Nicola, from Scotland, travelled to Orebro in Sweden for a year as part of the Erasmus+ Programme. She is studying International Business Management in the School of Social Sciences. Nicola is based at the Edinburgh Campus.
What were the highlights from your global student experience?
There are many highlights of my Erasmus+ year including making lifelong friends, expanding life experience and experiencing a different kind of education. But one of the best highlights of my year abroad has to be the travelling opportunities it provided me with. Over the year I managed to visit many countries within Europe including Denmark, Norway, Belgium, France, Estonia, Poland and Budapest. I also had the opportunity to visit Lapland in the north of Sweden where we got to experience the northern lights, dog sledging, snow mobiles and a visit to the ice hotel and the local Sami-families which were all incredible.
Was there anything that you found challenging about studying in your exchange country?
I expected the language barrier to be my biggest challenge as I didn't know any Swedish, however, everyone in Sweden speaks excellent English. This made it challenging to learn any Swedish - as soon as someone realises you aren't Swedish they automatically change to English as they love to speak and practice it. The other challenge I found while studying abroad was leaving at the end of the year to come home. I'd had such a great experience there and didn't want it to end!
How do you think being a global student will benefit you in your career after university?
I think studying abroad gave me an increased understanding of my own cultural values and biases which gave me a whole new perspective on different cultures. It changed the way I view different things and made me more open to knowledge and learning. My Erasmus+ exchange gave me the opportunity to make connections and networks all over the world. It has also made me more adaptable to situations in an international setting which will be an important factor when searching for any international jobs.
Do you keep in touch with anyone that you met during your exchange?
My experience in Sweden gave me the opportunity to make many life-long friends. There were over 150 exchange students from around the world studying at the same time as I was. In the four months since I have been home I have already been to Prague and back to Sweden to visit friends and have future trips planned to Amsterdam and then Australia to meet up with friends over the coming year. Making friends from around the world has given me ever-lasting travel opportunities!