Read Nathalie’s first blog here which was published in November 2019, when she had just commenced her 2nd year of study.
Hello, this is Nathalie Lundin! I’m from Stockholm, Sweden and moved to the Sunshine Coast to study a 3-year Bachelor of Business (Marketing) degree, and later added a minor in Fashion Studies. I knew I wanted to study abroad all my life but never really thought of Australia. A random day in January 2018, It came to me, of course I should study in Australia?! I had a look around the internet and fell in love with USC at first glance. Sunshine Coast sounded extremely appealing and after viewing some pictures I made my decision: I was going to Australia.
Studying Business at USC has been absolutely amazing, I’ve learned so much, gotten to know amazing people at a beautiful campus, all while feeling like I’m on vacation. I can study on the beach, take a hike when I need a break or enjoy my coffee by the pool. The campus also has a really good atmosphere, meeting students within and outside of my own field. The tutors and lecturers has been very helpful. Even during COVID-19, the online materials helped us get through easily. I’ve learned so much about the business field, gotten a huge perspective and gained knowledge for a solid base to start my career in business. I feel confident in the marketing field, and I’m now also confident in exactly what I want to do.
Before coming here I knew I wanted to get in to the business field but nothing more than that. Now, I know I love to create content, I’m good at analysing fashion and business trends and I have the qualifications I need to get a foot inside the industry. I know my strengths, weaknesses, and how to keep developing as a future fashion marketer. The course structure has been very helpful, starting off with first years courses that really introduced me to the basics within business and writing reports. In the end, I knew exactly how to write a report, I can reference ideas across different courses, and I understand the connections between different fields in business. All courses has been a piece of the whole puzzle which I can now feel is coming together.
Living on the Sunshine Coast
Australia has been better than I ever expected and I’ve gotten to see many places, lived close to the beach, and simply went from grey and cold Sweden to summer all year round. My Instagram followers from back home has been jealous to say the least. During my first year I lived at Varsity Student Accommodation which was the best start ever! I came here not knowing a single soul but after just a few days in, I knew I had found the right place. I chose to live closer to the volleyball courts at Varsity and I’ve gained friends and memories for life. I’ve experienced crazy, funny, and very interesting moments for sure.
I’m so happy I didn’t miss out on this! I’ve been in Melbourne, Sydney, and a lot in Brisbane, I’ve skydived in Noosa, visited many different beaches, mountains and lookouts! Australia has so much to offer and I recommend to see as much as you can. Just living 10 minutes from Buderim Waterfalls and Australia Zoo feels too good to be true! Here is everything you feel like, everything from adventures like go-card, tree top climbing and hiking, to a calm day at the beach or a nice cocktail at the local beach bars.
Tip to future students wanting to study abroad?
My tip is to go by the saying of NIKE; Just do it! You will never regret an adventure, and if it’s not for you, nothing forces you to stay either. Take this opportunity if you can. I will cherish these three years forever, and I know I would have regretted it my whole life if I would have ended up not doing it!
Sunshine Coast is the perfect place to explore Australia from. So far, I’ve been to Cairns, Airlie Beach, Fraser Island, Sydney, Byron Bay, Melbourne, Great Ocean Road, around New Zealand and many more places. I’ve tried surfing, sky diving, scuba diving, snorkelling, done the Tough Mudder race, and this winter, I might even have a go at the water jet pack.
Other than travelling, one of my greatest passions is food. The Sunshine Coast has no shortage of great cafés and restaurants. Here are some of my favourite cafés on the coast:
The Nines: the perfect place to brunch, there’s something for everyone on this menu. Be sure to try one of the freak shakes, they are insane!
The Velo Project: beautiful, sustainable and incredibly yummy food and coffee.
Ninth Street: the perfect place to get extreme waffles and pancakes.
Acai Brothers: the best acai bowls on the coast.
Decisions: a mixture of healthy and unhealthy food – that’s why they are called Decisions. The menu has gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options, so there is something for everyone here.
Lil Canteen: the menu is continually updated and incredibly trendy.
Elliot’s Fine Food Bistro: fantastic coffee and filling food.
Milk and Beans Coffee House: cosy and close to the beach. Great burgers.
Glass Coffee House & Wine Bar: atmospheric interior with a killer menu.
Tome: cakes, rolls and cupcakes so pretty you don’t want to actually eat them.
