Already before starting my studies, I knew that I would once like to do an exchange semester. Picking the subject “language and diversity” at the University of teacher education, it was the perfect opportunity for me to do that. I had already heard from other students that they had a great time studying at Karlstad University so I decided to do that too, as I knew that Sweden was a leading country for teacher education.
When my University nominated me as an exchange student, I was very lucky that the International Office of KAU (Karlstad University) was very well organized. I was informed about all the necessary procedures for applying to the University and getting a room at Campus. The communication was perfect and I did not have any trouble throughout the whole time before, during and after my exchange.
Travelling to Karlstad is a bit of a journey. I would recommend flying to Oslo or Stockholm (Arlanda) and then taking the train to Karlstad. Once arrived in Karlstad it gets clear that a bus ticket is totally necessary. You can buy a monthly ticket at shops called “Pressbyran”. The city centre of Karlstad is not that big but very lovely and beautiful. There are coffee shops, museums, little restaurants and a popular bar called “Koriander”.
The University of Karlstad is, as already mentioned, perfectly organised and excited for exchange students. They prepare a so-called “Introduction-week” where hosts, Swedish students, spend a lot of time with the new exchange students. There are so many activities planned that it is super easy to meet people and get in contact. I would really recommend taking part in that week. Since day one, I never felt lonely because I already met people in the bus to Campus.
Karlstad University is easily reached by a short walk (10-15 minutes) or a 5 minutes bus ride from Campus. The University is beautiful and has a large, modern library where all the Swedes study. I picked four courses for my semester and I was very happy with them. It is possible to look them up online at the KAU homepage. I hardly had exams like we know them in Austria, but we had so-called “Take-home-exams” which are similar to writing longer essays. The University also offers various sports that are pretty cheap once you have the student membership. Being part of a student union makes Swedish life a lot cheaper. You always get discounts almost everywhere. This was especially useful for train tickets.
Spending my semester in Sweden, I tried to travel through the country. I really enjoyed visiting Stockholm, Uppsala and Gothenburg. My absolute highlight was travelling to Abisko where I saw the Northern Lights, went on a husky sledge and tried a Scandinavian Sauna.
Summing it up, I had a perfect time and I would not want it any other way. I made friends for life and enjoyed every day. It is amazing how a place can so fast feel like home. Karlstad may not be the biggest city, but that’s what makes it cosy! Living at Campus is such a good opportunity to make friends, meet people and you are never alone. I really loved it there and I can only recommend spending a semester in the beautiful Scandinavian city. It was the best choice I made and I will always remember that awesome time.
Homepage Karlstad University: https://www.kau.se/en
Useful apps: Karlstadsbuss, SJ (train)
Rent: approximately 290 – 350 € (depending on which room size you pick).
Author: Caterina Wasserfaller.