Exchange Report Linkoping Sweden

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1 Exchange Report Linkoping Sweden Fall semester Marin Teinsma

2 The report is in two parts: a general part (A) and a specific report for each subject (B). A General report 1. Host institution and exact dates of semester abroad The name of the host institution was the Linkoping University, or LiU, and its first semester started at the 15th of August and ended at 18th of January. It depends on your courses if you are finished before Christmas Holiday or after, but it is required to be present at the 15th of August, the welcome day. Be aware that if you follow the intensive Swedish language course, you have to start two weeks earlier. If you follow the regular Swedish language course, it will take the whole semester. 2. Contact with home faculty, preparation and journey Contact with the home faculty was in the beginning a bit confusing. The applying date of LiU is really early, so we had a bit of a problem with receiving all the information on time from the home faculty. But I guess Sweden is an exception with this early start, so just pay attention to this when you are applying for this university. Later on, everything became more clear and the mail contact was mostly quite fast. My preparation consisted mainly on finding a room in Linkoping and figuring out which stuff I should bring. It can be pretty cold in the winter, so I brought enough winter/ski clothes. Especially because I already knew by then that I would visit Swedish Lapland. Besides this, you should take care of your student grant of the Netherlands. There is a form you need to fill in when you are studying abroad and still want to receive your grant. You can put your public transport card on hold for a while, then you will receive around 105 euro per month and you need to fill in some papers in order to receive your Erasmus grant. At last, you should register for the courses and ask permission with the Learning Agreement. My journey took me around 15 hours, but I was going by car from Groningen to Linkoping. From Amsterdam it will take you only 1,5 hour if you fly to Stockholm Skavsta. 3. Residence abroad - Arrangements visa / residence permit You don't have to arrange any visa or residence permit if you are an European citizen. You can find your room via the university or by yourself. - Arrival and departure dates I arrived at the 12th of August in Linkoping in order to spend a couple of days searching for a room and getting to know Linkoping a bit before the semester started. I left Linkoping again at the 12th of January. The semester ended actually at the 18th of January, but in the last week there was a take home exam, so you were not obliged to stay in Sweden. - Accommodation The accommodation is a really big problem with this university. They cannot offer enough rooms for every exchange student. This year they started with double rooms, where you can share a room with somebody else. They will look for the same sex and nationality. It may not sound very appealing, but I would really recommend to consider this option. However, even with this solution, there is still a big

3 lack of rooms. For most cities it will figure itself out when you arrive in the place, but this is not the case for Linkoping. There are everywhere queuing systems and the Swedish register really early. Conclusion; you are far behind in the queue and must be lucky to get a room somehow. I did everything I could to find a room before I arrived in Sweden and also in my first days of Sweden. A department of the University can help you a bit, but most of the time you have to figure it out yourself. Luckily I placed an advertisement on the website of this department that I was looking for a room to share. A Spanish girl responded to this message. I lived with her for two months in a shared room and from November I got a room via the university and could stay there for the rest of the time. But I would really recommend to sign up for as many accommodation websites in Linkoping and place an advertisement as soon as possible, especially if you will study in the fall semester. - Reception and introduction Except from the rooms, everything is really well managed at LiU. At Friday, the 15th of August, there was a welcome reception and we got all the information we needed. The exchange students are really active and there are also a lot of communities like ESN or ISA which are organizing a lot of events and trips. Especially in the beginning there was almost everyday something to do and in this manner you have the opportunity to meet a lot of new people. - Student life, culture and leisure Linkoping is not very big, it is kind of comparable with Groningen. It is also pretty similar because everyone cycles in Linkoping and it is a typical student city. The university has a lot of outdoor activities and the students are wearing an overall to show from which faculty they are coming from. The university is even organizing a lot of parties and there is almost every week a party at the university itself. These parties are called 'Kravalls' and here you are wearing your overall. All the exchange students have blue overalls, so it is easy to recognize the others. There are a couple of clubs in the city centre, but they are all closing early, like 3 o'clock. The big pubs mainly close at 1 in the evening and the small ones around 12. The Swedish night life starts early, but also ends early. Besides this, there is a really strange phenomenon. The Swedish are really shy during the day, but when it is time to party, they change completely. Mostly they are all really drunk and suddenly very hugging persons. Swedish also make their own alcohol. The wine is then called 'ugly wine', and yes, unfortunately, the name is describing the taste of the wine. The reason why they are all making their own wine, is because it is terrible expensive and you have to buy it at the 'Systembolaget'. This is a shop which is owned by the state. You can only buy alcohol there when you are 20, but strange enough when you are 18, you can somehow buy your drinks in the bar. This is one of the examples which are just strange in Sweden and the Swedish don't really have a clear explanation for those strange things most of the time. It is just the Swedish way to do it. Keep in mind that they are shy and that you shouldn't approach them too directly and take care not to enter in their private space. In the introduction lecture, we learned that you always should keep an armlength distance. One really nice thing of the Swedish culture is the fika; coffee with something sweet. They offer it everywhere and you can also take it at anytime. Swedish are really loving to be outdoor. They hike, do innebandy, go for a run or barbecue (and yes also when it is snowing outside).

