Outgoing Experiences - Alex P.

Name: Alex P.
Program: Bachelors in Construction Management
Exchange Partner: Linköping University, Sweden
Duration: One semester, August 2016 – January 2017

What was a typical school day was like?
The system is different from IZUNA as instead of having multiple courses during the entire semester, Linköping University offers one course every 5 weeks, with a semester totaling 4 courses. As the courses are only 5 weeks long, there are 3-4 lectures or seminars per week each about 1.5 to 3 hours long. The classes would start anywhere from 9am to 12am and finish in the afternoon.

What is the campus like?
The campus was located at 15 minute walk or a 5 minute bike ride from the campus residence. The campus is slightly bigger than IZUNA’s, includes a bar, student union building, and an excellent gym. Everyone knows each other on campus as there are few sets and it is a warm atmosphere. On Thursday and Saturday the campus student union building hosts big parties. During lunch there are three main places where one can get a large healthy meal for an affordable price ($10). Almost every day there is some type of party promotion going on throughout the campus.

How much were the living and flight expenses?
The university provided dorms, which costs about $550 per month. Food cost roughly the same as in Vancouver and would add about to $300 a month. The flight cost $1200 Vancouver to Stockholm round-trip.

What did you do to have fun?
When I first came to the international office to pick my dorm keys, the International Coordinator assured me that I will never get bored - she was not lying. There are so many events happening, it is hard to keep up. First, there are two really awesome international organizations that each host two events per week for the international students. As there were 800 international students during my semester, these events which included pub night, tours, trips, Swedish “fika” and sports events were always fun and a great place to make friends. Apart from the international crowd events, the Swedes also host many parties. There are three main pubs near the residency, which are always busy. Sports are a big part in the community, so I managed to play soccer every second day. Travelling was also a possibility with the school schedule. There are organized university trips to Norway, Finland, Russia and the famous university party cruise to Estonia.

Why would you recommend exchange to others?
Going on exchange to a foreign country can really open up ones perception, make them a better communicator, and increase their confidence. Studying abroad allows students to “step out of the box” and be in situations they would never experience at home. It is an amazing opportunity to truly experience the culture of the country, as well as cultures from all over the world, as many of the students in your class will be from abroad as well. Besides being a very valuable attribute on a resume, exchange studies are often considered to be within the best experiences in life for many individuals.

What is your favorite memory or story involving your exchange?
My favourite memory was the celebrations leading up to Christmas. Swedes really enjoy having a buffet dinner, where they dress up fancy and have a gala like atmosphere. After the dinner everyone goes to an after party. One of the dinners I went to was called a “jumping dinner” which involved going from one house to another to eat appetizers, a main dish and dessert. Me and my friend prepared dessert and hosted four other students, before which we were hosted by other students that prepared the appetizers and the main meal. At each part of the dinner my friend and I met two other students that cooked the dinner and two other guests, making a total of six at every dinner. In order to get around from one part of the dinner to the next, everyone used their bikes. The event started at 4pm and ended with an after party which went late into the night.

What one tip would you give to students preparing for exchange?
Be open minded and try as many new experiences as you can. Try to make friends in both exchange student circles as well as with the locals. If going on exchange to a country in Europe, try to do other trips as the longest flight is only two hours long.