Obviously it’s an entire different country with it’s unique culture, geography, demography language, norms, values and lifestyle. But that’s really the point of exchange isn’t? To dive into another culture and have it envelop you, thus changing your world view and helping you evolve as a person and become all culturally aware and stuff.
I love that Sweden is so different – it’s something I’ve never experienced before. Total immersion in a new culture with not one other Aussie in sight. Travelling around Europe with my backpack earilier I felt the only people I met were from Australia!
Headline: The Disease is Spreading. Australian Backpacker numbers on the Rise coming to steal your countries culture!! (At least for a little while at least before they head home for a good ol’ fashioned Aussie summer)
I’m sad to say I am the only Australian at the whole University! No one from home to comfort me with understanding of my phrases and most importantly the extremely sarcastic Aussie humor. Closest to home is either a Kiwi or my pal Eamon from CSU currently studying in Gothenburg.
What I found the most challenging – other than the fact that it’s considered completely insane here to ask to pet someone’s dog!!! #outraged – is the difference in study habits and expectations. For example (specifically relevant to my study).
- Aus – 4 subjects 1 semester for a full course load
- Sweden – 2 subjects over 1 semester for a full course load
How the subjects period’s are set out;
- Aus – 4 subjects spanning one semester
- Each with one lecture (1-2 hours) and tutorial (1 hour) per week
- Both at the same time each week unless something goes wrong
- Sweden – 1 subject per term
- Ranging from 1 to 4 lectures a week (3 hours) and one “Sem” (80 mins) every 2 or 3 weeks
- No formal organisation – simply organised for whenever the tutor and Sem manager (never the same)can make it for that week
Ps. A “Sem” is a seminar. A group will host one during the span of the course – teaching the students about the material prior to the sem and applying it to a case study selected by the lecturer. You get marked (for your final grade) on your willingness to contribute in these Sem’s and the caliber of the things you do say.
Assessments and exams
- Aus – ordinarily 3 assessments evenly spread out during the semester and one 50% closed book exam for business subjects ( I am completing business subjects overseas). And this system to me is normal and civilised
- Sweden – No assessments during the term except for one’s committal to and participation in Sem’s making up 40% of your grade and one 60% open book exam at the end of the term.
It’s just taken a bit of getting used to is all. Everything’s just set out a little bit differently here. To me it initially sounded harder than 4 subjects are once with it’s full on lecture schedule and Sem’s as I had no idea what they were. But it’s actually turned out the opposite… It feels like I do no work at all. Yet I write out all my lectures to the letter, I listen in class and produce what I need to for the Sem but as there is no assessments to write (essays or reports, etc.) I am at a loss for what to do with my time.
For lack of something to do uni workwise I went to Barcelona for the weekend! Best thing about studying in Europe is it’s proximity to every other nation – no country really more than 4 hours away flying!!
Only issue I’ve found with the European system of study is that with no fee’s and a minimal workload most European students lack commitment to and desire to succeed in subjects. One international has failed a basic marketing course 4 times. 4 TIMES! He just doesn’t care because it doesn’t cost him and he can just redo and redo the class till he cares enough to pass it and move on. Also don’t think I’m putting words in my mouth – he told me this himself. There is no drive to succeed as it costs him nothing to fail. That’s probably the best and main motivator I have!; If I fail it’s another 1000 dollars or something back home.
But that’s just another way Sweden, MDH and it’s students are different from Aus, CSU and it’s students. Having a blinder of a time none the less though!
xoxo Gossip Girl