Chloe Mitchell is in the final year of her degree – a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education – birth to 12), in the Faculty of Human Sciences. She flew to Sweden in January 2017 to attend Linköping University, Sweden.
Chloe, pictured above right on a class excursion to the north of Sweden, says that going to Sweden was both a challenge (“brrrr, it was cold”) and yet one of the best experiences of her life. We asked her to tell us what she gained from her six-month exchange.
What was it like going to a uni on the other side of the world?
Going to Sweden to study was so very different from Australia. It was my first time being away from home for so long and changed my life in more ways than one. Having only gone to Vanuatu as the extent of my travel outside of Australia, made moving to the other side of the world for six months a momentous occasion.
How did you think you would cope with the climate?
I had no idea how I would cope being so far away from home in a different climate and culture. The cold weather was definitely a shock, especially coupled with the lack of sunlight. The days felt short and miserable and made shopping for necessities difficult while attempting to navigate an unfamiliar public transport system in the dark.
Did you get homesick?
As much as I missed my family, friends and lifestyle back home, Sweden quickly became my second home. Although the Swedes themselves were quite shy and conservative during the first Winter months I was there, the other international students were friendly and helped me settle in and invited me to social gatherings.
How did you make friends?
Once semester started, I made friends quickly with other students in my class and developed a routine of shopping, travelling, socialising and studying. At first I had no aspirations to travel – living in Sweden seemed a big enough challenge – but the fact that other European countries were so close and cheaper to get to than I had previously thought, meant most weekends I spent my time exploring another country!
What was the most exciting feature of your exchange?
The travel aspect of exchange allowed me to experience more of the world than if I had planned a trip on my own. I got to experience countries that I had never desired to go to, yet that were close to Sweden. This experience of different cultures opened my eyes to the way other people live throughout the world.
What did your Mac Abroad experience teach you about yourself?
This semester exchange in Sweden taught me that I could achieve more than I had previously thought and that, even when put in a completely unfamiliar setting on my own, I could thrive. I learned I could develop friends on the other side of the world – many of whom were from different countries and cultures and who spoke different languages. If nothing else, this makes exchange worth going for!
Macquarie University has over 150 exchange partner universities worldwide. Applications for semester 2, 2018 and July 2018 are open. For more information on learning abroad, visit our website here, attend an information session or contact us at email@example.com.