Hello there! Cajsa Svensson, just returned from her exchange semester in Switzerland
Cajsa Svensson, who did her exchange semester in Bern, Switzerland, recounts her experiences and what she learned.
What made you interested in going on an exchange semester?
Above all, because my program has an international character with the possibility of doing an exchange during the optional semester. I generally like to travel and experience things. When there was an opportunity, it was obvious to me to choose it.
You spent a semester in Bern, Switzerland. Why did you choose that destination in particular?
I hadn't heard of Bern before but thought Switzerland seemed like an interesting country to live in. I wanted to go to a destination where there was a lot to discover and when I looked up information and pictures of Bern it looked like a beautiful old city with an almost unreal blue river flowing through and with a perfect starting point for the Alps. I also got inspiration from other students who had been there through Lnu's Instagram account @Lnuabroad.
What similarities and differences do you see between student life in Sweden and in Switzerland?
Before I came, I had heard that the Swiss would be reserved, just like the image of Scandinavians can be, and it's true, we are more alike than different. I was assigned two Swiss "buddies" through the university who were very open and helpful. I lived in a corridor with other international students from both universities in Bern, which meant that I quickly found friends to hang out with. The international student organization ESN is also very good in Bern, they organise many events and excursions where some highlights were a ski trip, a hiking trip and a visit to a chocolate factory. It was therefore very easy to feel at home, there were always fun things to find.
At the university I attended, Bern University of Applied Sciences, the methodology of the courses was very practical and interactive, which suited me. Academically, the arrangement differed in that all courses were read at the same time with an examination period at the end of the semester.
Is there anything you would do differently now compared to what you knew before the exchange?
It would be not to stress out about the application process. There were many stages and it could sometimes be difficult to understand the differences between different universities and countries and the courses that were options for me. You should not let the process discourage you from going on an exchange, everything will work out as long as you take it step by step and ask one of the International Coordinators if something feels unclear. The support I received from the International Coordinators in Bern was also a security. You felt that they were always there if you needed help.
Why do you think you should go on an exchange?
Traveling and being in a destination for a week is a completely different thing than actually living for a longer period in a completely new city. For example, shopping for food on a normal day and getting to know a new food culture can be an experience in itself. When you're on a trip, you check off most of the sights. I appreciated being able to be part of the local population and take part in the activities that are common there.
From an academic perspective, exchange is a good way to see how university studies differ from the home country. With my exchange, I have been able to take courses with content that I had not been able to experience at Lnu, which I think provides added value.
What will you take with you in life from your semester in Bern?
I take with me the belief in myself and the realisation that I can cope with many different tasks I take on. I have built a network of new people that I will be in contact with from now on. Above all as friends, but also contacts for my career going forward. I bring with me a curiosity of constantly being open to new impressions. After, for example, having tried hiking in the Alps, I now know that it is an interest I will continue with.
Are you a student at the School of Business and Economics who is interested in exchange studies? Contact our international coordinators at email@example.com.