Allvin – University of Gothenburg – Sweden
Semester 1, 2020
Bachelor of Business
15,484km, 30 hours and 3 flights, to travel to one of the coldest countries on the planet and all I can say is, it was worth every second! For any student considering doing an exchange in the Nordic countries, I would seriously recommend Sweden. To help you decide I will be going through my trip highlights, accommodation, what to pack, travel, and costs. Just a side note – I went in January and was supposed to stay for a whole year, but unfortunately due to COVID-19, I had to come back after 3 months.
What to Pack
First, Gothenburg is completely different to Brisbane. You will be in the heart of the city and yet it will not have the same feel as a typical CBD. The obvious factor being the weather; it gets very very cold and if you’re lucky to go in summer you might only need one jumper. With this being said, clothes are your first priority – make sure you get thermals, sweaters, winter jackets, and boots. Your boots especially will be your lifesaver when it comes to travelling and exploring the city. Waterproof boots are ideal as you’re going to be stepping in a few puddles during your stay. Your most important piece of clothing is going to be your winter jacket; I guarantee you are going to be wearing one everywhere you go! I would suggest purchasing this prior to leaving Brisbane, however Sweden certainly has a varied selection so you will not have an issue either way.
As an exchange student, you will have multiple opportunities to socialise and meet the most amazing people. Try to take every opportunity to make friends; after all, they are going to be your family for your time abroad! I was fortunate enough to join a club through one of my friends which led me to travel to Finnish Lapland. The club I joined was the Erasmus Student Network (ESN), which is really popular amongst the European students. ESN provides great opportunities to travel north and to other places, such as Russia. The club also has numerous social activities that they run weekly and are great for meeting new people and making friends! If you’re looking to explore Europe, flights are cheap and there are often discounts to numerous places. There is also the Train system which can take you to the capital, Stockholm.
In Gothenburg you will be given the choice of two main accommodations; Helmutsrogatan and Olofshöjd. Both are great facilities with water and electricity included. Both places also have a ‘free shop’ – make sure you ask around or investigate it; trust me you’ll save a lot of money! Also, make sure to take a Wi-Fi router with you as it is not provided. I got an apartment in Helmutsrogatan which I personally think is better as you get more privacy and your own kitchen, unlike Olofshöjd. However, Helmutsrogatan is approximately $800 AUD, whereas Olofshöjd is quite cheaper. In my opinion, even though I wanted to save money during my exchange experience for travel and other activities, the privacy was well worth the additional expense. Not only was the added privacy great, but everything was within walking distance, which included the convenience store, tram system, and the University of Gothenburg. To further elaborate, it only took me between 5-15 minutes. The ice hockey stadium, Liseberg Amusement Park, and the football stadium is also just a tram ride away.
I honestly loved this place; it has amazing architecture and the city layout makes you feel like you are living in a different era. Some days you will wake up to snow, and others you’ll wake up to a nice beautiful sunny clear day. There are archipelagos (collection of islands) which you can visit by tram, which was convenient. The tram system is similar to our bus system, in the sense that it can get you anywhere you want to go in the city. Swedish people also love their coffee and snacks – look up ‘Fika’ and you will understand. There are amazing parks with seals, deers, penguins, and elk. You can also explore the local museum and nightlife.
Housing: approximately $500-800 AUD a month.
Semester costs for travel, entertainment, food, and other expenses: $10,000-$15,000 depending on personal preferences, interests, goals, and of course if you want to travel to other places in Europe. Sweden is also not the cheapest place to travel to, as the cost of living is on par (if not more than) with Brisbane, so definitely take that into account.
The way they run their semesters in Sweden are different to QUT. If you choose 4 subjects for a semester you will be doing them one-by-one instead of all at once. Personally, I liked it as I only had to focus on 1 subject at a time, so you get a lot of spare time to travel and stress less.