MY EXCHANGE SEMESTER IN GÄVLE, SWEDEN

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1 FINAL REPORT MY EXCHANGE SEMESTER IN GÄVLE, SWEDEN (27 TH AUGUST TH JANUARY 2015) UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED SCIENCES BIBERACH MORITZ REIBER

2 Table of content Preparation... 2 Sweden & Gävle... 3 University... 6 Studies... 7 Review... 9 Moritz Reiber Final report 1

3 Preparation Actually my preparations did start really late before my exchange to Sweden. I was even quite lucky that I was still able to go to Sweden. The reason therefore was that I wasn t self-confident with my English skills. In the first semesters I heard of the additional study program Bachelor Internationale but in my opinion it wasn t the right thing for me. Then the fourth semester began and I was thinking about an internship abroad. In the first place I was thinking about going to Washington but I was too late. After that I was thinking about the Scandinavian countries because I did a Swedish course in my second semester. Nevertheless I was not really sure if I can manage it with my language skills. After that we had a summer school where four American students came to our University in Biberach. I spent a lot of time with them and we made several activities. After this short week I was sure: I have to study abroad! These four guys showed me that my English is good enough to do it. So I went to the offices in my University to ask if it is still possible to study abroad. It was clear that it is difficult to get a study place for the winter semester in Sweden. I had to consider as well if it is an option for me to do at first my internship and afterwards my study semester. But fortunately it was still possible to go to Gävle for the winter semester. Afterwards I had to hand in all my documents after a few days and choose my courses for Sweden as well. But it worked well because Mrs. Huber and Mrs. Nießen told me what I have to do and helped me wherever they could. I also was in tough with some older students who did the same program before. They gave me their impressions of their experiences and helpful hints for the studies, the internship and the accommodation in Sweden and especially in Gävle. It was necessary to reach 20 Credit-Points during the semester in Sweden. I decided to occupy four courses to reach more than 20 CP. The Semester in Sweden starts earlier than in Germany and therefore I planned my trip up to Sweden for the week after the last study week in Biberach. My parents decided to drive with me to Gävle to see my new place for the next eleven month and to make as well a trip through Sweden afterwards. So I was ready for almost a whole year in Sweden with all new experiences, which were waiting for me. Moritz Reiber Final report 2

4 Sweden & Gävle Sweden has around 9.5 million inhabitants. This is around 12% of the amount of people in Germany although the area of Sweden is 25% larger than Germany. Most of them live in the southern part of Sweden and in and around Stockholm. I lived in Gävle, a town placed almost 200km northern of Stockholm. Geographical is it in the middle of Sweden but real Swedes think about Gävle as a city in the north. For them, all places northern of Stockholm are the north of Sweden. If you think about Sweden, I think the most people have the same thoughts. The main ones of them are the lakes, the typical red houses, the blond pretty Swedes, reindeers and snow, the green beautiful countryside and some other things like the darkness. I arrived in the end of August in Sweden and it was great weather. It was perfect to discover the countryside of Sweden, which is just amazing with all the red lonely houses in the beautiful green. You find the red houses mostly outside the cities. Most of them have a flag pole with a Swedish flag. Actually you see quite often the Swedish flag, what is a part of the Swedish charm for me. In my opinion the people of Sweden are really polite in every situation. They always try to help you and they stand always in the queue. Often they pick a number at the counter or stand in a line for the bus with no hurry. And if it takes a while nobody says anything or looks upset. The only difficult part about Swedish people is that it is not that easy to speak Swedish with them. If they know you or figure out that you are not Swedish they start to speak English. Of course it is actually a good thing that everybody, the older generations as well, speak good English. But if you want to learn the language, it is difficult. Only my Swedish roommate spoke some Swedish with me because she knew I tried to learn the language for the internship. And yes, many Swedish guys and girls are quite good looking. For the accommodation in Gävle you find a homepage of Gävlegårdana. They have a lot of flats and shared rooms for students and all other people. One this homepage I found a shared Moritz Reiber Final report 3

5 student flat with two other unknown people. It appeared that I got a German guy and a Swedish girl as roommates. Both are really friendly and we often did activities together like to have dinner and doing trips through Sweden. Gävle itself is a small city with around inhabitants and it was once the capitol of Sweden. It is by the sea and has a huge harbour and as well industry in this area. The main symbol of Gävle is the Gävlebocken. It is a big goat out of straw and during December you can see it in the city. Also small models of plastic and stone are located in the whole city. A river flows through the city with a lot green areas by its side. Gävle has many parks as well, which are lighting green and just beautiful during the summer. In the centre of Gävle is the main street with a lot of stores, restaurants and the city hall. You can also visit the old town nearby the city centre. The old town includes just a few streets with small houses and nice Moritz Reiber Final report 4

6 backyard gardens. If you are walking through this streets or sitting in the small idyllic café you can forget, that you are actually in the middle of a normal bigger city. Moritz Reiber Final report 5

