Hallå from Lund!
(Here is a little song to listen to whilst you read. It’s just a very nice song. You’re welcome)
My name is Isabel Fisk Baruque, and I have officially survived 10 days in Sweden. I wanted to wait until I felt a little more settled and comfy in this new city before writing anything, so here goes! I’ve been here a little while and have accumulated some knowledge that would have reaaally helped me before hand.
#1 – Arrive ON arrival day
This was something that I learnt about the hard way. I spent the summer working in Iceland and had not planned my travel according to the university schedule for Erasmus Students. The official start was on the 18th, and I arrived the 27th. This meant I missed out on some essential information sessions and social events. Arriving late meant having a late start and having to catch up with all the other international students who had a ‘head start’. I did talk to the coordinators here and they said not to worry. However, I strongly recommend that you make plans according to the schedule at your new university. You and your new classmates will be able to discover your new city together and you won’t be stressed out.
#2 – Make friends – Foreign and Local
You will want to travel and who better to discover new places than with your new friends. These people will most likely be the ones you meet when you arrive or the people you live with. I have already made plans to go to Lapland and Russia! Local people will probably be the ones in your class or ‘mentors” that the university assign to you on your arrival. They will introduce you to some fun traditions and give you tips and info you wouldn’t have known otherwise.
SIDE NOTE: In Sweden, they have a tradition of Cray Fish parties near the end of august, which involves eating A LOT of cray fish, singing swedish drinking songs and consequently getting quite drunk.
So I set off to meet with my ‘Mentor Group’, and had an absolute blast!
#3 – Get lost in your new city
The best way to get used to a city is getting off the beaten path. My first couple of days here involved getting a bike and cycling around everywhere. I feel so much better when I feel confident in a city, knowing where I’m going and finding little places hidden away. Being in a big city, you’ll probably find it a bit harder to get to know your way around. So stick to a main road or area and slowly discover new places around it.
#4 – Make plans to travel asap
ESN (http://esn.org/) is a organisation that helps with Erasmus Students and also plans trip that you can go on! There is one in every major university in Europe, and I highly recommend you like their page at your new university. Their trips are cheap and allow stress free travel for discounted prices. Otherwise, you can simply make plans with friends. Travelling in Europe is easy as countries are very close by, so don’t stress and just travel 🙂
#5 – Cosy your room up
My room has become my little haven. When you’re away from your home and family/friends, it’ll feel lonely at times. So bring some things to make your place feel like home. Even just a rug or a blanket will make a huge difference during those home-sick days.
(Another go to song for a rainy day)
#1 – PANIC
This is much easier said than done, and trust me, I know. It might be that you feel unorganised and lost and hence you panic. Maybe, you’ve forgotten an essential thing back home and you panic. Maybe you’re just stressed, and you panic. It’s fine to panic. Whenever I panic, I find it really helps to talk to someone about it, a family member or just a friend. Sometimes, you’re not even panicking, and you just really needed to vent. Do it! Maybe even just a movie night with your new friends to calm you down could also help, really just do what works for you 🙂
#2 – Send boxes of your stuff from home
I though I was being so smart, and now I can admit to my own mistakes. I definitely did not need as much stuff as I thought. You will be absolutely fine with just two suitcases of things, the rest (such as kitchen equipment, etc.) is not necessary. If you move into international accommodation, there will often be basic equipment already there (plates, mugs, pans…). So if you’re going on Erasmus, shipping things is really not essential. And don’t use EcoParcel (my stuff came broken and almost disappeared off the face of earth).
#3 – Hesitate to pester your Erasmus Coordinator
They are here to help you! Anything that you need to know, they will know it. Or at least, they will be able to point you in the right direction. My coordinator has been a godsend, and I highly recommend you get to know them. It’s a huge help when you’re completely lost in a new university system.
#4 – Study too much
I, for one, make this mistake sometimes. Although you have to keep up with school work, this is also a time to relax and have FUN! Best is to plan time during the day, a fixed time which is purely dedicated for work. Making use of the libraries at your new university is also good. However, they might not have opening hours as generous as Glasgow uni library. So check beforehand!
#5 – Be shy
Everyone is in the same situation as yourself, we’re all far away from home and most of the time we don’t know anyone. So be outgoing, make friends and don’t be afraid of making plans! A coffee with friends or a study session with classmates is the perfect way of getting to know people better.
Better quality pictures and some more funky tunes coming soon, stay tuned!