I arrived in the darkest hours of Sweden at the 18th of January. During this time of the year, the sun usually rises around 10 am. and goes down around 4 o´clock. It was not easy at the beginning to get used to these special conditions but some crucial facts made it simple to cut the darkness out.
First, I spent my time in Sweden at Campus, which was situated approxiamately 1 km away from University. Each student had his or her own cosy flat with its own bathroom, which made living much more comfortable. Moreover, there was one big common kitchen for each floor. I shared my floor with people from all over the world. On many different occasions, we had dinner or lunch together. Everybody offered at least one time special cuisine of his or her country. I can say that the "Wiener Schnitzel" was a highlight for many students.=)
At the beginning, there were a lot of activities that everybody got in contact with each other. Honestly, our hosts did a great job and tried approach everybody to the Swedish culture. There were certain rules which made living easier for us students. Especially when it comes to grocieries. The hosts showed us the most popular and cheapest places for groceries and it helped me a lot to save money.
Due to the fact that we were all living so close together on Campus, people did so many activities even in their meantime. We didn´t even have to use the benefit of social media so often, because we literally saw each other on a daily basis. I guess that especially the campus life made my stay in Sweden so special and unforgettable. Furthermore, the connection between Campus, University and city centre was easy to reach as well. The buses usually go every 10 minutes and it takes you just a few minutes to get easily from A to B.
The University of Karlstad is rather new and modern than other Universities in Sweden. Therefore their slogan "Nobody puts a baby in a corner" replies that fact. During my stay in Sweden i took the courses: "Intercultural communication" and "English for international students". My aim was to improve my english as well as get in touch with many different cultural aspects as possible. It was very interesting to hear about other peoples habit and the traditions in other countries. I guess, this course opened my eyes about the world view and how different people live in other countries. The second course was based on writing papers academically and speaking in front of people.
On my point of view, one of the big advantages of Karlstad University is their big modern library. It has 3 floors and the students spend most of the time to study in the library. You can eat, drink and mingle at the same time. There is just one floor, where you are not allowed to talk. The University tries to get the students together that their learning outcome is much better working in groups than studying alone at home. When i did my assignments, i always did it at the library and there were always teachers you could ask questions.
Another crucial fact, why i liked to spend time in Karlstad was the numerous sports activities at Universities. There were many different activities (football, floorball, badminton,...) you could apply online, even as an exchange student. Furthermore, the universities own gym or the sport activities were the easiest way to get in contact with the Swedish students.
Me and My colleague Phillip Schantl taught for 20 hours in total in the "Engelska skola Karlstad", which is actually an English international school. It was a really nice experience to see the difference about Austrias and Swedish school system. We had the opportunity to teach physical education in different classes. In fact, the learners got taught physically as well as theoretically. I have never seen or heard about teoretical lessons in Austria before. Therefore, our teacher told us the importance that the learners should have at least a little bit of background knowledge about their movements during the lessons.
All-in-all i can say that it has been the best decision to get in another country to study and meet new friends for life. At the end of the semester we made on massive video to show how we have become one big Erasmus family.
our video about an unforgatable semester: LINK!!!!
copyright: Sebastian Knaus, Lucas Culliton
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