Alisa in Sweden

Field of study in Wageningen: International Land and Water Management
Study period exchange: 21/01/2019 until 17/06/2019
Country (exchange): Sweden
City (exchange): Uppsala
University (exchange): SLU – Sveriges Lantbruk Universitet
Faculty (exchange): CEMUS

2. Motivation for exchange

Why did you choose to go on study exchange?

I wanted to live in Uppsala, Sweden and learn more about sustainability.

What is the reason you chose for this country/university?

I’ve always been fascinated by Sweden’s nature and atmosphere.

3. Accessibility to reach destination

Do you have any tips to reach your exchange destination?

Yes, there is a Flixbus (www.flixbus.com)  going from Amsterdam/Eindhoven to Copenhagen and from Copenhagen it is very easy to travel by train (www.sj.se ).  I think if you put some effort you can also travel by train to Copenhagen, but I unfortunately didn’t find an easy trip.

Please travel sustainable if you have the opportunity, it might be cheaper too especially with luggage.

We need to save the planet in order to save ourselves!

4. University and studying

Could you provide some general information about the followed courses?

How is the study formalized?

For SDPMC normally three mornings were scheduled (Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday). In the beginning we had three lectures each week about different aspects of sustainability. During the semester the amount of lectures every week declined and there was more time for our own practical project on sustainability (in Uppsala).  There have been 4 seminars in the 5 months of study, these can be prepared by writing a literature seminar on the chosen topic. On top of this was there literature to read for every lecture and a couple of mandatory books. The last assignment, which was graded, was on the chosen book and a reflection on the project.

For CCL there were normally two lectures a week in the afternoon (Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday). Most of the lectures were linked to literature we had to read in advance. Next to this there were several books mandatory to read and we had six seminars during the course. These all had to be prepared by a 1000 words essay on the topic of climate change. I felt like the guest lecturers learned me a lot about the different aspects of the climate crisis and her causes/consequences.

What is the culture of the university?

CEMUS is set up by and for students, this means that their education is student-led. Course coordinators are students and a lot of guest speakers will give lectures and workshops. CEMUS is small and highly engaged learning environment. Course coordinators are very open to help you in your study process. Also giving and receiving feedback is super important for CEMUS. Apart from just education CEMUS organizes a lot of guest lectures, walks and network events related to sustainability. It is the perfect place to broaden your network on this topic. I felt like there is more space for the already present knowledge of the class to exchange this with each other instead of that there is one teacher who knows everything. I felt like we were all teaching each other, this felt pretty cool.

What does the university offer the student additionally?

For me everything I needed  I could find in Uppsala. I am not sure which of these facilities were offered by the university. In my building there was a little over prised café and there is a fitness centre on the Uppsala University Campus.

5. Housing-travelling-living

What are the possibilities for housing?

If you go with SLU or UU to Uppsala there is the possibility to tick the box that the university will arrange a room for you. I would highly recommend you to do that, the rooms they organise are nice, clean and well located. It is a struggle to find a room in Uppsala yourself, especially when you don’t live there yet (I assume).

What is the culture of the country like?

Sweden is an enormously friendly country. There are very good options for vegans and vegetarians. The beer is very expensive, like fruit and vegetables. You cannot buy alcohol above 3,5% in the supermarket, therefore you have to go to the system bolaget. You could say that Swedish people are a bit more private and like to eat in their room, instead of Wageningen were everybody is having dinners all the time. Swedish people DO like going out so don’t worry! Especially when you are in your Erasmus circle I don’t think you will experience big cultural differences from the Netherlands. The toilets in Sweden are gender neutral! The culture is a bit more modest than the Dutch, for example there is the ‘Jante law’ which says it is better not to show if (think) you are better in something than other people.

Could you give a general price indication of the place of residence compared to living in Wageningen?

Yes, as I mentioned above I experienced Sweden as more expensive than the Netherlands, maybe 120%.

Could you give some information about public transport infrastructure?

I bought a bike for 700 KR (70 EURO) this brought me every where also in the snow. Public transport I found relatively expensive, 30 KR (3 EURO) for a trip in zone 1 within 45 minutes. More than this I don’t know about this topic

6. Free time

What are must-sees in the area? 

  • Stockholm, train or flixbus (super cheap 3EUR)
    –     Join a schoolstrike
    –     Photography museum
    –     Visit hermans, vegan buffet (they have a student price!!!!! J)
    –     Gamla Stan
  • Soderalm
  • National history museum (free)
  • Take the boat to Nacka strand, it is included in the transportation ticket
  • Bike to Stockholm from Uppsala, nice activity 😉
  • Are for skiing, there is a night train going
  • Lapland for nature and northern lights, go with an organised trip or organise yourself
  • Haga is a nature place close to Uppsala, perfect for hiking/cross-country skiing
  • Lunsentorpet is a cabin very close to SLU, worth a visit! Stay the night
  • Gothenburg is nice! Especially in summer (bus or train from Stockholm)
  • Oregrund for the sunset , bus is going from Uppsala station.
  • Sigtuna, oldest city of Sweden, reachable by train and bus
  • Lake elkon you can swim or canoe there if you like
  • Vreta is a nice nature place, reachable by bike, close to the lake
  • At sunnersta you can sledge when snowy
  • Fjallnora, for ice skating

What does not appear in the travel guide, but is worth a visit?

  • Legumes & los Vegos in Uppsala
  • Study in the library Carolina.
  • Lalo’s bike, is the best bike man in town!!!
  • Gustavianum museum, is free for UU students.

Do you have general tips and tricks about leisure time?

Join a nation!! There is so much going there from music to art to work to sports/yoga.

7. Challenges & best moment abroad

What was a challenge you have experienced?

Being able to mentally deal with the climate crisis.

What was your best memory abroad?

Being in nature with friends, meet super cool new people, party in new places, do sports outside, protest for the environment, study interesting things and have fun!! 😀

8. Contact details

Would you like to ask Alisa more questions about her exchange?
Send her a mail: alisavangent@gmail.com