Thought of the Week: The Humanisten-Maze

2010-11-14. Published in Life in Gothenburg
by Nina

So my classes in Free-Mover Swedish started this week (well, technically they started like, three weeks ago) from 17.15 to 20.00, on Thursdays. The whole process to even get in to one of these courses, in a way, was a bit slower than I expected, but hopefully now things can get going. But anyway. thanks to passing the filter test, every Thursday evening I am now in the arduous position to FIND the location of this three-hour class, which happens to change every week. Which brings me to my blog today on what happens to a non-Swedish-speaking International student late to her evening class at Humanisten...

Granted, I got up late to class on Thursday. I was still suffering jetlag (went on a trip recently--yay) and so I was sleeping some of it off when my roommate knocked on the door and told me I slept through my alarm. I had twenty minutes to get from Prinsgatan to Humanisten.

After gulping down a banana (a dinner option that seems to be the trend with these evening classes, am I right?), I ran to the stop only to watch Tram 6 glide past. Ten minute wait for the next one. Growling, I put on Dolly Parton on my iPod and tried to shut up about it. BUT, another reason why Göteborg's trams are fantastic---gotta love those GPS monitors...

I finally get on the tram. Watch people shuffle on, nudge past, fumble for tram cards; we go extremely slowly. I dart off at Korsvagen, and start sprinting the stairs up toward the library since I am now ten minutes late. My first mistake of the night: I think Humanisten is really the Humanities building. I spend ten minutes fighting with my student access card to first get into the building, only to be told by a Swedish student that I'm in the wrong building. I asked him where H420 was: he said no idea. Strike 1.

I run up to the actual Humanisten. The map (grr) does not show where Section H is. Strike 2. I run through the cafeteria, desperately asking people (first, if they mind speaking in English) where my room is. All 7 people said they had no idea. I decide that I'm going to start wandering (and by wandering, I meant fast-paced anxious walking) and see if I can find it. Eventually, I found my lecture---in H421.

I'm telling you, it's the most stupid feeling ever, to be rushing to a class that's supposed to help you read the Swedish signs and be actually delayed from finding it because you can't read them! Humanisten is officially on my hit list: this building is ridiculously hard to navigate. And I asked a grand total of 10 different students--even one person in the library--no one knew where this classroom was. It also seems to be a trend that the class locations and times within this university never seem to overlap with what you're emailed. Just a thought; it's probably not like this for all classes...

Anyway, by the time I finally joined Free-Mover Swedish, I was 40 minutes late and missed the whole section on how to distinguish between -en and -et words (ack, soo0 important!). As I sat listening to the teacher and eating carrot muffin (dinner), I thought to myself: "oh man, I wonder where next week's class is..."