I’m sitting here doing something I never imagined would become a reality for me. Writing a blog post from my student accommodation in Jönköping, Sweden. Pretty much the complete opposite side of the world from home. It’s only been three weeks, and I can honestly say it’s been one of the best experiences of my life. When you consider going on exchange, you spend hours researching and comparing different cities and cultures to try and find what you’re looking for. In the months leading up to my time abroad, I began to wonder if the small city of Jönköping really was the right choice. But you know what? I couldn’t have picked anywhere better.
You can probably see the whole city of Jönköping in a day or so, and then you’re left wondering what you do for the next 5 months. But luckily Jönköping University is an institution which prides itself on providing the best student experience for all who study there. It all begins with the Kick Off. A week and a half of introduction to the university from both an academic, and also social perspective. It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet international students from all over the world, as well as meet the local students. You’ll be taking part in activities like dance battles, raft races on the cold waters of Lake Vattern, soap soccer, and city quests. This week and a half is also a little on the expensive side, but it’s something you’ve really just got to throw yourself into because you won’t regret any moment of it. The people you meet during this Kick Off will become some of your closest friends on exchange, and you might even find that you’re roommates with a few of them!
The academic system in Sweden is different to that of Australia, in that you study one subject at a time, for about a month or so, then switch to the next subject. So far, the study load is similar to back at UTS, but you need to be prepared to hit the ground running! Classes start immediately, and you might have your first assignment due a week after starting the subject. Lecturers are really quite friendly, and the relationship between the students and staff is casual and welcoming. You definitely won’t struggle to find time to explore the area around Jönköping, or take weekend trips to nearby Stockholm or Gothenburg.
While I study IT back at UTS, I’ve taken advantage of my electives, and have decided to study a few marketing and advertising courses here at Jönköping University. This has definitely been a welcome change for me, and a refreshing way to wrap up my degree. It’s really quite interesting to study something out of your field when you get the opportunity to, so if you have the chance, study something different.
When it comes to the Swedish culture and Swedes in general, they are extremely helpful, so you just need to ask if you’d like help. The Swedes are also quite reserved and have been known to seem quite shy or cold, but this is just seen as being respectful in the Swedish culture. Quite a few of the Swedish students have already been to Australia, so you’ll have plenty to talk about, and if they haven’t been yet, they’ll want to hear all about it. In terms of cost of living, a lot of things are comparable to Sydney prices, but generally it’s a little more expensive.
If you’re not sure whether to go on exchange, do it! You definitely won’t regret it. If you’ve already decided to go on exchange, but you’re not sure where to go, consider somewhere small like Jönköping. You’ll meet fantastic people, study at a great university, and it’s a nice change from the big city.
Bachelor of Information Technology
For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit: www.global-exchange.uts.edu.au