The UISS has been described as a home away from home by most students I have met, and I am one of them. When I came to the UISS last year, I had in mind that I might move to Sweden. I gave up this plan in the course of last year but still came back to Uppsala because I had liked it so much. I stayed for the whole nine weeks. In this time, I hiked in Lappland, visited Helsinki, Carl Larson’s estate in Dalarna, the Falun mines, and the Riksdag (the Parliament) in Stockholm, and I would have seen a lot more if I had taken all the trips.
Being at the UISS means you relax while working. The language courses are demanding, but you don’t feel that you work, you feel like you are enjoying yourself. This is in part due to the trips and the fact that you get to explore unexplored talents like singing and theater improvising if you want to (I wanted). But mostly, it is due to the teachers and the staff. The teachers – most of whom are also teachers in their regular profession – use their summer holidays to teach at the UISS because they enjoy it as much as the students, and the staff has tuned making everyone welcome into an art. They are equally friendly to everyone, and there is no problem they won’t successfully help you solve.
The students are very diverse, of all ages, nationalities, ethnicities, faiths, genders, and sexual orientations. And everyone gets along. Which is a fantastic experience if you were used to prejudices at home, it’s something you take home and live on at home, too. Some students are very young and come to the UISS because they can use it for their university studies, some come because they have a Swedish parent and want to learn the language, some have already a rich and demanding professional life and come to the UISS because they are about to move to Sweden for professional reasons or have already done so, and some simply come to spend their holidays at the UISS. Especially the latter tend to come back many times.
I’m between jobs right now, I don’t know if my professional plans work out. But I definitely want to come back.