The Realities of Studying in Gothenburg

Lydia W., Bachelor of Business / Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
University of Gothenburg, Sweden (Semester 2, 2017)

My time in Gothenburg can be summed up in one word: memorable. The city of Gothenburg is an incredible city, and my little dorm room will always be considered my second home. For any of you who are considering journeying to the wonderful land of Sweden, or the city of Gothenburg, here are some of the things you may wish to know.

Gothenburg’s famous Hagabullen (cinnamon bun)

Studying at the University of Gothenburg

The University of Gothenburg allowed me to experience a completely different style and atmosphere towards learning. The different faculties of the university are spread out around the city of Gothenburg and I was lucky enough to study in several of them, including Handelshögskolan, the School of Business, Economics and Law. All of the buildings are easily accessible by bus, tram or by bike. In regard to learning, Gothenburg was very different to QUT. My subjects included 3 hours lectures and lecture information is not as easily accessible. More emphasis is placed on group work and discussion in lectures. Also, Gothenburg students are lucky enough to have 5 hour exams where food and drink is allowed.

University of Gothenburg buildings

University of Gothenburg buildings

Student Living in Gothenburg

During my time at Gothenburg, I lived in student housing at Helmutsrogatan which provided me with my own dorm room that included both a kitchen and bathroom that were furnished with basic essentials. Also, right next to my housing was a 7-Eleven which was my saviour every day and night. I was a 5 minute tram ride from the centre but could also walk if I felt like it. I was also a 5 minute walk from the main student shared housing area of Olofshöjd which is convenient as most of your friends will probably be living there. For those of you who are sporting fans, my housing was also a 5 minute tram ride from the Ice Hockey stadium, Liseberg Amusement Park and the football stadium.

My student housing

My student housing

The City of Gothenburg

I loved living in Gothenburg and it will always hold a special place in my heart. The city itself is quite small and you can easily walk to most places. Also, Gothenburg has an advanced and easy tram and bus system which makes it so easy to travel around the city. The reason I mention transport is that Gothenburg has so much to offer. You can catch the tram to archipelagos; you can visit the Liseberg Amusement Park; you can discover the many museums and galleries all over the city; you can go to the opera, concerts and trivia nights; you can go hiking up a mountain; or you can even do my personal favourite and go see the Frölunda Indians play ice hockey! There is always something going on in Gothenburg so there are plenty of chances to get out and enjoy yourself!

Highlights

Obviously, living in a different country was a highlight in itself for me. Not only did I develop more confidence in myself and my abilities, but I had the opportunity to discover a completely new culture. I spent most of my time on exchange travelling all over Europe to countries I did not ever think I would explore. My absolute favourite thing about exchange was meeting people from all over the world; I met people from America, Canada, Sudan, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Portugal, Spain, Greece, China, Japan, India, Russia, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Italy, Slovakia… and this isn’t even every country! Also, I was very excited to have my photo taken for the University of Gothenburg magazine; I have no idea what the blurb meant in Swedish, but it definitely was a highlight knowing random Swedish students would see a little Aussie!

Things I Didn’t Expect

As with any experience in life, there are things that you entirely do not expect to happen to you. I did not expect how difficult it would be to be to motivate myself to study whilst exploring another country. I did not expect how much time I would actually spend alone. I did not expect how little interaction I would have with Swedish people, nor did I expect how much interaction I would have with other exchange students.

My Tips and Advice

  • Have an idea of your priorities for exchange and tailor the subjects you choose to that. If your priority is to travel and explore as much as you can (as I did), I recommend doing 2-3 subjects maximum!!
  • Just because you’re on exchange does not mean less is expected of you in regard to assessment – find a balance early on where you can have fun but still pass your subjects!
  • If you have the chance to go to Munich for Oktoberfest, do it!!

Just remember, there will be aspects of your exchange that you hate or that you become really stressed about; get over them! Don’t let them ruin your time on exchange because it will be over too soon!