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Studying abroad can be a daunting task. We asked some of Halmstad University’s foreign exchange students to share their thoughts and perspectives on studying in Halmstad and Sweden. Here, we meet 21-year-old Patrycja Weideman from Poland.
”I really like it in Sweden. I don’t want to go home. I like challenges!” says Patrycja Weideman, 21, laughing. This exchange student from the University of Bielsko-Biała in Poland, who hopes to harness her skill with languages to be a translator one day, explains her choice of Halmstad University.
”I wanted to go to Sweden! I was like, okay, let’s go to Scandinavia – I haven’t been there yet. And it looks better on your CV because I’ve heard that people really value those who have been living abroad for half a year, getting experience. I decided because I wanted to study abroad and live abroad, it was like a perfect combination to come here.”
There are many things she admires about Sweden, such as the general Swedish mindset towards health, as evidenced by the Halmstad University gym.
”You have a really good gym here”, she says. ”Since I came to Sweden, I became a gym addict. I really value that in Sweden, there’s a high pressure on having a healthy lifestyle, doing sports and everything. And alcohol is really expensive, so people aren’t really drinking, so that’s perfect.”
Apart from the gym, she also appreciates how modern everything else in Halmstad University is.
”It’s also different from Poland because everything is more technologically advanced”, she says. ”Like if you go to the library, you do everything on your own. You just go to the desk with the computer and you take the book and that’s it. In Poland, you have to reserve it and stuff. And here – everything is really simple here! I love it.”
Other favourite examples include the student ID, which can be used to enter the school for weekend studying; and the excellent selection of books and reference materials, which she says will help her greatly as she works towards her BA thesis.
As a future translator who has to fully understand the context of whatever industry she is working with at the moment, Patrycja’s Technical Vocabulary class in Poland required her to focus on one particular subject during this study period. She chose marketing as well as additional classes in English and Swedish.
”They’re really good. Veni (marketing professor Venilton Reinert) is a really good teacher, and I’ve never had marketing before so I’m struggling to learn it. But the class is really nice. We have lots of fun. And practical classes as well”, she says.
Her favourite thing about her classes is the fusion of theory and practice.
”Sometimes we have two hours or something like that in the morning of marketing, and then we have the same amount of time in the afternoon. So first we’re discussing some concepts, and then we’re doing the practical class with it, by using some videos that will show the concept that we discussed before in the class. He explains everything, like the definitions and then we are asked to do it in a practical way. Like displaying a video that shows what we have discussed. Practical classes are the best. When the course is really tough for someone, it helps.”
There were a number of things she had to adjust to, of course. There was the realisation that cars here actually do stop for pedestrians.
”And when I went to the shop for the first time, you have those weird cash machines with the coins coming out on your left side. And I was just going, and people were shouting after me, like hey! You have your money here still!” she recalls, laughing. ”In general, all people are so nice here. They are always, I think, willing to help you if you have a question. As much as they can, of course.”
She loves the international flavour this experience has had so far, both literally and figuratively.
”We are all one big international family and we are hanging out with each other in the place where we live. We have a big kitchen with sofas and everything, so we are usually just sitting there all together.”
As a would-be world traveller, Patrycja counts her experience here as one that will distinguish her as a stellar job candidate in the future.
”For sure travelling around the world helps you to be more open-minded, so the employers will see that I can get easily accustomed to particular situations. You’re being put into various situations, so you have to deal with many problems. And taking the marketing course, now I have a bigger field to work from, instead of just being focused on English.”
”It’s really worth it. Going through all those documents and everything. Once you arrive here, it pays back”, she says emphatically. With a final naughty grin, she adds: ”Everything is better-looking here!”