Living and Learning Community, Homestay, Residential Community – how do I know which one is right for me?
To answer this question I looked back at how I lived at my home university. Since I lived in a typical dorm for the past 2 years, I decided to continue that trend when I came to Stockholm. With that, I chose to house in the Residential Community and could not be happier with my choice.
This is my hem away from hem. While the building is on Högalidsgatan, we like to call it either Hogwarts or the Hog Squad house. It’s a very old building that originally was a home for elderly women whose husbands had passed away. Now it’s been renovated and so many young people and students live in the building.
Life at Högalids is almost just like living in a dorm or apartment back at home, with only a few interesting differences. One is how we deal with our trash – in a very Swedish way.
The first thing I learned about Sweden when I moved in was that, in general, Swedes love to recycle; we lived no differently. In our common area we share our recycling and have six different bins we could throw our trash in. There’s one for paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, metal, etc. Now, when it comes to every piece of trash, I always run it through the list of things that can be recycled before I throw it out.
This is our wonderful common area. We mostly use this room for cooking and serving group meals. We’re also able to connect our laptops to the TV and have used it to watch movies as a group as well as study for our exams.
These are a couple games our Student Resident Advisor (SRA), Jack, bought for us. I’m happy to say I am undefeated when it comes to common room Chess. That may be because nobody has actually played a game against me but that doesn’t make my statement any less true.
When it’s time to wash our clothes we sign up for slots for the laundry machine and dryer. It’s a neat way of keeping everyone organized and so far it’s worked really well considering we have to share one washer and dryer for 16 people. We can sign up days in advance for a time slot to wash and dry our clothes. If any one of us is feeling extra Swedish and wants to be eco-friendly, we just grab a drying rack instead of using the dryer.
Our rooms are designed in an apartment style fashion and almost all of us have 1-2 roommates. We share a bathroom and a kitchen together. Here’s my roommate Erik hard at work in his room studying for his oncology class (I think he’s really just watching Rick and Morty).
And here’s our kitchen. It’s a little small but good enough for our cooking needs. We also have a microwave and the common area has a toaster we’re all able to share. Our kitchen has a stove, a compartment for trash, and DIS made sure to provide us with plenty of bowls, plates, and other cooking utensils.
Another great feature about living in the RC is where it’s located. It’s located on the island of Södermalm, which is also known as the hipster capital of Stockholm. We live near an area called Hornstull which has several ethnic restaurants and cafes nearby that cater to young people. Whenever we’re in need of groceries or any other housing items we can run to our local grocery store, called ICA. ICA is a major grocery store chain found all over Sweden and our local store is only a five minute walk away from our building and located conveniently across from the nearest subway station.
Here’s Erik showing off our local subway stop. I’m a huge fan of how central our location is because it makes getting to other parts of Stockholm quick and easy. Our local station is called Hornstull and is less than a 5-minute walk away from our building; with it we can get all over the city. From here it’s about a 22 minute train ride to our classes in the DIS building. It also helps me fulfill my religious needs as it only takes me about 15 minutes to take the train from here to the Stockholm Mosque. On top of that, there’s a major bus stop right around the corner with several buses leaving from it throughout the day. We can use one of those to get to the Karolinska Institutet Medical School in 15-20 minutes, making it easy to get to all our medical class field studies and lectures.
Living at the RC has been great in so many ways. From the convenience of its location, to the many options for recycling, to the efficient laundry system we have going – all of these traits and more have convinced me that I could not have picked a better housing choice for myself. I’m reminded of this every morning as I’m able to look out my window and see…
… I am at hem.