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The last month has been tough. I have had a lot of school work to do on top of being in the lab 8am-5pm everyday! Uppsala really takes the practical parts of science courses very seriously, which is great, I am learning alot. However, it doesn’t leave much time for study to keep up with the lecture material, or socialising.

Most of my friends I made early in the semester took a different course, and I found it very difficult to find time to catch up with them at all. We finished in the lab last week, and handed in our final reports....STRESS! Hopefully it will go okay though. I didn’t succeed in completing my synthesis. I only got to step 8 of 10 due to the time limit, but my yield was “okay” (terrible but my lab teachers try to make me feel better).

I had my final exam yesterday. 5 hours, again. Thankfully the exam didn’t take the whole time. It was so difficult to study with all the parties happening in my housing area. People have been finishing over the past three weeks, so some students have been getting thoroughly bored and feel the need to throw items of furnisher off the 8th floor (I always look up before approaching a building...dangerous places, doorways). I’m not feeling particularly optimistic about the exam, however the good thing about Sweden is that if I fail I can sit the re-take exam in August.

Exciting news!!!! I passed Basic Swedish 1! I sat the written and aural exams for basic Swedish a couple of weeks ago. The aural was very difficult, as I still cannot understand people speak, but the written paper was much better. I am unnecessarily proud about this achievement, because trying to learn a language has been really hard for me. I can take Basic Swedish 2 next semester, which makes me think I may actually leave Sweden with a decent grasp of the language. I am always impressed with bilingual people, and feel embarrassed when talking to Europeans that I only know English.

Sadly, almost everyone that I know in Uppsala is leaving to go home in the coming week. It is depressing. I know that there will be plenty of opportunities to meet new people next semester, but I will really miss my current group of friends. Many of them also took a 1 year exchange, but as Australia’s university year is opposite to the Northern Hemisphere, very few people are staying on. Thankfully one of the friends I made this semester also goes to Sydney Uni, so when I do get home we can always relive Uppsala moments. Over the coming week I am just going to enjoy Swedish summer (which is truly amazing), and hang out with friends. We are going to stay in a small lakeside cabin for a day or two, and possibly going hiking. We went for a day-hike 2 weekends ago also. We managed to choose the only rainy, cold day, in a spell of warm weather (it was actually hotter here than in Sydney for the first time!). It was still fun; getting lost in the woods, crossing 3 creeks, stumbling across half eaten deer (surprising, as I didn’t consider that large wildlife would be so close to Uppsala) and picnic-ing on some rocks in the rain right next to a lone house. Hopefully it will be sunny when we hike this time though.

Another very noticible difference to Australia is how dramatically the day length changes this far North. It doesn’t get completely dark until after 12 midnight now, and the sun is up by 3am. Blinds for the windows are essential. I was waking up every morning at 3am for a while...grrrrr....

All the high schools finished yesterday too, and the graduating seniors had some very special celebrations. All the girls wear white dresses, and the boys coat-and-tails, and everyone has a ‘sailor-like cap’. Trucks decorated with tree branches, banners and streamers, and piled with students in the back (wear the gravel should go) drove in circuits slowly around the town. All the relatives were present, holding placard signs depicting photos of their respective graduate when they were a toddler. In addition students were given many medals and flowers, and relatives marched through the streets celebrating their child. There is almost a carnival in town too. Side shows and rides are set up all along the river; however, now that I think about it, this might also be because tomorrow is Sweden’s national day (6th June). I think (not sure), but I think the Swedish princess should be getting married as well, so celebrations will be massive I guess.

Currently I am excited. I am planning my European summer of hopefully many travels and good-times. I can’t wait to blog about Britain and France (such fantastical, wonderous, romantic sounding places) and where ever else I can get to! I am also excited as one of my Australian friends is going to come over to Europe to travel with me for a few weeks and I am absolutely dying to see her.

So, yes, in general, things are wonderful and I am glad to be on holidays. Fun times to come =D !!!!!

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Everything you ever wanted to know about uni but were too afraid to ask....