As you already know this is my second time in Gothenburg, the first one I came here for six months as an exchange student. Shortly after I went back to Bolivia I surprised my family and friends telling them that I decided that I want to go back to Gothenburg. ‘Why?’ was the question (actually it was more like: ‘what the hell? You just came back!!), but as I always say once you know Gothenburg you will always want to come back.
The first time that I came here the coordinator of my Bolivian scholarship gave me a book called ‘This is Sweden’. This book had some facts about Sweden like the nature, the rain, the food and the midsummer (tradition that is celebrated every June in Sweden).
So based in that book I was waiting for lots of blond people with flower crowns in their heads and mooses living in harmony with them, ( I had my stereotypes too 😉 ).
But what can I say, coming here and learn was the best thing that happened in my life. I enjoyed it so much the places, the people, the culture, the trips and the everyday surprises that the city gave me. In short I can say that Gothenburg is perfect for a student’s life experience.
Of course it was rational for me to come back after the amazing time that I had here, but what about the other options? I mean you can always choose and re choose the place where you will spend a part of your youth.
Ok, I wanted to go abroad again but there was a process to follow, so imagine me with a big cup of tea, a sandwich, pen and paper, and my nerdy glasses every day browsing cities, countries, universities and programmes. I came to Gothenburg before but believe me I was more lost than an olive in a birthday cake in the whole searching procedure.
I think that once you have your mind clear about the field in that you want to study everything becomes easier and easier.
The country that you are planning to go has to match more or less the needs that you have, but don’t forget that you have to challenge yourself a bit too, if there’s something that seems to be a cultural shock give it a chance! You won’t regret ;). For example I challenge myself to change the 14 degrees ‘summer’ of Bolivia for coming to a -14 degrees winter in Sweden, it came to be that I really like snow! I didn’t know it until I live it!
Don’t be scared about the language, actually take it as an opportunity to learn something new. Before coming I knew that in Sweden they speak Swedish so I browse the language and believe me I learned two words and I thought I was hopeless but once here you’ll see that is way more easy and almost natural to learn it!
Lastly, I know they are good, bad and funny stereotypes of all around the world, but don’t rely in these, on the contrary why you don’t discover it if is true or not by living it?
Yes, I UNDERSTAND YOU, sometimes is scary, and really nerve racking all this process of selection, but the world is big, beautiful and waiting for you to discover it.
Some advices about the process of election of courses and programmes:
- Give it time: If it’s possible try to get some time every day and write down everything that you find.
- Do it the old way!: Take paper and pen and write, draw and highlight every step that you make concerning the application.
- The time flies!: Indeed the time flies so if the application’s deadline is on February I suggest you to start browsing and preparing your documents from October, this means that in the following months you have to already been taken a decision about which programme and university you want to attend and prepare the documents for it. Don’t forget that sometimes getting documents can take days or weeks!, so if you need for example a certified copy of a degree do it having in mind that you might have to wait for it, don’t worry because if you prepare yourself ahead of time you will success for sure!
- Patience and patience: All the time and effort that you will give will be rewarded.
I know it will take time to take the right decision about which place do you wanna go, and what programme you want to attend, and believe me sometimes you will change your mind from one day to another!. But give it time, think and rethink, rely in your family and friends and mostly enjoy the experience!