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Alina-Mihaela gets to know the Swedish way of teaching

Alina-Mihaela Stoicesc was looking for an exchange at a good programme and knew the Swedish education system to be one of the best. She felt that she had to experience it and travelled from Romania in the spring of 2015 for an exchange at the School for Library and Information Science.

Alina-Mihaela Stoicescu.What is good about the University in your opinion?

– I love the diversity of the people at the University, the great design of the buildings – especially the library building, and also the staff who always is helpful and friendly. Most of the courses put a lot of emphasis in finding your own solutions to different issues, which I think is really good for our future professions.

How do you find the Swedish way of teaching?

– It is very different from the Romanian way, there are lots of individual study periods and I think focusing on one course at a time improves your results in the end. The Swedish teaching system puts a lot of emphasis on self-expression and personal views, and I find that to be great.

What is the best thing about being an exchange student?

-Probably getting to meet people from different parts of the world, and getting to share amazing memories with them. Getting to live and study in a different country is a great way to discover oneself.  Everything is new and there are some things that are different from your home country, so you really get to step out of your comfort zone.

How do you find the student life in Borås?

– Even though it is not such a big town I think the advantage of a smaller community is that you can meet everyone, and get the chance to be closer to each other. The student organizations do a great job at organizing great events suited for all tastes. And in the rest of the time, there are always things to do, from international dinners to trips to just being together with the other students.

Alina-Mihaela Stoicescu
Age: 20
From: University of Bukarest, Romania
Study programme: Erasmus study exchange programme at the School of Library and Information Science

Do you have any recommendations for students preparing for studies in Sweden and Borås in particular?

– Bring warm clothes, and learn to cook. Swedish restaurants can be expensive, and cooking at home can save you money as well as turn into something fun, like barbecues or international dinners. At the university, it is very helpful to use the resources available to students in order to improve your oral presentations, essays or to get advice about your career. Leave any preconceptions about Sweden at home, and discover the country and the people by yourself. Most importantly, take advantage of the times you do not have courses and go travel and have fun. Think of it as an extended holiday in a new country!

What do you like best about Sweden?

– Their way of making the most out of everything. They have somehow managed at the same time to appreciate nature and keep their culture alive while having a knack for great design and being very open to change. I should also mention “fika”, ABBA and coffee, the three things that have made me survive exam times.

What is your impression of the Swedish people?

– I heard Swedes being described as cold people, but I don’t think it is necessarily true. I think they are more relaxed and organized than other nationalities, and you have to respect this in order to get them to open up. Outgoing Swedes are not a myth in my experience. The first day I was here, the bus driver started giving me a tour of the city, pointing out all the nice places in town and such. The most awesome welcome ever!

Fika: Swedish word describing a shorter get-together with coffee and most often something small to eat, like a pastry or a sandwich. It is Swedish tradition to have these at least two times a day, at 10 a.m. and at 2 p.m. Similar to coffee-breaks.