When you hear people reminiscing about their time on exchange you can guarantee that at some point they will refer to it as being the best time of their life. I always thought this was a little extreme, but after only a week of being in Sweden it is already coming close. UTS orientation week has nothing on Jönköping, the student union organise a whole two weeks of crazy activities where the ‘zeros’, or new students, are split up into their faculties and have to complete initiation tasks and fun games! Each faculty has its own coloured overalls which are worn throughout the kick off week and patches can be bought and sewn on for all of the activities you have completed or participated in. Being from the engineering faculty, which we were previously warned had a reputation for the most extreme kick off week activities, we spent the fortnight getting dirty; being forced to jump in the freezing cold lake as this is the only way you are allowed to wash the overalls.
It all started off a bit bizarrely, although looking back it seems completely normal. The first day of orientation was spent with all of the new engineering students standing around in a circle, separated into their programs and us into the International section, chanting and shouting songs at each other until someone eventually won… although I’m still not sure what you had to do to win exactly.
Day 2 was the overall ceremony, it was so much fun. We started off by repeating the chanting competition from the day before, and learning a dance that we had to perform before every activity, whether we were in a park, on the beach or even in the fountain. We all had our overalls on, fresh and clean, before rolling around in the sand, sliding down muddy hills and playing this hilarious game where you had to lie down in a line and roll over the top of each other until the whole queue had made it back to their original position. It’s safe to say we jumped in the lake around 5 times this day to get rid of the mud and grass stains.
My favourite activity of the Kick Off Week was the Donkbränboll tournament. Explaining this in further detail, Donk is a drink the Swedish make using wine and tropical juice, which bränboll is Swedish Baseball. We were all really confused where we turned up to play, but turns out the aim of the game is to hit the ball and then do crazy things to make the judges laugh and impress them. Around 30 seconds in everyone seems to have forgotten about the baseball part of this and it just turns into a crazy mixture of somersaults, leap frog and even people sat in shopping trolleys being lifted up into the air. It was insane.
I have already made so many new friends from all over the world. It has been really nice living at student accommodation because everyone is together and living in the same area which has made it a lot easier to meet up with, and make, new friends on a day to day basis!
I can’t wait for classes to start this week and to see where the rest of exchange takes me!
Jönköping University, Sweden
Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication
My personal blog for my exchange journey: https://katieedriscoll.wordpress.com/