It only felt like yesterday I was at Adelaide Airport saying goodbye to my friends and family but now seven months later I am on my way home after an amazing time away. I studied on exchange for five months at Lund University in Sweden which was one of the best experiences of my life.
Lund University was extremely helpful through out the whole process from prior to leaving Adelaide and the entire time in Sweden. Once I arrived at Lund, the university made it very easy for us to settle in. We were picked up from the train station on a bus and taken to orientation where we got our keys for our room and other important information. Lund is a student town therefore it was very easy to find accommodation with other students.
All exchange students are in the same situation, feeling nervous and also not knowing anyone else. Due to this I found that everyone was extremely open, friendly and wanting to try new things. Being apart of this experience allowed me to meet all sorts of personalities from different cultures and that is what I thought made the trip unique and special.
Being a part of the global learning exchange experience has changed me a lot as a person. I have gained many new life skills which will help me in multiple aspects of life including my career. Through this experience I have learnt to be more confident, independent and organised. As I still live at home, it was a great way to develop as a person due to the need for complete independence. To be able to experience a completely new culture through food, way of life and language was definitely a highlight. The language barrier was not an issue either as they all spoke impeccable English.
Being an Australian it seems so strange that you can board a train or a bus and be in another country in no time. This meant that a lot of exchange students went travelling during the semester as you could often for a few days from university. It is also great because you can travel with your new friends from exchange and make memories that will last a lifetime. I would also recommend taking the time to explore the country you are on exchange in. I spent a few days in Stockholm and Gothenburg in Sweden as well as day trips near Lund, which was beautiful.
My final advice for anyone going or planning to go on exchange would to be open to trying new things and being a part of activities that you would not be inclined to doing back in Adelaide. It is these things that you will not forget and these friendships that last forever. Secondly, be yourself, people are so friendly and approachable that friendships will flower in no time. Finally and most importantly, enjoy the experience and explore your surroundings.