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  • Writer's picturerachrachchang

Way Overdue Travel Adventure 🌉 NUS Student Exchange Programme (SEP) 2016

I remembered it was 16 August 2016, it was the day I'm gonna board a flight to somewhere super far from home. I had no idea how to feel and had been worrying ever since I got offered to study at Lund University, Sweden! I don't even know a single Swedish word la, omg!

I couldn't find other pictures, besides these two! I recalled both my sisters sobbing at the airport while I wore my BASIC tee into the gates!


We took 2 flights, connecting at Qatar(?) and it took more than 16 hours to reach Copenhagen Airport! Louise was so dramatic on the plane when she saw me take out the cards and pictures I got from my friends to read, she did the same too and began her whole sobbing party LOL (why you so insecure...)


We met Songle before we took the connecting flight and all I could remember was running for it as there was a delay in landing. Songle and I continued our adventure together from there (eventually without Louise HAHAHA)


We took a train from Copenhagen and safely arrived at our destination, LUND!!!!!


We saw locals doing construction work in Lund and it's so different from Singapore because we have foreign workers doing all the work we don't wanna do! (side note: those construction guys in Lund were smoking hot)


Some Lund City views😍😍😍


We were touring the campus and I took this derpy picture with Lund University in the background heh! (yes, the Basic Tee)


After getting orientated with things, such as our respective accomodations, SIM cards and all, we finally went to our rooms and put down our things and had Pizza!!!!!

At the pizza place, we also met some creepy dude called Björn, he was super helpful but kinda sus too...


I had trouble adjusting and even asked my neighbors at Delphi to extend their wifi to me, just for today but they said they can't?? (I think not feasible). I could only get a wifi router on Day 2 after school, so the first day I got internet access to contact my friends and family by tapping on Louise's wifi, at another block leh!


I shared a common kitchen and living area with my apartment-mates, but we all have our own rooms and washroom, I loved that very much!!!! (I can shower and come out comfortably, given my apartment-mates are all males...)


FURNITURE THINGS

I recalled having to fix the shower curtains, which took me forever to get it up!!!


The first weekend at Lund, the school had an event to bring new students to explore and we paid $50 SGD for this Zoo trip! It was fun meeting fellow exchange mates, instead of always being with Louise and the biggest takeaway from this, IS MEETING SUZANNE!!!!!

I think she wanted to take pictures with a pretty horse but then worried that people may judge her, and I said "just do it" so we started talking from this Zoo trip onwards!


Both me and the goat (??) not having a good time interacting, LOL

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One of our free days, we traveled to Malmö for their IKEA!!!!! How could we not visit when we are finally in the country that made IKEA (Side note: I still can't stand Singaporeans pronouncing IKEA wrongly)

(Instagram vs reality, haha look at my HUH expression!!!!)


My room was awfully empty and I didn't have curtains to block out the morning sun, so I guess it was time for some shopping??? I finally got my curtains, with some DIY skills!!!!!

(and grabbed some flowers from the garden downstairs)


Not forgetting to feature my Iranian Carpet, and chilling with Suz on it!


Hehe, extending our Carpet adventures!!!!

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It was also common to join Nations in Universities!!! But most of the time, I just joined my peers to chill at Pubs (I did not take part in any sporty activities tho, what a waste for Louise to bring her 2 floorball sticks so that I can play too HAHAHA). I only found this picture of me and Songle returning from a Nation event in the middle of the night???

We went for the drinking ones before, but maybe we were too early, it was boring...


Okay, the only sporty thing I did at Lund was rock climbing with Suzanne and that's all for sports hahaha

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In August/September, it's their Summer! But we were all covered up in this weather. Before the weather gets any cooler, we decided to visit Helsingborg!!!


DAY TRIP TO HELSINGBORG (with Songle + Yaufei)


Loving all the blue 💙

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DAY TRIP TO YSTAD (with Suz)


YSTAD is so beautiful but I failed to capture its vibrant colours!! (only some pictures of me trying to wing the holiday vibes)


Now, I think it is appropriate for me to insert the proof that I actually went to my Neurobiology Master's class!! I studied okay, it wasn't easy and took me considerable time to warm up to Locusts, cut out their exoskeleton chest plate and hook their nerves up for our experiments!!!!


Louise and I also took a selfie with this giant toy cockroach on our first few weeks of class! SHOOK HOR

I remembered the walk to class was about 20 minutes and there was once I was too tired to get up in the morning and completely missed the entire lesson! I recalled rushing in when the class ended LOL, A FOR EFFORT at least??


