Hälsningar från Sverige!
I started my exchange semester in Gothenburg at the end of August and the timing seemed to be perfect – we were lucky enough to do all the sightseeing before the allegedly inevitable rainy season started. So far Sweden has treated me well!
In Gothenburg everything appears to be within walking distance. The university buildings are located in the very heart of the city but so are two football stadiums, an ice stadium, a huge exhibition centre, the biggest amusement park in the Nordic countries…just to name a few examples. There’s nothing impressive in having stadiums and amusement parks, but the fact that they are all located within a 2 kilometre radius without making the city centre congested – well, that’s something. The secret behind that is, in addition to the short distances and plentiful cycle lanes, the well-organized public transportation.
It goes without saying that I haven’t experienced any cultural shock after arriving in Sweden. Gothenburg is in many ways similar to Turku, only a bit bigger with the population of over 500 000 people. Both cities are located on the west coast, by the sea. The nature here, including the archipelago, reminds me of Turku. I can even buy bread made by Fazer when I go to the grocery store! So why choose a country located so near Finland?
The choice I made was, of course, a combination of several factors. Learning the language was an obvious one and so was the course selection offered by Handelshögskolan vid Göteborgs universitet. Not all universities offer courses in logistics or supply chain management, so I was more than happy to find some in Gothenburg. In Sweden it is typical to have a maximum of two courses running at the same time – either one full-time or two part-time courses. On one hand it is useful to focus on one thing at a time, but as it happened to me, I chose a course that turned out to be too easy and was stuck with it for a month. Hopefully my next courses will be a bit more challenging!
When it comes to learning the language, I have already managed to round up a group of people who share the same problem – knowing (almost) all the possible grammatical rules but lacking in confidence to speak. So far we have had dinner and quite a few cups of coffee together while speaking Swedish only. In addition to Finns, some of the group members are immigrants from Asia, some are exchange students from other European countries who have at some point decided to start studying Swedish just for fun. So not only am I practicing Swedish but doing it with a bunch of interesting people from all over the world – that is, of course, one of the best things about studying abroad.
Other than that, Gothenburg is an excellent choice if you want to explore Scandinavia – both Norway and Denmark are just around the corner. In my case, I am actually more familiar with most of the countries located in Central Europe than with those two but that’s about to change during the semester.
I guess cosy would be a good word to describe Gothenburg with its countless cafés and the delicious cinnamon buns they offer. In a way I’m already looking forward to wintertime and the excuse to explore all the cafés when it’s too dark and cold to stay outside. One month down, three to go!
Handelshögskolan vid Göteborgs universitet (Operations & Supply Chain Management, 9/2014-1/2015)