In southwest Sweden the temperature is around 9 degrees of celsius, although it’s late November. Grass is still greenish, and apart from few snowflakes and few cold days, there’s no signs of winter.
Halmstad, the city that I’m staying, has started to feel a bit small, which is understandable when talking about city of about 60 000 inhabitants. Great thing is, that Gothenburg is less than two hours away, Copenhagen and Malmö around two and a half, Oslo around five, and smaller cities like Lund and Helsinborg even closer, and easily reached by public transportation. Weekend get-aways and day trips away from Halmstad have been nice change of scenes.
The university life itself consists of lectures, group works, seminars and is rather similar to uni life in Finland. I’ve occasionally talked swedish with my Swedish course mates, but apart from general small talk and everyday tasks (eg. ordering a coffee, doing groceries) I’ve been mostly using english. Even though I’m studying construction architecture in Tampere, and here in Halmstad I’m studying construction engineering, I’ve find the courses here useful and interesting, especially the one’s that are focusing on sustainable development and green building. I’ve noticed that those subjects and sectors might be in more central focus here than they are in our school.
Not only the uni life, but the life and culture in general, is very close to finnish ones, and that must be the reason why I haven’t felt homesickness almost at all. Observing my exchange friends from around the world, the cultural differences has been significantly bigger for them than for me. Every now and then I find their complains about the coldness and high price levels a bit baffling, cause for me this has probably been the warmest autumn so far, and the average price level might even be a bit lower than in Finland. The fact that I’m originally from a small town, makes it easier for me to adjust to living in a small town that is sort of “hibernating” during winter months, unlike my friends from bigger cities that are really struggling.
Although I haven’t felt homesickness, I’m looking forward to spent Christmas in Finland among my friends and family. I’m also trying to find an apartment from Tampere, since I’m moving back there after Christmas, which is not the easiest task (tips for available flats or flat mates are more than welcome). So far I’ve been adjusting myself to Christmas mood by teaching my Hungarian flatmate finnish lyrics of famous Christmas carols, and drinking Glög.
A farewell cake my friends made me before moving to Sweden