Purchasing cigarettes, razors etc
Often in supermarkets you will find little cards by the checkout with pictures on, if you wish to purchase cigarettes etc then take one of these cards to a cashier and then when you have paid you put in in a machine after the checkouts and your product will be dispensed for you. Just be warned you might also be asked for ID when buying these items, no matter how old you are if you cannot produce it they cannot sell you the items.
The seasons can be extreme in Umeå, -30 in the winter and +30 in the summer but to my mind that is best of both worlds! You will find during the winter it is dark for most of the day, some days only getting a few hours proper daylight if at all. In the summer it never really gets properly dark to make up for this. I would recommend a good Iron vitamin to get you through the winter months and definitely a good sun screen to see you through summer!
You will usually find most shops are shut for the following holidays, also Swedes tend to celebrate the EVE of things rather than the event themselves, I think in some cases that is so you get a hangover on your day off not on a work day! Unlike in the UK the Red Days or Bank Holidays are specific dates, not the nearest monday - if it happens to fall on a weekend day, tough luck!
This was a mystery to me for quite a while. People have tubs and pop things in their mouths, then out again and when they smile they sometimes look like they have extra teeth growing on their gum?!
This is called SNUS or snuff and is basically tobacco. It comes in little pouches or loose and you place it under your upper lip for a period of time, then you get rid of it. It is only availbale to buy in Scandinavian countries although apparently a variation has been released in America. It is often used to help people to stop using cigarettes to get a nicotine fix.
Vårdcentral - Health Centre/Doctors When taking a trip to the doctor be aware it is likely to cost you 100 swedish kronor, assuming you have your personal number.
Akutmottagning - Emergency Room This is found at the city hospital and caters for all types of emergency. If you are from a European country and do not have a Swedish personal number yet you will need to show your European Medical Card that you should have with you when you travel within Europe. Also take your passport just in case. A trip to the ER will cost you 300 Swedish kronor, additional x-rays etc might cost you another 100 or so. The hospital in Umeå is a teaching hospital so extremely well equipped and generally very helpful.
Cash? - Everywhere, including most parking machines and taxis in Umeå takes cards showing the VISA sign. You can no longer use cash on the buses so you need to swipe a card or get a bus pass. Sometimes when paying with cash in supermarkets your small change (coins) will be spat out of a machine on the checkout counter.
Schools - The Swedish schooling system is very different to that in the UK and it is very hard to draw comparisons for qualifications etc. If you are confused by the Swedish schooling system then check out my article to try and clear things up!