Wow! It’s been over a month in Sweden and I genuinely can’t believe how quick the time has flown. But many of us hit the ground running looking for opportunities to get involved in our university. I will tell you this has been such an experience; meeting people from all walks of life! When you study abroad with USAC in Växjö, you enroll at Linnaeus University. Today, I am giving you a small rundown of student life here in Växjö and at the University.
Opportunities with Linnaeus University
The Buddy Program
Moving to a new country can be overwhelming. You’re figuring out how public transportation works, doing currency calculations on your phone, then you mix in a desire to learn about your program city’s people, it can all add up. But fortunately, Linnaeus and USAC has a program for international students interested in getting to know a student on campus. As many people may have told you before your time here in Sweden the people may come off as “reserved” or “cold” and this program is exactly what can break these perceptions even before your first week in Sweden!
The Friend Family Project
As a college student, you may already go to school out of state or away from family, but spending time abroad is something unlike any other experience! But that is the very reasons you sign up to study abroad! Studying in a foreign country can make you miss your family in ways you can only experience thousands of miles away. Here on Linnaeus’ Växjö campus, the Friend Family Project is a way to help students integrate. You have the opportunity to be paired with a variety of familial situations including older couples hoping to learn about your culture(s) to new young families who hope to expose their children to more English and diversity.
Although I’ve known my friend family for only a short while this has been one of most meaningful experiences I could’ve asked for. They’ve helped me to consider Växjö like a real home and my friend family, essentially as the name states, is family.
School Visits Program
As an international student, you bring new experiences and stories to an entire nation. That is quite a thought! Local schools see the value of this and work with Linnaeus University students to bring these stories to students ranging from ages 6-19. Depending on the school, you may visit once or twice to represent your country or meet with higher division schools and do presentations of your choice. If you speak a foreign language this could definitely be used to help older students who are learning that language in class. Speaking Spanish, I was able to connect with educators here to start on a project about Mexican stereotypes and culture. The list goes on what you can present, the possibilities are endless!
Clubs and Organizations
Although Swedish is the official language of Sweden there is still a huge amount of the population that speak English. The country is at the top for nations who have English as a Second Language. With that, there are some student organizations you can join without knowing Swedish. These organizations are called Nations. Each Nation corresponds to provinces or regions in Sweden and they typically organize events or activities associated with the region that they represent!
Alongside with nations, there are traditional clubs like Växjö International Students, known as VIS. Students can become members which include special discounts, but taking on a more active role students can join committees such as planning or media.
I’ve only just given a small sampling of Linnaeus campus life, but have no fear, there is something here for those who take the chance. If you come into your study abroad experiences with an open mind, ready to take on something new you will find treasures in every corner.
This post was contributed by Katie Hinojosa is who is currently studying abroad in Växjö, Sweden. All photos in this article were contributed by Katie.