Listening to the Pulp Fiction soundtrack right now. John Travolta and Sam L. are discussing the metric system and how it relates to hamburgers. I'll have to make it a point to check out a McDonald's and see if they really do call it a 'Royale w/ Cheese.'
Unique to university life Sweden, and Uppsala specifically, are the student unions, otherwise known as 'nations.' Started as long ago as the 1400's (which is simply mind-boggling to me, considering the US as a nation is only half that old), these 'nations' represent 13 different regions in Sweden, kind of like our 'states.' There's Kalmar Nation (south of Sweden), Upplands Nation (where we are now), Stockholm Nation, Goteburg Nation, etc. In their original form, wherever you hailed from was the nation you belonged to. Nowadays, students can belong to any nation they choose, but they still maintain the regional names.
The genius of these nations are the benefits to the students. They all include a pub, restaurant, library, computer lab, etc. All the things student's inevitably can't live without. And they occupy the most unique, oldest buildings in town; after all, Uppsala was originally founded as a university town, the rest of the city springing up around it.
Nightly, each nation offers different promotions at the pubs. And these are real pubs, not some makeshift bar in the basement of an old building. Upplands Nation, where we went last night, has like 50 beers on hand, including several microbrews from the US like Victory, Brooklyn Brewery and Anchor Steam. Regardless of when you attend, prices are ridiculously cheap - 37 Swedish Crowns for a pint of draft Guiness, which is about $3. The nations give the students 13 additional, cheaper options for nightlife, and only let in students. I had to get a temp. student ID, and luckily my PSU ID never expired. Last weekend we saw a major Swedish band in another nation for like $10 per person, in a unique, intimate venue. It seems like such a no-brainer...how come all university's don't have these.
And they're decidedly anti-fraternity. Trust me, I wouldn't be caught dead in one if they were anything remotely like a frat house, and that is simply not the case. But it's a cool alternative to the expensive 'real' bars in town.