCIM101GOPROThe air is fresh, clean and pure.

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Because the sun doesn’t rise very high, all shades are super long.

DCIM101GOPROPeople often move in snow scooters or skis.

DCIM101GOPROCross country skying on frozen lakes

DCIM101GOPROBeautiful typical wooden houses.

DCIM102GOPROFrozen canyon at sunrise.

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Winter Wonderland in the middle of nowhere

It started snowing again on the day I arrived in Sweden 3 days ago. Everything is white again. Ain’t complaining because IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL!

Älmhult is immersed in nature, surrounded by forest and lakes. Many have not heard of this small town. My Swedish friends like to joke that Älmhult is in the middle of nowhere and yet, I think it is one of the most diverse town in Sweden. Älmhult international school is actually Sweden’s largest international school!

Let me now take you through a visual tour of winter wonderland in the middle of nowhere.

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Nature therapy is everywhere in Sweden. Living so close to nature is a free luxury.

Snow-sliding in Stockholm

First of all, we all know that Sweden and Stockholm turns into winterland, or snowland, or white city, during winter. This year we have quite a cold winter. Two weeks ago we have two days of -18 degree celcius. Most people, even the Swede, will no be so happy in this kind of cold. But you know, its nature and you don’t get warmer by whining all day. So we might as well find something fun to do during this time. Apparently there are couple of things you can do only in winter, and it is so much fun. Continue reading

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Julmarknad – Christmas Market

Coming from England, I thought our homes, towns and shops looked Christmassy – but then I came to Sweden. Here, every window in every house has a Christmas star or candle shining onto the streets below. Every street has stunning Christmas lights hanging between buildings, and every building has a beautifully decorated Christmas tree inside. Also, not to mention it’s almost impossible to go a day without someone offering you a few of the Swedish Christmas biscuits – pepparkakor.

It also appears that there’s a new Chistmas market (julmarknad) every few days here in Stockholm. Last weekend I popped along to my local Christmas market on the island of Stora Essingen.

23696097956_1852ea7a3d_kThe wonderful florist on Stora Essingen had beautiful flower arrangements perfect for decorating rooms with some Christmas foliage.
23354240289_a6e6fa6e6c_k23095122683_d4eb1cf67e_kSome not so Christmassy Spanish meats were available to taste and buy! More traditionally Swedish is glögg – a warm spiced and sweet red or white wine, similar to the mulled wine we have in Britain.
23639660411_a4aadc0d18_k23613679212_a5ed92f62f_kLots of handmade and carefully crafted decorations from artists living on the Stockholm island.
23639648331_57aa761729_kMy favourite part of the market was the dog sleigh (see top image) which pulled the local children around the market.23696100106_a4df7b0928_k23613688012_e2fe60171e_kThe market was a prime example of the community spirit I love in Stora Essingen. Everyone coming out on a cold Sunday to have fun and support local businesses.

 

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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