Jasmine - University of Gothenburg

B Economics/ B Commerce
Semester 2, 2012

Academic experience

Being in my final year of an Economics/Commerce degree I had the flexibility of taking both third year economics courses and elective courses such as Modern Scandinavian Economic History, International Business and Applied Economics and The East and Central European Experience. I chose not to take the Swedish language course, as the schedule didn’t work for me and I found that the level of English in Sweden is just on par with back in Australia. Learning Swedish would be beneficial but it is certainly not crucial. Enrolling in courses was fairly easy and there was a huge array of English courses to choose from. Often the courses are targeted at exchange students so the professors can be quite lenient when it comes to attendance, provided you complete the required workload.

Personal experience

My exchange to University of Gothenburg was absolutely incredible. I was fortunate enough to spend my final semester on exchange here and I couldn’t have opted for a better way to end my university days. Gothenburg city is located smack back in the heart of Scandinavia – equal distances from each of the Scandinavian capital cities Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen, which makes it a perfect location for travelling and experiencing the beauty that is Scandinavia.

Gothenburg is a beautiful city; the perfect size to feel nice and comfortable and yet still caters for all of your needs. It has a great nightlife scene, wonderful restaurants and shopping, as well as many green parks and of course the famous theme park Liseberg (which is just awesome!). The people are incredibly friendly, the tram network is extensive and easy to navigate, and it is a very liveable city (and a little more relaxed than its big brother Stockholm).

The local student union runs several events for incoming exchange students to get to know each other, experience Swedish culture, or go on trips. I was fortunate enough to go on an incredible trip to Lapland, as well as to Estonia, Finland & Russia. There were several big parties organised in clubs, which were organised especially for exchange students.

Accommodation

I was lucky to be allocated a room in one of the student dormitories called Helmutsrogatan. It was the most expensive of the dorms but I must admit it was definitely worth it. The accommodation was fantastic – I had my own studio apartment with bathroom and a kitchenette, and was located only 10 minutes to Uni on a tram, or half an hour walk. The building accommodated about 80 exchange students, with the majority of exchange students a 5-minute walk away in a separate dorm. It was the perfect compromise between having your own space and privacy, and having plenty of students right in your hallway.

Budget 

Perhaps the one downside of Sweden is the living expense – close to that of Australia. However, I didn’t find this much of an issue and would still readily recommend studying there.

I cannot reiterate how fantastic and enjoyable my exchange was – definitely go for it! Don’t let money be your issue because there’s plenty of support available including UQ scholarships, OS-Loans and Centrelink assistance. Just make it happen!

Professional development and employability

I truly believe travelling and experiencing new things and friendships is the best way to bring out the best in your self and learn tolerance, confidence and an open sense of mind. I recommend an exchange to anyone and everyone – you can only benefit from this experience and have one of the best times of your life.

Highlights 

The five months I spent in Gothenburg afforded me the opportunity to travel very regularly and most importantly mix with other nationalities, trial new foods and drinks, hear a diversity of languages and form some fantastic friendships. I have come away from Sweden feeling like a part of me has been left there, whilst taking away a pile of hugely fond memories that make me smile when I think of them.

Top Tips

  • Definitely see as much of Sweden and Scandinavia as you can. I highly recommend Lapland as well as catching the train from Oslo to Bergen (Norway) – one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world.
  • Use the travel company Scanbalt to find awesome student trips in the Scandinavia/Baltic states – I did an awesome Lapland and Russia trip through them
  • Opt to be considered for student accommodation as there is a major shortage of accommodation in Gothenburg and it took many students weeks to find permanent accommodation
  • Enjoy Wednesday night student nights at the student uni bar, followed by a session at Yaki Da night club, which makes the most incredible Coffee Karlsson cocktails in the world!
  • Book Ryanair flights out of Gothenburg City airport – I got a flight to Budapest for €10!