Amanda's summer break
I stayed in the Gothenburg area for much of the summer, taking a bit of a “staycation” or “hemester” (hem=home + semester=vacation in Swedish). I had a trip back to the US planned at the beginning of summer, but flight cancellations and uncertain travel restrictions led me to decide to remain in Sweden. Homesickness has of course been something I’ve experienced over this first year in Gothenburg, but the idea that I wouldn’t be able to go back to the United States because of Covid restrictions was especially disappointing. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one going through this, and myself and friends created great summer experiences together around the city!
One of the best purchases I’ve made here was a bike. It has completely changed the way I travel through the city and lets me avoid public transportation during the pandemic. Friends and I have met up for bike rides to different areas of Gothenburg like the giant park Slottsskogen and ferry station at Saltholmen for scenic views. One trip we took was just over to Hisingen, to a nature area called Svarte Mosse. I met up with one friend at Stenpiren, where we took the free ferry across the river to Lindholmen to meet up with other friends. We took a mostly relaxed, sometimes terribly uphill, ride over to the nature area, where we had a great picnic and relaxed outside.
One thing about Gothenburg that I think is amazing is just how much greenspace there is within the city and just outside it! I was able to hike in one of these nearby areas at Kåsjön, a lake with walking paths nearby. When trekking around Käsjön we had the nice surprise of finding a never-ending supply of wild blueberries to eat along the way and saw many people collecting the berries to take home.
One of my favorite experiences this summer has been being able to go to the nearby islands around Gothenburg. There are a number to choose from, and all offer a relaxing experience with a beautiful view. Recently, I went to the island of Marstrand, which is about an hour and a half outside of Gothenburg by bus. We started the day by walking around the historic Carlsten Fortress, built originally in the 1600s to protect the citizens from enemy attacks. We then took our time walking around the island, taking in the beautiful, colorful seaside buildings before finding a spot to chill and have lunch on the rocks near the water. One of the most exciting parts was getting to go into the ocean! I realized that I had not been able to swim at all this summer up to that point, so I was determined to get in the water. It was absolutely freezing, and I got out about one minute later, but I’m glad for the opportunity!
The nicest thing about this summer has been the amount of time I’ve been able to spend outdoors, getting fresh air and sun. I’ve been able to appreciate where I’m at and have plenty of new experiences in and around Gothenburg. I’m looking forward to the next month before courses start again, and being able to see classmates again soon, at least virtually!
Tamara's summer break
I have spent my Summer working in part and travelling around Sweden. Continuing on from my internship at Gothenburg-based food tech start-up Mycorena that I started earlier this year, I took the opportunity to utilize the free time I had in June to get hands-on experience full-time at the company. I did this because I wanted to build upon the knowledge I already had accumulated at the company whilst putting what I learnt in my studies at the Entrepreneurship School at Chalmers and also my past experiences into practice This was great as I really got to know my colleagues whilst expanding my own knowledge about the company’s operations and where my skill set could potentially add value. My experience at the startup has actually now led to a part-time job which I am super happy about! I will continue working with business development but with a sales and marketing focus.
Other than working, I’ve taken the opportunity to explore parts of Sweden that I had not seen in the past. I was originally toying with the idea of going back to Australia for a few weeks to visit family and friends, but I realized quite early on that it would be a lot simpler to stay in Sweden considering the current circumstances. I not only stayed in Sweden but also got to experience the classic Swedish Summer! In July I visited Skövde, Västerås and Stockholm which was great as I was able to not only visit my friends’ hometowns but also take the opportunity to rewind and reset especially as we spent quite a bit of time in the countryside!
When I was in Skövde (1.5 hours by train from Gothenburg), it was slightly overcast and rainy, so we spent some time in the sauna where we visited quite a few secondhand stores and boy was that fruitful. Considering Skövde and the surrounding areas are smaller in comparison to Gothenburg, there are therefore less people vying for those secondhand deals! I found some paintings, vases, shoes and a jewellery bowl for a quarter of the price that it would’ve cost me in Gothenburg!
The trip to Västerås was slightly longer by train where it took around 4 hours from Gothenburg. Västerås is located on the other side of Sweden and although 4 hours to get to the other side of the country may seem long for some but for me, it was the opposite considering that it takes 5 hours by plane from Sydney to Perth! The weather that weekend was sunny and so we spent quite a bit of time outdoors namely by Sweden’s third-largest lake, Lake Mälaren.
Seeing as Västerås is only about an hour away by bus from Stockholm, I took the opportunity to revisit the capital city before heading back home. Stockholm is grand and beautiful and there is so much to do and see. The old town (Gamla Stan) is a must-see and the areas of Sofia and Södermalm are buzzing with shops and cafes. To be honest, though, by the end of my day there I really wanted to go back to chilled out Gothenburg! I’ve become so used to not having that many people around that I actually got slightly overwhelmed in Stockholm which is a strange sensation seeing as I’ve spent my whole life in good old Sydney.
All in all, these short getaways have allowed me to reset my batteries for my second year at Chalmers where I’ll be working at another company in addition to Mycorena AB whilst writing my thesis! This forms part of the Corporate Entrepreneurship Track in the MSc. in Entrepreneurship and Business Design where I will spend close to a year working on an internal entrepreneurship project. It has been a great Summer so far and the plan for August is to just take it easy and enjoy my spare time with my friends!