The hardest thing about school was getting around the campus and SWEDISH CLASS!!!! The 2 things I learned were "HEJ HEJ" to say hello and "Vad Heter Du" which I just googled - it means "What is your name"?

During one of our compulsory Swedish lessons, I sat beside a German student who thought Singapore is part of India and I was speechless, how do I explain where Singapore is???

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MY COOKING ADVENTURES! I always made extra so I could pack it for my lunch if I had a whole day lab session the next day! Cooking really helps to save $$$$!!!!


I loved using the oven and got a huge burn scar on my left index finger, but no ragrats because my pulled pork oven-baked pasta tasted so good!!!! We also got dine out occasionally when we are feeling rich, or too lazy to cook? I love getting Pizza take-outs, haha 1 pizza = 2 meals!


One of my favourite drinks in Sweden is their chocolate milk (can't remember the brand name) but I also liked the chocolate milk Malaysian makes with MARABOU CHOCOLATES!!!


Some common snacks I have in my room:

(the frozen yogurt is great, especially when it's cold outside!!!!)


📍LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM

This was our very first holiday trip during our exchange days and we were so excited!!!! I remembered how we wanted to save money, we got ourselves cheap tickets (arrive at odd timings and landed at a not-so-accessible air terminal) and stayed at a cheap hostel.


When we arrived at the immigration, I recalled showing Suz my UK flag-printed socks. I was excited about being in the UK!


In 2021, I asked Suz if she remembers how we have the 2nd picture, and we both just can't recall.

Our recollection of events: we landed at an airport away from the city and needed to take a bus but the flight arrival time was in the middle of the night and our bus time is probably at 5-ish or 6 am in the morning.


I was writing my lab report regarding some insects' anatomy/nervous system thingy here at Starbucks (the life of a university student then!!!!)


We were also very sleep-deprived during this trip, but it was worth it!

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I remembered our first adventure in the UK, we met up with Mary and Grace who were there for their dentistry exchange (of only 3 weeks)! We didn't manage to have a meal together but went to get Starbucks instead for a nice catch-up! The sky was all blue yet grey and we were just elated to be traveling!


PRETTY PICTURES:


We did a lot of TOURISTY THINGS!!!!!! The first photo below, my caption on Instagram: yes yes, who do you want me to kill?

We also went to Platform 9 3/4 at King Cross Station - GOALS!!!!!


I was getting coffee everywhere with occasional stops for ice cream and whatnot. We tried Lobsters and Burgers before they were a thing in Singapore and it was lit bruh! I really like the steak from Flat Iron, and the fried fish with a lot of bones that we bought on the streets! (did we throw the fishbones on the street? HAHA)

We also met Songle + Malaysian to eat nice food!!! I remembered the Chinese food from this restaurant recommended by Malaysian was so delicious!! We were laughing and enjoying ourselves so much!!!


Songle stayed at the same hostel as us! Malaysian went to stay at his friend's place to save money haha


Hostel horror: the toilets were located on Level 1 so we had to move from our rooms to go downstairs to use the washroom. I had no slippers on that trip so had to borrow Songle's! Our room is filled with many bunk beds, probably 20++ people in a room. I also saw a lady remove all her clothes as she changed into a fresh set, it was a culture shock!!!!!

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Suz is the best because even tho I have 2 groups of friends to meet during this trip, she was totally fine with the company! She sort of knew Mary and Grace but not Jeffrey!!!!


He suggested going for some nice French food and I remembered loving every single course. He also kept adding food to my plate + Suz's! I had to go to the washroom during dinner and when I came back, both of my friends were so excited to tell me something funny they talked about earlier!


Jeff: you and Rachel know each other very long already?

Suz: errr maybe about a month's time

Jeff: y'all know each other awhile only, then go travel together?

Suz: why ah? you scared something happen to her ah (sounded like don't trust Suz)

Jeff: haha, I am more worried for you


WAH THANKS MAN BRO

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We also went to Primark and it was life-changing! They have so many things at affordable prices, thank god I brought my smaller luggage on this trip so everything could fit back in (this was also the last time during the exchange I traveled with my luggage)


Think I also slept at Primark couches because I was too exhausted, hope no one saw that!


Ending this trip with loots + favourite selfie in UK!

In 2021, my dad revamped and fixed my UK watch that broke in 2018 (?) so now I am feeling london-ny again!!!!


