Home

 

Getting Experience

- # of # Filtered -

Stepping Outside the Box in Sweden!

Q&A with Meryn: Study Abroad in Sweden
Share this
Print this
Meryn
Study Abroad in Sweden
Her thoughts on The Application Process
I met with the exchange advisor very early on in order to figure out details and I even arranged meetings with the head of my department. Showing initiative early on was what set my application apart.
Her thoughts on First Impressions
I would often hear the Swedish students generalize about North America. It made me realize how easy it is to overgeneralize; each country has its own culture, political system, and people – which is easy to forget when it's just a color on a map!
Her thoughts on Boosting Your Career
I think that adaptability and flexibility are key skills to have in any career path. Not only did my experience translate into tangible skills like these, but employers really do look favourably on people who have some sort of international experience.
Her thoughts on Boosting Your Career
It's funny how often I run into someone who's been to Scandinavia, and we can instantly connect over it. It definitely serves as a great icebreaker when networking!

When and where did you study abroad? Did you have a study focus?

I studied abroad in Örebro, Sweden from January until May 2013. I was working on my Bachelor of Arts in Communications, so I completed courses that would transfer back to help me complete my major while gaining international experience.

Describe the application process. What made you successful?

I’d always wanted to travel, and was determined to study abroad during my undergrad. I made sure the university I chose to attend had study abroad opportunities that I was interested in. I began the process very early; I started researching programs, costs, and application processes in my first year, in order to go away in the second semester of my third year. I met with the person who was responsible for arranging exchanges very early on in order to figure out courses and details. I even arranged meetings with the head of my department to figure out how to get all my required courses done, and arrange alternatives that were offered in Sweden. The process itself was easy, from what I remember it only involved writing a letter explaining where you wanted to go and why. I had worked hard so that my grades would be competitive, but I think showing initiative early on was what set my application apart.

What made your study abroad experience abroad a success?

I managed to visit 14 new countries, and I realized that during my 5 months abroad, I had been on more different planes that I had been in different cars! I got to see and experience so many new things and came home full of stories. I learned how to navigate new places, and communicate with people who didn’t speak English. Now, when I read the news or watch movies, I’m always trying to spot the places I’ve been. When I got back I also realized how many other people had also spent time abroad. It automatically gave us something interesting to talk about, and something new to learn. One added (and unexpected) perk was that I met and fell in love with my boyfriend while I was away – our second date was a trip to Barcelona and Brussels!

How did you finance your trip abroad and did you find any creative solutions to stay on budget?

I was on a scholarship during my undergrad, so I only had to raise the money for living and travel expenses. I did this through summer jobs, part-time jobs during the school year, and gifts and loans from family and friends. I also got a small amount of money from my Students’ Union, which is definitely something to investigate when you’re studying abroad. I learned that MasterCard is not always reliable abroad, and to always have cash on hand. I also went through money way, way faster than I had planned; traveling is expensive, even when you are just staying in hostels! Always overestimate what it will cost you.

Do you have a classroom story that gave you particular insight into other cultures?

I took a class on European Politics, and my Canadian friends and I would often hear the Swedish students generalize about North America. Everything they said was actually about the US, not Canada or Mexico. When we pointed out that they were overlooking two sizeable countries in their generalizations, even the professor was surprised; he hadn’t realized he’d been doing it. It made me realize how easy it is to overgeneralize about places. How often do we make statements about Europe as a whole? Each country has its own culture, political system, and people – which is easy to forget when they’re just a color on a map!

What was your return like? Do you plan to go abroad again?

I came home a day earlier than I had told my family I would be. Initially, this was because I made a mistake taking the time change into account, but when I realized my mistake I decided to surprise my family. I flew into an airport about 2.5 hours from home, narrowly caught the last bus home, and my friend picked me up at the bus station and drove me to my parents’ house. I just rang the doorbell, and when my mom came to the door she screamed! When my dad got home from work an hour later, nobody said anything about my return until I walked out of the washroom. His reaction was just as priceless as my mom’s. Surprising my family gave me something to be excited about, instead of just being sad to leave Europe!

What did you miss most about home?

I missed the ease of being able to communicate in English. One time, I was looking for white vinegar at the grocery store. I found every other type of vinegar (I had figured out the Swedish word for vinegar), but none of it was white! I asked an employee at the grocery store to help me, and although he had some English skills, he had no idea what I meant by white vinegar. It turns out that the Swedes have an entirely different word for white vinegar – it isn’t even considered vinegar!

Do you have any final observations from your experience?

