Navaneethan Palanisamy talks about his days in Uppsala, one of the oldest and best universities in Sweden.
Uppsala University (UU) was founded in 1477, and is one of the oldest universities in Sweden, in addition to being one of the oldest in all of Scandinavia. Like many other universities in Europe, UU also offers many international Master Degree programmes. This beautiful city is adorned with forests and lakes. With the addition of the university providing high quality education — the allure is great for students from other parts of the world.
So far, eight Nobel laureates have been allied with Uppsala University. Additionally, famous personalities in science such as Carl Linnaeus (taxonomist), Jöns Jacob Berzelius (father of modern chemistry), Anders Jonas Ångström (physicist), Anders Celsius (physicist) have worked in this university. In 2012, the university has been globally ranked 83 by QS, 106 by THE and 73 by Shanghai. Apart from UU, many famous universities/institutes in Sweden such as Karolinska Institute, Lund University, KTH, Chalmers, Stockholm School of Economics and Stockholm University have also been ranked within the top 200 educational establishments in the world.
This university has several interesting traditions. First, the classes in UU always start 15 minutes past the hour. Second, every year after the conferment of the Nobel Prize, two or more of the winners are invited to UU to give a speech. Third, if you ask anyone in Uppsala about ‘Flogsta scream’, they will be excited to tell you about it. Flogsta is a student residential area in Uppsala. Every day around 10pm, students living there scream for a minute or so. They do this for fun and it is a continuing tradition.
During winter, the temperature can go down to -25 C. I usually joke that my dress weighs more than me during winter. On the other hand, during summer the temperature can go up to +21 C. The sunlight can fade away quickly during winter with only four to five hours of sunlight every day. On the contrary, during summer, there can be up to 20 hours of sunlight.
Nearly everyone speaks good English in Sweden; Uppsala is not exception to this as it is an international student city. Moreover, the university and the Uppsala municipality offers free Svenska language courses for foreigners. In fact, I was able to complete my basic Svenska course (level C).
Uppsala is a small city, so it can be covered in a bicycle. In winter, using a bicycle might be tricky and I would not recommend it. The city has good public transport system and works uninterrupted even during a bad snowy weather. The student union of UU has 13 nations (fraternities). Though joining nations is not mandatory, many students, including international ones, join these nations as they provide a wide spectrum of entertainment activities. Each nation has its unique cultural and entertainment agenda. During summer, one could hang out near lakes or camp out in forests. During winter, one could try out various winter sports. Uppsala does not run out of entertainment and one could find at least one festivity every day. The abundant blend of international people living in Uppsala makes this possible. Valborg and Ice festival are among the highly-noted events by students in Uppsala. Moreover, Stockholm can be reached in 40 minutes by train and there are other interesting things you can look out for. Language is a determinant for getting a job in Sweden. However, for students there are many possibilities of earning money during their study period without knowing Svenska. A majority of students do summer jobs for the university or other institutions. Additionally, one could also seek jobs in the nations, where they are paid on an hourly basis.
The writer has completed his Masters in Medical Sciences (Infection Biology) at Uppsala University, Swede.