I always wanted to study overseas. It was a great opportunity to travel to a new place and live in a new environment. I have never travelled to Europe before and I decided it was a good excuse to go and stay for a longer time.
My campus life was quite unique. I studied at Uppsala Universities Campus Gotland, which is a smaller campus on the Swedish island of Gotland. Almost every single day I bumped into someone I met either from my class, orientation, or a party the weekend before. I got to know someone from almost every part of the University, which was extraordinary.
It helped that I lived in one of the Universities supplied housing, which had around 16 students living in a shared floor together, all of which were from different countries and academic backgrounds. I spend most of my lazy days sitting at the communal dining area chatting and trying all the amazing food they prepared.
The number of international students at this campus is almost the same as native Swedes, so the amount of different people you can meet is amazing. I just happened to be the only Aussie. The acceptance of international students was very warm including the island locals who were sometimes difficult to chat to but were always friendly. I spent a lot of free time volunteering with the student bar as a bartender and playing volleyball with the local club all within walking distance from the Medieval Viking city of Visby.
I received financial assistance from ISEP scholarship. It was super easy to apply for as my application through Flinders Learn Without Borders (LWB Team) was all I needed to be considered for the scholarship. Sweden is considered a pricey country to live, so the assistance helped with peace of mind for usual expenses such as rent. It also made it possible for me to travel around Europe during Semester breaks. I spent 3 weeks over Christmas travelling from Hungary back to Sweden, passing all of Sweden’s major cities.
Academically I was exposed to a different perspective and outlook on environmental sciences through studying Swedish policies future development plans. I completed courses in coastal management and ecosystem services, which are very important in the Swedish way of life and I hope to utilise them in my future career. Personally, I made connections all over the world and attended as many events, conferences, and parties as I could. If you think Australian or American Universities party hard, you should ask Swedish students what it’s like.
I can recommend any students who wish to study overseas to give it a go. If you are willing to try something new, maybe move away from home for the first time, or for a long time like me, it will be a highlight of your study. It was something I planned on doing as soon as I started at University I just didn’t know where and it couldn’t have been any better. I met some amazing people, found some amazing hidden gems through travelling Europe and feel much more comfortable with my academic career and personal life.
Daniel Kennewell, student of Bachelor of Applied Geographical Information Systems undertook a semester exchange at Uppsala University, Sweden in S2 2019.