Travelling internationally allowed me to become independent, and to learn how to creatively overcome different problems as they came up. I think that adaptability and flexibility are key skills to have in any career path, and travelling abroad is such an excellent way to develop these skills. Not only did my experience translate into tangible skills like these, but employers really do look favourably on people who have some sort of international experience. It's funny how often I run into someone who's been to Scandinavia, and we can instantly connect over it. It definitely serves as a great icebreaker when networking!

What are your future plans for going abroad and for your career?

I’m currently entering my second year of law school, which has kept me pretty busy. I still have a travel bug, although I don’t have any trips planned. My top three choices for my next adventure are: Iceland, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Advice from MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey, Publisher, MyWorldAbroad

Meryn’s story shows the value of thinking ahead when heading abroad. She made sure that her school of choice offered international opportunities, thought about managing her money, and planned her adventure abroad so that she could experience the maximum number of foreign countries during her stay. She also has a great sense of the value that international experience can bring in a business networking context.

Though Meryn is currently in law school, there are still plenty of ways to internationalize her experience, both at home and abroad. If she wants to continue developing her international personality, she could consider studying international law and aiming to become a judge in the international court system. This is an exciting, challenging and rewarding career for those motivated and passionate enough to pursue it. Meryn might also opt to maximize her cross-cultural experience on campus by becoming involved in internationally-oriented extra curricular activities or using her time off school to pursue work-related internships abroad. Although law school always comes with a heavy workload, it’s also important to prioritize international skill-building. You won’t regret it!

