The new building Studenthuset at Campus Valla

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On one morning in late August this year I went to class and was surprised by a present with my name, so to speak. Wrap it up in a blue ribbon, I whole new building was waiting to open its doors for each and every person at Linköping University. Located at the central part of campus Valla, the Studenthuset was conceived to be many things at once: a library, a place to study, a office, a restaurant, but on top of everything, a place to meet. Meet friends, co-workers, staff, get things done and also do different things. The Studenthuset felt to me as the new soul of the university, not that it ever missed one, but to have this place where different things can come around and interact definitely has added up to the student dynamics on campus.

I was especially excited about the inauguration of this new environment. The building was undergoing construction since last year, and dodging the improvised walls hiding its transformation became an everyday activity. Now, with the walls down, people are up to all the possibilities the Studenthuset has brought. There you can find the information center, where its possible to resolve a variety of things related to your student life, such as accommodation, student card, registration, among others; the international office, which helps in many issues related to foreign students; the Valla library, from which is possible to borrow books and print whatever you need; besides many study group rooms and tables to share with your fellow colleagues. One thing I especially like is how any student can book such rooms and have a proper space for meetings and discussions without distractions.

The 7-floor tall building has a modern architecture and a welcoming vibe, besides the coffee and cookies at a really nice price in this little student cafe, right on the left of the entrance doors. There is also a nice restaurant on the back of the ground floor that has a resealable price, really tasty food with many good options for vegetarians and vegans, though it can be kinda crowded during lunchtime. Aside from practicalities, the building will be hosting events on a regular basis, so its definitely worth it to keep a eye on it. Once again Linköping has surprised me with how considering it is with its students and its whole in providing spaces and opportunities for exchange and creation of knowledge.

   

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Summer in Linköping

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In my last post i talked a little about my first Swedish summer and how rewarding it felt to just enjoy Linköping at its best. There are plenty of things one can do around the city and the county to take the most of the season and here I will talk a little bit more about my experience and the places I have enjoyed the most:

1. Bike ride to the Blue Lagoon for a dip: this was one of the great discoveries of summer. The blue lagoon is a lake in the surroundings of the university which you can access by bike. The journey is of about 8km (one way) from Ryd, passing by different landscapes: it is amazing how in just a few minutes you can be in a more rural environment, cycling in the company of almost nobody. The final destination is then a place with clear water and many trees, where you can swim, have a picnic and lay down in the sun. I have been there more than 3 times between the beginning and end of summer, and what changes the most is the temperature of the water, its color and of course the amount of people around. In June the water is very clear but very cold and the place is mainly empty. In July the water was pretty warm, but not that clear. Although there was more people during this time, my impression is that it never gets too crowded. In August was almost the same as in June. It is definitely one of my favorite places in Linköping.

2. One day trip to Motala’s “Beach” Varamon: this was the truly summer experience as I am used to. This lake in the city of Motala, the second biggest in Sweden, works just as good as a “true” beach, in all the aspects. There you have everything: sand, water, food, crowd and the great messiness a day in the beach should look like, but still very Swedish of course. I went there first time in a very hot weekend day in the end of July, and stayed until get tired of the sun. The water was in perfect temperature, and although full of people, there are plenty room for laying down close to the water. I took my own food, but of course had to buy an ice cream to cope with the warmness. The place has public bathrooms and a nice structure which makes it easy to enjoy a full day. From linköping you take the train to Motala, which is about 30min away, and then one of the local buses that passes through to Varamon, another 15 min. It is worth the way, trust me.

3. Searching for random forests and lakes: Nature is one of the great Swedish assets, its everywhere. With around 53% of its lands covered by forests, it’s not hard to find a spot to contemplate this abundance. Around Ryd you can go for a fast walk into the Ryd forest and already feel you are far away from any civilization, such a privilege. if you are willing to go farer, different places hold great hiking options and hidden lakes. During summer I went with a friend to one of those places, close to her home, and we enjoyed the day almost in a lake that most felt like “ours”, even picked up some berries in the way (during summer you can find many spots to collect blueberries and strawberries, among other berries). So, if you feel creative, just go for it and maybe you’ll find your own nature sanctuary.

4. Walking along side Linköping’s canal and easy-swimming at the city’s pool: not every activity need to be far away from the city to be enjoyable. Linköping it’s beautiful during summer, full of people on the streets and nice public spaces to rest on in the sun. One things I really liked to do was just walking along the canal in the city center and sitting next to the water. I heard it’s possible to swim in it, but I haven’t try it. Another thing I did a lot during my vacation period in Linköping was to go a private swimming pool downtown. As I said, I really like to swim, but it’s not everyday you can go to a lake or beach. Therefore, for those day I just wanted to exercise in a place close home, I went to the Medley pool, which you have to pay, but can enjoy a nice olympic outdoor swimming pool, a artificial lake and other perks, such as the sauna. You can pay each time you go there or have a rechargeable card (with  discounted price), and they have special fares for students.

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Goodbye summer and welcome third semester

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Hello dear readers, I’m back.

