Art in the harbour

This weekend was an open day in Roda Sten: an area for modern art in Gothenburg in the harbour in Majorna. It is a beautiful seaside area with that old industrial feeling, artists’ studios, gallery and loads of cafes.

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Even though it was rather windy next to the sea, we still had a very nice time, walking around various ateliers, the main exhibition (that was inside thankfully) and admiring  beautiful industrial building.

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To warm ourselves up, we stopped in the cafe that is situated inside a little boat in the main harbor. The cafe itself was quite nice but due to the wind, the boat was moving a lot, sometimes making us feeling a bit sick. The food itself was not great either – coffee was ok with unlimited refills, but all the cakes were half frozen and didn’t taste that nice. Which was quite a pity because I really liked the idea of a boat cafe. 

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We wrapped up the day by going to Pustervik and listening to some local bands playing, each for 15 minutes. The concert itself was dedicated to one of the band members who died earlier this year so the atmosphere was quite emotional yet somehow beautiful. 

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How to get to Roda Sten:
Röda Sten konsthall
Röda Sten 1
414 51 Göteborg
trams 9 or 3 – stop Jaegerdorffsplatsen
website: http://www.rodasten.com/index.php/en/home

Puss och kram,
Lucia:)

8 Things I missed about Gothenburg

Few days ago, I came back from a week trip back home. It was amazing to see all my family and friends again, waking up knowing there will be milk in the fridge and not having to think in English for a while. However, as I was walking down the streets where I grew up, I realised that there were a lot of things that I was starting to miss. And, of course, all Gothenburg related.

1. My flatmates

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I have to admit I have been very very lucky for finding and moving in with Hanna and Olartia. Very soon, they have become my Swedish family that knows me more than anyone else. After living together for almost 6 months, our lives have become pretty much synchronized and we are very used to each other’s presence and company. Back home, my mornings were suddenly unusually quiet without Olartia’s “pero bueno!”, Hanna’s morning face making endless cups of ecological coffee and Swedish radio/casual Spanish male artist playing in the background.

2. HDK – my university
I never thought I would say so, but I actually really missed my uni. There is just something very magical about that building that made me miss its atmosphere. As we spend A LOT of time in there, it has become more than just a classroom where you go for couple of hours and leave. By now, for me it is something between office, cafe where I get my daily sugar fix, random art gallery, lunch spot with my classmates and a place where I have a dialogue with my tutors. Yes, we do have lectures there every now and then, but it is all very informal and more of a ‘let’s discuss this topic over a cup of coffee’ kind of thing.

3. My classmates

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And speaking of uni, of course they come with it. It is only 20 of us, we have our own studio where we constantly work together on group projects, have lunches and just generally hang out and talk about life. It is usually 5 days a week so one gets pretty used to seeing them everyday.

4. Afterwork catch-up

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It is a lovely Swedish thing that we turned into a tradition with my ‘International family’. We were put together in the same buddy group at the beginning of the year and we kind of sticked together ever since (apart from some members who left us as they returned back to their home countries…sad part of having exchange friends living on the other side of the world). As we all have different degrees and things to do in life in general, Friday after work is the time when we can all meet again to catch up with everyone’s gossips and celebrate the fact that it’s Friday.

5. Swedish food
Living with Hanna, cooking and eating like a Swede has become part of my daily routine. Coming back home, I was very confused where was my crispy bread, weekly fish dish, licorice sweets and of course, where was my Marabou?!

6. Fysiken
I think none of my friends would ever imagine me saying that I miss going to the gym. But the healthy Swedish lifestyle caught me as well and I joined Fysiken in February (after a slight peer-pressure from my classmates….but I am very thankful for that now). And I have to admit, I kind of missed our Body Balance sessions with Flaminia.

7. Fika
Or better say, it is always cake time! In Sweden, you are having cake just because you are having coffee as well. No more reason needed. And you don’t even feel guilty because everyone else is having one as well. Can we please make this a worldwide thing? Tack se mycket.

8. Swedish language
I am still ashamed of the little Swedish I have learnt so far…I know it is largely my fault because I just gave up very quickly (mainly because literally everyone speaks English). However, there is something very calming about being sat in the tram, having people speaking all around you and not being able to understand a word. Same goes with the adverts. It just stops disturbing you and feels kind of good. 

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What are your favourite things in Gothenburg??

