A day in the life of a student in Sweden – Kyran Penny

I spent a while thinking about what to write for this blog post, and the only thing that came to my head was something a little depressing. So I read through my previous posts and realised I had never written about what an average day in Uppsala consists of. Bearing in mind that I spend most of my days here, I think a post like this has been long overdue. Of course, not everything written on this post is representative of every day in Sweden, but I hope this will show anyone who is interested either in what I’m up to most days, or those who are hesitant about coming here for their time abroad, how different it is to university life in the UK.

The Morning. Growing up, I was never a morning person. I used to hate getting up every morning for school, it was far more preferable to stay in bed for hours, doing absolutely nothing. Nowadays, my body basically refuses to allow me those pleasures. As soon as the sun comes up, I wake up. It helps that my room faces the sun when it rises every morning, because it almost forces me to get up. Anyway, after my daily morning cup of tea (a nice, strong builder’s tea, I should add) and a quick scroll through the news, I wander down to campus to class which usually starts at 10:15am. Thankfully, I live really close to where all my classes are situated, and one of my best friends (who coincidentally is also a British history student) lives two floors below me, so we always walk down together. Classes are two hours long with a short break halfway through, and tend to be subjects that I’ve never studied before. They are usually Swedish history courses, but I’ve also done some American stuff, in order to relate to what I do most of the time at Queen Mary. By the time, the classes are over, it’s time for lunch.

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The Afternoon. At least once a week, my friends and I have soup at one of the nations (those student-run union-like places that are scattered across the city). Always vegetarian soup, and always very good, with focaccia which is so addictive, it may as well have a class A drug embedded inside it. Swedes seem to love a good lunch buffet as well, so sometimes we may frequent one of these- nevertheless, it’s all pretty cheap for students and there’s usually free tea or coffee afterwards, which is always a bonus. After lunch and some work in the library, fika calls us. As explained in a previous post, fika is a Swedish tradition that basically resembles afternoon tea. It’s something that, as a student, I will gladly abide by- we millennials have got to spend horrendous amounts of money on coffee and cakes, come on. The thing is with fika, is that you find yourself spending hours in these quaint little café’s, enveloped by large, comfy sofas and good company. I think my record is about five hours in a café…

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The Night. Let’s say we’re going out clubbing. First thing’s first, you’ve got to make sure you’re well supplied with alcohol, as the alcohol shops close at 7pm during the week. The pre-drinks are usually at a friend of mine’s who lives just down the road from the club. Although this semester, I mostly hang out with other Brits, people from all over the world can be present, and this is very much like in the nation clubs. You party in these large halls, adorned with old paintings and chandeliers until the next morning (but not too late, remember this is Sweden, not the UK). On the way back, the kebab place becomes modern day churches, with inebriated students congregating around the smell of greasy Turkish food- something Sweden shares with the UK.

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As mentioned at the beginning, this is not what I do every day. Uppsala has so many options for everyone. You can work at a nation and make friends with both native Swedes and foreigners. You can join a sports team, a choir or even a beer pong team. You can go for walks in the surrounding forests, ice skate on the frozen lakes or even travel to Stockholm for a day of culture. Much like in the UK, Uppsala has something for everyone, and although my account may see a little gluttonous (thank my EU loan for that), there is more than enough to do in this vibrant and scenic city.

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