Outside Linköping – Motala

A boat in Motala.


Two weeks ago I spent a sunny afternoon in Motala, 50 kilometers away from Linköping. It is built on the Göta Canal, and on the Vättern Lake, on the opposite side of Jönköping.

How to get there?

Getting to Motala is super easy. Indeed, you only have to go to Linköping’s train station and take the “pendeltåg” (the regional train) to Motala’s central station. It takes about 40 minutes.

Linköping-Motala by train.

When it comes to the tickets, you must buy a regional day ticket (available in the whole Östergötland region). It costs 100kr (around 10 euros). – It makes me feel that I should explain how to use public transportation in Linköping and the Östergötland region.

What to do in Motala?

I just needed to get away from the city so I decided to go Motala to stroll in the sunlight. And that’s what I did. I mostly hung out around the Göta canal – which is one of the most important Swedish construction, and one of the most visited tourist attractions in Sweden – and around lake Vättern.

I ended my day with a Chaï Latte in Espresso House, and went back home around 5pm.

I really recommend the destination as a short get-away from Linköping. Plus, the train ride through the country side is very nice!

Swedish dictionary – Semla/or

Vegan semlor.

Today is fettisdagen (or fat Tuesday) ! On this day it is tradition to eat semlor (semla, in singular) in Sweden. Although today is the official day to eat them, semlor are often sold in bakeries and cafés from the beginning of February – if not end of January. I baked some vegan ones with one of my housemates two weeks ago, they were very good – you can see them on the pictures above.

What are semlor?

Semlor are a traditional Swedish pastry. They are basically composed of:

  • puff pastry
  • whipped cream
  • marcipan
  • sugar on top

It can be very heavy to eat, but I really like it. They really are tradition here, almost as much as kanelbullar! Yesterday, was even organized an event at university to eat some – but I did not go because I had to study…

Swedish dictionary – Systembolaget

Systembolaget sign.

Here is a word you definitely need to know in Sweden: Systembolaget is the state-owned store where you buy alcohol.

Well, it is the store where you buy drinks with more than 3,5% of alcohol. Below this amount, drinks can be bought in a regular supermarket.

A few rules to abide by

To enter Systembolaget, you need to be at least 20 years-old. And don’t try to mess with this rule. If you are less than 20, you can’t even be with someone who is buying for you. They won’t be able to buy alcohol if they are with an under-aged person. Plus, you will be systematically asked for your ID at the check-out, no matter how old you are. So, no cheating.

Prices are high

Drinks are taxed based on their alcohol rate. This leads to high prices, especially for spirits such as rhum or vodka. Beers and ciders are sold by unit. Count between 10kr and 30kr for a single beer or cider.

Restrictive opening hours

You can find Systembolaget stores in almost every cities in Sweden, and they all approximately have the same opening hours:

  • 10-19 from Monday to Friday
  • 10-15 on Saturday
  • closed on Sunday

This makes it a necessity to organize yourself if you want to buy alcohol, before a party for instance. As a French citizen I am used to go to the nearest supermarket at 9pm before heading to a dinner or a party, but here I have to think about it days before! So sometimes you have to call your friends and ask them to get alcohol from you if you don’t have time to go – and then, you can Swish them.

Gender Studies – How does my online master work? 2/2

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Last week, I explained part of my studying routine as a student from the online master “Gender, Intersectionality and Change”. This studying routine also involves two important things: readings and assignments.

Weekly literature

As I explained, each week I have to watch a pre-recorded lecture. And with each lecture, goes a list of topic-related academic papers or book chapters. Usually, I have to read between 50 and 150 pages a week. It can sometimes be a lot, but everything is really interesting. Plus, most of the time teachers divide the literature in two categories: intensive readings (that you have to read very thoroughly) and extensive readings (that is not as important as the previous ones).

Once I read “everything” (come on, you know you don’t always read “everything” 😉 ), I am expected to write a reflection diary. This assignment is meant to be a basis for our tutor-meeting discussion. Writing style is free and I can write about the readings as well as any other topic related to gender studies I have in mind. I think it is a very interesting exercise, since it encourages us to break our academic writing habits!


This leads me to the most important: assignments. Many people ask me if I have to take exams. The answer is: yes and no. Yes because I am evaluated through regular assignments and no, because I don’t have to go to any exam sessions on campus. Indeed, most of my “exams” consist in essays and personal reflections on a chosen-topic. Most of the time, I am expected to implement the concepts and theories I learned during the course to an issue of my choice.

I really like this because once again, I have total freedom on the topic I choose and how I get to tackle it. Plus, most of the time, we get a week or so to write it, which I think is adequate. Once I am done, I am expected to submit my paper online on Lisam, which is where everything related to LiU and student life happens here (I might write about it later!).

Now you know everything about my master!

Gender Studies – How does my online master work? 1/2

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I just realized I wrote two articles about my master’s face-to-face week, which took place two weeks ago without never explaining how the online part of my master works on a daily basis. So here is the first part of all the information you need about the “Gender, Intersectionality and Change” online program from Linköping University.


“My master is online”. I must have told this sentence to people I met a thousand times since I moved to Linköping. Then, I usually have to explain why I decided to move here anyway, which I already explained in the first post of this blog.

But what does online mean? This basically means that I never have classes on campus. My weeks are totally free: I study when I want, and I organize my time as I wish. I must admit that I like the freedom I get to wake up and go to sleep when I feel like it, to go grocery shopping in the middle of the day and take afternoons off whenever I want. This is just perfect. However, I understand people who are telling me they could not do it. Gladly, I never had procrastination or motivations issues so studying without incentives is not a problem for me.

Since the program is online, the majority of my classmates still live in their home country and only come to Sweden for the face-to-face weeks. They often combine their studying with working full-time or part-time, which I think is very brave given that the master is a 100% workload – this means that it is required to study full-time (just the amount of time you would study with on-campus classes).

How do I know what I have to study?

The program is also divided in two semesters: the Autumn semester and the Spring semester. Last semester I attended four courses: Introduction to intersectionality, Exploring intersectionality, and Analytical Tools. Before each one of them starts, we get a Key Document which sums up the skills we should acquire thanks to this course, the assignments we will have to submit, and our schedule.

Yes, we have a schedule. Each week, we must watch a pre-recorded lecture, attend a mandatory online tutor-meeting or co-tutor meeting (without a tutor) and we have the possibility to participate in a non-mandatory seminar. These are the three meet-ups we have settled each week.

The (co-)tutor groups were decided in the beginning of the semester and we were in charge of finding the best way and the best time of the week to meet-up online. My group and I are meeting-up on Microsoft Teams, but other meetings such as live lectures or seminars are usually held on Skype for Business.

That’s it for this first part, I will explain in details how the literature is distributed and how assignments must be submitted later!