An exchange that gave perspective to the world
The School of Business, Economics and Law has exchange agreements with approximately 160 partner universities around the world. In the fall of 2019, August Schelin studied at the Universidad del Pacífico in Peru, one of South America's best business schools. In addition to new friends and a sharpened Spanish, it provided a better understanding of South American politics and history - and perspectives on the world.
How was your exchange semester in Peru?
It was fantastic! In addition to Pacífico being an excellent school, it was fun to spend so much time in a completely different culture, in a country with some of the world's most famous sights, best restaurants and very friendly people. Then it is also a really exciting time to be in Peru, and the region overall, because there is so much going on politically and economically. I really appreciated being so close to the course of events. It gives you a completely different understanding and insight into what is happening, especially when we were given the opportunity to analyze it in class.
Tell us about the university!
Universidad del Pacífico is the best business school in Peru and one of the best in South America, which is evident as soon as you set foot on campus. The university has incredibly modern facilities and skilled staff - both professors and administrative staff. The local students sometimes find it hard to cope with the workload, as they are expected to have at least two internships during their final year, in parallel with the studies, but most of them seem quite satisfied with the program as they believe that a degree from Pacífico guarantees top jobs.
How do the studies differ from your studies in Gothenburg?
The most notable is that there are between 10 and 40 people in the classes, and the education is more similar to Swedish upper secondary education than university education in the sense that students are expected to participate actively during lesson time. You study five courses in parallel and write mid-term exams and final exams in November, in addition to continuous assessment in the classroom. The schedule also differs greatly from what it looks like in Sweden. One of my lessons started at 7:30 in the morning, another started at 18:30 and ended at 21:20, due to many professors working in business in addition to their educational assignments, and that students need to be given time for their internships, which are often 30 hours or more per week. An ordinary week I had lessons Tuesday through Friday, averaging 4.5 hours a day.
And how was the student life?
As a former President of the Student Union (HHGS) at the School of Business, Economics and Law, I have a fairly solid benchmark to compare with, and it is clear that Peru does not reach the HHGS level neither in terms of the amount of activities, nor the size of the activities. That being said, Pacífico's equivalent to the student union organizes a lot of trips for the exchange students, both day trips and longer trips. There are also sport teams, volunteer work and organized parties to take part in, so it is absolutely possible to meet and socialize outside the school. During the fall, we were 250 exchange students at Pacífico and I made a lot of friends that I met regularly over dinner, partying and traveling around the country with.
What did you bring home?
On a social level, I brought many new acquaintances and we have already planned trips around Europe so we will see each other again, which is of course fun. Academically, I learned more Spanish, though I already spoke fluently when I came here, and I have gained a better understanding of South American politics and history. However, the most valuable experience has been learning how to live in Peru which, after all, is quite different from Sweden, to be integrated into society and gain more perspective on the world.