Posted 22 Sep 2014 by Chelsey
Many courses at Kingston University have the opportunity to study abroad for a semester or for a year. It was one of the things that really cemented my choice to come to Kingston. I have always moved around a lot as a child and I wanted to continue that in my adult life. The opportunity to study abroad is fantastic and something that you might never get the chance to do in a similar way. I decided to move to Sweden, to Lund University in the southern region of the country.
I moved here 13 days ago and I am loving it so far.
I have met so many new people, and I am really enjoying all of my new experiences. It's all been a bit of a blur because the international students [me] got here about two weeks before the semester started, so we could get integrated and sort out basic things like finding our way around and sorting out a Swedish telephone number etc. There has also been a lot of social events put on, which gave us the chance to all get to know each other.
The university is really old and traditional, and the law faculty is absolutely beautiful. This picture is the library!
The whole town is not that huge, but it's really nice and safe. It's all cobbled streets and historical buildings. We have to cycle everywhere, which is great because I'm getting exercise and it's just an easy way to travel here. There isn't that much road traffic as it seems that everyone cycles, so I feel fairly safe on the roads, which is stark in contrast to how I've felt in central London on my bike.
My studio apartment is university accommodation and it is a lot bigger than my halls back home but also, here it is cheaper. It was all furnished and kitted out with IKEAs finest furniture and utensils! Although Scandinavian living is quite expensive, and that is taking some getting used to. However, students who study here might be eligible to the Erasmus grant to help with living costs.
The great thing about Lund is that it's situated very close to a big Swedish city called Malmö and then over the Øresund Bridge there is Copenhagen, Denmark, which is the largest city in Scandinavia. I have visited both cities so far and loved them. Lund has the small town, big student vibe going on, with everything geared towards students as there's 33,000 of them here. But Malmö and Copenhagen have more events and festivals, like Gay Pride and summertime music festivals. I am looking forward to spending more time in all three of my new cities. I have even been learning Swedish, although the course is taught in English.
Classes start tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to learning about the Swedish legal system!
I will write again soon to update you on my time in Lund!
We're soon heading back to uni for the new year - some of us are even starting uni for the first time and others moving from their home countries, across the world to come to Kingston! Wooh! Exciting! But with moving comes the time-consuming task of packing. All your clothes, shoes (oh so many shoes), toiletries, lucky teddies, sheets, towels, kitchen stuff! After 3 years of uni I can safely say that packing is an absolute nightmare! But hopefully my little tips will help you get through it all with a little less frustration. So here goes:
My favourite and most used of all my tips. After years of folding my clothes into neat little piles to fit into my suitcase, I discovered that rolling clothes (like little swiss rolls) really is the best way to save space. The little rolls can block up any gaps in your bags or boxes and become small enough to stuff into objects , which brings me to tip number 2.
We all have odd shaped objects which are hollow and take up soooo much more space than they need to so my advice is to use your space wisely and stuff your little rolls of clothes, your socks and underwear into shoes, pots and pans, lamp shades. This way your clothes protect your objects from any damage and you save more space. Fewer trips to the car! Yay!
I learned this the hard way! Being an island girl, I am programmed to think that bikinis are an essential, no matter where you go. This is definitely not the case in the UK! So have a long hard think about the things that you are bringing along with you and if you have any doubts, then you should probably leave it behind.
Making lists may sound like something only grandparents do but they really are helpful! Have different lists for different things. A list for things you need to do before you leave, a list for important documents (passport, admissions letter, visa) and a list for all the odd bits you don't want to forget (medicine, favourite shoes, lucky charms).
Getting to the airport and having to unpack is painful and very stressful. If you are flying into the UK make sure to check and double check how many kilos you are allowed. Don't forget to check the weight requirements for your carry-on luggage as well as you can stuff quite a bit into your carry-on (usually 15kilos). On many airlines you are able to add extra kilos for a bit extra money and it is always cheaper to do so before hand as there are extra charges once you are at the airport. Try your best to weigh your bags before heading to the airport!
Whilst at University I have been diagnosed as Gluten intolerant, being a massive foodie this did come as abit of a disappointment and at times can be abit of a pain in the ass, but I am slowly starting to understand what my body likes and dislikes, and after a few slip ups I have learnt the importance of maintaining a suitable diet. Here are my top tips for all food allergies suffers –
1. Get organised – the hardest time of day for me was lunch time, gluten free lunch meal deals are difficult find, and usually there is absolutely no variety, so try and find some lunch ideas that you love and have it all in stock!!
2. Research – find support groups online – which often help and advice on all the questions you have. When I first found out, I had too many questions and the list grew and grew as the days went on, so I would endlessly be searching online, is this gluten free? Can I eat this? Is there an alternative to this? Help?? The internet is a massive source of information, whilst not always true, I am sure you can find the answers to all your questions and more.
3. Surround yourself with people who know - at first I had a few forgetful slips up, especially after a drink or two, and having people around me who knew did reduce the amount of times I have eaten the wrong thing. Having to think about everything you eat is difficult at first and once it’s in your mouth its too late. Thankfully it does get easier over time, but having friends around to remind you every now and then is very handy.
4. Try not to let it get you down, leading up to my diagnoses I felt terrible pretty much everyday, and it was a vicious circle, but I can guarantee your energy levels will rise and you have days when you feel 100% once you start fuelling your body with the right things. Unfortunately having bad days is unavoidable, but I just make sure that I make the most of the good ones.
5. Finally, enjoy exploring new foods and recipes! Being diagnosed doesn’t mean I’ve been restricted it has just forced me to move away from the comfort zone I was in, and my regular eating habits and try news things.
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