Located 40 minutes by train from the captial, Uppsala is the 4th biggest town in Sweden with a population of 200 000 inhabitants. Uppsala University was founded in 1477, making it the oldest university in the northern Europe. Social life in Uppsala is dominated by the university. Uppsala has a rich and active student life and is one of the most popular student cities in Sweden. Uppsala is famous for its so called student nations. There are 13 of them, representing different geographical regions of Sweden. The nation system is an old tradition which today mostly fulfills a social function by offering students grants, accommodation and social activities. An important part is that the nations are organized by students for students. In the old days, people joined the nations depending on the place they came from, but nowadays it is more liberal and you can choose to join any student nation you like. There is a broad spectrum of student organizations in Uppsala, both connected to the nations and the different faculties at the university. Being active is encouraged.
The typical student accommodation is an individual room in a corridor with shared kitchen facilities. Some students have their private showers and others share depending of the age of the building. Uppsala is a small town, but scattered over a wide area. Therefore the most popular way of transport is by bicycle and almost every student in Uppsala has one.
There are a lot of student cultural traditions in Uppsala, and in Sweden the most famous one is the Valborg celebration – originally an old rite welcoming spring. During this day, thousands of students gather in Uppsala to take part of the festivities organized by the nations. Ordinary people come to see most of these events as well, and the most popular and visited one is Forsränningen – a rafting competition organized by engineering & natural science students. Thousands of people flock around the river Fyrisån to watch it.
Uppsala is well-known internationally due to a long history of exposure to the outside world. Uppsala is part of many international academic networks, the university has 40 international master programs covering a wide variety of disciplines and has student exchange agreements with about 500 universities worldwide. Providing courses in English has increased the number of exchange students in Uppsala. As an international student, it is not a necessity to speak Swedish and many international students join the nations to meet Swedish students.
The home campus of the students of Swedish nature and other fields of biology is the Center of Evolutionary Biology (Evolutionsbiologiskt centrum, EBC). It’s located fairly near the city centre, not far from Uppsala Castle. This is where the preparations for your summer course experience are taking place at this very moment!
Last but not least, the home campus of the students of technology is called Polacksbacken. You can see it in the image below. The smaller orange houses form the traditional Polacksbacken and the huge fortress-like structure is called the Ångström Laboratory.