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Viktoria is learning the Swedish tradition of “fika”

Viktora Möller from Germany is doing an exchange in the field of IT at Högskolan i Borås during the spring of 2015. During her visit she is learning new things about Swedish culture and got surprised when she heard how the Swedish students address lecturers - in a way that is considered impolite in her home country.

Viktoria Möller.What was it like moving to another country?

– It was very exciting to move to another country, and it was a mix of happiness and worries. In addition, it was kind of unrealistic. Until I was sitting on the plane I could not imagine that I was going to stay in Sweden for five months, and not only for a holiday. When I went out of the airport there were so many new impressions. Although Sweden is not very different from the German culture there are many differences, for example a foreign language, other architecture of buildings and a foreign currency.

How do you find the student life in Borås?

– Student life in Borås is quite good. Although the population of Borås is low there are some pubs, cafés and shops, in other words there is a lot to do in our free time. Also, the nature is very beautiful and Borås has some lakes and nature areas to hang out at. Moreover, there are sports activities arranged by the student group ESN Borås including for example badminton and volleyball.

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

– It is very important to participate in the introduction week and being member of the student groups, as this is where you find new friends and things to do in your free time. I would recommend to live in one of the student accommodations provided by the university rather than to book a private one, as it is close to all exchange students that are also living in a student house. Do not underestimate the workload of the courses in Sweden – it is always a question of time management.

Viktoria Möller
Age: 25
From: University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Study Programme: Erasmus study exchange programme within the field of IT

What is it like being an exchange student at the University of Borås?

– It means many activities and lots of fun. When I arrived there was an introduction week which was very helpful to get to know other exchange students and to get some information about the procedures at the university.

How do you find the teaching?

– The Swedish way of teaching implies a lot of group work. During a study period students have to do assignments and presentations. Sometimes there is an exam at the end of one period but in the master program written exams are not common. A lecture lasts about three hours, so it is sometimes a bit hard to focus all the time. Usually there are one or two breaks. I found it very funny that the students use the lecturer’s first name when addressing them. In Germany it would be very impolite to do so.

What is your impression of the Swedish people?

– Swedish people are very friendly, but you have to be the one to take the initiative, as they are not so open-minded. Once you have made contact they feel free to talk and laugh a lot. Almost all Swedes love to do “fika”. “Fika” means that you sit together having a cup of coffee and some sweets. Most people speak English and are helpful. Also, they do not like stress. By the way, most of the Swedes fulfill the cliché of being blond and smart-looking as well.