Puss och kram,
Lucia

A legendary Saunaparty

One highlight of my stay here was the “Saunaparty”. Our friends who are studying at Chalmers reserved the Chalmers Sauna & dormitories. The place is at a lake in Härryda 45 minutes by bus (+20 minutes of walking) outside the city. Luckily we had the most sunny weather one could imagine, so at first we sat at the lake quite some time doing nothing but being amazed by that awesome view. :) After our bbq/dinner we went into the sauna and to cool down jumped- or in my case walked slowly- straight into the cold lake. I did this at least 4 times in a row- it was really refreshing. A great end for this day was the cosy get-together/party in the main house. :)

This was a really cool experience! Maybe you know a Chalmersstudent, who could book this place so you can organize a legendary Saunaparty as well. ;) I hope you enjoy reading my post,

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Basic Tips ;) in Gothenburg!

While being in Sweden there are 3 things that you will learn and do whatever you want or  not! These things are: Fika, Afterwork and exercise.

You will  learn to immediately relate Sweden with Fika. I told you at the beginning that you will very soon find out what it is! Well, this is the time then!

Fika is a custom that many countries have. You know, a coffee in the middle of the afternoon chatting with friends. However, is not the same in Sweden, since here is not always in the middle of the afternoon but every time you got 10 minutes of free time :)  No wonder why Sweden is one of the first Coffee consumers in the world now.  Fika is a very nice tradition and something you cannot escape from when being here. You will find yourself organizing them and meeting friends for fika so often that you will wonder if you spend more money on Fikas or grocery shopping ;) . It is wonderful time to meet and mingle with friends. Especially now, with the days getting longer and brighter is super nice to spend the afternoon sitting in a cozy cafe in Haga. Good luck getting a shinny spot! no matter how many coffee shops Haga has, they are all crowded. However, I recommend you to wait for your turn and enjoy a lovely fika in one of the most beautiful streets of Gothenburg!

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Haga at night with a beautiful Japanese in the middle. 

I had no idea that “after work” will mean something before coming to Sweden. Well, now I do have a definition for it: Fridays afternoon! After-work is also a very Swedish custom. All the pubs in the city will have this on Friday afternoons; others will have a more modest one in week days. After work consist of an open buffet, where you pay for your drink and can eat as much as you want. Students loveee this!! and will fill the pubs quite soon. There are some bars that are more popular within international students such as Kings Head and Babar. You will always meet someone you know here and they will be probably one of the first you go when arriving to Gothenburg. Some of them have age limit and are more popular between Swedes, like Hard Rock cafe and Yakida. Anyway, no matter the pub you go, try it out with your friends. Enjoy of a cheap meal with nice drink and perfect company!

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pic from http://www.aveny.se

Swedes might not be the most religious people in the world but there is something that replace the dedication of a religion and it is exercise! A French friend said to me once “In Sweden you gotta go to the gym,  exercise is like a religion here”. I found it funny but it is true! It does not matter how cold it gets there will always be someone jogging. Gyms are everywhere and I haven t met anyone who is not register in one. Bad news for me since I hate gyms! If you are like me,  Gothenburg has amazing parks to jog and walk, so I can enjoy the fresh air of a long walk with my friends and maybe try the gym in the middle of the park :O! This is for parents but it was really tempting ;) . In winter you can try out the wide variety of classes at the gym and ignore the ugly machines :D.

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Ok guys! I hope you enjoy learning how to afterwork, fika and exercise while being in Gothenburg! You are in a new country so dont be scared to try new things and enjoy as much as you can :*

Vi ses snart,

Naza :D

Student halls versus Private housing

In my previous post, I came up with a pretty straightforward plan of action on how to get a room in Gothenburg if you are student. However, I feel that there is a lot of things you will learn only by living here and they do not talk about them at any student housing website. And I do wish I knew them before:)

I started my living in Gothenburg in the SGS student residence Ostkupan where I got my last minute room in June. I lived in a corridor with three boys from India and we shared two bathrooms and a kitchen (as well as occasional curry dinners and chats about our different cultures). Even though the building itself had the best years definitely behind it, the atmosphere within it was what mattered: the care taker Lars was a legend himself, little cinema room, gym and a big terrace where we used to tan, have dinners, bbq, drink coffee in the sun or play beer pong tournaments. Or the air hockey tables in the main hall where you always made some new friends after a night out or in the Ostkupan pub. It only had one bus connection, but it took you straight to all the important places in town in less than 15 minutes. Plus, you always met someone from Ostkupan in there.

