When I got accepted at Linköping University I was of course excited and happy (because I really really really wanted to move to Sweden), on the other hand I was a bit worried and scared. Linköping… I have not heard much about this city except that they have a good university… When I googled it became clear why… 104.000 inhabitants, somewhere in the middle of Sweden, not exactly a metropole.
I believe that many other students have the same fears as me: not only is this a new country, a new culture, a new language around you, but you’re in a small town, somewhere in Sweden, that you maybe know nothing about. Will I even make friends there? Is there anything to do in such a small town? Will I like it? That is what I asked myself and more.
In this post I want to tell you how it is to not live in Stockholm or Göteborg, but in a small, cute little city in Sweden.
Where I came from
Before moving to Sweden I did my Bachelor’s degree in Groningen a medium-sized city in the North of the Netherlands. The city was not big (350.000 inhabitants) but densely packed with students, cafes, bars and clubs. During the 5 semester of my Bachelor’s I did my Erasmus semester in Budapest, Hungary, and I absolutely fell in love. The city is incredibly beautiful, full of museums, cafes, restaurants, beautiful buildings, parks, and spas. Walking through Budapest felt like a never-ending sight-seeing tour. I lived 5 month of eating out, shopping, partying, traveling, and exploring something new every single day. Ever since I knew I need to move to a big city to be happy. I love the cultural offers, the never-ending supply of things to do and places to visit, and an never exhaustive list of places to discover.
But somehow I ended up here, in Linköping, a small swedish city in Östergötland. I guess life here is different than in a big city, but not bad, just different. From the beginning on I discovered the surroundings a lot. Me and my friends did many bike tours to closeby lakes, along the river, or just through town. I go for many walks through one of the many forests, and have participated in an organized hiking trip a bit further away (my mamma is proud!).
One of the things that I have noticed is that it does not necessarily matter how big the city is, but how many students there are. Linköpings University counts over 17.000 students (and I think somewhat around 900 Erasmus students) so you definitely do not feel lonely here! With so many students of course there are many parties! We have bars and clubs like other cities do too and, maybe that is unique about Linköping, many parties organized by the university! I met so many people here right away that you are almost always invited to some corridor party or will find someone to go out with you, make dinner, or have some drinks.
And the city itself is beautiful too!!! We have a nice shopping street, a beautiful park, and very cute cafés. There is a swimming hall, several gyms, and many more things to do.
Linköping is also located perfectly! Not only is it surrounded by nature, lakes, forests, wide fields and all those cute little red houses, there are many nice cities nearby as well: Linköping’s historic twin city Norrköping is only one short bus ride away, it takes only 1.5 hours to Stockholm, and there are direct trains to Malmö, Lund, Copenhagen and so many more cool places!
By the way, I personally like exploring the smaller cities of a country. After all, you want to discover Sweden, and Sweden is not just Stockholm! Just like the Netherlands is not just Amsterdam (seriously, visit Groningen if you’re in the area, it’s great), and Germany is not just Berlin. All the other cities, the countryside, and everything in between make up a country, and in my experience they are really worth exploring!
After 2.5 month here I am really starting to feel home. I met so many people from all around the world, I try new things, that I have never done before, I do not feel bored or locked in here and if I do feel like I need something else I just book a bus or train ticket to one of those new places that I am surrounded by 🙂
So do not be too worried, you won’t get bored here, you will find friends, and you will spend your time doing many things you would not usually do at home!
Stay tuned for more!