I find that the Christmas spirit really comes out after the first of Advent. In Sweden, this means that all the windows fill with lights and stars, the grocery stores fill with Julmust and gingerbread cookies, and the smell of glögg drifts through the air from Christmas markets.
Last Sunday was the first of Advent and, for Sweden, this marks the official countdown to Christmas. Most households burn four candles, one on every Sunday, to count down the days to Christmas. With every candle that is lit, more and more excitement grows for the coming of Christmas.
The first Advent candle lit. Photo By:Per Ola Wiberg ~ Powi (CC BY-2.0) Read more » >>
In North America we think we take our coffee seriously. Whether you brew your own at home or pick up something at the local Starbucks, it is a morning staple for most people. Cafes on every corner are common, offering coffee to go to suit a more fast-placed lifestyle.
But, the truth is, us North Americans know nothing about coffee drinking. In Sweden, it is more of a cultural practice, a time-honoured tradition, and a social entitlement that brings people together.
The coffee habits I have observed since I have been here still amaze me to this day. A typical day of coffee drinking can include, coffee at home before leaving for work, coffee when arriving to work, fika break mid-morning, coffee after lunch, fika break in the afternoon and even possibly a coffee after dinner.
Coffee is an institution in Sweden. Photo By: Pixelthing (CC BY-SA 2.0)
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I think when people ask me how I made it to Sweden they expect some amazing and inspiring story: I have roots in Sweden, I have dreamt about the land of moose and northern lights my whole life (come on, I am from Canada), I have always wanted to study in the land of innovation and equality, I have an abounding love for meatballs and lingon berries, or I have always wanted to date a tall and handsome, blond man.
While some of these might describe how others made it to Sweden, my story is not quite as exciting.
I had always dreamt of going on exchange somewhere while I was in university. When I was younger I had a babysitter who did a semester abroad in France and I think that is where the thought came from. Since then I had been thinking about where I wanted to study abroad. Read more » >>
Having a tight budget is a hard part of being a student. There is so much to see and do that you want to make sure you can fit in before you have to go back to your home country. The problem is it seems everything costs money; but, if you keep an eye on your budget chances are you can make it all happen.
Being on a tight budget is part of being a student. Photo By: Sippeangelo (CC BY-SA 2.0)
One of the most frequent questions I get is, how much money do you need in a month to survive in Sweden? First of all, the answer differs for every person. It can depend on if you cook, if you go out frequently, if you buy your lunch, if you buy all of your textbooks new etc…. Secondly, there is a big difference in the cost to survive in Sweden and the cost to live comfortably. Read more » >>
It is definitely strange that I live in Sweden, but I haven’t really experienced most of the tourist attractions the cities have to offer. As soon as someone comes to visit I start to look differently at all the familiar places around. What I usually walk past everyday becomes more foreign and exciting.
This weekend I am having a friend come visit from Canada. We met in university and have been traveling around together ever since. We even did an exchange together in Växjö only a couple years ago. While she has been in Sweden before, this is her first time in Uppsala. So, I am determined to show her all the best that Uppsala and student life has to offer.
The Uppsala Cathedral. Photo By: Haegglund (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) Read more » >>