7 University The university consists of various buildings used by the Swedish infantry since 1909 until After this time the university's new campus was inaugurated in In 2006 an addition was made to the campus in form of a new library. The university is official called Högskolan i Gävle and has approximately students and more than 50 study programs. Compared to the University in Biberach it is much bigger. But the Högskolan i Gävle is separated well and has a good charm what makes it to a nice university. For me it did not take long to get to know the structure of the bulidings and could orientate myself quite quick. The studies started with the introduction week, which was just awesome. On the one hand you meet all the exchange students. All students of the different countries come together and you get really easy in touch with each other. The one small problem is that smaller groups are often from same nations. I guess the reason for that is the laziness to speak a foreign language. One the other hand the program during these days was the reason for it. At first you learned things about the university and you got all the important information you need to know. After that the introduction games started all over the city. You had to pass challenges with your group to reach points for the group. You had the chance to make the same program as the Swedes just a little bit shorter. It was a lot of fun! Moritz Reiber Final report 6

8 Studies In Sweden the semester is split into two parts. After each part you have final exams and/or presentations. For this reason you choose in advance courses for each of both parts and sign in on the internet platform of the university. The most courses have 7.5 credit points and so I needed in both parts two courses to reach the 30 CP. In the first part I applied to 3 courses. This was exhausting in the beginning because one of them only took place in the first weeks. Because I attended in the first part of the semester three courses I had for the second part just one left. Consequently the second part was much more relaxed. The English courses were not just for the exchange students. Also Swedes could join them but actually there were almost no Swedes in my courses. Alpine Ecology: This course was recommended to attend for exchange students to learn things about Sweden and the Swedish nature. It was a biology course about the Swedish nature in form of the climate zones in Sweden, the plant cover and other stuff. Around 30 people took this course out of 15 different nations what was just incredible. The main part of the course was the field trip. We went to a cottage in Lofsdalen for one week. From there we went every day on a hike and slept in a tent for two nights as well. During the hikes we had several assignments about the nature. Some of the assignments had to be presented to the whole group. After this trip we had an exam about the things we learned in class but also during the field trip. It is the perfect course for all exchange students who are interested in Sweden and, of course, in meeting other Exchange students. Moritz Reiber Final report 7

9 Sustainable Energy Systems: In this course we learned more things about sustainable energy system as the name says. In the beginning we repeated some stuff which I already learned. But this was the perfect opportunity to get used to lectures in English. We had two lectures a week and two excursions to a power plant with wood and to a wind turbine energy plant. During the course we had several home assignments to learn the stuff of the lectures immediately at home and on our own. Afterwards we take an exam. Some of the exercises of assignments were part of the exam too. Swedish level 1: This course aims to provide knowledge of the Swedish language. In the first level we learned of course just the basics like how to introduce yourself or how to count. The teacher was really euphoric what came across to us students. Mostly we had to do some exercises at home and prepare small presentations for practice. To pass the Swedish course you had to pass a presentation and take a graded exam. Swedish level 2: In the second level the language during the lectures was only Swedish. For this reason all question had to be in Swedish. This and following the lecture was sometimes not that easy but of course, it improved my Swedish a lot. For the grade we took a small exam during one lecture, had a big presentation and a home assignment. After this course I felt ready for the basic Swedish life. It was enough to come along and get all you need, but of course you could not understand everything. Moritz Reiber Final report 8

10 Review Before I went to Sweden I did not know what was expecting me. I was not sure if my English skills are good enough and I did not know how it feels like in a different country with just unknown people. Also it was the first time that I left home and live on my own. So I had a lot of questions how it would be in Sweden. Afterwards I have to say it was the best decision I could have make. In the beginning the studies were hard but you got used to it. I knew only one person in advance but it was no problem at all. It was the best opportunity to become friends with a lot of people of many different countries. I would recommend to live in a shared flat, too. It was such a nice experience to live for your one but also have people around you to get in contact with making dinner. The district of Gävle where I lived was maybe not the most beautiful one but for me it was just perfect because all the exchange students lived there close together. For this reason I met them all the time and I was able to drop by every time spontaneously. Another part of the first half year in Sweden were the trips through Sweden and Scandinavia. In the beginning I had the field trip from the university course. On this trip I discovered the beautiful Swedish country and I got to know many good friends. Until I went in December with 15 friends up to Kiruna I did several small trips to other cities near Gävle like Stockholm. In Kiruna it was really cold and we had a lot of snow. Also the snowmobile tour and the dog sledge tour were amazing. This tour with my best friends in Sweden is still one of the biggest memories I have. In January after the semester I went with two friends from Sweden on an Interrail tour through Scandinavia. We visited Oslo, Bergen, Gothenburg, Malmö and Copenhagen. The only tiny bad thing about this trip was the bad weather in January. Moritz Reiber Final report 9

11 After all I can say it would have been my biggest mistake if I had missed the opportunity to take part at the international study model. The half year studying in Sweden and also the Internship afterwards were an amazing experience which I never want to miss. Moritz Reiber Final report 10

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