Winter’s halfway over

Posted in: Life in Sweden, Student Life on 23 January, 2018 by Rachel

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(or at least I think it is)


Back home in MN, my friends and family just got 15 inches of snow in one day. Despite the stereotypes I have heard all my life about Sweden’s intense winters, it’s actually quite mild here. Of course if you travel to northern Sweden, that’s a whole different story, but here in Norrköping, Stockholm, Linköping, Gothenburg, it’s quite tolerable.


If you are planning on studying in Norrköping or Linköping, you can expect typical winter temps to be between -3c and 7c. It doesn’t snow a whole lot. For example, we got a little snow over the last week and it amounted to probably 5cm. However, it does get VERY slippery, and I would highly recommend coming with a pair of good winter boots with traction. The gravel that they spread on the sidewalks are very big pebbles (not what I am used to in the US, which is just sand) and the pebbles can work their way into your shoes after awhile. The sun is starting to come up a bit earlier now and set a little later, but still before 4pm. A lot of us take Vitamin D pills once a day to replace the vitamin D we lack from the sun. One more thing, since you can plan on doing a lot of walking here such as when you are buying groceries, going to class, etc., THAT is when the cold gets to you. 0 degrees feels a lot colder after 20 minutes walking with heavy grocery bags, so I would definitely stress bringing warm clothes, hats, mittens/gloves, boots, and wool socks.


There’s a park in the middle of the town that has a stream running through it where a massive amount of ducks hang out 24/7. It’s pretty year round to just watch them and watch the dogs people walk through the park. I am very..very curious why the ducks are so in love with this particular spot in Norrköping.



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How to eat well on a student’s budget

Posted in: Student Life on 15 January, 2018 by Rachel

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Most of the time when I’m not studying, walking dogs, or having a fika with classmates, I am wondering what my next meal will be. First before I go into what I do on my own, I will say, it is very beneficial to eat with your classmates! If you can all pool together ingredients or go out together with a list, you’ll eat more and spend less, while having the company of others. It’s also fun to eat foods from different cultures, since we all come with our own recipes that we like to cook. For me, that’s American style breakfast foods and all the sides that go along with Thanksgiving dinner. I try to bring home those ingredients that I can’t find here so that I can make them when I miss home. I find it really nice to have 2 or 3 precooked meals ready so that I have a variety of options to choose from.


But for everyday food, a smart and time saving thing we do is meal prep. I hadn’t meal prepped before moving to Norrköping, but it is really useful for when you’re in a hurry or just are tired of cooking. Some things I usually make as meal prep ideas are


Korv Stroganoff (Very popular and easy Swedish dish)


The recipe above is in Swedish, but I find that you basically just need

1 falukorv, which you can replace with hotdogs or sausages, whatever you want.

1 can/box crushed tomatoes

2 diced tomatoes

1 or 2 garlic cloves


1 white onion



After letting the korv (meat) cook for a few minutes alone, you can basically put the rest of the ingredients in and let it simmer about 15 minutes, then divvy it up into containers and freeze them for future eating. Korv stroganoff goes well on cauliflower rice, regular rice, and pasta.

Another easy meal that produces a lot of food is stir fry.  You’ll find every grocery store in town has an Asian food section, so I generally buy


Ramen Noodles

Chicken breast

Pad Thai sauce

Soy Sauce

Mixed frozen stir fry vegetables

If you want to be healthier, you can always use cauliflower rice or Bulgur instead of ramen noodles. Sometimes since I don’t work out, I want to make my recipes a little healthier.

And if you’re like me and love sweets (you probably will after you move here if you don’t already), a good way to save money on Cinnamon Buns is by buying them in bulk. You’ll save a ton of money, considering one cinnamon bun generally costs about $1-2 USD and a bulk bag consists of 20 buns


This is what the bags look like. “st” means “sticken”, or “pieces”. You don’t need to learn much Swedish to get by, but that is a word that might come in handy.


The refrigerators that are provided by student housing are pretty big, I can buy a LOT of food and always manage to fit it all. For only 16 crowns ($2), you can buy 8 metal food boxes that are really handy for storing food in the freezer without taking up space.





