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Lara Hastenreiter and Ana Coelho Alvarez

Brazilian Lara and Ana added new values to their study profiles

Lara Hastenreiter and Ana Coelho Alvarez from Brazil have completed a study exchange year at the University of Borås and will return back home many experiences richer, both as students and as individuals.

Lara Hastenreiter could choose between the US and Europe for the exchange studies. She chose the University of Borås in Sweden. Why? One reason was that she had a cousin in Sweden, but the even better reason was that she could study polymer technology here, a subject that she wanted to add to her profile in chemical engineering.

Lara Hastenreiter
 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Studies: Chemical engineering at The Federal University of Espírito Santo, UFES, not far from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Exchange programme: Science without Borders (courses within resource recovery)

Ana Carolina Coelho Alvares
From: São Paulo, Brazil
Studies: Food Engineering at the University of Campinas in São Paulo, UNICAMP, Brazil
Exchange programme: Science without Borders (courses within resource recovery)

Ana Coelho Alvarez chose to study in Sweden to get to a place with less Brazilians. As a food engineer she wanted to complete the food processing circle and not just focus on the process for food production but also the one for food waste.

They both joined the study exchange programme Science without Borders and started their one year of studies outside of Brazil in August 2015 and completed their time here in June 2016. They have followed the courses of the first study year of the Master programme in Resource Recovery at the University of Borås.

What was your first impression when you arrived in Sweden?

Lara: I arrived in the beginning of August 2015 and experienced the end of the Swedish summer. One of the first things I did was going in to the forest. I really love nature and here it is amazing, you can walk in the forest without being afraid.

Ana: The first few days in Borås were really scary, and I almost regret that I came here, but after just a few days I got to know some other students and started liking being here.

What do you think of Borås and the university?

Lara: I just love all of it. At the university you have great computer access, the study system is great as well as the environment.

Ana: The environment feels safer, the public transportation system is better than at home. The classes at the university are smaller. The studies feel easier and it feels more relaxed here. The work load does not differ too much from at home, though. We have access to a library that is twice as big as at my home university and the staff is really supportive.

Lara: The labs here are really great, and so are the teachers, and we have had really interesting study visits to waste recovery plants, the energy production plant and recycling companies.

What do you think about the student life?

Ana and Lara: We join other students to visit cafés, clubs and parks. We also participated at different activities arranged for international students at the University of Borås.

What has been the strangest thing for you about Sweden?

Ana and Lara: That would be that you can only buy alcoholic beverages in the state owned “Systembolaget”. And you do not have 24 hour access to drugstores, they are only open in daytime like the rest of the stores. Also the clubs close very early at night.

What has been the best thing about spending a year in Borås? What experiences will you bring back home?

Lara: I really like the recycling system that you have in Borås, since my city doesn't have anything like it. So that is an experience that I will bring back home. And the “fika”, of course!

Ana: The best things about being in Borås have been all the friends that I have got and activities like canoeing, going to the park, international dinners and of course the “fika”. The sustainable way of life and the using of wastes to produce useful things are experiences that I will bring back home.

Would you recommend other students to come here?

Ana and Lara: Yes, Sweden and Borås is a really nice experience.

What recommendations would you give to other students who want to study here?

Ana and Lara: Have an open mind and prepare for a different climate. There are a few things that are good to know about Swedes, though: they are a bit shy, they are polite and it is important that you are on time to appointments. And count on that you often will be invited to come along to a “fika” – a coffee break with sweet cakes, buns or bisquits.

Will you return to Borås one day?

Lara: Yes, I will! I want to come back to complete the second year of the Master programme in Resource Recovery. And, I also have a Swedish boyfriend!

Student vlog

During her time in Borås Lara has been one of the university student vlogers, where she describes what it is like to be a student in Borås.

Follow the Student vlog

Text and photo: Solveig Klug