I started my study abroad journey with a booking for a one-way flight to one of the largest cities in Scandinavia – Stockholm, Sweden. I ended up landing in this enormous city in the middle of winter. I was very cold, very jetlagged, knee deep in snow, and with no idea of what would happen for the next six months of my life. I had no Swedish language skills, had never lived so far away from my friends and family, and had never had such a severe craving for Vegemite. I was so nervous to step out of the airport into an entirely different culture. But, it’s the things that make you nervous and excited that are worth doing. So, I ended up relying on my gut feeling that this would be a life changing experience.
Four months into living in the heart of Stockholm I can guarantee that my gut feeling was accurate. Despite all my nerves I jumped in with two feet into an entirely different and amazing way of life. I can now say that I have been dog sledding across Northern Europe, hand fed reindeer in the arctic circle, seen the Northern lights, and grown to love a city that is so far away from everything familiar. I’ve learnt Swedish as a second language, made lifelong friends here that have become my second family, and even found Vegemite.
Sweden is an incredible place to live and I encourage you to choose it for your exchange trip! Not only can you experience life in a winter wonderland (and the wonder that is IKEA), you can also immerse yourself into rich history, food, fashion, and culture. There is always something new to do here and it is guaranteed to be an amazing memory and be uniquely Swedish. Even eating dinner can be an experience as you can dine in a Swedish meatball restaurant in the old town that is older than the United States of America! If you do get sick of eating meatballs, there is also the chance to indulge in many pastries, my personal favourite being semla (a cardamom bun filled with cream), with entire festivals dedicated to certain pastries!
Living on campus also gives an entirely different view of university. It has allowed me to make amazing friendships with those around me, and helped me settle into a completely new and different lifestyle. If you are considering Stockholm for your exchange, I would recommend Lappis housing. It is right next to the university, a forest, and a beach! In winter it is a picturesque wonderland, and in summer it is fully equipped for barbequing with friends! It is a close-knit network of students, so you will never find yourself with nothing to do!
I have never looked back on going on exchange and promise that with anywhere you choose to go you will have the best time of your life! If you are questioning whether to go on exchange, the answer is a definite yes! It has been the most memorable and rewarding experience that I have never looked back on – all I can think about is coming back!
Bachelor of Advanced Science in Immunity and Infection.