Sunday, 7 August 2016

Preparing for Arrival

Preparing for Arrival

The time is almost here for next year's master students to arrive in Uppsala. If you're one of them, here's a few tips on what you need to do before you get here.

1. Get a house
If you haven't already sorted out accommodation in Uppsala, you really need to do that ASAP. There are several different housing agencies that offer student housing, as well as all kinds of facebook groups that can help you. It is very difficult though, so if you don't have anywhere sorted when you move here, don't panic. I was in the same position this time last year, but after a week of intense searching I found a really nice room.

NOTE: most rooms in Sweden come unfurnished, so bring as much as you can from home to save carrying 15 tonnes of goods from IKEA on the edge of town

2. Be prepared for the weather
People who have never been to Sweden before often think that the entire country is covered in snow all year round. This is not true. I made the mistake of thinking Sweden would be cold in August, and wearing about 8 layers of clothes on my flight there. When I got outside I immediately realised this was a bad idea. Do not make the same mistake.
On the other hand, it can get really cold in the winter, and warm clothes (and all other clothes) are quite expensive here in Sweden, so pack accordingly.

3. Sign up for ALL the activities
By now, there should be a lot of activities planned for the new students. You should hopefully receive a programme of all the events organised by the nations when you arrive. I would urge anyone to go to as many of these events as they can. Not only is there often free food (see below), but you can meet great new people and learn a lot about life in Sweden. The physics department and the student unions also arrange lots of events in the first weeks, so keep an eye out for information from them too.

4. Join the Buddy programme
It can be hard moving to a new city where you don't know where anything is and how things work. Luckily the buddy programme exists to match you with somebody who knows the city a little better, and will arrange some fun activities for groups of new students.

5. Free Things
Companies and student organisations will be dying to get you interested in whatever products or services they're offering, and one way they do this is giving you free things. Pens and notebooks which you can find in abundance are obviously useful but the best thing I got was a mobile sim card in the welcome pack, which gave me mobile internet for an entire year absolutely free, along with the novelty of a Swedish phone number.

6. Investigate the Nations
Joining a student nation in Uppsala is something everyone should do, but there are 13 to choose from so it can be difficult to decide which one. If you have no idea what the student nations are, don't worry, this will be the subject of my next post.

7. Learn some Swedish
This one is not strictly necessary, as everyone in Sweden speaks perfect English. If you feel like giving the local language a go, though, it can be really fun. A few basic words will always be appreciated.

8. Enjoy the summer
Appreciate it while you can, because it won't last long.