Students

Interviews with the Erasmus Ambassadors

Are you considering spending time abroad as an exchange student? Would you like to know what it is like to go on exchange within the Erasmus programme?

Here you can meet our Erasmus Ambassadors and hear what life was like for them as Erasmus students.

If you have any questions you are always welcome to contact the International Office by sending an email to: mobility@uu.se.

Axel Johansson

1. What’s your name, how old are you and what are you studying?
Axel Johansson, 26 years old, Master Programme in Sociotechnical Systems Engineering.

2. Where did you go during your exchange and why did you choose that university and city/country?
Polytech Marseille, France. I wanted to improve my French and learn more about French culture. To get to know students from all over Europe in French was also a valuable lesson. Marseille also offers quite a few hours of sunshine, which was a big plus!

3. What was the reason you wanted to go on an exchange?
I wanted to gain experience that I can’t get in Sweden. For example to study technical courses at a French school of engineering, where the language as well as the perception of learning is different.

4. What do you think you have learned during your exchange, that you probably would not have learned had you not gone (academically or personally)?
I have gained quite a lot of insight into the differences between working as and studying to become an engineer in France compared to Sweden. Personally I have improved my French and got to know lots of wonderful people from several countries. It was a year that enriched my life in a fantastic way!

5. Do you think your exchange can be useful for you in your future working life? In what way?
The experience alone, living in a different culture, can be useful for me in the future, both personally and professionally. To have lived, cooked, partied, discussed politics and talked about feelings with people from other countries in a different language has really expanded my view of what I can do in the future. If I want to work and live abroad, I can do that, and I know that now!

6. With the experience you now have, is there anything you would have done differently?
I would have tried to find out more about how the school system works, to avoid misunderstandings and feeling lost during the first two weeks.

7. What would you want to say to students thinking about going?
Talk as much as you can to others who have been on an exchange, regardless of where they went! Most of the students who have been on an exchange are happy to share their experiences, for example in the Facebook group UU Erasmus!

Erika Holmberg

1. What’s your name, how old are you and what are you studying?
My name is Erika Holmberg and I am 22 years old. I am studying my fifth semester of the Bachelor Programme in Political Science and have chosen political science as my major.

2. Where did you go during your exchange and why did you choose that university and city/country?
I chose to go to Turkey and study at Bilgi University in Istanbul. I can’t really tell you why I chose Istanbul. I just had a desire to experience something completely new, in a country I had never visited before. As a future political scientist I was also interested in the political situation of the country.

3. What was the reason you wanted to go on an exchange?
I went on an exchange partly because I wanted to improve my English. Also, a lot of employers think that exchange studies are an advantage in job applications. But the main reason for me going was that I wanted to challenge myself, experience another culture and meet new, exciting people.

4. What do you think you have learned during your exchange, that you probably would not have learned had you not gone (academically or personally)?
The people, culture and challenges I met in Turkey helped me to develop at a personal level. I have learned to see things from a different perspective. During this period I also became braver and more independent. Now I can face new challenges with a greater confidence than before! Academically I got to study politics from a perspective that was rather different to Sweden. What they focused on was sometimes poles apart, which was both very interesting and instructive!

5. Do you think your exchange can be useful for you in your future working life? In what way?
I absolutely think my exchange will be useful for me in my future career! Apart from the fact that exchange studies are an advantage when applying for jobs, I also believe that I have developed skills that will be useful in my future career. Being able to take responsibility and show initiative was something I learned as an exchange student, which I think will be useful in my working life.

6. With the experience you now have, is there anything you would have done differently?
I stayed in a dormitory in Istanbul, which was both good and bad. But if I had the chance to go again, I would probably try to rent a room in an apartment instead. It was much cheaper than staying in the dormitory.

7. What would you want to say to students thinking about going?
GO! You will not regret it. I was worried about a lot of things before my exchange that made me have doubts about going. But everything was solved once I got there. It really is a memory for life!

Ingrid Heggli

1. What’s your name, how old are you and what are you studying?
My name is Ingrid Heggli, I’m 25 years old and I’m a student in the Master Programme in English.

2. Where did you go during your exchange and why did you choose that university and city/country?
I went on an exchange to London, to UCL. I had been thinking about doing my Bachelor degree at that university and wanted to grab the opportunity to attend the university during my studies in Sweden.

3. What was the reason you wanted to go on an exchange?
Most of all I wanted to expand my knowledge in my field of study by taking courses at another university and become more flexible in the way I learn. I also wanted to live abroad and be a part of the Erasmus milieu.

4. What do you think you have learned during your exchange, that you probably would not have learned had you not gone (academically or personally)?
I learned a lot academically which I have already had use for at home, but the most important things I brought home were friendships and increased cultural skills.

