Living alone for the first time – What I’ve learnt so far!

Posted in: Department for Health, Placements, Uncategorized

Just over a month ago I left home to start my placement year at the Winter Sports Research centre in Sweden. When choosing which uni to go to, a big part of my choice was based off the fact that Bath was only around an hour twenty drive from my home and a 50-minute train. So, if you were to tell me then that in my third year I would be moving to a whole new country, by myself, I would have laughed in your face, but here we are!

Living alone is one aspect of the placement that I hadn’t given much thought – but it is definitely proving to be one of the biggest challenges! The studio apartment that I’m currently living in is a big contrast to my 1st and 2nd year living situations. At uni you are constantly surrounded by people your own age, with similar interests and schedules to you, making it sooo easy to make friends – something I now realise I definitely took for granted!

My first month has flown by and I have already learnt so much, so I thought I would share a few of my tips and tricks to help you settle into a new place:

  1. waffle cream fruit and creamKeep yourself busy! – no matter how big or small the activity I’ve found it useful to have a vague idea of what I’m going to do on my days off. For example, at the weekends I like to wander around the city centre and try out different coffee shops! I am lucky enough to be surrounded by some beautiful scenery, one of the biggest ski resorts in Sweden is just a short train journey away, so I have also been exploring a bit further afield, going on hikes and bike rides!
  2. Talk to at least one person everyday! – Whilst you’re still finding your feet the weekends can become quite isolating! I made it a rule to engage in at least one meaningful conversation each day, even if it was just with a friendly cashier. It can seem daunting, especially if there is a language barrier, but people are much more willing to have a conversation than you think!
  3. Background noise! – I find that when I am alone in my apartment it can sometimes get a bit too quiet! I make sure I always have something playing in the background, so definitely make sure you have a speaker on your packing list as it can bring a lot of comfort!
  4. Push yourself out of your comfort zone! – University makes it easy to meet people through sports, societies and even lectures. outdoor steps with lake in distanceOn my placement I have had to be a bit more proactive (and braver!). I have been looking out for sports clubs to join so I can meet some like-minded people! Just think about what you enjoy doing and use things like Facebook and Instagram to see if there are only local groups that you could join!
  5. Finally, it’s okay if not everyday is perfect! – I think it’s important to understand that some days it might be difficult! A lot of change happens in a small space of time, starting the placement, moving countries, living alone, it’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed! But just remember that there will also be some amazing days, with some real pinch me moments, so just hang on in there!

Hopefully some of those were helpful! I am no expert – as I said, I’ve only been here a month – and I am learning new things all the time. I think the most important thing is you have to romanticise everything – as cheesy as it sounds! Find joy in all the little things! Take yourself on solo dates – A waterfall from the river bankeven though it may be daunting, push yourself to talk to new people and make the most of being able to explore a new place!

I think if you are thinking about doing a placement or study year abroad, but you are slightly nervous, then that is all the more reason to do it. Although it’s scary I am so so glad I chose to come to Sweden and can already tell it’s going to be one of the best years of my life!

Posted in: Department for Health, Placements, Uncategorized


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