After a long and deserved break, I am back to my usual activities as a student in Sweden, but with some new and exciting challenges ahead. My first masters year has gone and with it many good memories and important learnings, how time flies. With this post I start my third semester writings about Linköping, my programme and life in Sweden as a whole. To get things going I will begin talking about summer, definitely my favorite time of the year.

My last course ended in the beginning of June, just about when the temperatures were starting to get more how I like it. Although I enjoy really hot days, writing a final essay under 30 degrees wasn’t especially pleasant, and surprisingly ironic, since summer here didn’t have many of those. Swedish summer falls usually between 20/22 degrees celsius, which I came to appreciate and now believe to be just the perfect mark for a comfortable but enjoyable summer. No need for the 35 average I was used to in Brazil.

The two and a half months I had free from university were put in good use and I believe I have recharged all the vitamin D I’ll need for the less sunny days that lay ahead. While I took this time to travel in Europe and meet some friends, one of my favorite parts was to just relax in Linköping and seize the nature around, there is plenty. I stayed around one month in the city, time which I spent mostly riding my bike everywhere and desperately looking for places to swim, one of my favorite activities.

During summer the sun barely sets (but don’t worry, you just need a good set of curtains), so days are long and mostly sunny, although it rains more then I would have liked but still less then what would be an inconvenient. The good thing is that you can do a lot out of your day, sometimes i was even going for a swim at 16pm. Summer in Sweden is a big deal and it is as the country stops during this time, so don’t leave to resolve bureaucratic issues between June and August, people just won’t answer your e-mails and this is great, sun is very appreciated by everyone and you should do the same while here. I feel like now i am in Sweden summer has acquired a new meaning for me, and those intense days of enjoying light at its most are definitely important in the weather cycle I am learning to love. i am even craving the coziness of winter the next months reserve for me.

My semester started with one last course and now I will have a semester long internship, for which I am very excited and will write everything about. More information about the places I have been this summer will follow this post, but I wanted to start with a warm  hello (the remains of summer days). Let the second year of my masters begin.

 

Hello from this LiU fan

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One day study visit to Gothenburg – Sustainable urban planning

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A couple of weeks ago I went to Gothenburg to learn more about sustainable urban planning and transportation systems as part of the activities the Swedish Institute promotes each semester for the scholarship holders. We started of with a presentation about the expansion and renovation of bicycle lanes around the city and the efforts being made to increase the number of people using bikes as their main transportation. Gothenburg is a spread city, with some hills here and there, but with a well planned network and incentives for acquiring a electric bike, the number of cyclists is increasing. Also, bikes can be used for half the journey, and the city is working to integrate better all different types of transportation. We then had a presentation about the new bridge they are building to connect the two sides of the river, the Hisings Bridge. What impressed me the most about this project was how mindful they were about including the population into the process, marketing the ideia and not only build the bridge, but think about how the city should develop on the other side of the river. We got to walk to the construction site, which by itself was impressive.

In the afternoon, we had lecture about autonomous cars that was very intriguing and brought up discussions about legal frameworks and how a city without drivers would actually work. They are working to put together the world they want to live in and there is already some autonomous cars running as test around the city. It kept me thinking how we must consider from where the resource to built such systems will come from and if it could be accessible to everyone. We ended the day with a ferry trip (it’s for free) and a lecture about the future urban planning plans for the city, they are big!! Because of its history as a important port, Gothenburg is a little tricky when it comes to urban configuration, but feels like the city is being almost rebuilt and setting the bar for sustainable and innovative urban planning practices.

After the program for the day was over I went for a walk around the town with some friends I met there, it was a beautiful sunny day (it rains a lot there so I heard) and we decided to have some drinks, it was a great day! Gothenburg is a beautiful city just 4 hours away from Linköping and it is perfect for short trips.

How the Hisings Bridge will look like:

Resultado de imagem para Hisings Bridge

google images

 

 

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Say hello to Spring

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And so spring it’s here, finally. In just one week I feel everything has changed. Doesn’t even look like in the beginning of April we still had some snow. Now,  different gardens are flourishing and the streets are full of people enjoying the sun. This past weekend I went to the city center Saturday and Sunday to take the most of the good the weather. With temperatures up to 21 celsius degrees, the days were truly warm. Saturday I went to the main square and what a surprise, there were many people eating outside in big structures put together just for summer. There was also a farmers market, that starts now and goes every day until around September. I bought fruits and vegetables at really good prices, now I want to go there every weekend. I took the chance to have lunch siting in a table in the middle of the city, taking the advantage of all that vitamin D.

Sunday I went to the park Trädgårdsföreningen for my friend’s birthday picnic. And in another warm day, we spent the entire afternoon chatting and eating and playing games. The park isn’t that big, but it has a great garden between big trees where people can lay down, there were even girls in their bikinis already!! It’s was the perfect weather, and biking around it’s the best part. One thing though I need to point out, it is just the sun goes down and the temperature goes down with it, so always take a coat even if the day is warm. Here there is also a lot of wind, so mind that when biking after sunset. But anyway, I’m each day more excited for summer.

 

 

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