4 As you probably know, it will be dark early after summer. Although I am usually a bit moody when it is getting dark soon here in the Netherlands, I didn't mind in Sweden. It was just more cozy there with a lot of little lights and the life is really continuing when it is dark. - Language Swedish is really easy to learn for Dutch people, but in the beginning it is very hard to understand. The language has a lot of different sounds which are hard to pronounce. However, I would recommend to follow Swedish lessons. It is a nice way to learn more about the culture. It is also handy that you can follow television and understand what you are planning to buy in the supermarket. English is no problem at all in Sweden. They can all talk perfectly English, even elderly. 4. Grant - Amount For living in Sweden you will get a grant of 250 euro per month. You will get 70% of the total amount in the first month and the rest will follow when you are back in your own country. Besides this, if you put your public transport card on hold you can get another 105 euro per month. - Information on the adequacy of the grant This is however by far not enough. Sweden is really expensive. Especially alcohol is at least double prices, but also doing your groceries will cost you like 25% more. Per month, I think I spent around 1100 euro. It is a bit hard to say, because you pay everything in crowns, but this is also including travelling to Goteborg, Stockholm, Lapland etc. I went a couple of times to the doctor and hospital, but this is not that expensive. For a visit to the hospital you pay 30 euro and for the doctor 15, providing that you have a good insurance. 5. Study (general) - Introduction, general advice, etc. It is common knowledge that Sweden has good education systems. Linkoping University is not an exception in this. I mainly followed courses for exchange students, but sometimes there were also some Swedish students following those courses. The English level is normal for a Dutch student, LiU is also asking for proof of your English level. So, there was no problem to follow the courses. However, somehow French and Spanish students didn't have to hand such a proof and they had really hard times, since their English skills were a bit below average. Besides this, be prepared for a lot of group work. Everything will be done in groups and also your presentation skills will be tested. - Dates of beginning and end of lecture series and examination period At LiU you will follow one course at the time. After 6 weeks there will be exams and then your next course starts. You have three chances in order to complete your exam, which is more than fare. In this manner, you can be sure you will pass all the courses. However, like the Netherlands, it is not very handy if you have two exams at the time, so make sure you will pass for the first time. Mostly every course is 7.5 ECTS and a half semester course will be 15 ECTS.

5 There are no languages problems while you are studying at LiU. Everyone can speak English very well and are easy to understand. Only some s or instruction are given in Swedish, but most of the time it is clear what the content is about. - Study facilities/ International Office abroad The buildings are really nice, since you have a student card which let you enter the buildings every time you want. Even when everything is closed and it is in the middle of the night. You only need a pin code and then you are free to enter. There are enough places to study, including a library. The staff of the international office is kind and willing to help you, however it is often crowded and they are really strict with their lunch time (mostly between 12 and 13 o'clock). - Summary of subjects taken. The subjects I took in Sweden were: Swedish for Foreign Students, level A1 Classics of Organisation Theory, Advanced Course International Business Entrepreneurship and New Business Development The Global Challenge - Frameworks for International Human Resource Management They were all 7.5 ECTS, but our home university doesn't accept more than 5 ECTS for a language course. I would really recommend Swedish for Foreign Students, since this is a nice way getting to know the language. There are a couple of written and oral assignments which are really easy to pass if you are present every week in class. The seminar will take 3 hours, but is passing by quickly. At the end there will be one big oral conversation with the teacher followed by an exam. Classics of Organisation Theory is not really recommendable for business administration students. Although it is mentioning it is an advanced course, it really isn't. It is nice that you can refresh your knowledge, but most of the time it is a bit too much repeating. International Business is a nice course to follow, but with a lot of group work in it. Your grade will also be heavily based on this group work, so it is important you find a good group. Entrepreneurship is also a good course to follow, especially because you will end with writing a business plan of your self-made organization. In this way you really have to use the knowledge you just learned. At last, the global challenge. This course has an interesting set-up. It will start really intense with seminars, presentations, discussions and assignments. But the cases are interesting and the teacher puts a lot of effort in the quality of the course. This course was the last one I took and it ended the 18th of January. However, if you want, you can go home one week before Christmas. In January the classes will be virtual and also your group work will be in virtual teams. Concluding: most of the courses were nice to follow and don't take too much time in a week. But before you register for your course, make sure you don't follow a course in Norrkoping instead of Linkoping. 6/7. Summary impression of the study period abroad and any advice/suggestions/tips for students or academic staff who will be involved with the host institution in the future.

6 I would really really recommend to go on an exchange. You broaden your view due to your new friends who are from all over the world. You will learn more about other cultures and languages and also better understand what is typical for your own culture. For example, be aware that Dutch people are really direct. Also Linkoping is a very nice place to go to. You have a lot of activities to attend, there are a lot of exchange people, so enough choice for new friends and it is a student city. I am sure you will never be bored for a long time when you are studying there. The only thing you have to keep in mind; it is hard to find a room. In my view, it is strange that an university still invites a lot of exchange people, while they cannot offer everyone a room. It is an annual problem, but there seems not to be a lot of progress in solving it. However, it is not impossible to get a room, in the end everyone got a room, but not immediately in the beginning, which can cause a lot of stress. I would advise the academic staff to somehow make sure that LiU will provide the RUG students a room, since this will take away the only and biggest disadvantage of studying in Linkoping.

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