Hot tip: if you follow these places on Instagram, they often post discounts and deals.
Hope this helps you navigate your stay at the coast. If you want to get more tips you can follow me on Instagram @fridaychild. Thanks for reading!
Before moving to Australia, I did an internship at an agency called Study Abroad in Sweden. I chose to study at Sunshine Coast after having support from both international staff at USC and previous students.
I started my first semester studying at Sippy Downs and towards the end of the semester I decided to transfer to the Southbank campus, situated close to the Brisbane river and South Bank Parklands. The city is blessed with amazing surroundings and year-round perfect weather.
It has been an incredibly experience to study both at Sunshine Coast and Brisbane. The student community has been a success with lots of support for international student and studying in Australia as an international student is a wonderful opportunity to extend your horizons, earn valuable qualifications and make lifelong friends.
I have had time to explore Australia by visiting new places and amazing national parks, seeing plenty of wildlife and beaches. As an outdoor person, there are great opportunities to explore and try new activities.
These past years have been an incredible journey for me. Studying abroad has helped my ability to live independently and have allowed me to gather knowledge and experiences on my own terms. I feel very lucky to have the privilege to study abroad at University of the Sunshine Coast.
I love the Sunshine Coast, it is just an amazing place to live and I am so happy I chose this school. The school is nice and is located around beautiful nature where you can find kangaroos jumping around which is just amazing to see every time. I enjoy my accommodation, it is just 5 minutes walk to school which is great if you’re running a bit late to class. I have my own bedroom and bathroom which I love so I can have my stuff where I want and clean myself.
With the course Learning in Australian Landscapes, we go on four field trips during the semester which is just amazing. First trip was paddling at Noosa, it was so beautiful and a fun day trip. Next up was abseiling and climbing at Mount Ngungun which I was a bit nervous about, mainly because I had never climbed before and I am scared of heights. However, I was proud of myself that I did it. The third trip was an overnight trip to Cooloola National Park. The fourth and last trip was to Fraser Island which is about two hours from here. When we came to the island my group started biking on the sand and it was great and so much fun biking on the beach looking at the waves. After that, we changed groups and we got to pick up trash on the beach!
The next day we went to the rainforest on the island and walked for a bit which was so beautiful! We also learned more about the vegetation on the island. Later on, we went to Lake McKenzie which had the clearest water I’ve seen, it was so beautiful. On the third day we did some stops and then went back home to the coast. I was so tired the days after the trip but it was so worth it!
I have also been to Brisbane and the Gold Coast which are both great places to visit for a more ‘big city’ feeling. Before I go home, I have planned to go to Cairns, Whitsundays, and Sydney. During my time here, I have seen so much already and I have some trips still coming after school. I really think it is worth coming here to study if you’re considering it, as it is just amazing and there’s so much to do and see. I really recommend studying at USC and experience the Sunshine Coast.
My plan from the beginning was to go to South America and somehow I ended up here in Australia instead. It wasn’t the plan but I’m really happy that life doesn’t always turn out as planned, because then I wouldn’t have had the chance to see this incredibly beautiful country and meeting all these friendly, kind, cool people living here.
I have mostly been focusing on my studies so far, but I have also visited a few places. Thanks to my Learning in Australian Landscapes course (OES104) I have gotten the opportunity to see Australia and study at the same time. I have learned a lot about the Australian history, its flora and fauna, and also gotten to see some beautiful places which I probably wouldn’t have visited by myself. We have been paddling kayak in beautiful Noosa River, which is approximately a 40 min drive from USC. Noosa also have a great national park where you can see koalas, beautiful beaches and the famous fairy pools. It is a place you must visit when studying here.
Processed with VSCO with c7 preset
Processed with VSCO with a9 preset
We have also been climbing and abseiling in the Glass House Mountains, paddling and hiking in Cooloola and last but not least, we went to K’gari (Fraser Island), which is the largest sand island in the world. On the island, we got to bike one the beach, visit Lake McKenzie, walk through the rainforest and Eli Creek, and see the SS Maheno Shipwreck, which was really cool. We also saw some whales from the beach and dingos walking around. This is a course I recommend to all international students if you want to see Australia without having to pay for it, and at the same time learna lot about the country.
