Exchange; the experience of a lifetime

By Esmee Aarts

Esmee Aarts writes about her experiences in Stockholm. She is studying her semester abroad at Stockholm University Business School. Moreover, she extensively  describes all the beautiful  places that Sweden has to offer.

I am doing my exchange at Stockholm University Business School. The reason why I chose to go to Sweden is because I really love Scandinavia. It has got everything; pretty good weather, nice people, beautiful nature and everybody (yes, everybody really means everybody) can speak English. Before I went to Stockholm, I already saw Denmark and pieces of Norway so I had a vague image of what Stockholm could be like. But of course I did not know what to expect when I arrived

When you ask someone what they think about Sweden, the first words they will say are: cold, moose, reindeer and beautiful blond people. There is some truth to this, but not all of it.

Stockholm is a beautiful city that consists out of different islands. The city is divided into fourteen districts, which are spread across the islands. So everywhere you look, there is water. Stockholm is therefore also called ‘Venice of the north’. The only difference is the weather and the width of the canals.

Every part of the campus of Stockholm University is located in nature. Also the Business School is, and it has its own campus called Kräftriket, which is surrounded by water. Everyday it is a blessing to go to the university, so studying becomes something fun. I could choose my own courses, and they offer something interesting for everybody. Business School also has an introduction program of two months with all kinds of activities to get to know the city and your fellow students. The last activity was a ‘booze cruise’ to Turku and back to Stockholm, which was a great end of the introduction program.

In Stockholm you have different kinds of people. First there are the students, who all dress the same. The girls wear a black skinny pants with a black or grey sweater and some ‘Chelsea boots’. Their hair is long and has got the messy beach look. The guys are all wearing basic grey or black pants with a classy white shirt or a sweater. And you have the young parents with their little children. The parents look like they are 25, but in fact they may be older, nobody knows. Here the mothers are at home and the fathers walk with their kids. They are also called ‘latte papa’s’ because they drink trendy latte macchiato while spending time with the kids. One thing that every Swedish person has in common is that they all care about their health and how they look. During the day, all you see is trainings leggings and sport shoes, and in the evening everybody dresses up to go out.

Next to the fact that I am here to study, I am also here to travel a little bit. And this is what I am doing since I arrived in Stockholm. First I went to several little islands by boat, for example Fjäderholmen. This is a little green island with big rocks and small beaches. I also went to Gotland, which is a big island with the nickname ‘Ibiza of Sweden’. This island has every type of nature that you can imagine. Long white beaches, rough rock formations in the sea, big green lands and savannah-like areas. We had a great time in a house that looks like the house of Pippi Longstocking.

I did not only discover beautiful parts of Sweden, I also went to Norway to see Oslo and some villages and nature around it. For example, I went to the oldest town in Norway called Tønsberg. I also travelled by boat to Tallinn, St Petersburg and Helsinki. These three cities are even more amazing than anyone can imagine! There are still some trips coming like Kraków to see Auschwitz. And the last trip of my exchange semester will be to Lapland. Here I will go dogsledding, driving a snow scooter, visit the ice hotel and I will meet people who are member of the Sámi society. And if I am really lucky, maybe I will get to see the northern light.

So, my stay in Stockholm is amazing! Going abroad is something that I can recommend to everybody. You develop yourself as a person and get to meet a lot of people from different cultures. Going on exchange for one semester is the experience of your lifetime!