Study Abroad Report –ISEP – STEFANUS NAUKUSHU-2016
It was by a chance encounter that I got introduced to the study abroad office: I happened to have been in the internationalization building waiting to see somebody else when I saw the office with the catchy words ‘Study Abroad’. After a useful exchange of information from the study abroad office, I was given application forms and was recommended to partake in the International Student’s Exchange Program (ISEP), which I did. I had an option of three universities to which to apply and was accepted by University West in Sweden. On completion of all legal documentation and compliance with the embassies’ instructions, on 25 August 2015 I departed for Sweden on a five-and-a-half or semester long study exchange.
Sweden and University West
On 31st September the academic year at University West commenced and was preceded by an orientation program and official welcoming to the university and its facilities. There were representatives from the city of Trollhattan, where the university is based, who shared information on how to integrate into the local lifestyle. The course structure was one interesting aspect in that out of your total modules, you are allowed to take only a maximum of two modules at a time. What that means is that, you would attend only a specific module for a period of time, usually a month, take the necessary assessments and then move on to the next module for the following month. I personally regard this approach as practical way to organize lectures because it allows student to concentrate all their energy and focus on one, maximum two, modules at a time. The mode of instruction encourages engagement and is centered on student participation. By the time I left Sweden, I experienced rather cold weather conditions which were a pleasant experience.
On my personal observation, the Swedish are generally very reserved and keep to themselves but are warm and friendly once you have given them the platform to express themselves. The Swedish live by a certain word ‘Lagom’ which loosely translates to ‘do everything in moderation’ so they are generally not very excessive in their actions but practice humility as a way of life. There are Swedes who are exceptions of course. Government policies and systems practically dictate the general way of life and strict control of institutions is upheld all in a progressive environment. There was a strong presence of many other nationalities under various student exchange programs at the university and this exposed me to a range of cultures and experiences from other parts of the world.
Besides Sweden, I managed to travel to other parts of Europe which proved to be yet another crucial exposure for me. A few days visit to Copenhagen in Denmark provided the opportunity to experience yet another different Scandinavian culture and way of life. I did not experience the famous ‘white Christmas’ because Edinburgh was going through a snow shortage at the time, although it was cold. My visit to Scotland Edinburgh was another new experience to witness how they celebrate this national holiday and the type of mood one can expect. After Christmas then serious preparations must surely follow for the impending New Year celebrations. So I headed off to London to experience yet another first by seeing how Leicester Square comes to life on New Year’s Eve. London saw off my European tour as I had two weeks remaining before I was to return home. The European experience was great. There was a distinct difference from what I have been used to seeing.
The new things I saw on almost a daily basis during my stay abroad has exposed me to different methods of doing things and efficiency. The relative ease with which one can simplify tasks by automation and having a good data collection system is in place was made apparent to me. Naturally this exposure opens up new opportunities to pursue new ventures inspired my ideas collected while abroad. Efficient communication channels and an organized public transport system enable and facilitate effective operations and flow of information. A vast network of people is one major benefit which I profited from as these individuals now become reference points for me when interacting on a global level. The many more opportunities that will surely follow as a result of the exchange program will further attest to the opportunities created.
Thank you to the office of Internationalization and Study Abroad
Thank you very much to the Office of Internationalization and Study Abroad for this opportunity and exposure and for all your consistent assistance during the entire process and for the new relationships formed.
Keep being awesome!!!
Stefanus Ndeu Naukushu