“In the third year of every UT bachelor student’s program it is time for the minor. This is a period of half a year where you can basically choose what you want to do. Staying at the UT and studying some High Tech Human Touch courses is an option, or going abroad and basically have holiday for half a year.”
Well, obviously I chose to go for that last option. I chose to go abroad to Scandinavia, namely Sweden. To be a bit more precise, I lived for half a year in Linköping (pronounced as Lin-sjeu-ping). Linköping is located approximately 2.5 hours from Stockholm (for Swedish terms this is quite close). It is a similar city to Enschede in terms of population size and student numbers. The Linköpings Universitet (you couldn’t guess this) is located on a campus near the outskirts of the city and a great place to study for a few months. I followed a few computer science courses, a nanotechnology course, a course on power grids and I learned Swedish. This was of course really handy to communicate a bit more with the locals, beautiful Swedish blond girls and some Swedish housemates. For passing the Swedish course I also received 7.5 credits, which was a nice addition!
I lived in a student corridor with 9 other students, each having theirown room with a bathroom and I shared the kitchen and living room. This was quite new to me, since I’m still living at my parents place in the Netherlands, because I live close to Enschede. Thus, a lot of ‘normal’ things, like cooking, laundry and cleaning were new to me. This however is something you get used to quite quickly and was good for my personal development…studying abroad has so many advantages. The other students in my house were a few Swedes and other international students. They were really nice and we had a great time, having parties in the house, drinking beer together and cooking together. The beer however was quite expensive. The alcohol consumption in Sweden is completely regulated by the government, since the only shop where you can buy alcohol is a shop from the government itself and it’s not cheap. Luckily, my parents brought some delicious Grolsch beers, so that was no problem for me most of the time.
Studying abroad doesn’t just consists out of studying and staying in Linköping. I have always heard that Sweden has beautiful nature and really wanted to see that myself. The international student association of the university organised a trip to Lapland. Lapland is an area above the arctic circle in the north of Norway, Sweden and Finland. We were with a group of 40 students and we had an amazing time. We slept in small cabins, drank beer around a fire while the temperature was -15 outside, enjoyed a sauna on top of a frozen lake and cooled down in the ice cold water of the lake. We also did dog sledding with really cute huskies and visited a beautiful national park close to the border of Norway. Finally, I even saw the aurora (northern lights) and it was such an unforgettable experience. I did a lot more different trips, like visiting the capital of Sweden, Stockholm and other cities near Linköping. These trips most of the time started with a ‘fika’ in the morning and some sightseeing in the afternoon. If you were wondering what ‘fika’ is, there is no direct translation to English, but it’s basically a Swedish word for having a break with a coffee and something sweet. I liked this Swedish tradition and it was fun having a fika with the other Dutchies and Swedes in town every now and then.
I would really recommended doing your minor abroad, since it’s such a great experience. You get to learn about yourself, live in a different culture, get to know a lot of different international students and other awesome people. It was such a fun time and if you get the change just do it!