Contact of the university:
651 88 Karlstad
054-700 10 00
If you have questions about your exchange or if you need course informations.
When you arrive at Karlstad this will be the first place you see at Karlstad university. It is located near the main entrance and you get every information you need.
Phone: 054-700 10 00
Opening hours: monday - friday 8.00 - 15.30
Erasmus Offics + coordinator:
Phone: +46 (0)54 700 10 33
Carina Eriksson, International Coordinator
Phone: +46 (0)54 700 21 51
Candida Skinner, International Coordinator
Phone: +46 (0)54 700 18 63
The International Office
If you need help with your accomodation or courses you can always contact the international office for informations
Phone: 0046 (0)54 700 10 33
Opening hours: Monday and Wednesday 13.00 - 14.30
A short overview about the history
Karlstad university is one of the youngest unervisities in Sweden. It was founded in 1977 when it still was an university college. It granted the university status in 1999 by the government of Sweden. At the moment there are about 40 training programmes, 30 programme extensions and 900 coursrs within humanities, social studies, science, technology, teaching, health care and arts. The university grew very fast when in 2009 there were 7750 students, in 2015 already 16000.
For more informations about the history of Karlstad Universitet visit:
General information about Karlstad and the Karlstad university
Karlstad is a pretty small city in the south-middle in Sweden. It is located in the north of the Vänern (3rd biggest Lake in Europe) and there are many "beaches" you can got to swim and hang out with a very nice view over the lake.
With about 70 000 people living in karlstad, it is ranked as the 17th biggest city in Sweden. The city is quite small and has some nice places where you can rest and you can walk around seeing some rivers and the beatiful landscape of Sweden.
Arrival and first weeks in Karlstad
I went by car to karlstad with Paul Neumeister, who was going to study abroad in Oslo. He had to be at his university at the 8th of January, so we started our trip at the 2nd of January, because we wanted to make some stops and wanted to drive stressless. We made stops in Hamburg, Malmö and Karlstad.
Because of that I arrived in Karlstad very early. It was the 5th of January and it was in the deepest winter weeks. There were about -15° C and it was a shock coming from the warm Austria. I was the first one of all exchange students who arrived for the spring semester. This early arriving included some Problems, because I did not get my accomodation until the 11th of january. Fortunately all the exchange students were divided in in total 8 groups with about 15 students and 3 hosts in each group. So I knew exactly who I had to contact and it was no problem to find a room for those days. The first two days I slept in the flat of one of the organisators of IESK, the organisation that organized many events as well as trips to Lapland and Russia. One day I slept in a common kitchen, which was very funny when suddenly a girl came in at 3am and was shocked, because she did not expect someone to be there. The positive thing about coming that early was that i got to know many of the old exchange students, who gave me very good insider tips.
At first I have to say you have many options which course you take. We had to choose out of about 40 courses in English. The system at the university is different to the one in Austria. The semester is divided in 2 Parts, which change at the half of the semester. In total we had to earn 30 ECTS, which courses we take, did not matter. So i took:
Swedish as a Foreign Language
This was actually the only course we had to attend. We had the course 2 times a week for one and a half hour each. I chose the course, because I wanted to learn the swedish language, at least the standard sentences and I wanted to talk to swedish people as well. It was a strange feeling the first lessons, when we were sitting in the course just trying to pronounce swedish words. But after some training lessons it was a lot easier to do it right. We had 3 examinations. A listening comprehension, an oral exam and a written exam. At the end you have basic knowledge of the language and I could already read most of the things i saw.
Aspects of Sweden
This course took just 4 weeks and it was about Religion, Politics and History. One week for each topic. At the end we had to write an assignment for all of the topics, one for each. It was kind of hard, because there was not a lot of time, espacially at the beginning. It took me about three days writing for every topic.
English for international students
The whole second part of the semester was about this course. We had lessons once a week for 2 and a half hours. We also had to write an essay every week, which was sometimes very easy and at the end very hard and very specific. We learned how to write an essay, how to pronounce the words in english correctly and how you improve your presentation skills. At the end we had to finish 2 big essays and we had a powerpoint presentation.
To summarize I have to say that you have enough time to spend with friends and travel around, because most of the students in those courses are exchange students and the teachers already know that you travel a lot and that you want to enjoy your erasmus life, so they understand if you skip a lesson.
Most things in Sweden are a little bit more expensive than in Austria. But you can save money easily if you know where to go. There are 3 types of grocery stores in Sweden. One is called Willy´s which is the cheapest and comparable with Hofer and there is also a Lidl in Sweden which is also very cheap (With cheap I mean pretty the same as in Austria). Those stores are quite big but you have to travel some time. Then there are stores like Billa and Spar, they are a bit more expensive and then there are small shops that are very expensive. In front of campus is one of those stores, but you should avoid going there.
At the start you get the Money from the Erasmus programme. It is about 2000 Euro, which you already need for your room. I had to pay my room in advance, so I spent that money for the room. In Austria I worked for 20 hours and there was a possibilty to take a break for Education reasons and I got money from the AMS. It was 450 Euro per month. Then i got 100 Euro from my parents as well.
So all in all I had about 550 Euros each month to live with. Actually it was enough but there were many trips we did. So I recommend having money on the side if you do an exchange semester.
My life in Sweden and Karlstad
As I already said, I arrived at the 5th of January in the deepest winter with about -15° C and about 3 hours of sun. Yeah, that was really cold but the landscape is really beautiful when you see the snow everywhere. Espacially in the first weeks there were many partys and a lot of events to get to know each other. So, you have to be very "trinkfest" as I would say in german.
The university was outside of the city centre. It took 15 minutes by bus to go to the center. About 5 minutes away by foot from the university was the campus, where all erasmus students and also some swedish studends lived. There were 6 houses with 2 or 3 floors and about 10 rooms each floor. In the middle of the campus was kind of a forrest with a barbeque inside. When it started to get warmer there were many days we met there and had some drinks and food. Because the 6 houses were very close to each other, you always had contact to the other students and you got to know them very easily. On a regular day you always met your floormates in the common kitchen.
What will be in my mind for the longest time will be the awesome trips. For example Lapland, where we had to take a 23 hours bus ride to the north of Sweden and Norway. We spent 3 amazing days there with the highlight seeing the northern lights.
We organized a trip to Iceland as well. We rent 2 big cars (6 people each) and drove through the country. The special thing about iceland is, you are allowed to camp everywhere. There were also trips to Russia, Estonia, Finland, Norway and Denmark. So, you will see a lot of different countries and cultures.
Review of school practice
For the school practice, we had to do the same amount of hours as in the PHST. We were at the english international school in karlstad. We got the contact informations from the international office at the university. The children were in the age of 10 - 16 and in the first 3 days we were just observing the subject physical education. The system is different to the system in Austria. They also have a theoretical part, what I think is very good and informative and the students know, why they should make sport and why it is so important. At the fourth day we had the chance to teach. One of the teacher gave us the topic of the lesson and we had to explain some games for the students there. Then we had to keep the class under control, which is quite hard at the beginning, because there are 30 students for one teacher, which is also different to austrian classes.
In total it was a very nice experience and I do not want to miss a thing.
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