Exchange to Malmo University, Semester 2, 2017
As a global studies student, an overseas exchange or internship semester was mandatory, and was one of the main reasons why I wanted to undertake the course. Whilst I initially thought that two and a half years was a lot of time to plan, arrange, research, be overly excited and overwhelmingly stressed, the time crept up really fast and after an exhausting 30 hours of flights and stopovers, I’ve finally made it to Malmö, Sweden just to realise that all of that planning, arranging and stressing was unnecessary.
Malmö is a beautiful city and Malmö University made it easy to adjust to Swedish life with their thorough introduction program. One of the main sources of my stress, and I think what most people think about before leaving to go on exchange, was in my own ability to make friends. I was constantly anxious that I would not be able to find people who shared my interests however, the multitude of bonding activities, information sessions, and even a bus tour to see the Skåne region of Sweden created plenty of opportunities to make friends and learn more about not only the Swedish education system, but the culture and lifestyle within the nation as well. Additionally, Malmö University offered Swedish Language Courses for beginners, which provided more opportunities to bond with new people and make friends.
Additionally, living in the Ronnen International House, which is a series of floors made entirely of international students, gives you the opportunity to meet individuals from different cultures, which has been one of the most humbling and gratifying aspects of my exchange experience so far. Also, telling people you are from Australia provides an interesting talking point and everyone is always amazed that you are not only able to survive the various “deadly” animals and climate in Australia, but over 20 hours of flights too.
Although I initially thought I had thoroughly prepared for my exchange in Malmö, I was very naïve in thinking that two and a half years of planning, arranging and researching would prevent me from making silly mistakes. Being in Sweden I must constantly remind myself that this country was not built with me, an Australian, in mind, but those who live in Sweden. Crossing the road at the wrong time, walking in bike lanes, sitting in the wrong section of the train from Copenhagen, and stupidly thinking I would be immune to jetlag, are all mistakes I made within the first two days. Learning to accept and laugh at my daily mistakes has been a learning opportunity I, again naively, didn’t think I needed.
Malmö is a beautiful, multicultural and accepting city and everyone is super friendly and willing to help you when you need it. Although I initially chose Malmö University on a whim, I don’t think I could have picked a better place to make mistakes than Malmö.