Friday, 8 July 2016

Swedish Summer

Swedish Summer

The frozen peninsula of Scandinavia has finally melted and is basking in the full glory of summer. Now that classes and exams are all over, things are very different in Uppsala. Most of the students have left now and the normal student activities have largely shut down until August, but a few nations are still open. Some of my classmates have decided to do project work over the summer (at Uppsala University you can choose to take independent project courses for 5, 10 or 15 credits on a subject of your choice (within reason) so long as you can find a supervisor willing to take you), however many people just take the opportunity to relax and visit family and friends. There are a few things still happening in Sweden to occupy those who are still there:

Summer is the perfect time to have a picnic at the river (before it freezes solid in winter)

Things Happening in Sweden Now

1. Football: Sweden was the only Scandinavian team to reach the finals of Euro 2016, a brief source of national pride, until they were eliminated in the group stages. After that, the whole country switched their allegiance to Iceland, who embarrassingly managed to knock out my native England before being beaten by France. The student nations that are still open have been showing all the games live for football fans, along with special food and drinks offers for the tournament.

2. Politics: For one week in summer, Swedish politicians all go to the island of Gotland to make speeches, debate things, and whatever else politicians do. This is where the parties set out their vision of what they want to do for Sweden, however with the next general election still over two years away they still have plenty of time to figure it out. Meanwhile in British politics...

3. Brexit: As a British person living in another EU country, the vote for the UK to leave the EU has me very worried. My right to live here and get free education is based on EU membership so is now up for negotiation. My advice for any British people considering studying in Sweden or any other EU country would be to apply as soon as you can to get in while the previous rules still apply.

4. Preparations for the new semester: I have already seen a few welcome-type events popping up on facebook (see link below). If you're coming to Uppsala in August keep an eye out for anything you might be interested in, and join all the facebook groups to make sure you don't miss anything. In my experience the ones who organise the most stuff are the Erasmus ones, which you can join even if you're not an Erasmus student. Another thing to get involved with before you arrive is the Buddy programme. I know several of the buddy leaders for next semester and I'm sure they'll have loads of great activities planned.

5. Ongoing rivalry with Denmark: 

6. Midsummer: Another month brings another weird Swedish holiday. Midsummer is a day where everyone wears flowers on their head and dances round poles. You will have the opportunity to learn dances like the "frog" and the "rocket", which sounds really weird but its actually a lot of fun. It is also a day where everyone goes to the countryside (I went to a lake half an hour from the city) and has barbecues and goes swimming in freezing water of questionable cleanliness.

You too can look like a forest nymph at a Swedish Midsummer lunch (not for hayfever sufferers).

As August approaches and the new students arrival gets closer I will talk about what you should expect when you get here, and what you should do before you leave. In the meantime, enjoy the summer wherever you may be.