Julien - you are one on the few students of the University of Stuttgart not confronted with a total lock-down this summer semester, why that?

June 16, 2020 / Department of Mathematics

Interview with members of the Department of Mathematics

Studying mathematics in Stuttgart I chose to study at Uppsala university in Sweden, directly in my first master semester. As I enjoyed the time very much I extended my stay for the spring semester. Luckily, the ERASMUS-funding of the university of Stuttgart enabled that. In retrospective, it was a good decision to extend – Germany's lockdown and the first digital semester followed shortly afterwards.

Uppsala in Sweden – tell us more about this university town

Uppsala is the fourth biggest town and the student city of Sweden. Not only the picturesque oldtown, the beautiful castle und the small distance to Stockholm and its airport make Uppsala interesting as well as culinarically having a big variety of cafes and restaurants, but in particular the diverse student live realised in the thirteen Nations – in lack of a better word most likely translated as fraternities. The Nations host clubs; all of them run a pub and they for instance offer breakfast, lunch, Fika (the Swedish word for meeting up in the afternoon and having some coffee and cake together) and dinner. Furthermore, they organise sport teams, orchestras, dancing courses and much more. Plenty of students work in the Nations in order to earn a bit money and profit from the advantages of being a Nation worker like skipping the (long) queues in front of the clubs ;).

Uppsala is the ideal place for freetime activites. There are several destinations in the immediate vicinity of Uppsala which can be visited within a daytrip giving a first impression of the scenic landscape of Sweden. Uppsala itself is great for students due to its Nations – everyone finds something he or she likes, no matter if one is a party maniac, an art enthusiast or a lover of nature.

Do you have any suggestions how to settle down the easiest way?

I personally have not worked in a nation, but I can warmly recommend each and everyone to join for instance a local club. I joined the local handball club und this was, frankly, the only real oppurtunity to encounter Swedish people as one mostly has contact with international students. One reason for that is that one lives together with other internationals in the student accomodations and the introduction week of the Nations is for internationals, as well, and that is where at least I have met most of my friends. Another reason is that although the Swedish people are very hospitable, they are much more reserved than Germans.

For me it took nearly five months until I felt integrated into my handball team. If one then wants to make Swedish friends, I can tell you: It is worth it, but it takes a while and in my opinion it is hardly possible within six months.

This and the fact that the summer and winter are so different in Sweden and both have their congeniality are the reason why I would recommend to stay for a whole year.

Which are the major differences between the study in Uppsala and in Stuttgart?

From an academical point of view the ERASMUS-stay was utterly uncomplicated. Albeit the department of mathematics in Stuttgart has a cooperation with the department of information technology in Uppsala it was no problem to take courses from the department of mathematics. In addition to that, all of my courses could be acknowledged in Stuttgart in consultation with the responsible lecturers. The reconciliation with the coordinators of both universities and with the International Office in Stuttgart was pleasant and helpful at the same time.

The academic year in Uppsala is structured into four periods, id est most modules take place within a quarter year. Naturally, the density of the course events as lectures and seminars is higher. The level of difficulty is similar to the one in Stuttgart. The biggest difference might be the more personal relation to the lecturers.

What are your conclusions?

In summary, I can solely say: Uppsala is a marvellous town and perfect for everyone who wants to study abroad. The student life is unique, freetime activities are nearly infinite and Sweden offers interesting cities and gorgeous landspaces. Uppsala was the best experience I could make during my studies.

Julien Flad B.Sc.
Masterstudent at the Department of Mathematics

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