This is an open letter to all new students who will start studying at Chalmers in this autumn semester.
You are now days away from moving to Gothenburg and starting your studies at Chalmers. You must be counting down your days to come to Sweden, right? I remember two years ago in July, I was extremely excited because I started to make my shopping and packing list before leaving to Gothenburg. Since now I have been living in Gothenburg for a while, I want to share with you my advice on what to pack (and NOT to pack) to be prepared for Gothenburg's weather! But before we start, let's get one thing straight. There is a common Swedish proversb - There is no bad weather, there is only bad .... (drumroll) ... OUTFITS!
Note: This blog is intended to focus on outfits. We've also prepared some other tips for packing which you can read in our packing tips blog and packing do's and don'ts article.
There are two essential things about attires that I learned from my experience living in Gothenburg:
One: layers, layers, layers!
Two: second-hand shopping!
When you arrive in Gothenburg for the autumn semester, you will have your welcome week. This awesome week will happen at the end of summer when the weather is still warm with some chances of rain and wind. Therefore, I would suggest you to bring simple clothing items that can be mixed and layered. The recommended outfits to bring from home are:
- t-shirts or shirts,
- sweatpants or comfortable pants,
- a few pairs of socks,
- warm wind-proof or water-proof jacket,
- one pair of comfortable water-proof shoes,
- one pair of cosy socks or sandals to use at home
If you also want to buy protective gear for your gadget, consider buying a waterproof cover for your laptop or a rain cover for your bag. On the other hand, I do not recommend you bring an umbrella because the wind here is quite strong that it might blow your umbrella away or even break it. What if you don't want to buy new waterproof shoes? Don't worry! You can also get a protective spray for waterproofing your shoes here in Gothenburg. It's not crucial to buy it in advance if you don't need in your home country.
I think the most important thing is to dress right and get used to the weather during your first several weeks in Gothenburg. During the exciting first month, you will be busy making new friends, getting used to school, attending seminars and lectures, and participating in CIRC's cool events. Therefore, prepare yourself with the right outfit for the day’s weather to make sure you enjoy every moment in Gothenburg.
*Tip: Bring a bag with a jacket or an extra shirt, when you are planning to go out the whole day in Gothenburg as the weather can change very quickly. You can add a layer or remove a layer whenever you feel like it!
When it is time for you to shop, you can buy outfits for the next season for a lower price in second-hand shops in Gothenburg. I do not recommend you carry your thick winter outfit from your home country as it will take up too much space in your luggage and it might not have the required features to match your need in Gothenburg. Second-hand shopping and upcycling is an emerging trend in Sweden as it promotes a sustainable lifestyle by reusing “good enough” products and reducing waste. You can find lots of winter jackets, raincoats, shoes, summer clothes, even books, electronics, and household items in the second-hand shops in Gothenburg. You can also join the buy and sell groups and student housing groups on Facebook and check if they have something for you to reuse.
*Fun fact: it is also common for people to give out their items for free when they are moving out! Another exciting thing is that there are a lot of second-hand pop-up markets or what we call "Loppis" in several spots in the city. People in Sweden generally really value their belonging. Therefore, second-hand items which are sold are mostly maintained in excellent quality. If you are lucky, you might find new things at a low price.
Text and image by Alberta Maria Titis Rum Kuntari