Daisy – Kungliga Tekniska Hogskolan – Sweden
Semester 1, 2023
Bachelor of Design / Bachelor of Urban Development
My first days in Stockholm
At the beginning of 2023 I took on one of the biggest adventures of my life so far. I travelled 32 hours from scorching summer temperatures in Brisbane to negative degrees in Stockholm, Sweden to begin my exchange semester at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. I remember exploring the city on my first day, when suddenly streetlights were turning on as the world turned to night at 2pm! This did NOT help my jetlag at all, and I was in bed at my hostel by 7pm. On move-in and induction day, I remember walking into the main reception not knowing a single person. I was the only student from Brisbane, but after an hour or so I was standing in a group with 14 other Australians from Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide. You really can’t separate us Aussies! However, in the first three weeks, KTH and their student group THS held numerous activities to get us involved in Swedish culture, Stockholm, the university, and making new friends. Some activities included numerous hikes in the surrounding nature, ice-skating, baking nights, scavenger hunts, and karaoke. I met so many incredible people from across the world at these activities and throughout my time at KTH.
Balance my studies and travel
I was fortunate enough to secure accommodation on-campus; a 2-minute walk to my first class of the day. The way KTH structured their semesters was by dividing these into two periods in which your units are split. This meant for 7-8 weeks I would intensively participate in lectures, tutorials, and studios for 2 units at a time. Even though the semester then went for 15 weeks, I found this to be a great way to balance my studies with lots of travel both inside and outside of Sweden! Following the first few weeks of exchange, my flatmate (from Texas) and I spontaneously booked flights to London for a weekend. It’s amazing how much two girls can pack into a weekend away! I still couldn’t believe a completely different country was only 2-hours away. Back home, I would drive 2-hours just to get to Noosa! I was fortunate enough to visit numerous other countries on weekends or consecutive days I didn’t have classes, including Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Denmark. This also meant I had to manage my time effectively and ensure I was staying on top of deadlines, however, as classes equate to a pass/fail back home, this alleviated a lot of pressure and allowed me to take on every opportunity that came my way. This also took the stress off a lot of assessment, and I found the units to be a lot more enjoyable. My classes required A LOT of readings, but these were followed by group discussions and smaller reflection tasks which allowed me to gain insight into perspectives I hadn’t considered. In one class regarding Land and Water Governance for urban planners, we were made up of students from Chile, Argentina, India, France, Sweden, and Australia. This made for some fascinating group discussions as we shared knowledge and experiences from our home countries.
My time abroad provided me with so many lifelong experiences, memories, and friendships. I learnt so much about myself and my studies that I don’t think I would have gained by staying in Brisbane. Learning from other students and their life experiences and perspectives were so valuable. As an urban planning student, being able to visit so many European cities was incredible. One day we’re learning about Vienna – the most ‘liveable’ city for 8 years in a row, and the next day, I’m walking past the Schönbrunn Palace! The freedom exchange gives you is so valuable and once-in-a-lifetime. I am so grateful for this time abroad! Tack så mycket Sverige. Tills nästa gång…
Find out how you can apply for exchange via the QUT Student Exchange website.