A Day in my Swedish Life


Written by Emma

17 Jan 2019

This type of blog post is funny because it’s like: I am not one of those Fortune 500 dudes who wakes up at 4:30am to drink activated charcoal every day! I don’t have a rigid schedule! I am a student and quite a disorganised one at that, but if you’re hoping to move to Sweden and are interested in the daily patterns of someone who is a) also an international student and b) is also quite disorganised, then WELCOME to this blog post! If you are an organised person you can also read my blog post and say, “wow, like, get a regular bedtime?” And to that I say, touché.

A Sample Weekday

06:30, 06:34, 06:48, 07:12 – all of my alarms go off, and I snooze all of them repeatedly. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I’ll wake up on one of these early alarms. I won’t get out of bed for a good hour though, constantly going incognito on different browser types in order to dodge article limits/subscription fees from The New Yorker/New Statesman/NYT. My *ideal* weekday would see me waking up on the first alarm at 06:30 and putting P1, Sverigesradio ↗️ (Swedish radio) on and starting my morning out with a little translation test. But I am a fickle human, and I like avoiding my own incompetencies.

07:30 – make my breakfast, which is always soft-boiled eggs, toast (but I don’t have a toaster because #studentlife so it’s really just bread slightly warmed through on the grill) and coffee. I do not, under any circumstances, add the Swedish “delicacy” Kalles kaviar on my eggs. No chance.

07:40 – spend considerable time cleaning my yolk-y hands and eggcups because this is always a complicated and messy breakfast and yet I forget this every morning???

08:15 – leave the house. Dream world: I will have made a lunchbox for myself at the weekend, having fully assimilated to Swedish Lunchbox Culture. ↗️ Reality: I will get a cheese sandwich from COOP because I am easily pleased and treat my body like a trash can. Next.

08:30 – train from Uppsala to Stockholm. Give or take an hour on this departure time because mornings are hard and I often get stuck in my clothes (both literally and stuck because I’m unsure what to wear because Swedish winters are cold but on the other hand I don’t want to overheat by wearing loads of layers??) You can take two trains from Uppsala, with the companies SL and SJ. Both offer monthly passes, with SL being cheaper but taking longer/SL not having very appreciated WiFi on the commute unlike SJ. But SL ↗️ and SJ ↗️ are both good, and commuting life to and from Stockholm is, in fact, a joy*

* (A ‘joy’ may have been an exaggeration, but it’s not bad, you know? You can read a book or listen to a podcast or eavesdrop on Swedish peoples’ conversations to try and be better at Swedish (and you didn’t listen to P1 Sverigesradio in the morning so really, you have to make up for it anyway)).

Train in the sun
A wintertime commute in the sunshine / Photo: Emma

09:00 – arrive in Stockholm (if travelling with SJ, the commute is FAST!) Then make tracks to either:

  1. COOP, to buy the lunch I didn’t prepare
  2. Kungliga biblioteket – a very dreamy library in central Stockholm
  3. SU library on my campus
  4. Another library if I’m feeling fruity – there are some lovely ones on the island of Södermalm!

I’m not gonna tell you which one I go to! It varies daily and also have you not watched YOU on Netflix? Well, you should*

*(this is not an ad).

Old library.
Uppsala University Main Library, Carolina Rediviva / Photo: Emma

09:30 – arrive at unspecified library/browse social media for extended periods of time which I do not have.

10:00 – begin studying.

10:07 – text a classmate to see if they are in the same library as me.

10:08 – receive text saying they ARE in the same library as me, immediately get excited, send them a pindrop of my location and then chat to them for 15 minutes about the weekend / our assignment / fangirl over our love for our programme.

10:30 – actually study again.

12:45 – lunch break! I always try to take a walk at lunchtime especially in the winter because the light is quite scarce up in Stockholm. Most of the libraries I study in are open-plan and make you feel like you can breathe between the dusty (lovely) books. But it’s still good to get out and soak up as much sunlight as possible during these dark (beautiful) dark (snowy) dark (cosy!) months.

Colourful industrial buildings alongside river in Uppsala.
A view of colourful industrial buildings from a walk along the river in Uppsala / Photo: Emma

13:45 – start studying again.

16:15 – fika! I always hope I’ll have bought some naturalgodis (natural candy) like yoghurt covered raisins or banana chips but then I remember I don’t like them. So I have a chokladboll because they are, forever and always, my One True Swedish Love. Chat with coursemates about class/dating in Stockholm/karaoke that we HAVE TO DO TOGETHER SOMETIME.

16:45 – back to work until the library closes at 19:00.

19:30 – train back to Uppsala, where I’ll answer questions on the Study in Sweden Facebook page ↗️ (hello! Send me questions!) and message my sister bugging her for photos of my nephew. Miss my family a bit, stare out of the window and play a sad song, remember that I have a very lucky and lovely life in Sweden, send a picture of me pulling a stupid face to my sister.

20:00 – home, cook dinner (probably a fake-meat/aubergine/zucchini/beetroot/halloumi concoction that I will be unreasonably proud of). See if people are around for a drink or a board game at a student nation! Luckily I live near most of my friends, so I can just walk across the block to see them and have a hang out on someone’s bed.

Disco ball in trees
Though sometimes an evening hangout with friends can end up with a night out in unexpected places! / Photo: Emma

Somewhere in the region of 23:30-00:45 – bed! Ideally will have charged my devices for the next day, got out my outfit and made my lunchbox but in practice I probably came home from my friend’s smelling like popcorn and fell asleep with my make up on.

The biggest deviation on this daily routine would be if I have class – a pretty significant factor, right? I usually have class 2 days a week, for 3 hours a day – which in Arts/Humanities is pretty alright! My classes are super focussed and I get so much from them, so I really enjoy getting to have the other 3 days to really focus on my reading and research. But, if this day were to reflect a day with class, I would have it from 13:00-16:00, chat with friends after class and then go straight home afterwards – because class is like mental gymnastics! (In a good way).

So what do you think? Are you excited for how your daily routine might look if you move to Sweden? What I can say for me is no two days are the same, I love my commute and living near my friends is a real joy. It means I can focus on my studies until late, but then still get to see them a few days a week! Comment below your thoughts, questions about studying in Sweden, and if you’d like me to do a blog on some weekend activities 🙂


Written by Emma

17 Jan 2019