Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Getting a bike in Uppsala

You might already know this, but there are tons of bikes all around Uppsala. Basically, that's the main way of transportation here. So, you'll probably want to get your own.  There are many places where you could get them, so here are a couple of ideas:

  • If you're living in student buildings, check the boards! Tons of students post flyers there to sell their bikes.
  • There are small stores selling used bikes. There are some in student areas (like in Flogsta), but they might be over prised, so do your research first!
  • Check http://www.blocket.se/ The magic swedish word is "cyklar" (under Fritid & hobby).
  • Check out sport stores for new bikes, like http://www.stadium.se/ and http://www.teamsportia.se/ 
Enjoy biking!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Utnarm Fair

Today it was the Utnarm career fair in Polacksbacken. This fair is held every year on Thursday, week 45. It is a great opportunity for students to interact with companies and find valuable contacts for the future.

Personally, career fairs are a great way to learn about the companies in the area and ask future coworkers about the working atmosphere and job positions.



For more info visit: http://utnarm.utn.se/

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Questions about Uppsala

Someone asked me some very good questions about Uppsala and the MSc in Computer Science, so I decided to share them here.

1. How are the living expenses in Uppsala in general?

Sweden can be a bit expensive. In my opinion, housing is not too expensive (I used to live in Madrid and Barcelona before moving here, so that's my reference point). You'll pay about 3000-3500 SEK/month including Internet. The major problem is that it is hard to find accommodation. Prices for other things are: about 20-25 SEK for a bottle of water or soda, same or cheaper for coffee/tea. You can get a (reasonably big) sandwich on campus for 45 SEK, or a caesar salad for 65 SEK. You can buy lunch (salad + main course + coffee + bread or fruit) for 70-80 for lunch. Another option could be a frozen meal for 20-30 SEK. Fruits on one of the campus restaurants are 1 piece 7 SEK (and of course cheaper in the supermarket). A pizza is about 70 SEK and frozen pizza 25-40 SEK. Alcohol is EXTREMELY expensive!


2. Is it easy to find jobs at the university in research? in general, is it easy to find a job anywhere?

Getting a job at the university is hard. Normally they hire students as TA or the sort once they know the student, so it probably won't happen during the first year and it is not as common as in other universities. It is also hard to get a part-time job without speaking Swedish (it is a lot easier to find a job once you graduate or an internship even if you don't speak the language). You can work at the student nations but the money is not great. It might be good for making friends, paying some meals and drinks but you won't support yourself with this kind of job. These student nations are great for having cheap food and cheap drinks as well as meeting many students. You can always consider studying Swedish before you come here and continue getting free lessons once you're here.


3. How good are the professors in Computer Science?

Professors are GREAT! They really care about preparing their material and explaining things. The atmosphere is very relaxed and informal. You're free to pick the courses you want, you have access to tons of papers and extra reading, and people are really open to comments and suggestions. I really enjoyed my time as a master student here. You can easily approach TAs and professors and they will happily answer your questions (well, maybe not if you ask for the solution to the assignment).


4. Which areas should I stay in? I don't mind using public transportation.

Like I said before, finding accommodation can be quite hard in Uppsala. You should rent whatever you find and once you're here you can try to move. Most people use bicycles. Buses are quite expensive (between 20-30 SEK depending on how you buy your ticket and about 500 SEK unlimited for a month). You can find used bicycles and everything is really close. If you're studying computer science, then you should live as close as possible to Polacksbacken. But again, 15-20 min by bike from most parts of the city anyway.

Enjoy your time in Uppsala!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Running in Uppsala

It is that time of the year when the weather starts getting warmer (it was 10 ºC yesterday!) and I like to go running outside, either in the woods or near the river. Uppsala is a great city for outdoor activities and Swedes love running and they do it regardless of the weather! I've seen people run on the rain and the snow, and to me that's probably too much commitment.  Still, if you would like to experience a running event while you're in Uppsala, here are a few that I have ran. All of them are 10K but most of them have a 5K option:

Uppsala Blodomloppet (May)
Stockholm Midnattsloppet (August)
Tjejmilen (September)
Uppsala Studentlopp (October)

You can find more running events in Lazy Runner

My next goal is a half marathon! But it will have to be next year... no time to properly train right now...

Oh! And this is me, training in Uppsala! :-)


Friday, March 7, 2014

International Women's Day

Well, first of all, I hope you don't think I'm turning the blog into a girls club. Gender inequality is sort of a big issue in IT and I'm happy to see that people at Uppsala University are aware of it. More importantly, people here actually care and want to do something about it! So, in my humble opinion, celebrating international women's day with a networking event might not make a difference for everyone, but hopefully some of the people on the event now feel less alone. At least I hate to hear these stories about women who didn't (or couldn't) study computer science because people made them feel less capable and not adequate.

Anyway, regardless of the gender inequality angle, it was a great event! I had the opportunity to meet many people, I enjoyed discussing different points of views about Sweden and computer science, as well as planning activities that the UU ACM-W student chapter can (and want to) organise. And we did all these with fruits, bullar, coffee and tea! :-)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

International Women's Day (Announcement!)

I'll write more about this event after it passes, but for now I just want to advertise it! Come! Network! Propose activities! Want to form a programming club? Get a mentor? This is the time to tell chapter members about your ideas.

Learn more about the event of Facebook https://m.facebook.com/events/258232297683826


You can follow the chapter @UUACMW

Visit the chapter's website uu.acm.org

If you go to the event, please let me know what you thought about it!

Buying books in Uppsala

Studying in Uppsala requires a lot of reading. I was used to the fact that going to the classes and reading a little bit was more than enough, but here in Uppsala doesn’t always work that way. You are going to see yourself many times in the situation were you need to read almost the whole book to actually understand the class and that requires owning the book.

Buying used books is always cheaper but they are hard to find since not everyone sells their books. Also, not everyone actually gives you a good deal and many people try to sell their books in almost the full price. Anyway, books are as expensive here as in any other place (at least from what I’ve seen). If you are looking for a place to buy your books you can go to Studentbokhandeln. The books there have an acceptable price, sometimes even cheaper than amazon.com and you will get a 10% student discount if you spend more than 1000 SEK.

If you can actually wait a week or so to get your book, I would recommend buying them in bokus.com. They have a large selection, books are noticeably cheaper than in Studentbokhandeln, and if you have your student card from Mecenat.se, you earn 2.5% of what you pay as a student bonus (5% the first time), which you can use to buy books as well. I have used this page many times and, in my experience, they have a pretty good service.


View Studentbokhandeln AB in a larger map

I know there is actually at least another book store here in Uppsala, but here I’ve always find the books I’m looking for.