I have had three months to explore a country which is very similar to my home country Finland. Even though people would say it is almost the same than in Finland… I don’t agree. There are many things that are different in a good and a bad way.
When I left for the exchange, I decided to enjoy my stay in Sweden and also see as much as I can. During the weekends we often travelled to different cities like Norrköping, Copenhagen, Gothenburg, Västerås and Stockholm just to name a few. And those weekends taught us a lot about Sweden as a country and a society. We wanted to experience if there were any differences for example in public transports or customer service compared to Finland.
One of the best parts of my exchange was the first week – the orientation week where I met all the crazy people all over the world. We spent the week together and we formed a temporary family. We were cooking, dancing and partying with our Swedish teacher and learning Swedish habits. We had great tutors too whom introduced us Swedish food and drinks around the country. We were singing the national songs and dancing and just learning what is it to be a Swede.
But when the real studying started I got really tired. Education in Sweden has higher standards and I was studying at a university instead of a school of applied sciences. The studies have actually consisted mainly of practices during this three months.
First practice was in the city of Finspång which is about a one-hour bus journey from the Linköping. Luckily I got a free buss card so the location wasn’t that bad and the practice place was great. Second practice was about five minutes’ bicycle ride from my home so I got a bit more time to sleep too. This practice was the hardest, but I learned so much of it. There I also had many opportunities to choose what I wanted to learn and see. Last practice was in Linköpings university’s hospital student ward. There are only students working and the supervisors are helping us if needed. Last practice really gave a chance to see how far I have become in my studies and to see myself as a physiotherapist. I’m so thankful for all these places and those supervisors for giving me the opportunity to learn and grow as a physio.
We were also participating Linköping’s Medical Students Olympic games with our exchange group. From the first Swedish lesson our group learned a word ”snälla” and that was also our teams name. In this Olympic game there were four different competitions and they tested us in eating, drinking, power and speed. I was involved with two games. First one was eating a candy as fast as I can without using my hands. In the second competition the task was to transport a bottle of water with a tampon on my waist for a 10-meter distance. The latter demanded speed, accuracy and concentration.
Biggest part of my exchange was FOOD. I really love food and Sweden gave me a chance to enjoy it. We were doing many international potlucks and there I had a chance to taste foods from all-over the world, for example sushi from Japan and tortillas from Mexico. Gothenburg gave me the best and the biggest cinnamon buns in my whole life. And if you love meat, I can suggest to have the Swedish meatballs. And of course if you like sweet stuff, Sweden is the place to go. They are having “fika” (drinking coffee and eating pastries) almost all day every day.
There are many possibilities to do and to see sports in Linköping and in the neighboring. There is an ice-hockey team in Linköping and I was really enjoying their big games and that dedication the team and the supporters were showing. Near Linköping you can go to watch basketball. There are also chances to go to watch and play football, handball and other sports. We also had a chance to go to do paintball and laserwar for free, and those I can warmly recommend.
So if you are interested to learn Swedish, to be a part of student happenings and to learn more about your own field of study… I would warmly recommend Sweden and especially Linköping.