My name is Matilda Liljegren and I am studying nursing at Jönköping University. I decided before my studies that I wanted to have an exchange semester abroad and one reason for me to study at Jönköping University was that it would give me the opportunity to do that. I applied to study at Swansea University in Wales for my fourth semester. A choice that I’ll never regret.
I read the course Arbetsliv och organisation at the same time as I read Personcentrerad omvårdnad 1 in my third semester and it worked out well for me. The remaining courses, Personcentrerad omvårdnad 2 and the course of my own choice, were the two courses that I read in Swansea. I also had ten weeks on a placement of my choice. We could choose almost whatever placement we wanted to and I ended up in the operating theatre for two weeks and at an oncology ward for the remaining eight weeks. I loved it! I’ve always been very curious to be inside an operating theatre, so to get that opportunity was great. I’ve now seen everything, believe me. My mentor met me every morning to see which planned and acute operations there would be during the day and I could just pick and mix whatever I wanted to. That lead to me seeing everything from a hip replacement, an amputation and a completely open chest with a beating heart! The classes in school were a bit different to how we have our classes here in Jönköping. Their classes weren’t as big as ours and the course I read was a bit more hands on. We worked with a lot of different cases and had some practical work combined with the teacher leading the lecture from the front of the classroom. The support from school was good as well. The international coordinators were very helpful and we could visit them whenever we wanted to, to ask for help if we needed it.
Swansea was a lot more than the classes in school and my two placements. The city itself is very pretty with an amazing beach where the tide is the second largest in the entire world. I’ve spent many days at that beach together with my friends walking around, playing beach volleyball or football.
I lived in the student village in a sharing corridor together with five other girls. We had a girl from Ireland, one from Denmark and myself from Sweden. The remaining girls were from Wales and we had lots of fun together. The student village was about ten minutes away from campus by bus, so I bought a bus pass for the entire semester, which meant that I could take the bus wherever I wanted to go in Swansea. The student village had a small grocery store and a student pub called “The Wonky Sheep” where we could play pool and watch sports on TV. I found out about the student village from a friend when I applied for my studies abroad. Swansea University has a website where there is a lot of information about accommodation and where you easily can apply for it. I didn’t have any pillows, a duvet or sheets, but it all worked out well since there was a Primark in town, which have cheap stuff for the bedroom and so on.
I also joined the football club at the University during my time in Swansea, which lead to me meeting some more lovely people there. The university had lots of different societies and there is really something for everyone. They had everything from different sport societies, choirs , wine and cheese society to a Harry Potter society. It’s a good place to get to know new people and experience a bit of the student life in Swansea. I had the opportunity to play football at Varsity which was great fun. Varsity is a day fully packed with all sorts of sports when Swansea plays against Cardiff. I have to add that we won. I just couldn’t get enough of football so I started to play i Swansea City as well which was an experience in itself.
The landscape in Wales is beautiful and I was very lucky to go on a roadtrip around in Wales and England during a longer weekend. I also had time to go on a trip to Dublin during St. Patrick’s day day and see what Ireland is like. The roadtrip in Wales is something that I always will remember. We had a goal to end up in Snowdonia which is a national park in the northern part of wales and climb up Snowdon. We stopped in cute small town on the way and had a trip to Stratford among others before we headed back to Swansea. The beauty of Wales in a whole with all the mountains, long beaches and green nature is breathtaking. I will go back there for sure.
I would highly recommend everyone to study abroad and especially in Swansea. My advice would be to join as many societies as possible and explore as much as you can. It’s been a great adventure that I’ll always remember. All the beautiful places I’ve seen and all the wonderful people that I’ve met will always stay with me and it’s something no one can take away from me. I’ve learnt a lot during my months in Swansea. To study abroad is for me a big opportunity. It gives you a chance to meet a different culture, improve your English, meet new people, feel independent and there is a big opportunity for exploring and new adventures. To live in another country for a longer period of time is something I recommend for everyone. It gives you the opportunity to not only get to know other people but also get to know yourself. I loved my time abroad and wouldn't hesitate if I ever get the opportunity again.
Your more than welcome to email me if you’ve got any questions. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.