Monthly archives: September 2011

The Conference Experience

I have been studying in a Masters program in Sweden for over a year now and I have tried to take part in as many opportunities as possible that will allow me to learn more. One of the best opportunities I have found to do this are the many conferences that are put on by universities and organizations all year round.

Since I have arrived, I have probably taken part in about six conferences. I feel it really is the best opportunity to learn from the most knowledgeable academics and professionals in the research field you are interested in.  Beyond this, I seem to always leave more motivated then I came.

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School Lunches in Sweden

One of the biggest contrasts that I noticed about Sweden was the difference in diet. I found that people are much more conscious and even knowledgeable about the food they eat everyday. It is important that every meal fulfills all nutritional requirements. While it is without a doubt Swedes enjoy their candy, I feel they are much more concerned about having a balanced diet with the occasional sweet treat.

The same can be said for school lunches. Any other school I have been to has had a cafeteria full of fried or microwaved food, something you would not find in Sweden. I had to always bring a lunch because the school cafeteria was full of junk.

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Working while Studying in Sweden

When I was studying at University in Canada I always had a job. Just something part-time to help with the costs of life as a student, but not too many hours so I could still get my homework done. What I have noticed in Sweden is that having a job while you study is not very common.

In Sweden being a student is a full-time job and going to school needs to be the highest priority. A full course load is intended to be equal to that of a 40 hour work week. Even though the amount of time you spend in class may be less, the expectation is that work done from home makes up the difference. Students do readings and assignments from home when they are not in class.

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Culture Night in Uppsala

One of the biggest reasons for studying abroad or doing a Masters program in Sweden is getting to know many people coming from all over the world.  It is quite possible that people coming from every continent will be in your class. This gives all students an opportunity to not only learn about other cultures, but also make friends from around the world.

The result is that most cities in Sweden are very culturally diverse. In Uppsala this is celebrated every year during the cities own KulturNatten (Culture Night). The idea of having a Culture Night is to bring together all members of the community to share in a range of different expressions of culture.

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Playing Kubb in the Park

In my opinion, there is not a lot better in Sweden than a sunny day in fall. I know Swedes are very passionate about the high temperatures and sunny days of summer, but I prefer sitting in the sun with some friends on a nice fall day all cuddled up in a warm sweater. Even with a nice big cup of hot coffee.


Only playing Kubb can make hanging out in the park more fun! Photo By: Kristin Follis

Besides the obvious outdoor picnic and fika, one of my favorite fall outdoor activities is Kubb. Kubb is a leisure game usually played in parks or on a lawn while just hanging out with friends. The objective of this easygoing game is to knock over the King before the other team has a chance.

While there are some different stories as to how the game began, many believe it to have originated in Scandinavia nearly 1000 years ago by the vikings. Today, Kubb has become a relaxed game played by many all over Sweden.

The aim of the game is to knock over all of the other teams Kubbs and then knock over the King for the win. However, if the King is knocked down before all of the opposing Kubbs are down, then the team loses.

The rules of the game are not too hard to follow, although probably too extensive for this blog post. My advice is to always have a Swede around who is familiar with the game to help out with the technicalities.

One of the big benefits is that it is suitable for all ages and can be played anywhere grassy and comfortable, like parks or front lawns. You need around 2 to 12 people to play, which makes it perfect for a group of friends or family.

So take a break from class and soak in these beautiful sunny fall days while they are still here. And, if you are looking for something fun and relaxing, break out the Kubb. Don’t forget to bring along a barbecue or a picnic with some fika for a perfect afternoon.


Playing Kubb with new friends in the park! Photo By: Kristin Follis

For more information on all of the rules of Kubb in English, check out Play Kubb UK.