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There was also a great bunch of students ‘running’ the building and the student pub inside (I was one of the pub responsible and I really enjoyed it!). I have loads of crazy and somehow unbelievable memories with that building and people in it. It is also a place where I met two of my closest friends here in Gothenburg – Olartia and Hanna. After three months of me basically spending all my time in their kitchen two floors  above my own kitchen, we decided to move out together (caused mainly by their complaints of me eating all their food and suspicious looks of their actual flatmates when we decided to have a cake at 3 am).

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We tried to find some place on blocket.se but finally it was my classmate who knew someone who was renting out his apartment (as I said, when an opportunity arrises, you go and grab it). And that is the place where we live at the moment.

The most popular student residences amongst International students are Ostkupan (mainly Chalmers students), Olofshojd (basically every Erasmus student lives there) and Helmuts. They are within a walking distance from each other and I genuinely think it is the best place to start when you move to Gothenburg. There is always something going on, everyone is new as you and the main language spoken is English. I know we all came to Sweden to get familiar with the Swedish culture, but to begin with, staying in these places can be a very nice comfort blanket and a place where you can be with people going through the same experience as you.

Going for a private apartment is equally difficult as finding the student one (there is also a queue…I mean there is a queue for everything in Sweden). So it really is a bit easier where you are in here: Mainly you know in which area you want to live and who you want to live with. Plus you know some Swedish people that could help you with the most basic things such as making sure that rent contract you are about to sign (all in Swedish) is correct.

Quite often, we, foreign students, are not very keen on furnishing the apartments as we don’t really know for how long are we going to stay here, furniture is not the cheapest thing in the world (even if you live in the homeland of IKEA) and then comes the question what to do with furniture afterwards. My friend was similarly very unsure about this when we were moving to our new apartment with empty rooms. However, in Sweden they like to recycle, reuse and are crazy about second-hand furniture. And they have this magic website called blocket.se where you can buy basically anything for a very very low price. So after a little blocket research and a few visit to second-hand shops, we managed to furnish our rooms and common area for about 100 euros each (plus the waffle maker that we just felt we do need for our overall well being). Which is not a bad deal at all.

After experiencing both options (student halls as well as private apartment), there are clearly pluses and minuses in each of them. Based on my experience, the best way is to start in a student hall as it is more secure and easier to sort out when you are new in a foreign country. Plus, you will meet loads of different students from all over the world who are very likely to become your new family. If you think about staying for a bit longer (such as my case as I am doing 2-year Master programme), then I guess looking for a apartment is a good choice as it is cheaper and you can choose who to live with in a location you like!

Good luck!

Puss och kram,
Lucia

Finding a new home!

Hej hej guys!! I know you already have the post from Lucia of how to get accommodation in Gothenburg. However, since I got my place in a completely different way I think it would be nice to share this option with you as well.

I register at SGS of course, and you should do it as soon as you can. Nonetheless, I did not find anything there. I looked for rooms in boplats.se. Which is a platform where people can post when they are renting a room in a private house; which is also a very good option at least for the first months.

So I sent an e mail to these ladies that are working here and they contacted me with a landlord who was interested in renting a room to a Latin girl, Lucky me ;). Well, I even got a discount if I help her with her Spanish. This could be a good option if you want to share with a family or learn more about the culture but also take into account that you will be sharing with older people, usually, not with students.

Nonetheless, most  of my friends are renting private rooms, and none of them have had problems with their landlords. Usually these are people who are use to rent to international students and know how it works. For me it was quite nice, since she taught me how to move around and some nice places in the city. Just for you to know that there are more options out there and should not panic, there is always a way to find something.

You should also follow Lucia´s advices and join the groups on Facebook; since they offer rooms now and then. Another option is to look with someone else. I was contacted by a French student and we try to find an apartment together, which can be also useful. After living 5 months in a private room I contacted SGS by e mail and got a room in a student accommodation.

Very important!!! Remember NOT to pay anything in advance. People in Boplats as well as in SGS have an agreement to ask for the money when you have already seen the room, and you are actually in Gothenburg. So be careful of scams because unfortunately there are a lot of people taking advantage of international students.  Even though you think is your only choice at the moment, do not do it. Just wait and keep on looking you will find the right place for you.

Ok guys these are my advices I hope they help you and that you find something very soon! Remember to start looking as soon as you can, send a lot of e mails and do not quit ;) !!!

Good luck !!!

Vi ses snart!

Naza :D