I definitely recommend going to Australia and USC, but before you do, make sure you have saved up as much money as possible. Because trust me, you will want to travel everywhere and see everything, eat everything, and go to all the markets and buy beautiful, handmade Australian stuff. So save that money, it will be worth it!
This experience is one that I wish everyone would have the opportunity to have. So if you do, don’t take it for granted and be thankful for it. Make sure you enjoy it!
Hello! I’m Nathalie Lundin from Sweden, and I’m studying for a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) at USC Sunshine Coast. I am currently on my second year out of three in total and it’s only getting better and better! I came here with help from Blueberry World Wide and they made everything so incredibly easy. I had a spontaneous wish of studying in Australia, clicked on ‘apply’, and a few months later I was on my way to live my best life, away from cold and grey Sweden! Best decision I’ve ever made.
5 Things that will make your friends back home jealous when studying at USC Sunshine Coast:
1. Take a cheeky waterfall-shower 15 minutes away from campus:
Buderim Falls is located only 15 minutes from USC and it’s the perfect little break from studying or to just chill out for a hot second. Buderim Falls is just one of an amazing amount of beautiful waterfalls so see in Australia!
2. Cuddle with ‘Australian-only’ animals:
One of the first things I saw walking to the USC campus was the kangaroos, just casually hopping around freely and to my surprise, I saw them almost every day somewhere around campus and it never gets old! And if you get a chance to see a Koala, go for it! They’re even cuddlier than you think.
3. Try surfing and other cool water sports:
With Sunshine Coast’s absolute amazing beaches it’s definitely a bucket list thing to try out surfing! USC is located very close to many beaches, so it’s pretty much which one you feel like that particular day! Mooloolaba Beach, Alexandra Heads, Kawana Waters, Coolum Beach and Noosa just to mention a few of Sunshine Coast’s beaches. So far I’ve tried surfing, skimboarding, kneeboarding, wakeboarding and surfing after a boat. I can’t say I’m amazing but it’s so much fun to just go for it and try! Or just get an Instagram photo with the board, whatever floats your boat 😉
4. Relax with some beach volleyball and pool hang with other students between classes:
I lived at Varsity apartments for my first year and I’ve never had so much fun in my life. Moving to Australia without knowing anyone was no issue at all, from day one I met other students in the same position and here I am today with friends for life and some crazy memories. Just walking outside of the apartment for some volleyball, pool hang or tennis makes Uni-life so much better. You meet new people constantly, and really, the only bad part is when someone is going home after their semester here in Australia.
5. Try out the city life in Sydney and Brisbane:
The Opera House, Blue Mountains, and Darling Harbour in Sydney. Eat Street, the concerts, the sports events, and South Bank beach are a few things worth doing and seeing in the big cities. Take a weekend or the mid-semester break to go crazy and explore the city life before heading back to the beautiful and calm beaches home in Sunshine Coast.
On Monday, USC International held the Ceremony of Completion for Semester 2 2019 for our international students. This ceremony was is held for our international students every semester for those who have completed an award program here at USC Sunshine Coast. Check out some photos from this special day!
University of the Sunshine Coast is located on the beautiful Sunshine Coast only a few minutes away from some of the world’s best beaches. University of the Sunshine Coast has a really relaxed atmosphere. I’ve have had plenty of support from the lecturers and tutors who helped international students, just like me adjust to a new environment. During my time here I never felt as though I was looked at as just a number, as many big universities often do, I was treated as an equal by the helpful staff. Lecturers and tutors actually knew me by my name.
Being a member of my Women’s soccer team back home in Manhattanville College I was still able to continue my passion for the sport through social sports which was provided for the students of USC through USC Sports. With that, I was able to make new friends that shared the same passion as me, as we got to travel up to Brisbane and meet new faces that also loved the game of soccer.
TOP 4 ADVICE WHEN MOVING TO THE SUNNY COAST
1) Pack Lightly
MAKE SURE you pack lightly when moving down under!! Australia has many affordable stores where you can buy things needed or if forgotten! For example, if you are going to live in the accommodations recommended by the university like Varsity, Uni Central or The Village be sure NOT to by the linen package! The linen package provided by these accommodations are expensive you can buy cheaper linen at Target or K-mart.
2) Follow your traveling dreams
I can’t stress this one enough! I encourage you all to travel as much as you can or as much as your budget allows you. You definitely should take advantage of the opportunity of living abroad and make the best out of your time here while studying here in the Sunshine Coast. It will give you memories for a lifetime and will help you make new friendships. Also, pretty much anywhere on the Coast is Insta-worthy!
