Winter is here!!! The coldest and nicest season of the year has arrived to Sweden and this time I am here to give you some useful advices on how to survive and enjoy winter to the fullest. In this blog I will talk from my personal experience as international student coming from a warm country (Mexico) about how was my adaptation process. I will also provide with some funny tips on how to make your life easier and smoother during this season.
1. Get appropriate clothing
If you are planning studying in Sweden (Stockholm), you should consider preparing yourself with appropriate winter clothes and shoes. At this point, you probably already know that Sweden is a country with long and cold winters and that therefore it will be necessary to have warm jackets, sweaters, socks and boots. If you come from a warm or tropical country (as I do) and have never experienced temperatures below zero, you will probably feel a little bit scared and will wonder yourself: How am I going to survive? Where am I going to get winter jackets? Am I going to freeze? RELAX! You will be fine and happy!
It is important before coming Sweden that you check in your country if there are jackets that are warm enough to stand temperatures between 5 °C and -10°C. This is because most of the times it is much cheaper to buy them at the home country than here. If you can also find warm sweaters and socks, consider also to buy them at your place. In case that you are not able to find anything appropriate, you can either try looking from internet or save enough money to get them at Stockholm. Remember that this city is not cheap, and winter clothes are not the exception to it, so be ready to spend an important amount for this. Finally, it is vital that you get winter boots, either from Sweden or your country. This is because during the cold season, there will be snow and ice so it is very important that you keep your feet warm. The boots are also very important in order to prevent falls while walking.
2. Drink warm beverages
Life in Sweden during winter involves lots of warm and delicious drinks. This is not only because swedes like hot beverages, it is also because drinking those is highly important to maintain your body temperature. Some of my favourite warm drinks here in Sweden and that I would definitely recommend are hot cocoa, hot mint-cocoa, Glögg, Coffee (Fika break) and Blueberry tea. By drinking something warm every morning and evening you will keep really warm and comfortable no matter where you are.
3. Vitamin D
This is a country in which during the autumn-winter period the sun rarely comes out. For this reason it is very important to intake vitamin D. This is because we need vitamin D in order to absorb calcium in our bones and keep them strong. Vitamin D needs sunlight in order to be naturally synthetized in the organism. When there is no sunlight to produce it, we need to get this vitamin from other sources such as capsules that you can get from supermarkets, pharmacies (Apotek) or even from fruits that are rich in vitamin D such as blueberries.
4. Keep yourself active and busy
As I already mentioned before, this is a cold and dark country and for these reasons you need to find activities in order to avoid feeling tired and getting depressed. When you are student at KI, you usually are enough busy with all school projects and tasks from your courses, but what could you do in your weekends or holydays? Well, during winter season, Stockholm is full of beautiful and lightened places to visit and it also offers a wide range of activities such as ice-skating, shopping, Christmas markets, etc. If you want to get out of the city and visit other places you could take the train and visit the picturesque Uppsala or you could take a cruise and visit Helsinki.
5. Never run on frozen pavement
This is especially important for those ones who have never been before in a country that gets frozen. It is not the same to walk in dry or wet pavement than walking in a surface fully covered on ice. Obviously, ice is very slippery and if you are not enough careful you might fall and hurt yourself badly. For this reason you have to get good winter boots (tip 1) and avoid running, this means that you must plan your times even more precisely so you don’t have to run for the train or bus. If you want to try skating do it on the ice rink not on the sidewalks 😀
6. Enjoy the snow and winter views
Not everything is darkness and sadness during winter! Actually it is my favourite season. I love how beautiful everything gets and how peaceful the environment feels, but what I like the most is the snow! Since I was kid I have always been fascinated by snow and even if I grew up in a country that has no snow I have always loved it, maybe for this I did not have any problems to adapt here, also because I have always preferred colder weathers than warmer ones. Sweden offers amazing natural and urban scenarios full of whiteness and peace. Snow also offers diverse amusement possibilities, such as skiing, making snowmen and snow angels.
7. Visit Lapland (if you have the chance)
To finish this top, I want to encourage you visiting Sweden’s North Pole if you have the opportunity. This is because despite of the fact that I have not been yet in the Swedish Lapland (I will go some day), I have been in the Finnish one and I can tell you that is a wonderful experience and a mesmerizing place! The visit to Lapland should definitely be in your bucket list, because at this place you will appreciate the real beauty of winter (even if its -20°C) and it definitely will change your mind about coldness and darkness.
I hope this blog had been useful and that it helps you to prepare for winter before coming Sweden and also once you are already here!
If you have any more questions don’t hesitate and contact me!
Aline Colonnello: firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is Aline Colonnello Montero, I am twenty five years old and I come from the wonderful but busy Mexico City. I consider myself to be a perseverant person who works hard to meet all my goals and ambitions. I have a bachelor’s degree in Biology and I currently study the Master’s programme in Toxicology at Karolinska Institutet. My job as part of the digital ambassadors’ team consists on writing blogs