On Monday, August 15 I moved to Sweden for 6 months! I’m here studying Strategic Communication at Lund University.
These past three days have been full, getting set up in Lund. It was tough because I felt that each item would help me secure the next, that I needed a phone or internet to get a bike, but I also needed the bike to go to the places to get the internet and phone. I set up the essentials in the following order, and did a lot of walking:
I live in at area of town called Klostergården, in residence apartments. Most of the student housing offered by the university has shared kitchens and bathrooms, but my building is set up as single studio units. It’s fancy, I didn’t choose it, but I’m not complaining. One complaint: my floor’s hallway smells sweet yet sour, it’s the smell of burnt coffee or burnt hazelnuts or old cigarettes. Second complaint: some essential kitchen supplies are missing, specifically any knife sharp enough to cut vegetables.
This is the first time in my life that I’ve put any effort into interior decorating, and it is paying off. The only furnishings I bought were the pillow and rug, which was a great find at 65kr (~$10CAD). Sure, it’s for kids, but it was cheaper, softer, and more colourful than all the ‘mature’ rugs at the second hand store.
My Canadian number is no longer active, you can use my old number to contact me on Whatsapp though! I have a new SIM card and Swedish number that is laid out like **** ** ** **. I have a prepaid plan that costs 95kr/mo ($14.54 CAD) and gives me 200 minutes and unlimited texting in Sweden, as well as 1GB of data. Because of Canada’s high cell phone costs, this is probably the only thing I’ll be saving money on in Sweden. That being said, living here isn’t as expensive as I’d thought, there are cheap grocery stores, produce stands, and 2nd hand shops which are quite reasonable. I got 20 (unrefrigerated! :D) eggs for 32kr (5.36 CAD) the other day.
I found the listing for this bike on Blocket.se, which is like a Swedish Craigslist. The owner was selling it for 700kr because he is moving to Norway, but after riding it in to town to sell it to me he texted me and said that he didn’t think it would be fair to sell because it has a popped tire. A nearby repair shop told me it would be 200-250kr to fix a tire, so I got the bike owner to sell it to me for 500kr ($76CAD). After filling the bike with air at a public automatic pump, both tires seem to be fine, so I don’t think I’ll have to get it replaced after all. Although the handlebars and seat do need to be adjusted. No one rides with a helmet here. I want to be safe, but I’m also frugal Therese-ing about this decision because the cheapest new helmet I can see online is $60 CAD.
Most of the buildings at Lund including my own have ethernet, but do not come with a cable, adapter or router. I was going to buy a router until I ran into someone in the building next door who told me that routers at the nearby store cost around 1000sek ($152 CAD) and that he had just bought an ethernet-usb adapter because his computer could act as a router. Luckily mine can too! I used this site to set it up, and the converter was only 300sek ($45CAD). Still an investment, but now I have an ethernet converter for life! I bought it from Kjell and Company (pronounced “shell and company”) which everyone around here will tell you has great customer service and is close to my house. Everyone here is very nice and accommodating, and though I feel like a jerk with every interaction, everyone speaks English.
Edit: The first person I’ve met who talar inte engelska (does not speak English – thanks duolingo) is the 6-year old daughter of the bicycle repair man who starts 1st grade tomorrow.