3) Make sure you’re coming open minded
Being that you are coming to a new country and culture. You should be able to try new things as well as experience new things and be able to embrace the Aussie lifestyle! The Sunshine Coast it known for all of it outdoor activities available such as simply relaxing on the beach, surfing or trekking a hike up the various mountains the Coast has to offer.
4) Don’t forget that degree
However, with all of that said. My last advice is don’t forget that you’re here to finish your degree. It can be easy to get left behind in your studies when you are in a new place meeting new people.
In June 2016 I left my home in Sweden for an adventure on the other side of the world. A few weeks before I got here I started my ‘research’ – i.e. stalking every international student at USC I could find on social media. I thought I was prepared for everything and anything that the Australian lifestyle had to offer. Let’s just say that I was very wrong, not to mention naive. First of all, my whole life did not fit in my suitcase – shocker, right? Friends, family, and the comfort of living at home had to all stay in Sweden. Secondly, no one told me that winter nights on the coast can get quite chilly, especially as Australian households rarely have heaters. So leaving your window open when it’s 5 degrees outside at night is not recommended. Thirdly, I sure as heck wasn’t prepared for Aussie slang. It never cease to amaze me how creative Australians have been with the English language. Just when you think you’ve heard it all, someone will say a word or phrase that makes you realise that you’ve only seen the very tip of the iceberg.
Now almost 3 years have passed since I first got here, and holy moly what a blast it’s been. My main reason why I wanted to study abroad was because I could not decide whether I wanted to travel or study. Studying here has allowed me to see different parts of Australia as well as two trips to New Zealand. I have also made friends that made it possible for me to travel to America and stay there during one of my uni summer break. Another thing studying here has allowed me to do was to foster dogs! I have been taking care of dogs until they get adopted whilst studying at the same time. Although juggling the two can be difficult at times, it has also helped my studying a lot as I have to take regular breaks to take them out for walks.
I could easily write a hundred reasons why studying abroad has been the best three years of my life and another hundred on what you’re about to sign up for. However, reflecting back on this whole experience now when it’s coming to an end, I’m glad that I didn’t know what was waiting ahead when I boarded that plane almost three years ago.
The beauty of studying abroad is that no matter how much you researched beforehand, you will never be able to fully prepare for the adventures that await you once the plane touches Australian land.
This is Labolina and Lars’ adventure, a story about two people from Dalarna, Sweden and how we met by chance at University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in Queensland, Australia.
In 2014 we were two strangers, but we both had a spontaneous idea to study overseas, and since we wanted to begin as soon as possible we both enlisted the help of Kilroy Education. Their friendly and professional staff helped us get ready for the adventure, not knowing that our paths would cross only a few weeks later, and that this meeting would develop into a great friendship which in turn would foster academic and professional success.
Back in 2014 we left two different worlds behind. I was busy completing high school when my dad one night mentioned that he knew someone who had studied overseas on the Sunshine Coast, in Australia. All I thought I knew about Australia at the time was that Sydney was the capital (I was wrong), and that everyone spoke like the crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin (I was not completely wrong about that). So, the thought of moving to the other side of the world, to a country that I knew almost nothing about, seemed both thrillingly challenging and completely out of my comfort zone. As I have always been interested in learning how the human body works, I applied to study a Bachelor of Biomedical Science. Later in my degree I fell in love with Microbiology, learning about microorganisms, infectious diseases and what we can do to treat them. Throughout my degree, I had the opportunity to participate in theoretical lessons, practical laboratory experiments, and two special research projects, focusing on the things I wanted to learn more about. These factors definitely contributed to my learning experience, if there was something I would improve with the Microbiology program it would be the amount of laboratory time!
In contrast, Lars decided to leave his marketing career for a more person-centred profession, and since Lars was eager to explore other cultures, he knew his journey would begin overseas. Once Kilroy helped Lars find the Bachelor of Counselling program at USC, he was hooked. While Lars did not mind learning about theories, I could tell his favourite part of his degree was the many practical exercises such as demonstrating acquired counselling skills. Lars, himself, once told me that his favourite aspect of his degree was the balanced course structure, which is divided between theoretical discussions, practical exercises, and personal reflections.
