Laura's Exchange in Gothenburg, Sweden June 25th, 2017
For all students, the study abroad is probably the most exciting part of your studies. Going to an amazing location to experience all the different cultures of this country is an experience of a lifetime. For me, this amazing location was Gothenburg in Sweden; the city of Volvo, the Frölunda Indians ice hockey team, and the fish church. The first thing people always say when I tell them that I went to Sweden is that it probably was extremely cold there, which is true for most of Sweden, but not for Gothenburg. It is located at the west coast and in the south of Sweden, giving it a climate quite similar to Maastricht. But enough about the weather.
Gothenburg is the second largest city of Sweden, but even though it is big, I felt at home from the first day I arrived. On that first day, I was picked up from the airport by this amazing pick-up service that the university provided. They had busses going to different campus-like housing facilities, dropping you off wherever you got your room. I decided to get a room via the university, because it is very difficult to find a room on your own, since there is a huge housing shortage throughout Sweden. Plus, the campus where I stayed was only a few tram stops away from the university and the city center, and had a lot of facilities like ping pong tables, barbeque spots, a gym and a sauna.
The university was located in the middle of the city. It was a modern building right in the middle of the historic center. The courses I took were Mathematics, Portfolio Investments, Corporate Valuation, and The Swedish Model and Equality (being an exchange course). The quality of the courses were all great, and the teachers had a true passion in what they were teaching. At the university, there was also a student union called IntU, that was responsible for taking care of the exchange students. They had many activities planned for the exchange students, with one of my favorites being the scavenger hunt to get to know the city. Also, every Wednesday the pub at the university was open, so all exchange students came together then to party the night away (and drink cheap beers)!
The city itself is a very beautiful city, and there are many things to do. For example, there is Scandinavia’s largest theme park Liseberg only 5 minutes away from the center. Also, many small islands are scattered right in front of the coast, called the archipelago. It is perfect to go there for a nice hike in nature, or a swim in the sea (in summer). There is also a huge park which is perfect for a picnic, barbeque, or a run. It even has a small zoo where you can pet a moose. There are also many activities that you can do, like go to an ice-hockey game, or go out to eat with friends.
The reason why I chose to go to Sweden was because I’ve never been to Scandinavia before and I wanted to experience the culture there. The swedes are actually quite shy in the beginning. It can take a lot of effort from your side to truly get them out of their shells. But when they do, they are suddenly very open, enthusiastic people. Also, Swedes are more relaxed than Dutch people. They take half-hour “Fika” breaks three times a day which basically entails drinking coffee and eating a cinnamon bun. Life is very tough in Sweden.
The highlights of my exchange however, were all the trips that I did during my exchange. Gothenburg has the perfect location to travel throughout Scandinavia and to visit all the capital cities of the surrounding countries. It takes 3 hours by bus to go to Oslo, 3 hours by bus to go to Copenhagen, and 3 hours by train to get to Stockholm. Gothenburg also has its own airport, making it really easy to travel anywhere else around Europe. The trips that I did were going on a road trip to the middle of Sweden, going to Lapland, doing a boat trip visiting Tallinn, Saint Petersburg and Helsinki, and going on a city trip to Stockholm and Oslo. All these trips were absolutely amazing, and each city had so much to offer. One experience that I will never forget is going on a husky sled tour, while seeing the Northern Lights. That is a phenomenon that I have never seen, and nothing can ever compare.
All in all my exchange experience was a great one. I have been able to explore parts of the world that I have never seen before, and meet amazing new people. I can definitely recommend anyone to go to Gothenburg in Sweden.