Study experience: University of Gothenburg

This review was published on StudyPortals – an European Commission-funded project – in 2014.

Gothenburg: Not an impressively touristic but a fabulous place to study

Gothenburg may not be an impressive tourist attraction but is surely a fabulous place to study. It is the second biggest city in the country ranking second in Bloomberg’s Global Innovation Index 2013. Having more students than any other city in Sweden, Gothenburg is considered the great city for students, topping the nation in international students´ overall living experience (International Student Barometer 2012).

Gothenburg offers students a unique study condition that is most of its facilities is within the city centre, or the whole city is their campus. The multicultural education environment with a continuous flow of new knowledge and ideas here really meets the expectation of international students. Students can not only choose to lead a typical student life but also take part in the various events and the diverse cultural scene that Gothenburg has to offer.

Studying in Gothenburg can be affordable in some extent. International students from outside EU/EEA and Switzerland can apply for scholarships which may cover tuition fee or even living cost included. They are allowed to work alongside their studies, and there’s no official limitation for how many hours they can work. In conclusion, studying in Gothenburg is the opportunity for international students to explore new culture, experience a new lifestyle, gain new friends and become more competitive in the labour market.

Set your goals and road map

Whatever they choose to study, future students should always think about their own goal and the road map to achieve it. If they planned to study in Gothenburg, especially The University of Gothenburg, this means they did choose a suitable course which may lead to a potential career. As I mentioned before, besides applying for admission, future students can look for scholarships such as Erasmus Mundus Scholarship, Swedish Institute Scholarship, University Study Scholarship, or specific sponsorship offered by some organizations.

If they are admitted to a programme and ready to move to a new study environment, what I think about at first is: “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Sweden is the second most innovative country in the world, and one of the evidences is that there are many useful websites such as Sweden.se, Studyinsweden.se, Thelocal.se for those who wish to know much more about this wonderful country. Sweden.se is designed in a Metro style with impressive and multimedia information that can immediately attract people in their first visit.

Of course English is the common language for almost citizens here, but it will be better for students to actively use local language for they have to go shopping, communicate with people, watch TV, and especially if they plan to apply for part-time jobs. The university always offers students free Swedish language courses of 10 lessons at the beginning of each semester. There are also national free Swedish language courses for most categories of immigrants offered by Swedish For Immigrants (SFI). However, one important thing about living in Sweden is “Get in line”, so the queuing time may last half a year. Therefore, students who want to book a free course should remember that everything is operated on the “first come first served” basis.

What should students do to have good study experience in Gothenburg? The answer is that besides attending classes and self-studying, they may learn from friends. Gothenburg has more students (and maybe international students also) than any other city in Sweden. This is an opportunity for them to make friends, know about new cultures, and help each other study better.

Living in Gothenburg is expensive but controllable

Living in Gothenburg is quite expensive, for it is a large city. The monthly expense ranges around 7,300 SEK (nearly 795 EUR), but it can be about 6,000 SEK. How come?

– 3,000 SEK for housing including insurance, tax, and all facilities. Living 5 – 8km away from the city centre such as a room in a private house is cheaper, peaceful, and you have less chance to spend money. Search on SGS Studentbostader, Boplats, Blocket, or Housinganywhere, prepare a good self-presentation, contact the landlords directly (e-mail is sometimes not preferred) and make sure they are not scammers.

– 410 SEK for public transportation (this is the price for students only).

– 250 for cell phone top up with 3G. You can choose Telia or Comviq, but remember to check their promotion because sim cards are quite expensive. Browse wireless networks everywhere you go, especially at home, schools, offices and shopping malls instead of using 3G.

– 1,400 SEK for food. Just shop and do the cooking yourself, have a look at promotions every week from Lidl, OoB, Netto, Willys, ICA, Clas Olhson, Hemkop, and don’t spend money too regularly on dishes and bars outside.

– 500 SEK for study materials. Don’t be panic if you haven’t had a textbook. Go online to look for e-book, borrow from libraries, ask your friends on Facebook, or go to some second hand shops. As for me, I got my academic textbook with just 150 SEK (instead of 553 SEK for a new one), a bi-lingual dictionary with 45 SEK (I don’t know how much for a new one but it couldn’t be cheap for sure), and both Swedish Study Language textbook and exercise book with 150 SEK (instead of nearly 500 SEK).

– 400 for shopping. Visit IKEA to look for home stuffs. Spend time on some second hand shops such as Myrona and Holmens, they have almost everything you need for your house and wardrobe! Remember that shops always have discount for students and members, so you should always ask them about this before shopping.

You may spend much for the first two months, but the monthly spending will be around 6,000 SEK from then on.

Study at GU: Practical approach, academic understandings

The University of Gothenburg is the first university in Sweden to bring Communication Studies into its curriculum. The programme run by the Applied IT Department of IT Faculty is supposed to provide students with advanced understanding of theories, methods and issues in communication, and ways to manage interactions between people, organizations and cultures.

I am so excited to experience a totally new teaching method, for this is my first time studying abroad. Normally I have three school days to attend interesting lectures from the teachers who have deep background in communication studies. Students can freely raise questions and discuss in class, and our opinions are always respected. Through the online learning system, students can access, update and even discuss via computers of smart phones from anywhere at any time. Most of our time is for self-study, and libraries are available everywhere in the city. Of course students have many books to read, but most of the exams are based on our understanding and how we apply the theories into particular scenarios. I believe that the programme, with its high capacity of application, will totally meet students’ expectation and society requirements.

Huong Bergström/ Nguyen Hoang Quynh Huong

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