Matilda - Stockholm University

B Laws/Business Management
Semester 2, 2018

Academic experience

I studied Human Rights in a Global Perspective and Swedish Law as part of my Law electives. The university system in Sweden is quite different from Australia. As the weighting of the courses at SU varies significantly, I only had to enroll in two law subjects to meet the full-time requirement. I also really liked the fact that the courses were taught consequetively in intensive blocks, meaning that I was able to focus solely on one subject at a time and also fit in quite a bit of travelling. 

I would highly recommend both of these courses to any law students considering studying at SU as they provided a really interesting comparative perspective of legal systems around the world and had great guest lecturers. The assessment is usually a pretty long, 100% final exam but the low contact hours throughout the semester definitely make up for that!

Personal experience

I had been on a previous exchange at CBS in Copenhagen and completely fell in love with Scandinavia. Although I was initially a bit hesitant to go on a second exchange in case it wouldn't compare, I am so glad I made the decision to! Stockholm is such a stunning city and I couldn't recommend it more. I was lucky to meet so many students from all around the world who have become some of my closest friends.

Accommodation

I lived in Lappis (or Lappkärrsberget), which is a massive college right next to the main SU campus. Although it might not be the most modern of the colleges, it is by far the best student accommodation in Stockholm. About 3, 000 both international and Swedish students live at Lappis and there's always something going on! The college is only a 10-minute walk from the campus, metro stop and the uni bars. Despite being pretty close to the city centre, the college is surrounded by beautiful forests and lakes so you get the best of both worlds! Definitely check out the Lappis beach where you can sometimes see the northern lights and the Botanical Gardens (Bergianska trädgården) down the road. If you're not assigned a place at Lappis, students are always sub-letting their rooms on the Facebook page.

Costs

While there's no doubt that Sweden is one of the more expensive exchange options, the prices are actually quite comparable to Australia. Although Stockholm is definitely worth the extra cost, it's also pretty achievable to live on a budget- head to the cheaper supermarkets like Lidl and get a monthly travel card.

Challenge

The biggest challenge was definitely the weather! The winters tend to be pretty long and dark but you'd be surprised at how well you adapt if you're prepared with the right clothing.

Professional Development

Through my university courses, I had the opportunity to visit one of Sweden's leading commercial law firms, the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce and the Swedish Parliament. I was also able to meet quite a few international lawyers with fascinating careers, who provided me witha great insight into the opportunities available for foreign lawyers in Sweden.

Highlight

One of the highlights of my trip was visiting Lappland in far northern Sweden, where I went dog-sledging and ice-swimming. I also visited a traditional Sami village and the famous Ice Hotel and was lucky enough to see the northern lights. I was able to travel to Russia through one of the SU International Committee trips, which I'd highly recommend because it's really difficult to do so independently due to visa restrictions. King's Day in Amsterdam was also a once in a lifetime experience (but book well ahead!). Another highlight was spending a weekend road tripping around Gotland, Sweden's largest island, during summer.

Top tips

- Don't be afraid to apply for a year-long exchange or even a separate second exchange! 
- Definitely try to attend all intro week events and the events organised by the International Committee throughout the semester. 

- It's super easy to gravitate towards students from your own country but try to make an effort to make a diverse group of friends and meet some local students! 

- Stockholm is a really international city and most locals speak fluent English. But if you want to learn a bit of Swedish, SU offers free courses to exchange students. 

- Make sure you stay a few weeks after the semester ends to enjoy the Swedish summer. Stockholm is surrounded by thousands of islands- don't leave without a trip to the archipelago! 

- Stockholm is a super arty city and there are so many great galleries- my favourites were Fotografiska, Moderna Museet and Artipelag. Stockholm metro is also considered the world's longest art exhibition as each station has been commissioned by a different artist so it's worth a tour!