Idiot's Guide

idiot's guide to visiting goteborg university

posted Aug 16, 2014, 2:55 AM by Subhrendu Pattanayak   [ updated Aug 16, 2014, 6:18 AM ]

#1. Don't wait till you are flying to ask your hosts if you need a visa or work permit. This is especially idiotic behavior if (A) you have been a world traveler who has applied for or learnt ways around visas in some of the most obscure parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America, with dodgy or absent governments, (B) you suspect your host is a bit absent minded, or (C) both! What were you thinking (or not!)?

#2. Remember there is a nummer for everything and anything. Some coffee shops will not give you your favorite espresso drink without an espresso nummer. To ask what the nummer is for, you likely have to grab a nummer as you enter the premises and wait your turn to ask why you needed the nummer in the first place. Joseph Heller would have been proud, and remember to take a nummer to exit. Ultimately, the most critical nummer is somekindofnummer or sangfroidnummer or something like that.

#3. If you have a child who needs to attend the local schools, be ready to fill out forms galore with back up documentation (eventually you will enter the world of "nummers" - nummer this, nummer that - more below). This is especially true if you were the idiot who did not sort out work permits and stuff, without which the "social democratic' state cannot subsidize your child's education or healthcare, ice cream socials, tram cards (see below) and other essentials. Or you can disown your child before boarding your flight.

#4. Check if your phone is smart, and unlocked. If not, make it smart and unlock it. Everything useful will be on your phone, and so the sooner you can get your micro-sim swapped out and loaded with the newest pre/post paid carrier (Comviq etc).

#5. Figure out the tram system: routes, cards, etc. Presumably the pay-as-you-go card will work best, but if you are concentrating your travels in short bursts, other options such as 5 trips for XX SEK might be more effective. In the end you will need the vasttrafik app to make appointments and get some semblance of control in your life. So #5 goes hand in hand with #4.

#6. Confirm if your credit card is on the chip&pin system. If not, contemplate suicide for a minute, but don't jump yet. Every third retailer will still swipe your card and process the sale, if and only if you have some kind of valid ID (driver's license seem to work). The trick is you don't know who will and who won't accept your dodgy card. Keeps you on your toes.

#7. Contemplate life without printed documents - go electronic. Finding and connecting to printer that will deliver documents to you the way you like it can use up most of your sabbatical if you are not paying attention.

#8. If you are a movie or video buff, addicted to one-click Amazon Instant Video or iTunes stores, then either (A) plan ahead - increase your device's memory and buy and download like there is no tomorrow, or (B) practice abstinence.

#9. Unlike say eager-beaver 'Merkuns, Swedes in the stereotypical European mode, are always taking time off. This is especially over the summer (if you are an idiot enough to arrive then), on Fridays, and often during the middle of the week - say Tue at 11AM. Get familiar with signs saying "stängd" and random assortments of adults drinking a beer or smoking a cigar at a sidewalk cafe. And if you are a chief idiot, traveling the back waters say in the far north, stängd is more the norm than the exception.

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