Gabi – Semester Exchange at Malmo University, Sweden
Semester 2, 2016
My first week in Sweden was crazy! I arrived to the most amazing view as I crossed the Øresund Bridge from Denmark to Sweden – a bridge made famous by the television series ‘The Bridge.’ The breathtaking quality of Sweden continued as I arrived at my host university, Malmö University – an architecturally pleasant building seated harbour-side with water features lining the front.
After navigating the very well organised administration process, which included a break for fika (coffee and a pastry), I was driven to my accommodation – Rönnen. I was sceptical as I first walked through the corridors of the old hospital building, concerned by what might lie behind my door, but to my relief my first reaction to seeing my room was ‘wow’. It is not a myth that Swede’s only use IKEA furniture; it was if I was walking into an IKEA showroom! Within minutes of unpacking, littering my personal belongings around the room, my 19m2 quickly became home.
The introduction program organised by my host university included a variety of amazing opportunities, we had beach BBQ’s, park picnics, a day-trip around Skåne – Sweden’s southern most region (including a stop at Sweden’s Stonehenge), pub nights, a beginners Swedish language course (which I was terrible at), and all importantly, an excursion to IKEA.
As I live in international student housing, I share a building with 130 other international students attending Malmö University. Rönnen has become our own little community, where I have made friends from all around the world. The most humbling experience came on my 21st birthday when my floor organised a party with all the international students, including a cake, decorations, and many well wishes!
Within a week of being here I also experienced the amazing nature of European living – being so close to an international airport, and having a uni schedule that leaves me with five day weekends means that I have already been lucky enough to book weekends away to Copenhagen, France and a Uni trip to Russia – a concept not even comprehensible when you live on the other side of the world in Australia!
As if the relief of having a nice living space, making amazing friends, planning various trips AND every Swedish person I encountered being able to speak English, wasn’t enough, mother nature was also on my side. The concept of ‘moving to Sweden’ meant for me giving up the sun for six months and settling into a cold and rainy climate. However, despite the constant taunts from locals that the cold was just around the corner, and that we should not get use to the sun and warmth, we have been blessed with constant blue skies and 25+ degree days for the past 3 weeks. This unseasonably good weather has meant being able to experience the beauty of Malmö in the summer – an opportunity I didn’t think I would get. Coming from the east coast of Australia, going to the beach everyday and watching the perfectly round sun set over the water, turning the whole of Malmö an incredible shade of pink, made it impossible not to love this place.
It is my predication that as the weeks go on, despite the sun eventually having to retreat, that I will continue to love this place.