We were thinking about defining our stay here in Borlänge with a single word – but it is arduous. In fact, even a handful of books full of words could not describe all the adventures and experiences that we have passed through the last couple of months.
Coming from a crowded city with a population of 20 million to Borlänge, with population of 50,000, was the first change which we noticed here. One can relate the vast change with the fact that the local trains in my city, Mumbai ferries more than half of the population of Sweden every day.
Dalarna University tells prospective students that the concept of closeness, close contact between students and teachers, and all kinds of adventures, is a unique and defining characteristic of the university. Now that we are students here we realize these aren’t just words.
Here are the top five things we have learned so far studying in Dalarna.
1. Small town = friendly people
The local people living here are always helpful. Once we visited a geological museum which is filled with stones from all over the world, from rocks to minerals, precious stones to fossils dating back to more than 2 billion years. We were asked to pay the entrance fees of 30 SEK per person and unfortunately no one amongst us was carrying money or cards. After hearing our situation, the staff at the museum not only allowed us to enter the museum for free but also guided us with all the precious information. This is an important take-away for us: the people residing here are true assets of Borlänge.
2. Small classrooms = personal attention
It was our first experience in the smaller class of only 35 students coming from 20 different countries. Dalarna University isn’t more international than other Swedish universities, but being such a small university, it is perhaps easier to meet and interact with people from many different nationalities, even if they are not a part of your programme.
Teachers at DU are very accommodating, with profound knowledge and experience. Everyone gaining the special personal attention and guidance of the professors is the biggest advantage of having smaller classrooms with a fewer number of students.
3. Outdoor adventure is always just a step away
Borlänge is a tiny city compared to Stockholm or Gothenburg, yet it is great place to live. Since this a smaller city, you have fewer places to hang out, and taking advantage of this, we often have dinners with our friends and learn about different traditional foods.
Besides the divine experience in the nature, there are lots of other things which one can enjoy while residing here. Even in the field of adventure, the idea of closeness is paramount. One can find the best location for sledding at a walkable distance, and the nearest ski resort is only 15 minutes away by car.
Despite being a smaller city, Borlänge has almost all the brand stores. The IKEA in Borlänge is the most centrally-located IKEA in the world. Nowhere else in Sweden for sure you are able to walk to IKEA from the town center in just a few minutes.
Living in Borlänge is also good in terms of transportation: you can go everywhere on foot. We visited several small villages that are located not so far from the city, and while going there we enjoyed the spectacular views that this country offers. Borlänge is a perfect example of the countryside life in Sweden, and one can experience the tranquility of nothingness in the mystical forests of Borlänge.
4. Surviving the winter
Speaking of the weather, well yes it has been a huge change since this has been the longest winter for most of us and it’s actually not over yet. It made us realize that seasonal depression does exist, and the best way to overcome this is to hang out and enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Dalarna. When everything is covered in snow it looks bright, even though the days are shorter during this season. A couple of days ago, we experienced a very strange and rare natural phenomenon of freezing rains – rain made entirely of liquid droplets falling down even with surface temperature below freezing.
We were lucky on a few instances in chasing the northern lights. This city offers unbelievably charming sunsets and sunrises, where the sky turns into a crayon box from pink and purple to red and orange.
5. Life in a small town
Again, Borlänge is a small town, but it offers all the facilities and infrastructure for perfect living. There are lots of things one can do in Borlänge. In addition to several clubs and bars, one can enjoy skiing, ice skating on frozen lakes, cricket, badminton, floorball, football, bowling, swimming, hockey, golf and fishing.
Sweden now seems incomplete without its Dala horse symbol – a bright red colored wooden horse painted with green, white, blue and yellow ornaments. This iconic reminder of Sweden originated here in Dalarna.
Two things which we are looking forward to experiencing in Borlänge are Midsummer and the Peace & Love Festival, which originated here.
Studying in Borlänge is indeed an interesting comprehensive experience and rewarding adventure for us. For anyone sitting on the fence and wondering whether to join Dalarna University, the only advice we can really give them is to go for it and you won't regret it.