Exchange Year In Sweden

As the end of August is closing in on us many University cities in Sweden will soon be surrounded and populated by students. Those returning to studies, as well as those starting their studies. Sweden has been rated as having one of the best higher education systems in the world, attracting many students worldwide.

Emily Lewis, a British exchange student from Reading, chose Lund University exactly for this reason, the reputation of its higher education system. “Sweden was one of my five choices for my year abroad due to the prestige of Lund University and the seemingly idyllic nature and lifestyle,” says Lewis. Lewis’ exchange offered a full year in Lund, Sweden.

What was your first impression of Lund?

“My first impression was good; Lund came across as very calm and quaint. The atmosphere in September was lovely and welcoming to a foreigner.”

As a foreigner in Lund and Sweden overall, what are your tips for other exchange students in Sweden?

“Go and try new things! I was nervous to go alone to events at first, especially in a new country, but the experience of joining a society in Lund made my exchange experience far better. I met so many like-minded people and it made the transition to a new country much smoother.”

Lewis made most of her time by traveling within Sweden, with other exchange students as well as the Swedes she met. This was a great way of forming bonds and relationships with others, whilst visiting new places and gaining new experiences.

“The trips I went on were unforgettable, particularly to the Swedish Lapland, Stockholm, and Gothenburg. I also cherish the memories of random weekend cycle rides with my friends around the Skåne region. The stunning scenery in Sweden offered so many excellent opportunities for memorable trips!”

Any absolute favorite places you would name for other exchange students to visit?

“That is a tough question as there were so many! I would have to list three. The Stockholm archipelago was incredible, and Dalby Stenbrott was absolutely stunning and a great spot to relax and swim in the summer. Lastly, Skånor beach in Falsterbo had beautiful seawater and included a lovely trip to the location.”

With all your trips and bike rides, what was the most surprising thing you did or saw in Sweden?

“I was in Malmö on a day of strikes. I can’t remember particularly the date, but it was interesting to see labor strikes!”

You have managed to see a lot of Sweden, and have formed friendships with many Swedes, are there any cliches proven to be true or false of them? 

“Having a half Swedish friend at home in England I was aware of some parts of Swedish culture prior to my arrival. I can say that some Swedes are quite reserved until you spend some time with them and then people relax [laughing]! I also noticed the genuine love of the outdoors and fashion sense!”

Considering everything we discussed, would you come back to Sweden other than as an exchange student?

 “Definitely! I loved my experience and have many memories of the year. I hope to travel more of Sweden, as it’s so vast, and reunite with Swedish friends in the future!”

You had great luck in being able to come to Sweden during the pandemic. It has been a challenging time for many around the world, including students, parents, teachers, etc. Did you learn anything about yourself during this time? 

“I did. I learned a lot about how far I can push myself outside my comfort zone. Leaving my home country during a pandemic to live in a foreign place was intimidating and terrifying. I didn’t think I could do it but I persevered and it was certainly worth it. Mind over matter!”

On that note, Lewis’ experience shows many exchange students that if she managed to have the best experience in Sweden during the pandemic, many of you will be able to do so too! We have learned that you should explore, leave your comfort zone, and persevere through the tough times. Mind over matter like Lewis said! Enjoy your time here and make the best of it.

Text av Sarah Tavakol

Publicerad av Viktor Cederholm