Studying abroad: things I've learnt in the first two weeks.

Studying abroad: things I’ve learnt in the first two weeks.

So, picture this. I am eager to see what lies outside the UK, I want to experience as much culture as possible. Sounds like a study abroad would be an excellent option? However, I live 30 mins away from Uni, I am definitely not used to being away from home for more than six weeks…. So, at the start of this year I decided to apply for a four week summer school in Linkoping in Sweden, just shy of two hours south from Stockholm. So here I am, writing this blog from Sweden, having been here for approximately two weeks. I know it’s not a typical year or semester studying abroad but in this short amount of time I have learnt so much and wanted to share it all with you. Very generous of me, I know…

Studying abroad: things I've learnt in the first two weeks.

English Unis are VERY different to international ones.

My summer school is an international one; that means that there are about 120 people here from across the world. I have met people from America, Argentina, Singapore, Taiwan… You name it, there is probably someone here who comes from that country or has heritage there. This means that I have learnt a lot about other unis from talking to people.

One of the key differences is that English unis start later than others, the usual early lecture is 9am, right?, but in China they start at 8am.

Studying abroad: things I've learnt in the first two weeks.

Another difference is the drinking culture at English Unis. A lot of American University campuses are dry, meaning there is no alcohol. It’s not even that English students like a heavy night out (we’ve all been there…), but I realised that ‘going out for a cocktail’, as a social event, just isn’t a thing at other international unis. We’ve all seen that meme about as soon as the sun shows English students literally run to the pub, that just isn’t done in other countries… The Rose and Crown would be free all year…

Studying abroad: things I've learnt in the first two weeks.

It can be hard.

Now, I know I am only here for four weeks and I don’t perhaps have the same entitlement to say I’m missing home as much as someone who is in Canada for the year.. But, it still has low moments. I found this particularly during my second week. The first week was spent meeting everyone and exploring new places, but this second week I have been so busy with endless uni work and assignments (that’s right, this isn’t just a holiday…).

My course is super interesting and I am still loving the summer school but a few of us have got back into the monotonous routine of uni, much to our delight. Wake up early, snooze your alarm, go to lectures, listen, come home, study, eat. Repeat. This means that I am, of course, missing home a little bit and Notts especially. That’s why a group of us have made plans to go for a day trip and go to Stockholm to keep ourselves entertained and busy.

That would be my best advice to anyone studying abroad, no matter how long for, always have something in the pipeline to look forward to. This means your experience will always be special and exciting; it isn’t just ‘normal’ uni in a different country…

For some more tips on studying abroad, read these:

Studying abroad: things I've learnt in the first two weeks.

Harriet Swift

Employability Writer. Harriet studies English Literature at the University of Nottingham and writes a weekly column focusing on graduate employment.