5. Do you think your exchange can be useful for you in your future working life? In what way?
Yes. It is a merit in itself to have been on an exchange, and I learned a lot about my own way of learn, and that made me better at adjusting to new situations. This will be useful in the future.

6. With the experience you now have, is there anything you would have done differently?
Not really, I am very content with my exchange. Maybe I should have gone on more excursions arranged by my host university, and taken part in more associations.

7. What would you want to say to students thinking about going?
Go! Don’t be discouraged by all the paper work or the thought of going on your own to a different country and university – you won’t regret going.

Olle Wännström

1. What’s your name, how old are you and what are you studying?
My name is Olle Wännström, I’m 24 years old and am enrolled in the Bachelor Programme in Law.

2. Where did you go during your exchange and why did you choose that university and city/country?
I was in Würzburg which is in Bavaria in Germany. I chose Germany because I already knew some German and wanted to become fluent in the language. I also like Germany as a country. Würzburg is the centre of Germany, both geographically and culturally.

3. What was the reason you wanted to go on an exchange?
I had always wanted to go on an exchange. I thought it would be fun and challenging, both academically and personally. It was also a way for me to break up the routines after having studied a couple of years in Uppsala.

4. What do you think you have learned during your exchange, that you probably would not have learned had you not gone (academically or personally)?
One of the goals I had was to be able to take the advanced courses of the Law Programme in German. It truly was a challenge because the legal language is often complicated. The fact that I succeeded gave me a greater belief in my own ability. It was great to discover that I was suddenly discussing complex issues in German, since I had certainly not been on that language level just a couple of months earlier.

5. Do you think your exchange can be useful for you in your future working life? In what way?
I hope so. In Germany I got to know a new legal system, which I think can be useful as a lawyer in Sweden. Now I have a country to compare problems and solutions with. Additionally, there are strong bands between Germany and Sweden, and because of that I think knowing the German language is always useful.

6. With the experience you now have, is there anything you would have done differently?
You don’t have to be afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing, it’s completely necessary when learning a new language and merging with a new culture. You just have to get used to making a fool of yourself. Fellow students, lecturers and people in general are often both kind and helpful.

7. What would you want to say to students thinking about going?
You will never have fewer connections in Sweden that will stop you from going than when you are a student. If you’re thinking about going – go!

Tor Petersson

1. What’s your name, how old are you and what are you studying?
My name is Tor Petersson. I am 27 and a Master student in the Master Programme in Political Science.

2. Where did you go during your exchange and why did you choose that university and city/country?
I was at University of Exeter in England. I chose that particular university for several reasons. Firstly, I wanted to study in an English speaking country so Great Britain was the choice for me. Secondly, I had heard a lot of positive things about University of Exeter. It was also a good choice for me since my department had an exchange agreement with that university.

3. What was the reason you wanted to go on an exchange?
I had never tried living abroad before I went, so I thought it would be a good idea to do so while I’m a student. After I finished my Bachelor dissertation, I decided to apply for Master’s studies. As it happened, I had a semester in between the two study periods during which I had nothing to do. Why not go to another university in Europe, I thought, and that’s what I did!

4. What do you think you have learned during your exchange, that you probably would not have learned had you not gone (academically or personally)?
I gained a lot of academic skills I probably would not have gained at Uppsala University, since there were courses at Exeter that Uppsala doesn’t offer. Additionally, there were teachers with different backgrounds and areas of expertise than what I was used to. I also got a chance to improve my English!

Apart from the academic skills, I got a lot of new experiences that helped me to grow and develop personally. Before I went I wasn’t sure of what I would be able to manage, and to be honest I was quite nervous about going to a new city in another country on my own. It turned out that I managed a lot better than I thought I would, and it made me much more confident! The Erasmus exchange also meant that I developed socially, since I met a lot of new people during my time in Exeter.

5. Do you think your exchange can be useful for you in your future working life? In what way?
Yes, I think so. My employer will realize that I have unique knowledge that other people with the same degree won’t have, and that I am confident in trying new things and am motivated by challenges. Apart from that I think the skills I mention here will make it easier for me professionally, for example by having greater experience in taking responsibility and interacting with my environment.

6. With the experience you now have, is there anything you would have done differently?

I think I would take the opportunity to travel more in the country I went to!

7. What would you want to say to students thinking about going?
Do it! I hesitated a lot before I applied, largely because I was worried about spending such a long time at a place where I didn’t know anybody. But it turned out that it was very easy to get to know other international students, since we’re all in the same boat, and now I have friends from all over Europe and other parts of the world!

Åsa Horgby

1. What’s your name, how old are you and what are you studying?
My name is Åsa Horgby, I’m 24 years old and I’m a student in the Master Programme in Earth Science, specialising in Hydrology/Hydrogeology.