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Back from break

Posted in: Ethnic and Migration Studies, jobs, Student Life on 13 January, 2018 by Rachel

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After a nice couple of weeks back home working full time at my old job and hanging out with my brother playing PUBG, it’s time to get back into school mode. This week we have off from classes to write a 10 page paper in a topic relating to forced labor and migrant workers rights. Being that I’m a slow reader, it’ll probably take me the whole week.  If you end  up in this course, I think you will find it is easiest to identify a few readings that will be most relevant to what you will write your paper about, and focus on them rather than trying to read all 4-10 required readings for every seminar. For my essay, I chose one article describing how migrants have been used as a sort of disposable work force throughout history, in countries all over the world. I chose another one discussing Berry Pickers in Sweden, and the horrible working conditions they face, and try to understand how a first world country such as Sweden could have let forced labor that borders on slavery go unhindered for so long. My last 2 articles (we have to write on 4 readings from the course) that I’ll analyze in this essay are regarding trade unions and other attempts to organize and fight against forced labor.

I also have arranged an interview on Friday morning with an organization to discuss a possible internship next year, which I am really hoping works out. I do think that I have learned a lot so far in the program, though. I am getting very interested in precarious work for migrants and thinking of possible ways to combat it.

Here’s a photo of my classmate Kisya giving her part of the group presentation we did regarding precarious labor last week. Our group discussed 5 instances of precarious labor throughout the world, which really showed how widespread this issue is. It was quite interesting, and it gave us the chance to learn things we hadn’t even read about yet.




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Posted in: Life in Sweden, Student Life on 18 December, 2017 by Rachel

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This weekend my boyfriend Jocke came from Gothenburg to visit and we had a Julbord with our friends Carolina and Viktor and their kids on Saturday. Carolina made a huge assortment of Swedish Christmas food and we sat around talking and drinking glögg (another Swedish yule tradition) until pretty late. There was also no shortage of pepparkakor (gingerbread cookies).  Swedes like to put creamy blue cheese on their gingerbread cookies, it’s surprisingly good. Their daughter was super excited to give me a book she had drawn for us, and I even got a “crazy cat lady” mug and some cat socks. So, a pretty successful evening in my book.

If you come to Sweden around December, you have to try a julbord. There are so many foods to try and it’s so typically Swedish. It is rather expensive if you buy it rather than make it like Carolina did, about 400sek and up per person, but very worth it for the amount of food you’ll get. Usually Swedes go to a couple julbords every December, with work parties usually booking a table for their employees.

Jocke’s band Vampire was nominated for a Swedish Grammy (Grammis) Award, so everybody cross your fingers for them!! It’s extremely exciting, I couldn’t be more proud of them.

Tuesday we will take a bus to Stockholm and hang out with some of our friends at Omnipollos Hat, a pizza place/brewery. Then Wednesday, I’ll be off to Minnesota for 2 weeks!


After dinner at a Swede’s house, you can expect a bowl of candy to be placed on the table. You should not trust your Swedish friends if they don’t do this. Just kidding..mostly.

Carolina’s delicious homemade julbord. Potatoes, sausages, meatballs, sill (fish), deviled eggs, more potatoes, cheese, Christmas ham



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Posted in: Application Process, Ethnic and Migration Studies, Student Life on 11 December, 2017 by Rachel

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This week I have the task of calling over a hundred people who signed up for a Webinar session on the Ethnic and Migration Studies program to follow up and answer questions. If I have tried contacting you already, I apologize if our connection was terrible. I have had many calls where we could not hear one another, so I ended up sending an email.

However if you do have any questions, please feel free to email the department or leave a comment below.

The most common question I have gotten during my phone calls is “Can I get a scholarship?”.  I wish I could tell you, but I am not an admissions person, only a student. I don’t know if you will be granted a scholarship, but as I stated in my post regarding applying to Master’s programs, you are only eligible for a scholarship from LiU if you place the program as your 1st choice and are accepted into your 1st choice program. For example, I placed Ethnic and Migration Studies as my second choice, and was not accepted into my first choice which was International and European Relations. Therefore, I was not eligible for any scholarships at all.

This is the link to the page that has more details on Scholarships.

You have to apply first, by the deadline of January 15, and if you are accepted into the program, THEN you can apply for a scholarship of 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% . If you think “I can’t be in the program unless I have a scholarship,” you can still apply and be accepted. If you end up not being approved for a scholarship, you can choose to not accept your place in the program. However I think many of you will be eligible for at least a 25% reduction in tuition fees if you are accepted.


Remember, the application process takes a long time and sometimes things can get lost in the mail if you are sending forms/paperwork to a university or to University Admissions, so don’t wait too long!


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Rachel Bulgach

Rachel Bulgach
Hi! My name is Rachel and I am from Minnesota. I am studying Ethnic and Migration studies at Linköping University, campus Norrköping. Life in Sweden so far is full of challenges, but it is worth it! Take a look at my blog :)

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