Meryn's Next Steps
Advice from MyWorldAbroad
by the founder of MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey
Want to Have the Same Experience?
Discover the Career Value of Going Abroad
Get the facts! See surveys and stats linking your experiences abroad to future career success.
Sample Application Documents: See How Others Did It!
Get inspired by actual documents that real students used to apply for internships, volunteer positions and other go abroad experiences.
In a Rush? Read These Articles First
These carefully chosen articles will lead you to our most important go abroad strategies!
Quick Guides! Our Most Popular Go Abroad Topics
View, print or share our easy-to-use guides available in English, French and Spanish.
The World Online
Want to stay in touch with the world? Check out these top (and sometime quirky) links!
Are You Prepared for the International Job Search?
How much do you know about international jobs in your field? Get ready for a targeted job search!
Do You Have Enough International Experience?
Have you maximized your international experience? Are you ready for the international job search? Find out!
What's Your International IQ?
How much do you really know about living and working abroad? Take this quiz to find out!
Quizzes: Your Master Scorecard
Check your scores for all quiz categories: international skills, experience & the job search.
Earn $25 Gift Card & Submit Your Story From Abroad
Been abroad? Want to share your story? Submit your Q&A today to see your experience online!
Self-Evaluations: Think Analytically About Going Abroad
Keep track of your evolving international skill set before, during and after your international experience. Be ready to apply for jobs in the global economy.
Career-Boosting Strategies for International Students Studying in North America
What does it take for an international student to succeed in North America? We’ve got tips to help you thrive!
Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to all your questions about MyWorldAbroad by diving into our Frequently Asked Questions section.
Top Tips on Going Abroad & Your Career
Scan our top tips in 40 go abroad subject areas: international skills, getting experience, finding work, and the professions.
Your International Resume & LinkedIn
Write your international resume first, and then create that all-important LinkedIn profile.
International Skills: Be More Than Just a Tourist!
International people have a unique skill set. Learn the terminology and get professional about describing your time abroad.
100+ Career-boosting Strategies While Abroad
Discover enterprising, innovative ideas for how to demonstrate your international skills to future employers.
11467
- # of # Filtered -
  • 82
82
14088
An Eye-Opening Experience Teaching in South Korea
1
9758
Learning The Local Ways Of Addis Ababa
2
9751
A Canadian Globe-Trotter Visits The US
3
9769
Getting Sporty In Switzerland!
4
9790
Design And Dining In Korea
5
10851
Tips From Tasmania
6
9807
Fast Friendship In Korea
7
11904
Enthusiasm, Education and Experience in Greece
8
10188
Now Or Never In Colombia
9
9792
Rolling With The Punches In Seoul
10
9745
An Unforgettable Adventure In Nanjing
11
9774
Gaga For Ghana!
12
9784
Skill-Building In Bonn
13
9760
Getting In Sync In Nairobi
14
9762
American Freshman In London
15
9789
Loving Life In Lyon
16
9770
Contributing To Change In Ghana
17
9746
A Cross-Cultural Co-Op In West Africa
18
9741
Adapting To Work In Peru
19
9773
Independent In India
20
12058
Architectural Adventures in Australia
21
11996
Daring to Go Solo in Ireland
22
9757
Teaching And Learning In Tanzania
23
9781
A Hospital Helper In Costa Rica
24
9783
Off The Beaten Path In Africa
25
11850
The Warmest Welcome in Guatemala
26
11845
Hospitality and Hosting in the DCR
27
9738
Living For The Moment In Valencia
28
9755
People, Places And Passionate Volunteering In Peru
29
11645
A Love Affair with Shanghai
30
10153
China, South Africa And Beyond!
31
9771
Learning To Love London
32
9766
Short-Term Trips For Long-Term Gain
33
9737
Passionate About Panama
34
9778
Study And Adventure In New Zealand
35
10145
Real Stories And Real People In Mexico
36
9787
A Spring Semester In London
37
10204
Across Europe In A Caravan!
38
10192
Out And About In Paris
39
9740
Sports, Study And Fun In France
40
10157
Changing Course In China
41
11468
Learning While Teaching in Beijing
42
9812
Caring And Career Skills In Belize
43
9780
A Year In Marvelous Mexico!
44
11557
Un stage au Cambodge (Français)
45
11467
Stepping Outside the Box in Sweden!
46
10923
Insight And Education In Korea
47
10163
English Teaching In Eastern Europe
48
10230
Getting Caffeinated In Bolivia
49
9753
A Season In Sweden
50
9779
One Summer, Two Internships!
51
9759
From Cold Feet To Confidence In Germany
52
9777
Into The Wild In Alaska
53
9752
Giving In Guatemala
54
9742
Take-Charge Travel: Germany And Beyond!
55
9748
Adventure In The Alps
56
9743
Hooked On Volunteering!
57
9750
Host Hospitality In Morocco
58
9744
Food, Fun And Festivals In Germany
59
9747
Fun And Friends In The Netherlands
60
10218
Adaptation And Appreciation In Japan
61
10258
Encountering Cultures Across Europe
62
10143
A Warm Welcome In Mexico
63
9763
A Professional Visit To Vietnam
64
9782
Making The Most Of Milano
65
9764
Do It Yourself! A Proactive Intern In Rome
66
9765
Simpatico In Florence
67
9776
Soaking Up Japanese Culture
68
9775
A Year Of Feeling French
69
9767
Beyond The Call Of Duty In Africa
70
9772
Learning To Go With The Flow In France
71
9761
Communicating Creatively In Spain
72
9785
Motivated In Madagascar
73
9817
A Bulgarian In England
74
9754
Building Memories In India
75
9803
Ten Years Teaching In Seoul
76
9799
Getting Settled In Seoul
77
9756
Springtime In Spain
78
9791
Making Contacts Count In The UK
79
9788
Business And Pleasure In Australia
80
9786
Kids And Culture In Korea
81
9768
Going Solo In Spain!
82
11467
All Job Boards
429
All NGOs
1566
Au Pair Resources
36
Awards and Grants Resources
30
Business and Finance Job Boards
67
Business Directories
21
Canadian Federal, Provincial and Territorial Government Profiles
64
Canadian Government Resources
26
Children and Families Abroad
21
Country Guides
51
Cross-cultural Skills
101
Engineering Job Boards
58
Engineering Resources
61
Expatriate Networking Sites
21
Foreign Students Working in the US
10
Freelancing Abroad
21
General Job Search
23
Global Education and Social Action
29
Health and Medicine Job Boards
52
Health Career Resources
40
International Associations With Clubs on Campus
32
International Development Career Resources
46
International Internship Job Boards and Advice
51
International Internship Organizations
312
International Internships and Student Programs With Canadian Governments
35
International Internships With the US Government
40
International Job Hunting Resources
14
International Law Careers Resources
96
International Law Job Boards
24
International Studies in the US and Canada
12
International Trade Resources
28
International Volunteer Organizations
494
Internships With the UN and Other IGOs
150
Language Careers
31
Learn a Language
104
Licensed Teacher Abroad Job Boards
27
Licensed Teacher Abroad Resources
13
Loans for Studying Abroad
13
Low-cost Travel
28
NGO Directories
32
NGO Job Boards
41
Re-entry
12
Regional Job Boards
132
Relocating Abroad
19
Resources for International Students Studying in the US or Canada
49
Stories From Abroad
82
Study Abroad Resources
189
Teach English Abroad Job Boards
109
Teach English Abroad Resources
61
Tools for Travelers
39
Top International Blogs
39
Travel Health and Safety
38
UN and Other IGOs
234
UN and Other IGOs Job Boards
18
UN and Other IGOs Resources
17
US Government Profiles
80
US Government Resources
34
Visas and Passports
16
Volunteer Job Boards and Advice
53
Women Living and Working Overseas
15
Working Vacation Resources
59