Presenting my favourite pictures with Suz from our UK adventure!😘


📍BRUSSELS, BELGIUM

I remember how Suz and I lied about our e-check in time so that we don't have to sit with Louise on our flight to Belgium! Not sure how we decided to go on this trip together because she is one insecure kid with a lot of issues, she always likes to paggro people into doing what she did, just so she feels good about herself LOL (remembers all her couch surfing stories). I remember how she was always clinging onto me yet behind my back, she does other shits... In conclusion, we didn't like her.


Suz and I had a good time on our flight there HAHAHA, no ragrats for sinning!


IT'S SO PRETTY!!!! especially the first picture featuring a stretch of buildings. We bought chocolates from across the street, it was so good! We also bought things from Godiva!


FOODIE PHOTOS!!!!


As ladies, we got free beer! I WAS SO HAPPY (LADIES PRIVELLEGES)! The mussels dish was lit too!!!!!

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We traveled to SPA for skydiving, but ultimately it would depend on the weather on that day! Fortunately, the weather god was on our side so we could SKYDIVE!!!!!


After we went thru all the training and got changed, preparation completed!


Our respective instructors started taking videos of us boarding the flight until we land safely on the ground. The view was so breathtaking but my ears hurt as a result of the free fall.


My parents weren't very happy hearing that I went skydiving! BUT I ONLY GOT ONE LIFE!!!!!! (and more importantly, I came back alive)

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Personal favourites from Brussels:

I also realised how much I needed to re-dye my hair from the last photograph!

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We were scheduled to take an overnight bus that leaves at 2 or 3 am to Paris, we got to the bus terminal way ahead to hobo. We saw dogs and some strange hobo was hovering near us booo



📍PARIS, FRANCE

(Okay we still don't like Louise, she still got on our nerves and she couldn't stand being alone for a bit...)


MY FAVOURITES ❤️


More touristy things!!!!!

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We went to a famous restaurant, I remember it's very small and packed! I enjoyed being in the restaurant, reminds me of the place in the Ratatouille movie! We had Foie Gras and Escargot woohoo

(the staff accidentally spilled some sauce on my coat...)


Louise insisted on getting macarons from Laduree! We actually thought any dessert shop will do it good man. We got the desserts and went to chill in the park, it has never been this relaxing!


EIFFEL TOWER THINGS

At night, we sat on the grass patch across the tower and drank beer while looking at the iconic City of Love! This is a feeling I will never forget!


Malaysian brought the whole class down by telling us Eiffel Tower and the Mona Lisa painting at Louvre is the same. They look the same in real life as compared to looking at photos. He told us not to waste time hahaha


Being in Paris, makes me want a lover!

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The French are so rude!!!! When we asked questions, they always answered us in French and how would we understand that. I also remembered at the airport, the security dude was racist and against me even though I clearly understood his English. He just kept saying under his breath: stupid.


I couldn't scold him back, like how Rachel would because I needed to board that flight!

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I have always loved horror movies or the horror element of such festivals but it's quite scary to be partying on HALLOWEEN in an English country la!!!! So here are my very chill Halloween inserts of 2016:

(To my first pumpkin carving hehe)


📍PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

It was my very first solo traveling trip and first stop - Prague!

I recalled feeling all scared on my own and not knowing what to do, like where to go for good food, etc etc.


First night in Prague, I had KFC which I felt was a waste when I should be enjoying their delicacies. I remembered telling Songle that I felt out of place and dreaded the rest of my trip (on day 1). With her encouragement + the spirit for adventure, LEGGO!


I told Jia Le where I was throughout my trip and promised not to drink, since I was alone on this trip.

However, one of the street stalls was selling honey wine and we don't really see honey wine anywhere so I got one cup and started walking around at night! Thankfully the hostel I am staying at is nearby all the tourist attractions so yay! SAFE AND SOUND!


I was very lucky to meet a bunch of nice roommates at the hostel, they are friendly and lend me their things. I got to be friends with a Taiwanese who was then working in Switzerland and came to Prague to tour. We are still friends on FB now and she's the sweetest. I think she took this picture for me:


I also heard from someone at the hostel about this gorgeous city in Austria - Hallstatt that she visited (too late for me to make plans now, but that's on my bucket list).


I met up with Nithya's friend, another Rachel haha for the free walking tour on the second day! It wasn't very hard to spot an Asian going for the walking tour and we enjoyed each other's company. We also went for dinner together that evening.


TOURISTY THINGS!!!!

(Street musician picture caption: Imagine all the people, living life in peace~)


I am super in love with the views from and of the Charles Bridge!!!