Erasmus semester in Karlstad

Image by Theresa Willingshofer
Image by Theresa Willingshofer

Seven months ago, my big adventure in Karlstad started. In the four months in Sweden I developed my personality and found friends for life all around Europe.

It all started with the selection of the host university. From the beginning, my favorite university was Karlstad University in Sweden. I was always fascinated by the amazing Nordic countries. And my gut feeling said that I should choose Sweden, not Norway. After this decision, the application procedure for my home university started. I was lucky that I had a fixed place for my Erasmus semester, because of my major field of study “language education and diversity” at my university. A special moment for me was the acceptance email from Karlstad University. From this point, it was official that my friend and I could go to Sweden.
The next step was to book the transfer from Austria to Sweden. We flew from Vienna to Stockholm with a stopover in Amsterdam. And from Stockholm to Karlstad we planned a trip by train. The bus takes about 20 min from the central station in Karlstad to campus.

The accommodation for Erasmus students was very well managed by the host university. They gave us the options of staying at the campus or finding a private accommodation. I decided to live on the campus. They offered three different room sizes, where you have your own bedroom with a small anteroom, a bathroom and your own fridge. I decided to take the middle size. In the room, you have everything you need like, a bed, a desk with a chair, a cupboard and a shelf. But you do not get a blanket and a pillow. But if you ask your host they will get you all that stuff. The application for this room is at the KBAB (they rent the rooms) website. All the links for the application I got from the international office from my host university.
It is important that you arrive during the KBAB opening hours on campus because nobody else can get your keys. Otherwise, you have to stay a night at a hostel or hotel.

Unfortunately, Karlstad University do not offer English courses for teacher education at primary level (ages 6 to 10). Sweden has different workloads for their courses than Austria. Most courses have 7,5 ECTS or 15 ECTS. I found two courses which fitted best for my personal interests and the requirements of my home university. I took the courses “English for international students” and “Intercultural business communication”. Both courses had 15 ECTS. In both courses, I had to write assignments and I had also a presentation at the end of the course. Most of the courses are structured that you get a makeup assignment (extra assignment) if you cannot attend the course because of a journey. This is a really nice offer from the tutors.
I really enjoyed the support from the international office. If there was something you needed they always helped you.

Everyday Life and leisure time
Karlstad is a beautiful city with around 61.492 inhabitants. The city is located on the largest lake of Sweden the Vänern. Karlstad is often associated with sunshine and the symbol of the city is also a smiling sun. I was lucky that I was often able to enjoy this sun. Before I started my semester I had the expectations that there is fog and rain all time in Sweden but it was different.
The city has some offers for the free time and weekends. There are really nice parks, shopping malls, there is an opera, ice hockey station, a museum, bars, restaurants and lot more. The prices are usually more expensive than in Austria, especially food in a restaurant and drinks in a bar.
It did not take a long time to settle down on the campus. In Karlstad campus means the place where all students live. Our campus had six houses which were arranged in a circle. This arrangement was perfect to get in contact with all the other Erasmus students on the campus. Our campus was multicultural but most of the Erasmus students were Germans.
For those who do not want to travel that much, there is always something going on around the campus and Karlstad. For those who want to travel, save money for your trips before you go on Erasmus, but it is worth it. You can plan trips on your own or go on organized trips from “Scanbalt Experience”. I did a lot of trips with my friends and one big trip with my parents around Norway.

I will conclude by stating that this was an unforgettable and life-changing experience for me. Every moment was full of learning something for my personality and my future life. I consider myself lucky to be part of Erasmus and having such an opportunity availed. I want to say thank you to all who made this part of my life possible.

By Theresa Willingshofer

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