Although, how do you gently tell your friends and family that you are moving overseas for at least three years? I remember Lars telling me he was out walking with his brother one day, when he out of nowhere said “Bro, you know the expression ‘I might have a screw loose?’, well I think my bolts are gone, the screws are nowhere to be found, and the whole structure is about to fall apart… I have decided to move to the Sunshine Coast for four years!”. I am not sure, but there might be some truth in Lars’ comment, as it was definitely a thrilling time, and it was at times difficult to comprehend what my university application would actually mean.
In the first half of July 2014 we both began our separate journeys to Australia, interestingly enough we both chose to travel the 24+ hour journey with Emirates Airline. I remember Labolina telling me once that when she got into her waiting cab at Brisbane Airport around midnight, she clearly thought her driver sounded like Hugh Jackman. She thought that her knowledge about Australia was astonishing. I have never met any Hugh Jackman sound-a-likes, but when I arrived I was well aware of the ‘dangerous threat’ from Drop Bears!
Before we knew it, we were Bachelor students, enrolled in our separate courses at USC, which is a university far, far away from home. To say that the following three years was an adventure would be an understatement, particularly for me. Not only because I was moving overseas, but also because I, as a person with sight impairment, was changing the familiarity of Sweden for an area, culture, and environment I could not see. I remember Labolina and I talking about how nerve wracking the first few weeks were, as we suddenly were sharing a lecture theatre with a few hundred other students. The thing that made us most nervous though, was not knowing if we could actually overcome the challenges that laid ahead.
I mean, moving across the world, doing a university degree in another language, is a pretty big challenge to take on, right? What we loved about USC though, was that it often felt like a tight-knit community. Throughout our degrees, whenever we had questions or wanted advice from teachers, they would be there to answer them. Whenever we wanted to learn more, our teachers would provide us with the opportunity to do so, and whenever we struggled to get our words across because of the language-barrier, our classmates would patiently listen and help. Some of my teachers well and truly acted as my mentors, and I loved being able to sit down over a coffee and discuss the world of microbiology with them.
I think it is rare to find a university with the same person-centred philosophy as USC. For example, USC always had an individualistic approach to Lars’ learning experience. This was evident in his first meeting with Disability Services, in which Matt (Disability Advisor) sat down and calmly asked “Lars, what help do you need from us?”. This was the start of a positive, solution-focused cooperation between the university and Lars, which made it possible for him to study on the same terms as everyone else.
While we both agree on that it was a challenge to learn how to speak and write academically in English, we were never too worried as we would have had to learn the same thing in Swedish. This is because the ‘academic language’ is ‘a bit special’, so simply knowing a language is no guarantee that you will have it easy academically. Surprisingly, it only took a couple of weeks before we could walk into a lecture theatre with the feeling: “Hey, this feels natural”.
In my experience, it was not just the university that had a person-centred and supportive attitude, but also organisations such as Guide Dogs Queensland. They have, among other things, helped me learn how to navigate the unfamiliar areas of the Sunshine Coast using busses and trains. This have contributed to my ability to live independently, and have allowed me to gather knowledge and experiences on my own terms. I was therefore able to travel around, meet new people, and try some of Australia’s excellent breakfasts! While most of the people I have met have been warm and friendly, Australia’s Mermaids had a stone-cold manor, no matter which ‘pick-up lines’ I tried (chuckles).
However, thankfully Labolina was a more warm-hearted person, with whom I regularly met up with for a traditional Swedish Fika. Fika is deeply embedded in Swedish culture, and can be described as taking a break from the daily stresses in life. This short break allows people to appreciate the good things in life, either alone, or with company, and is usually enjoyed with a tea/coffee and something small to eat. The fact that we Swedes have a special word for this should be an indication of how important this lifestyle is.
Labolina and I enjoyed our first Fika within the first few weeks of our stay in Australia. This quickly became a tradition, and usually we met up once a week to discuss the ups and downs during each semester. We agree that this break from the university life made the whole experience less scary, since we had a familiar routine that reminded us of home. We both took on our academics as the biggest challenge of them all, so even though we were studying completely different degrees we could cheer each other on as we worked our hardest to improve with each semester.
