The Don’t Forget list
Planning your arrival? The Dynamo is starting to think about the upcoming semester as well! This is mostly for the new folks, but even if you’ve been here a year already, there is a chance you’ll leave something out of your bags you’ll regret not having with you. Here are a few suggestions and reminders, in no particular order!
1 – Credit/Debit card with PIN/Cash: As it might take some time to open a Swedish account or you might decide to skip it altogether, make sure there is a PIN and chip on your electronic cards. Like everywhere in Europe, there are ATMs/bank machines everywhere in Sweden, and most shoppers use their card rather than cash. If you can bring different cards with different pins (like have one debit, one credit, etc.) as it is pretty arbitrary what will work in what machine! Don’t give up if one doesn’t work, keep trying. You might want to warn your home bank you will travel so they don’t block your cards… Not a bad idea to get 500 SEK in cash ahead of time from an exchange office if you can. If you’re planning on getting some from Kastrup airport, be careful not to get Danish crowns, they won’t do you much good in Sweden!!
2 – Small tools: A small screwdriver, some bike tire patches, a sewing kit, duct tape, poster gum – prepare for a DIY experience with limited resources. Bike locks are a good idea, you’ll need one and they’re expensive in Sweden.
3 – Camping mat/Sleeping bag/Towel: You might want to travel, or you might just be stuck without a place to live when you first arrive… If you are going to sleep at someone else, it’s a nice gesture to be a bit auto-sufficient. You can at least bring a pillow cover you can stuff with clothes to make a pillow. They will sell bed stuffs at Arrival Day, but it’s cheaper if you bring your own from home if you have room! As for the towel, fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy will get this, but even non-sci-fi geeks will want to wash soon after arriving. If you like special shampoos/face soap etc., bring them too. You’ll probably find them here, but they’ll likely be more expensive than back home (you see this expensive pattern forming?). 🙂
4 – Letter of Acceptance (and extra copies): This is for the newcomers. It is ridiculous the number of times and places you will have to show this piece of paper. Carry it with you at all times until you get a student card.
5 – Rain/Wind gear: The end of the summer is particularly wet and cold this year, but then again it is often rainy and windy year-round down here in any case. As the Scandinavian saying goes, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing! Consider a backpack rain cover and rain boots/Wellingtons too. And if the upcoming winter is to be like the last, consider a waterproof winter jacket if you have room, or at least a fleece to wear under a rain jacket. And gloves because it gets cold when you bike… But then you might need shorts too – crazy Swedish weather!
6 – Copies of your passport/national ID: Can never be too careful. And don’t put them in the same bag as your originals.
7 – Food and kitchen utensils from home: You won’t be able to bring groceries for the whole semester, but there is maybe something small (herbs/spices, maple syrup, dried mushrooms, etc.) that you’re able to squeeze in. More importantly, there is maybe some kitchen tool you use all the time they might not use so much in Sweden (cheese cloths, Swiss Army knife, spork, rice cooker, etc.). Do a quick web research to have an idea if the things you like and need are easy to find in Sweden. Don’t forget Malmö has more international products than Lund.
8 – Plug adapter: Depending where you come from, you might need an adapter to plug your electronics in the wall. Make sure they can work on 230V!
9 – Dress clothes/costumes: You can go out wearing pretty much what you like in Lund, especially at nations, but there are some occasions where Swedes REALLY dress up (like, penguin suits). If you think you’d like to go to a ball or fancy dinner at some point, bring what you’ll need to wear – clothes are (also) expensive in Sweden. Lund students really like themed and costume parties, so if you have some fun accessories that don’t weigh too much, think of bringing them.
10 – Sports gear: Swedes are active people. If you’re into sports, bring your personal equipment (shoes, racquets, etc.).
11 – Poster/decorations from home: It’s really depressing living with all white walls. It’s good to put a personal touch, plus it’s nicer when you invite friends over. Remember, you are coming to a land of style and design.
12 – Alcohol from home: If you drink, try and save some room in your luggage for the stuff you like to drink. Alcohol is expensive (as are most things) in Sweden, especially hard liquor. It probably won’t last long with the start-of-the-semester parties, but it can save a bit of money and maybe you can make new friends by making them taste a specialty from your home country. Don’t forget to check the allowed import limits if you come from outside the E.U.
13 – Games/Movies/Musical instruments: There will be long dark rainy nights when you won’t have the energy to drag yourself out of the corridor. Not a bad idea to bring things to stay entertained.
14 – Mobile phone charger: Obvious, but you’ll be using your phone quite a lot, and it’s the kind of thing you can easily leave plugged in the wall of your room back home when you’re stressed out before you leave! 😛 Check if your phone will work with a Swedish SIM card.
15 – Do some research: It might give you ideas of other things you need to back, or just help you know what to expect and mentally prepare! Reading up what’s up here at The Dynamo will give you ideas, but maybe stuff like this article from The Local can inspire you too! For some one-on-one advice and to make friends already, join some social networks – on Facebook, check out these groups: International Students Lund University, Erasmus Exchange Lund (Sweden) 2011/2012, ESN Lund, etc. Check if your program or faculty has a group or page, too!
Of course, you can buy pretty much anything you’ll need somehow, but it’s best if you can avoid unnecessary expenses! If you do have to buy stuff, you should start with second-hand shops if you’re on a budget – you can find a list here. Welcome (back) to Lund everyone!