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Rebecca van den Broeck spent an exchange semester at the School

Rebecca van den Broeck is currently studying a MSc programmes in social and economic sciences at University of Antwerp. When she was studying her BSc programme she spent one exchange semester at the School of Business, Economics and Law.

When did you decide to go on an exchange semester?
-I think I already wanted to in my first year when I saw the options my university offered. However it was advised to go in my third year or master’s. So in my second year I started to figure how I could apply, but the idea was already quite persistent early.

How did you prepare for your exchange semester in Gothenburg?
-There is quite some resources about studying in Sweden, which are very helpful, also GU was very helpful and already offered a lot of information. I mostly read about what I needed to do, and when to be perfectly prepared and not be surprised. Also through Facebook groups of the housing and the international students etc.

What is the School like?

-Good, I liked that the classes were small creating a more interactive environment. It was nice the school is big but not that big that you would know no one because there are too many students. There is also a good mix of Swedish and international students, which also creates a nice atmosphere. The professors and teachers were also all very approachable, which I really appreciated.

IntU, organised many events at the beginning. On my day of arrival there was already a meetup, and this made me get to know people directly on the first day.

How was the introduction and the start of your semester here?
-It was really well-organised! I was so happy the student union, IntU, organised many events at the beginning. On my day of arrival there was already a meetup, and this made me get to know people directly on the first day. I hear quite commonly that people going on exchange are afraid that they will not meet any people, but that is not the case due to these activities but also during the courses you can meet a lot of people. Especially because the classes were quite small, it made it very easy to be in contact. There are many international students, which makes a lot of people approachable and open to be in contact. Also I thought the Swedes were so friendly, I felt immediately welcome. Considering everything I needed the know, this was very clearly communicated and that is very nice for someone like me who likes to have a clear planning and information. Questions were answered by the information provided, before I even had the question. So in brief, my start was very good and super exciting.

How was your social life as an exchange student at the School?
-Pretty good! I would describe myself more of an introvert person, but I made many friends and there are so many exchange students you will definitely find some that you like spending time with. Also, there was a lot of things to do in the city, and a lot of travel options, for weekend breaks for example. I had some groups of friends which I did trips with, went to museums, to the archipelago, to the club and the Handelspub, and so much more! It also helped a lot that the English level is very high in Sweden so that a lot of things are very approachable, even if you do not speak Swedish yourself.  Also there were Swedish courses offered for free, which were very popular and I thought this was super nice to learn a little Swedish and being able to use that on a daily basis as well, at the supermarket for example.

 

Gothenburg is definitely a very nice place where you are welcomed with warm hands by the school, the student union and the other students

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Rebecca on a tour to the archipelago

If you could give any tips to future exchange students, what would you share?
-Don’t worry, you will meet people, you will have great adventures wherever you go. But Gothenburg is definitely a very nice place where you are welcomed with warm hands by the school, the student union, the other students and the other international students. It also has a lot to offer, the city life, but also the nature and the archipelago. And very important to note is that it is very well connected with Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm if you want to visit these capitals.
Lastly, be curious to the Swedish culture! There is a lot of information about this through your courses (especially the Swedish course), students, events organised by the university etc. And it gives a very interesting dimension to your exchange which you would not be able to pick up by just travelling to Sweden/Gothenburg.

How would you say you experienced life in Gothenburg?
-Through a thousand fika’s and kanelbullar, through discovering the city, the archipelago. Through eating the right cakes on the right specific days (Kanelbullens dag or Semla)  And by visiting the neighbouring capitals, Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm. And as cherry on the cake, going to Lapland, even though that was not per se my intention at the beginning of my semester, but definitely worth it. Also through a lot of events that are organised by student unions, the university but also from the city itself etc. There was really a lot offered and a lot of possibilities that made it worth it!

Where did you live during your exchange semester?
-I was able to get housing through the universities’ portal, at Olofshöjd. I have heard stories that for some students it was quite difficult, so be on time and be prepared. But also, don’t worry because you will find some place.

How was it to live here and not speak Swedish?
-Very easy! I think the English level is really good for most people living in Gothenburg and other cities. So it was surprisingly easy, also because everyone was very helpful and not annoyed by you talking English. However, in the supermarket it took a while to understand what “jordgubbar” means for example. But that is something you learn by doing or just by asking the staff. Also a lot of information was available in English so that was really helpful.

Your favourite memory from your time as an exchange student?
-There are quite some, but I really liked the weekend when we went with a group of friends on a short weekendbreak to a little house in the archipelago. This was organised very spontaneously and so much fun. We made a sunset walk in the nature reserve, where there was almost no one anymore and from there on the top of a hill of rocks we saw the sunset with a view on the North Sea. That was very beautiful. Another one was in Lappland when were snowed in, and some of us went outside to see if we could see the Northern Lights. However when they came back, the door was frozen and they had climb over our balcony, which was fully filled with snow and it was definitely an experience. And the snowmobile ride in Lappland was very nice! I also loved the Veggie @my place-events that I participated in. In short, many good memories!

During Rebecca's exchange semester in Sweden she travelled to Lappland
During Rebecca's exchange semester in Gothenburg she travelled to Lappland
Rebecca van den Broeck studied an exchange semester at the School of Business, Economics and Law
Rebecca van den Broeck studied an exchange semester at the School of Business, Economics and Law
IntU organised many events during Rebecca's stay in Gothenburg
IntU organised many events during Rebecca's stay in Gothenburg