Monthly archives: October 2011

Getting Through Group Work

Swedish universities take group work very seriously. Most of the assignments I have done for classes throughout the year have been group assignments. While it may be great to have more than one perspective when working on an assignment, it can definitely be difficult to bring together 4 or 5 students at the same time. Combining the talents of many should prove to be beneficial, but it can also result in disaster.

Typically, in a Swedish class you have one main exam, paper or project due at the end of the course. The rest of the semester is full of smaller assignments and group discussions. The group discussions are held frequently and allow you and your fellow students to discuss exactly what you have learned in the past week or month. It can be a very effective way to further your understanding and ask any questions you have.

Getting through group work can be difficult. Photo By: Kristin Follis

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Inevitable Sickness: Getting Health Care as a Student

Whether you’re here for one or two years, getting sick while you are studying abroad is inevitable. If you’re lucky it will be a small cold that will keep you out of school for a few days, but if you’re not so lucky you may have to see a doctor in order to get better. For this reason, it is important that you have the correct health insurance.

If you are studying in Sweden as an EU student you need to have a European Health Insurance card. With this card you can have access to Swedish health care. Without this card you need to obtain your own insurance; without any type of insurance or health card, the cost of getting any treatment at a medical center is very expensive.  The costs can be nearly SEK 1400 for a regular visit and around SEK 7000 if you were to break your foot.

For Non-EU residents who are staying for less than one year you usually have to obtain your own insurance. For those Non-EU students who are staying for over one year, you receive the same health benefits as a Swedish person. To be able to take advantage of this you have to register at the tax office and get a social insurance number (Personnummer in Swedish). Read more » >>

A Night on the Town

Being a student in Sweden doesn’t always allow for many luxuries. Most of us have to stick to a budget and watch our spending to make sure we can make it through every month. Going out on the town is not a frequent occurrence unless it involves cheap beers and burgers at a nation.

A pitcher of sangria. Photo By: Kristin Follis

But sometimes you just have to let loose. You have to take a break from the noodle diet and try some of the many restaurants Sweden has to offer. Whatever type of food you are searching for, I am sure you can find a restaurant serving it here. Because of the cultural diversity, there are tons of great restaurants with amazing food from all over the world.

Uppsala is no exception. There are plenty of good restaurants from Greek on the river, to Italian by candlelight and even some twists on Swedish modern cuisine. Because of the high costs of eating dinner out in Sweden, it is not a place you will find many students. While I love going out to restaurants to try new food and new wine, it is definitely not something I can do frequently.

But, this past weekend we took the opportunity to forget about schoolwork, money issues and deadlines and head out for some much needed unwinding. We decided to go the Spanish route and try a tapas restaurant called Tilltugg. The idea of the restaurant is to sit and relax, while mixing and matching your own menu of small dishes. The cold and hot plates were a nice mix of Spanish and Swedish flavours. Read more » >>

Turkey Day Swedish Style

Dealing with homesickness when your studying abroad is inevitable. It is something that everyone has to deal with, just in different ways and to different degrees.  There is always something you experience everyday that makes you think about home. When the holidays come around it can be even harder to be in different country than the one with your family.

This past weekend was Canada’s thanksgiving holiday. Thanksgiving is similar to many holidays in Sweden; it is centered around being with family and friends and eating copious amounts of food. It is a time to celebrate the bountiful harvest and enjoy it together with as many people as you can feed.  It can be difficult to spend times like this away from your friends and family at home so it is important to incorporate traditions like this into your life abroad.

Currently in Sweden fall is in full swing; the leaves have started to change colors, the temperature has dropped, and all of the fall vegetables are stocked. Being that Sweden is a lot like Canada this time of year, nothing reminds me of home more.  Read more » >>

Living the Swedish Lifestyle

The typical Swedish lifestyle encompasses many things; there is a great desire to be in nature, to be active and moving, to be healthy and happy, to have an open mind, to strive for equality and to experience old traditions to the fullest. To truly get the Swedish experience while you’re here you have to jump into the Swedish lifestyle.

Be Active

There is no doubt that Swedes love to be active. Whether it is outdoors or indoors, you can find Swedes working out hard all year long. Staying active through playing on sports teams, hiking outdoors, or going to the gym is an important part of Swedish society. Being active is supported through education and work; there are sport holidays at school and even financial contributions to the cost of working out from employers.

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