Uppsala Day Two
Today did not start with me crying - so success! Moreover, today I met my Erasmus Coordinator, Sophia Ling, who is wonderful! It still amazes me that everyone here speaks English so well, and I keep wanting to tell them that they’re much better people than the English themselves who, for the love of God, can’t master GCSE French. Anyway, she was very helpful, filled me in on all the information I had missed at the Reception meeting, provided me with a form to fill in for Swedish lessons (yay!) and discussed my module choices for the Spring semester. It looks like I’ll have a ridiculous workload come Spring time but I might be able to complete all the Modules I want. For now I have only one 30 credit module - Swedish Culture (comprising of history, art, music and literature).
After the meeting I went to try and open a bank account, but (surprise surprise) I forgot my accommodation contract. The lady was very nice and after filing the paperwork I had completed told me to return on Monday to sign the contract, show my accommodation papers and receive my bank account number and bank card. I chose SEB, mostly because you don’t have to pay for the card and because it was top of the list of suggested banks in the booklet given to me by Sophia.
In very exciting news I now have toilet paper and a toilet brush! And also a huge supply of tea, including vanilla tea and apple, cinnamon and raisin tea, which are both delicious!
I also met a girl on my corridor, she is from Israel, studies in London and has lived in Singapore, so now I don’t feel very well traveled at all. But she appears very friendly. 2 neighbours down, many more to go.
(I am also 10 episodes into Masters of Sex since coming here. The show is great and highly addictive, even if I feel like I could be doing something more useful with my time…)
So yesterday I arrived in Uppsala, Sweden.
I am now an international student!
Yesterday was a nightmare. I got a pre-booked taxi no problem, but then needed to contact the accommodation office as I arrived ‘out of hours’ and needed someone to come and give me a contract and key, who took forever to arrive. The key system is super complicated and involved a keycard, 3 keys and a pin code. I’m doomed if I ever drink alcohol. After unpacking part of my suitcase, mostly to find my duvet and bedding, I wanted to collapse from the agonising headache and growing sense of panic. Instead I needed to find pajamas, eat, take painkillers and try and discover if anyone was in the flat (they weren’t), which all resulted in me retching on my bed until I’d consumed enough food for the painkillers and could go straight to sleep. The room is spacious and bare, the bed is tiny, and everything is obviously from IKEA. I am missing a bedside table, which would be annoying if I had anything to fill it with. The kitchen is filthy, even by my already VERY low standards of cleanliness after Chestnut Avenue. Also my plan for encountering students in the kitchen by continuously drinking tea there is not working!
Flogsta, the accommodation I’m staying at is pretty far out from town and from the university, but it is absolutely picturesque (if you disregard the Soviet style blocks of flats it is actually comprised of). There seem to be lots of parks and walks nearby, and the entire city is very green and welcoming.
Unfortunately I’ve now been here 24 hours and still don’t know anyone in my corridor (except 3 people who said ‘Hey’ before swiftly retiring to their rooms), which is a little concerning and it would have been helpful to have someone tell me where to go for information. Either way, I managed to find a map, set up a student email account, orientate my way around some of the campus and the town center and purchase some essentials i.e tea, at the supermarket nearby. Speaking of which, cider is not considered a proper alcohol and can be sold in supermarkets (unlike spirits), the bad news though is that it is only 2.5%, which is probably still enough to get me drunk in 2 pints.
I have now locked myself in my room and am marathoning Masters of Sex as I research module choices, banking options and where to purchase a bike. Oh well, at least I bought myself tortilla chips and vegeterian tortellini to keep me company.
Which leads me onto another point - THERE ARE BIKES EVERYWHERE. There are more bikes in Uppsala than people! I’m clearly joining this party way too late!
Pictures to follow!