Travel by car
I live about 130km from Linköping. Luckily I drive which makes life a lot easier.
By some strange coincidence someone on my course lives only 15km away from me. She also grew up in the village that I now live. We worked this out during the induction week, when she asked where I was staying in Linköping. When I replied, ‘no I live in Mörlunda’, she was amazed. Both of us had not expected anyone else on our course to travel so far.
On average we have lectures and seminars about twice a week. Because we car share it means driving only once a week. The journey takes almost two hours in each direction which makes the days at university quite long. I love my house and I like driving but I think if I had not met someone on my course who lived near by, I would have found the travel hard work.
If my course had expected attendance everyday I don’t think I could live so far from the university. As well as the time it takes to get to Linköping, fuel is also quite expensive-not much more so than in the UK but the costs add up.
When we drive, we talk, this is a great way to go over what we have learned that day in lectures, or to discus the reading we have done at home. It has also been really nice to have the time to get to know each other and for me to pester my friend for information about living in Sweden. Driving to university has many upsides but sometime I have felt like the four hours of travel could be used differently. My friend and I decided for this reason that we should occasionally take the train.
Luckily I don’t live too far from a train station and the town from which I travel is small enough that I feel confident that my car will be safe, even if I leave it all day.
Before coming to Sweden I was told that the public transport was great- cheap and reliable. Since being in Sweden people have said otherwise. In my experience it is not that cheep but the trains have never been delayed by more than about 10mins- which is a good thing as you worry you might freeze if waiting for any longer in the winter.
I was lucky when I first took the train, that I was traveling with my friend who is Swedish. Tickets can be bought at most stations or on the train, using a bank card (almost all money exchange in Sweden is electronic). If you want to get cheaper tickets, a travel card can be picked up at most ticket offices- I got mine from Linköping train station. The travel card can make fares up to a 1/3 cheaper. My friend did all the talking but most Swedes tend to speak amazing English. (You can always learn some key phrases in Swedish to help with specific transactions- most people seem to quite understanding if you try to speak Swedish- even if you’re not very good, like me).
For travel in Linköping you need an Östergötland län travel card. This is because Linköping is in Östergötland County. I also needed one for Kalmar län because I live in a different country. These cards are like English Oyster cards, you can load them with money at a ticket office and then use them to pay for public transport. They work on both busses and trains.
Getting used to using public transport can be a bit daunting so I would recommend traveling with a friend at first.
Everyone in Linköping seems to cycle. The first time I arrived in Linköping I got off the train and was greeted with the sight of a sea of bikes. I think it’s because of all the students. I’m actually quite jealous, if I lived in Linköping I would definitely get one.
I think bikes are quite cheap and there are lots of places to park them at the university and around town. I’d recommend a good lock but other than that cycling seems like a good, simple mode of transport.