As many of your probably already know, I have decided to obtain my masters in Sweden. Though this sounds like a whimsical decision, it has taken a lot of work and dedication to get to this point.
At the beginning it was an abstract concept, I went on a study abroad trip to Scandinavia, and attended a lecture by a PhD Student at Uppsala University. After asking a couple questions I found out that at the University they had masters programs in English. Fast forward six months, I decided to apply for the University, I honestly didn't thing I had a very high chance of getting in, but I went for it anyway. The application process was a little confusing (at one point I was not even sure that I did it right), however I submitted it and paid the application fee.
One morning in April I was headed to work, and I got the email that I had been accepted. The emotions that I went through ranged from shocked to ecstatic. The idea of studying and living in Sweden went from an abstract idea to a concrete possibility. After that point I did all of the research I could to make it happen, including paying tuition, arranging for my migration permit, finding housing, and emotionally preparing for a move to a different country.
In a way I feel as if I have been preparing to move abroad my whole life, ever since I started traveling when I was little, the travel bug has a hold on me and will not let go. These collections of experiences just grow my appetite to experience more and see more of the world.
Anyway, I will be studying and Uppsala University in Campus Gotland, which is in the city of Visby. Visby is an adorable little Swedish city that is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, and I am so excited to live there. The house I'm living in, with other students is pastel yellow and so cute I am just dying. The program lasts for two years, and I will be living in Sweden for the duration, which I could not be happier about.
Upon completion of the program I will have a Masters in Conservation, and the degree I am obtaining is called Cultural Heritage and Sustainability. It is essentially a fusion of history, art history, sociology, and anthropology with a dash of economic theory. Which if you know me is essentially all of my interests rolled into one academic program. I have not ever had a very clear idea of what I wanted to do with my life, but after finding this program I can see a path down which all of my interests align.
How do you prepare for that?
Honestly I'm still trying to figure that out, through my years of travel, I have a bit of experience with packing and preparation but this is going to be a whole new undertaking. For months I have slowly been gathering travel gear, and putting together what I hope will be a good wardrobe to brave a Swedish winter. Mostly I am preparing mentally to be away from family and friends for that long.
Before I left I did as much research as possible and prepared myself to move to a different place. Once I arrived I realized there were just some things that you must discover when you arrive. These things include phone plans, transportation, the best places to eat and nearby groceries. While I did my best to do research, many things I just had to figure out through trial and error.
What is the first week living in a new place like?
Though its still early in my journey, I can say that It was both jarring and exciting. The first day I arrived I was exhausted and ready to take a nap, but I was so thankful to have a friend like Victoria who was willing to have dinner with me and help me feel more at ease. Stockholm is a place that I now feel as if I have a bit of experience in so it was nice to be able recognize things and have an understanding of the city.
When I took the train to Uppsala I arrived at the central station and made my way to the Welcome Center of the University. I do recognize that being at school has provided a huge advantage in many ways, from direction to meeting people. At the Welcome center they helped guide us to our housing and we were set up to live in Uppsala.
The first challenges I encountered were mostly related to lacking wifi or a phone plan initially meaning I really was not sure how to get anywhere. Luckily this guy Nick who ended up being my corridor mate had a phone plan and helped me to find the places I needed to be. After the initial first day jitters, I feel I've settled in a bit and made some friends, especially through my Swedish Language Class. We have been adventuring around Uppsala and I even went on a day trip to Skolster Castle and Sigtuna, which is one of the first towns in Sweden and used to be a viking outpost. Through the University and extroverted efforts I have been able meet people and develop friendships.
It has been an adjustment but all in all I am loving every second of it. As I write this I am sitting in a Cafe where Swedes are pouring in and taking Fika with their friends. I am excited to learn more about Swedish culture through my time here. For the next three weeks I will be in Uppsala then After that I will head to Visby to begin my masters program.
Until then tack for reading and I look forward to sharing more next week.