Meet Gustav Hansson, a university student in environmental science at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. He loves meeting travelers from various countries and is excited to host Trippers. Though he has yet to venture outside of Europe, he dreams of traveling the world. Please enjoy our interview with Gustav, this week’s Tripper of the Week!
Gothenburg was founded around 400 years ago – actually on swamp-like terrain. You may have heard of the city referred to as “little London;’ I find the term ridiculous since the difference between the two cities is enormous. Still, I love Gothenburg, especially the people here. It’s the second largest city in Sweden, so that’s about 500,000 people.
Another thing you may have heard is that Ace of Base is from Gothenburg. What you probably don’t know is that it’s the hip-hop capital of the country. Personally, my favorite music is Rainbow and The Rolling Stones.
My life here? I study at Gothenburg University. My university has about 37,000 students and is the largest university in Scandinavia. I study the effects on the environment from human activity. My current education, in environmental science, is unique in Sweden, and I am very glad to be studying here. If I did not study here, I would not have the opportunity to change my environment so soon. Yet I also want to Ieave. It reminds me of immigration theory, where one distinguishes between push and pull factors. Push factors are the one in the country where you live, that you would leave behind. Pull factors are those in another country that attract you. I actually experience the more I travel, the more tempting the “pull” factors get. It’s like the common saying that once you’ve moved once, it’s easier to move again. Planet Earth feels smaller and smaller every year.
What attracted you to join Tripping?
When I moved to Gothenburg, first day of the university 30 months ago, I had nowhere to live. I checked in at a youth hostel and met people from Australia, Peru, Japan, Madagascar and many other countries. I liked it, but I eventually wanted my own place. I moved to a villa with a calm environment and great location. But the landlord,who seemed polite and gentlemanly at the beginning, entered my and my neighbors’ apartments without permission and stole food from us. We banned together and rigged a camera which would be triggered when someone opened the cooler. WHAM! We caught him. The Police got involved and everything worked out at the tenants’ advantage.
Although it was not a pleasant experience, I enjoyed the banding together with others, the camaraderie. Now I live in a magnificent student complex with 1,000 students, swimming pool, sauna and my own kitchen, all which I hope that guests appreciate. Tripping makes my longing for meeting people from all around the world persist. In addition it makes it possible for me to experience other cultures and places even though I stay at home.
If you could be a guest anywhere, where would it be?
It would be at my sister’s place. She’s currently travelling around the world and I’d love to share the excitement with her. Otherwise than that I haven’t been outside Europe yet so I have a lot of places to mark off. Highly prioritized places are Rio de Janeiro (physicists have determined that this is the place with the most deep blue sky in the world), Serengeti national park in Tanzania (to watch the world’s largest mammal migration) and the exotic nature in New Zealand and Australia. Rest assured I will visit them. I really hope this mammal migration will survive Tanzania’s government’s highway proposal through the park.
You’ve hosted travelers in the past. Where were they from?
I’ve hosted about a dozen people in the past. They were from Brazil, Belarus, France and a few other countries and very enjoyable guests, all of them.
What do you enjoy most about hosting travelers?
The knowledge they teach me. I eager to learn more about the world I live in. I attempt to assimilate facts and knowing about everything. As an individual I develop in many ways when I converse with other people – especially people with a significantly different culture and way of living than me.
What aspects of life in your city are you most excited about sharing with guests?
Gothenburg has a history of having a powerful and large harbour operation. The city itself is versatile and beautiful. Frisbee golf in the city’s main park, Slottsskogen, is very fun. Most museums in Gothenburg are free if you are below 25 and most of them are very good. If you’re not – don’t worry, it’s still very cheap.
Also, there are a couple of events I would love to share. For example, the annual “Göteborgsvarvet” is huge and really fun. It was the world’s largest half marathon as of 2009 with more than 40,000 runners and hundreds of tousands of people in the audience if you can imagine. The sensation is incredible whether you run it or participate in the audience! Personally, my absolutely best moment that day was when I ate a grape-sugar pistil when I was running the race. This year it will be held May 21.
Another event is the Chalmers Cortège, which is a deep-roted Gothenburg tradition of a carnival parade held each year in April 30. About 500 students (from the Chalmers University of Technology) ride in a procession through the city centre on carriages that satirize events that have occurred over the last year. A big crowd gathers – about 250,000 people.
Do you have any general tips for anyone traveling to southern Sweden?
Speak with the locals. Ask them for advice you in your travelling, but more important,converse with them about thought provoking subjects and about controversial things like religion and world conflicts. Be clever and imaginative! Socrates often walked the streets of Athens and talked philosophy about the people he met. And don’t worry about having to empty a cup of poison.
Gustav would cleary be a wonderful host! Get to know a bit more about him by checking out his profile. Should you pass through Gothenburg, be sure to look him up. Lycklig resa!