2. Where did you go during your exchange and why did you choose that university and city/country?
Last semester I went on an exchange to Vienna. The fact that I chose Austria was a mere coincidence. I checked out the exchange agreements my department had, and Vienna stuck with me. The university there seemed to have very interesting courses and I had heard that Vienna was a beautiful city.

3. What was the reason you wanted to go on an exchange?
I wanted to try something new and also experience living in a different country. I had heard people tell me how fun it was to go on an exchange, how many nice people you meet and that it’s a good experience to have, both personally and academically.

4. What do you think you have learned during your exchange, that you probably would not have learned had you not gone (academically or personally)?
First of all I learned that it doesn’t have to be stressful and hectic to live in a big city. Instead, I discovered that I loved the big city energy. On an academic level I have gained a completely new view of my field of study. The way it is viewed in Austria, and the way it is taught, differed a lot from what I was used to in Sweden. I feel as though I have learned so incredibly much. Personally I have learned to be calmer and not get worked up when faced with a problem. For example, my study schedule was very chaotic when I first came to Vienna, with overlapping courses and courses that ran back-to-back on opposite sides of town. But everything worked out in a great way. To go on an exchange is partly about going into the unknown and realising that you can handle new situations and problem-solve, which is something I wouldn’t have learned if I had stayed home. Now I feel more ready the next time I have to go into the unknown, when it’s time to start working.

5. Do you think your exchange can be useful for you in your future working life? In what way?
Yes, I think that it will be useful partly because of the increased self-confidence that my exchange has given me, but also because it’s a good qualification to put on my CV. Apart from that it shows that I have experience in living abroad, and am prone to take action and follow through with things.

6. With the experience you now have, is there anything you would have done differently?
In the beginning when I came to Vienna, there were a lot of practical issues to take care of. I had to register as a person living in Austria and as a student at the university, get a bank account, mobile phone account, etc. At the same time I had to do all of that, I had courses every day. So one thing I would have done differently is to arrive a little bit earlier to take care of all practical issues. I would also make sure to not arrive on the weekend since all supermarkets were closed on Sundays…

7. What would you want to say to students thinking about going?
To go on an exchange is a fantastically fun and rewarding experience, and I have never heard of anybody going and then regretting it. So check with your coordinator which semester is suitable to go and start planning in time. If you’re thinking about going, you definitely should do it!

Åsa Horgby

1. What’s your name, how old are you and what are you studying?
My name is Åsa Horgby, I’m 24 years old and I’m a student in the Master Programme in Earth Science, specialising in Hydrology/Hydrogeology.

2. Where did you go during your exchange and why did you choose that university and city/country?
Last semester I went on an exchange to Vienna. The fact that I chose Austria was a mere coincidence. I checked out the exchange agreements my department had, and Vienna stuck with me. The university there seemed to have very interesting courses and I had heard that Vienna was a beautiful city.

3. What was the reason you wanted to go on an exchange?
I wanted to try something new and also experience living in a different country. I had heard people tell me how fun it was to go on an exchange, how many nice people you meet and that it’s a good experience to have, both personally and academically.

4. What do you think you have learned during your exchange, that you probably would not have learned had you not gone (academically or personally)?
First of all I learned that it doesn’t have to be stressful and hectic to live in a big city. Instead, I discovered that I loved the big city energy. On an academic level I have gained a completely new view of my field of study. The way it is viewed in Austria, and the way it is taught, differed a lot from what I was used to in Sweden. I feel as though I have learned so incredibly much. Personally I have learned to be calmer and not get worked up when faced with a problem. For example, my study schedule was very chaotic when I first came to Vienna, with overlapping courses and courses that ran back-to-back on opposite sides of town. But everything worked out in a great way. To go on an exchange is partly about going into the unknown and realising that you can handle new situations and problem-solve, which is something I wouldn’t have learned if I had stayed home. Now I feel more ready the next time I have to go into the unknown, when it’s time to start working.

5. Do you think your exchange can be useful for you in your future working life? In what way?
Yes, I think that it will be useful partly because of the increased self-confidence that my exchange has given me, but also because it’s a good qualification to put on my CV. Apart from that it shows that I have experience in living abroad, and am prone to take action and follow through with things.

6. With the experience you now have, is there anything you would have done differently?
In the beginning when I came to Vienna, there were a lot of practical issues to take care of. I had to register as a person living in Austria and as a student at the university, get a bank account, mobile phone account, etc. At the same time I had to do all of that, I had courses every day. So one thing I would have done differently is to arrive a little bit earlier to take care of all practical issues. I would also make sure to not arrive on the weekend since all supermarkets were closed on Sundays…

7. What would you want to say to students thinking about going?
To go on an exchange is a fantastically fun and rewarding experience, and I have never heard of anybody going and then regretting it. So check with your coordinator which semester is suitable to go and start planning in time. If you’re thinking about going, you definitely should do it!