This could not only be seen in our steadily increasing grade point averages, but also in the successes we had outside of our studies. For instance, I remember a modest Labolina pondering whether or not to apply for an esteemed Undergraduate research summer program at Monash University in Melbourne. With the support of her friends, family, and teachers Labolina submitted her application, and just a few months later she arrived at the Monash Research Laboratory. One of my own great accomplishments was my invitation to ‘The Golden Key International Honour Society’, which is reserved for the top 15 percent of students. Fuelled by this success I also managed to secure a position in the USC Golden Key Executive Team, and was later that year awarded the prestigious Golden Key Undergraduate Achievement Scholarship.
While USC is a smaller university, we believe that it was USCs person-centred and friendly atmosphere that allowed us to grow and flourish. We think this inclusive and flexible environment is difficult to find at other universities, so if you are looking for a university where you are a person and not a number, we would recommend University of the Sunshine Coast.
These past three years have been an incredible journey for us both, and thinking back on the Mooloolaba coast line is starting to feel like a long-lost dream already. We have had our own paths and challenges, but our friendship have been there to help us forward. It is, however, time for Labolina’s journey to change, as she is now starting her Master’s degree in Infectious Biology at Uppsala University. Lars will stay at USC to finish the last year of his counselling degree, before it is time for him to change his focus towards his passion, namely the field of sex and disability. Even though half a world separates us now, we will definitely stay in contact, and whenever the opportunity presents itself, we will reunite over a traditional Swedish Fika!
Greetings! My name is Robbie Hannan and I completed a 6 months travel abroad to the wonderful location of Stockholm Sweden! Upon arriving in the country I suddenly realized what an overwhelming experience this was going to be and nearly had a full blown panic attack. As I pondered why I decided to go overseas in the first place whilst waiting for a bus to take me to a Uni presentation. I over heard 3 loud English lads trying to organize what they wanted to get up to in the night. I walked up to them and asked if they were going to the Uni as well, which they were, after a quick chat they told me to tag along with them for the rest of the day and come explore the city after we were finished at Uni. I happily accepted, and as the night progressed the British lads and I ended up recruiting a group of 10-12 people to tag along with us and from the very first night in Stockholm I made some friends that would last me my entire time abroad.
This night changed my entire outlook of my Study abroad experience and made me realize how friendly everyone was, and the wonderful experiences I was getting going to places I’ve never seen before whilst immersing myself in another culture.
Stockholm is and incredibly friendly and clean city fill with beautiful locations. The train system is amazingly designed and I was fortunate enough to be able to get anywhere in the city that I would like within 5 minutes. Including some of the historic sites such as the Vasa Museum as well Gamla Stan – known as the old town as Stockholm (bare in mind that it still has some of the best night life in Stockholm). Everyone in Sweden also speaks perfect English so travelling was no issue at all.
The University was located a 5 minute walk away from my accommodation, all my classes were taught in English so it felt very similar to studying in USC. Being in another country was also a refreshing experience and looking back I actually enjoyed some of my all day study session until 9pm in the library with a group of my friends where we would always end up having a few drinks back at our houses.
Overall, my experience was an absolutely amazing one and the friends that I have made overseas will always be in my heart. I would absolutely recommend someone to do the same trip that I did and to be ready for an amazing time.
Congratulations to Dennis Törnström our very own Swedish USC International student who has created a STUNNING time-lapse video of the Sunshine Coast, which has received coverage from not only one but two TV stations! Dennis is studying a Bachelor of Computer-Based Design and developed this time-LAPSE video as part of one of his USC courses. Dennis’ aim for the video was
“To inspire and share some of the beautiful scenes this region has to offer”.
Dennis’ time-lapse video captures a slice of the scenic beauty of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia which he has experienced by, living and studying on the Coast for the last 2 1/2 years.
Images and footage captured in Dennis’ time-lapse video include the following Sunshine Coast locations:
I cannot count on all my fingers the amount of typical Australian questions I have been asked in the past 3 weeks. Do we have pet kangaroos? Do you know Crocodile Dundee? Do all Australians surf? And of course my favourite, Is it true you really put ‘Shrimp on the Barbie’?. From there I soon realized, just how far away from home I really was, and how so many other international students know very little about Australia. After explaining many times, the real perspective of Australia, and saying, no we do not have pet kangaroos; I soon had myself many international friends that are so eager to learn more about home.
