Jort van Alphen in Sweden

Field of study in Wageningen: Forest and Nature Conservation
Study period exchange: 21/01/2019 until 09/06/2019
Country (exchange): Sweden
City (exchange): Uppsala
University (exchange): SLU
Faculty (exchange): Economics

2. Motivation for exchange

Why did you choose to go on study exchange?

To extend my network and increase my English skills. Also getting in touch with different nationalities is for me always a good experience.

What is the reason you chose for this country/university?

As a child we always went to Sweden for holidays and I really enjoyed it, so when the opportunity came to study abroad I wanted to do it there. Also I heard good stories from students who went there before. They said it was a good university and an nice city to live as a student.

3. Accessibility to reach destination

Do you have any tips to reach your exchange destination?

If you go by plane I would recommend going early so you can take the Flix bus to Uppsala station which is way cheaper than taking the train which is insanely expensive.

4. University and studying

Could you provide some general information about the followed courses?

How is the study formalized?

This was different between the courses. The 15 credits course was very relaxed for the first few weeks but at the end you have everything at once which was a lot to handle. For the other two courses, the workload was better spread throughout the period. The levels were comparable with the level in Wageningen, but the only difference is that the end exam was a bit easier in Uppsala. But looking at the total workload it was the same, all courses had reviews and proposal you had to write besides the exam which is the same as Wageningen.

What is the culture of the university?

The hierarchical levels between student and teacher is smaller in Uppsala. The teacher was more like a friend you talked to than a person who stood above you. I really liked it, teachers  were easy to talk to and you were talking with them just using their first name.

What does the university offer the student additionally?

The university has a lot of sport things you can do indoor but you should sign up for that throughout a third party. Also have a nice sauna, good catering and lots of microwaves an fridges for food. Also coffee mugs and dishwasher.

5. Housing-travelling-living

What are the possibilities for housing?

You can sign up for a guaranteed room in Uppsala which is very convenience. It can be located at different student places but if needed you can switch your room for another location.

What is the culture of the country like?

It’s a less social culture. People talk less with class mates and its not easy making Swedish friends. They do speak good English and are very nice to talk to but probably won’t start socialising with you. The student home is more or less the same with a cleaning schedule and everything. Would say they have the same manners and compared to me a bit different habits as singing with groups randomly somewhere and dressing up very nice just for school.

Could you give a general price indication of the place of residence compared to living in Wageningen?

I would say that I spend something around 150-200euro more there then in Wageningen. But I also have to say I did a lot of things in the weekends as skiing, ice skating and renting cars for the weekend. But just to live and eat I would say you spend at least 100 Euro more in Uppsala.

Could you give some information about public transport infrastructure?

I always went by bike everywhere, but most people buy a bus ticket from an app for a month. Is something around 30 Euro per month and you can travel every day then by bus for free. But in general public transport is very expensive if you buy a single ticket.

6. Free time

What are must-sees in the area? 

There are a lot of national parks with cabins you can sleep in. They are amazing and beautiful to see. We always went with 5 and rented a car for the weekend.

What does not appear in the travel guide, but is worth a visit?

I never really looked at a travel guide, I think it is better to talk with students and mostly exchange students who are there already there for a period. They know the places to go and at which date there are fun things to do

Do you have general tips and tricks about leisure time?

The nations which are student accommodations are the best place to go. They have good food, cheaper beer and always a nice atmosphere. Beside that you can sit really nice at the river in the centre. And if you want you can go out almost every day at one of the nations. But they close already 1 in the night which is early but good for the amount of sleep you get.

7. Challenges & best moment abroad

What was a challenge you have experienced?

It was pretty easy to adjust myself to the climate. Only at the end of the period the sun never stopped shining really messed up my sleeping time. The dark days were easier for me to handle. They all speak perfect English so talking is easy and they are very helpful.

What was your best memory abroad?

All the big trips with the whole exchange group. Going ice skating and walking in the forest and having barbeques at amazing locations.

8. Contact details

Would you like to ask Jort more questions about his exchange?
Send him a mail: Jort.vanalphen@wur.nl