“Absolutely Incredible": Chelsea Connell on her first months on Exchange in Sweden

Chelsea Connell can cross “international exchange” off her list of long-term goals.

The third-year student from Charlottetown, PEI, is halfway through the first semester of a year-long exchange in Sweden—an experience she describes as “absolutely incredible.”

“This has been a goal of mine, and now that I’ve finally fulfilled that goal I can’t imagine having done otherwise. This was one of the best decisions of my life,” she said.

Connell, who is studying Psychology, Criminology, and Political Science, is attending Örebro universitet. The university takes a different approach to learning with classes only twice a week and mandatory seminar on Fridays.

“You take four classes per semester and are in one course for a month at a time. After a month, you write the exam and then move on to the next course,” she said. “Seminars on Friday are mandatory and facilitated by professors, but students are expected to do a lot of studying and learning on their own time.”

When she’s not in class or studying, Connell is travelling. In the first two months of her exchange, she visited London, St. Petersburg, Tallin, and Helsinki.

The highlights of her time abroad to date have been meeting new people, becoming fully immersed in Swedish culture, and experiencing a different way of life.

“Some of the best aspects of this exchange have been meeting like-minded students, exploring Sweden, and learning Svenska (Swedish),” Connell said. “Also fika—socializing, drinking coffee, and eating pastries.”

While there are some challenges—the exchange rate, finding a job, being away from home—Connell said the self-development and exploration of global citizenship make an exchange an invaluable experience.

“If you have the motivation to participate in an exchange, I highly recommend you do so,” she said. “You have the chance to learn a new language, enhance your knowledge on global affairs, and to understand different cultural perspectives.”

If any St. Thomas student has any additional questions about my time in Sweden, please feel free to contact me at hmhmg@stu.ca—or reach out to me on Facebook: Chelsea Connell.