Orientation Week kicked of with a presentation welcoming everybody to the University. Here I learnt that out of all the exchange and international students studying at Stockholm this semester, Australian’s make up only 4 percent! Soon after the presentation, a very energetic bunch of Swedes came dancing and cheering into the room very excited to meet all the International students. After splitting up into our buddy groups, and meeting our new close friends and Swedish buddies, I knew I had made the right decision to study abroad. Everybody was so happy and welcoming.
So far I have tried many Swedish cultures such as, meat balls, fika (Swedes LOVE their coffee), of course Ikea, a traditional dinner sittning, and a Cray Fish Party. At first, I had no idea what a Cray Fish Party was, but after attending one, I soon realized it is a large group of people, drinking, singing, and obviously eating a lot of Cray Fish. I was super excited for this because we have nothing like it at home. I left one very happy Aussie.
Stockholm is such a beautiful city, filled with gorgeous buildings and surrounded by many islands. So it is only a given, in my spare time, I venture of exploring the city with my new friends. After mastering the metro lines, and bus services, we made our way out to visit the many islands that make up Stockholm. It felt just like our waters on the Sunshine Coast, except the waves and surfers of course.
Oh I almost forgot the most important thing, and the reason I am actually living in Sweden. The classes and studying is so very different from what we are used to in Australia. Only having one subject, which is studied continuously for four weeks, leaving a lot of time to focus on that course only. I have also been participating in a ‘Swedish Learning Course’, which is a way for me to learn the basic phrases and words in the Swedish language. After all I need a way of communicating with the handsome Swedish men!
I am now three weeks into my exchange at Stockholm University, but the amount of activities and trips away that have been organized by the University, it is keeping me one very busy and happy girl. It is starting to get a little colder now (sometimes 9 degrees at night) and the fall has only just approached. Before I know it, the city will be covered in snow, I will have freezing cold fingers and toes, but I will be a pro at skiing and ice skating! I shall keep you all posted and let you know how I survive the winter!
The past few months have been an adventure, Perth, London, Paris, Copenhagen, Prague and now settled in at my new home in Halmstad, Sweden. It’s spring now and still bitterly cold. I’ve never experienced such cold weather but enjoying the benefits that come along with it, such as snowboarding and hot chocolates.
The snow is starting to melt and I am now starting to be able to see the true landscape of the area. The town I live in Halmstad is a small summer town. It’s quiet during the winter apart from the large international student population. It’s a real melting pot here, I’ve made so many friends from around Europe. I’ve learnt almost as such about mainland European traditions and customs as I have Swedish. However, as the International school is kept away from the Swedish student population, I have made a real effort to make friends with Swedish people. Now have some good Swedish friends to hang with. Being Australian in Sweden has its perks. Everyone in Sweden is fascinated with warm weather and surfing.
The university work is different than Australia, you do two classes for half the semester then the other two in the second part. This makes the classes intense but short. I’ll be also starting night school shortly studying Swedish. Nearly everyone in Europe can speak at two languages and it’s a real motivation to learn another language. However everyone speaks great English in Sweden thanks to American TV and their school system. My ‘Swedlish’ however is coming along and I can now order drinks and the bar and coffee shop two important forms of communication.
There is always something going on here party wise, and plenty of people who are keen to travel on the weekends. Next month I am heading to Stockholm for my birthday celebrations with some French, Brazilian, Swiss and Dutch friends. Then off to Barcelona late April with a Swedish friend who is also keen for some sun!
It’s exam period now so I better knuckle down and get some study done!
The great thing about studying in Europe is how accessible the rest of the continent is. A friend took a short break from the prevailing Swedish winter and headed to the warmth of Spain. We landed in Barcelona and immediately headed to the beach to a warm 20+ which isn’t anything special at home but after 4 months of freezing temperatures it was well recieved.
Barcelona is a fantastic city so vibrant and so many things to do. We hit all the tourist spots like Sangria de familia, Rambles, Gaudi Park and alot more. But ultimately the trip became a quest of maximising time in the sun. Our hotel was equipped with a roof top pool and deck chairs where we parked it most of the time.
The night life was fantastic with multiple dinning and club options. We sampled tapas on a couple of occasional which went well with Sangria. The best clubs are situated down at the beach and over look the water.
It was more than difficult to get back on the plane and head away from the sun back to Swedish Spring. Summer is on it’s way so looking forward to the long Swedish days (it’s not getting dark until 9pm already).