Last summer, when I arrived in Stockholm, the signup was not on a webpage: it was on paper, on the arrival days, with people reading info and chatting with each other about possible choices. And, most importantly, the only limit was on the number of participants for some events. Then they realized that those who arrived late would have no events left to participate, so they came up with an online system in the winter.
Here’s how the online signup works. The events are now categorized as “not limited”, “free” and “payable”; keep in mind that this is just a way for THS to classify them, so you might actually have to pay for a “free” event. You can sign up for max one “payable” event, for up to 3 “free” events and for as many “not limited” events as you wish. Don’t forget to confirm your choices when you’re done
This may have solved the participation problem, but now there is no chatting and discussing the various events with other students nor with the buddies. So here are my thoughts and experiences with the various events, trying to supply to the lack of chatting. I hope this will help those of you who can’t decide what to choose.
First, a general consideration for open-air events: remember that in Sweden the weather can be… unstable.
And for those of you taking the intensive Swedish course in August, keep in mind that there is a minimum attendance requirement (70% IIRC), so be sure to check that out! The course will be in the morning, so the activities in the afternoon should be fine.
- BBQs are always fun, and also a good way to meet new people. Queues for the food can be long, but you can start chatting with other students while waiting. For the 2016 reception: since the one on August 1st is not limited, I think you should definitely join that one if you’re already in town.
- Picnic: pretty much the same as BBQs, but with no queue and more playing.
- Campus tour: the numbering system for classrooms on campus can be frustrating, and paper maps don’t always help. Still, the online map is pretty complete, so that shouldn’t be a problem if you have internet connection. What you might find interesting here are the comments the guides will make, telling you something more about the various buildings or something specific. All things considered, I’d only choose this if I had just one choice left.
- City tours: last year, they covered different areas of the city, but now (2016) they all seem to be about Gamla Stan. It’s something interesting, since they will tell you curiosities about the various places and buildings, and you’ll see all main places (e.g. the oldest buildings, the narrowest street). Last year we also stopped for “fika”, the Swedish coffee break. It’s a good opportunity to meet new people as well as learn something about the city, and you will want to do a tour in Gamla Stan at some point anyway.
- IKEA tour. If you are in a student housing, chances are you’ll have to buy stuff at IKEA. I went there on my own on the very first day, and I still met about half the people from my dorm. If you live in Kista, you’ll see there’s a closer one (Barkarby): keep in mind that Kungens Kurva is bigger and busses are more frequent. If you already know what to buy, and don’t plan on shopping a lot, it might be a good idea, otherwise time might be tight. You could also organize with other people from your dorm.
- City Pub Crawl: I really liked it. I actually participated in 4-5 of those, and we visited various places. You are guaranteed to have fun, and it’s a perfect occasion to meet new people. Remember that alcohol is expensive here, the biggest difference being for beers (for Germans it seems to be unthinkable to pay over 3€ for a half-decent beer, here that is the minimum price). You will go to both small and big pubs, and a couple peculiar one (I sincerely hope the garlic pub isn’t on the list… beer with mashed garlic, what the hell!). If you want to have fun and get to know some pubs, I’d go to one of these.
- Sports: last year they specified what kind of sport. Good if you want to meet other people interested in sports, otherwise pretty ordinary.
- Skansen: GO GO GO! I mean it! I went there 2-3 times already. It is the biggest open-air museum in Europe, with original buildings from over a century ago transported from all parts of Sweden. Inside, you can also see how work was done in the old times: carpenter, glass, leather and clay works… The other big attraction are the animals: you can see bears, peacocks, boars and if you’re lucky even wolves (only seen once). Of course, you could go anytime, but with THS you pay half the entrance fee, and meet some fellow students.
- Kayak: haven’t done this one personally, but I received mixed opinions. To sum them up: it’s a lot of fun, but lasts too short because of how many people there are.
- Archipelago: Stockholm has thousands of islands (over 30000). This trip depends on the one you’ll be visiting. The boat trip is always nice, with an open deck on the top and beautiful views. If, as it seems, the destination is one of the major islands then you’ll also have a nice place to see once you arrive. And there’s also a picnic!
- Hiking: you’ll see Sweden’s nature, which is always nice (and also pretty common, given the number of parks). Just remember that this event is highly dependent on the weather. If it rained on the previous days, well…
- Gasque: I really can’t find the words to describe it. It’s a typical Swedish (student) banquet, with singing in Swedish. Quite often, the food isn’t that good, but it’s still an interesting experience. Oh, did I mention singing (this one from midsommar)? It’s a rather peculiar thing.
- Osqvik is a cabin owned by THS. Nature! BBQ! Sauna! Friends! What more could you possibly ask? You could try and swim in the sea to the other side, but it’s pretty cold even in August. I strongly recommend it! Also, the one on August 10th is the only payable event ☺
- Game night: exactly what it says on the tin. If you like board games, I think it’s a good opportunity to meet people with the same interests.
- City Hall Reception: you really should attend one. Plus, it’s not limited anyway. If you’re already here on the 14th and available, I think you should go to the first one, so the others get a chance at going anyway. Remember that sign up for this event is only through the KTH website (or here).
- Campus Fair and Union Day: that’s a good chance to see what you can do at KTH and in Stockholm in general. It’s not limited, so you really should go.
- Campus Pub crawl: each chapter has its own pub, and normally only chapter members are admitted (“plus one” rule generally applies). Every pub has a special drink, some great, some weird, but all worth trying. And this night, they’re all open! Definitely one of the best events! Make sure you register for this one.
If you have to pay for some events, you can do that on the arrival days, that is August 1st, 21st and 22nd for 2016, or every Monday at KTH entrance from 10 to 14. It’s more convenient to pay cash, but credit card is also accepted.
Here you can find the prices for the Fall 2016 events.