My name is James and I am a student studying Modern History and Politics at the University of Southampton. When picking my course prior to university, I chose the option with a year abroad included and I’m so glad I did. I selected Stockholm University as my exchange uni and studied there for two semesters. I had never been to Sweden before and it was so exciting to explore a new culture and part of the world for such a long period of time. Stockholm as a city is full of things to experience from museums to nightclubs, the opera to football matches, and so much more. The university life was different to back home but just as valuable. The course modules follow one after another, rather than all at the same time, allowing me to focus on one topic at a time and spacing out exams which reduced stress. 


Almost everyone was fluent in English in Sweden which made it very easy to make friends. Going on exchange has let me make friendships that span the globe, connecting me to people as far away as Canada and Tanzania who I would have never met otherwise. Building a community of like-minded and diverse people who I could share amazing memories with was by far the most rewarding part of my experience. My social skills and willingness to step out of my comfort zone have greatly developed over this period which I think will be valuable skills to take with me.


Another aspect of my exchange year that I really enjoyed was the freedom I felt to travel. There was something about being abroad already that made it feel trivially easy to continue seeing new countries, using Stockholm as a launchpad to go further. I first explored within Sweden, going to the next biggest cities of Gothernburg and Malmo, before going to Oslo and Copenhagen in the neighbouring countries of Norway and Denmark. It can be relatively inexpensive to travel within the region of your host country by using train and coach services yet it allows you to see so many new and interesting places. I also flew to Berlin, Germany in the second semester to see some German friends I had made in the first semester which made me realise how possible it was to maintain these new international relationships. It was fun to travel with friends and share in new cultures together but it was also great to do some solo travelling and discover somewhere with complete independence to see and do what I wanted. I think travelling while on exchange has been such an incredible part of my year abroad which doesn’t get mentioned enough but should be highlighted as one of its best features.


My advice to anyone considering a year abroad would be to just go for it. It was an amazing experience I’ll never forget and I would encourage everyone to take part. Embrace the adventure and make some memories!

Studying in Stockholm

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