Sweden: A Personally Wasted Quarter Past Review

By (Financial Economics, Western Washington University) for

ISEP Exchange: Sodertorn - Exchange Program at Sodertorn University (Södertörns högskola)

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The logic behind my rating is because I would consider the experience here mediocre, partially because of the school system here and partially because of my own personality type. On the side of the school itself, I had already completed most of the courses here that could actually apply to my major, so I felt that I had wasted my quarter from an academic perspective, plus the actually teaching ability of the professors here is just not up to standards compared to what I would see back at Western. It's a case of "you get what you pay for" and, since individual Swedish students don't pay for college, they pay nothing. Too bad I don't get that same deal. On the more personal side, something like this just does not mesh well with my personality. I described it above somewhat in what kind of students should not come here and I'll quickly reiterate it. Simply, if you are someone who makes friends through club activities based on common interests (especially if those interests are somewhat outside the norm of the typical college student), then participating in a program that lacks that kind of option is probably not a good idea. I am firmly in that category and I can definitely say that I am not better off after this program. Perhaps not worse off either, but definitely not better off.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The teaching method in many of my classes was, quite simply, not good. One of the classes was structured in such a way that the professor seemed completely unnecessary and it was for a course that, from my initial interpretation, was going to be a lecture course but turned out to be a presentation course. Another class just did not go into detail nearly enough on the material and did not provide anywhere near enough practice work to understand the course and it's content. It's the first class I've ever failed in fact, and I've taken things back home that had much more complicated and difficult material. The way they spread out their courses was very different. Rather than have all the courses at once two or three times per week, we would only have one or two courses for a few weeks (which were only once per week each) then we would move onto the next couple of courses once the first ones were complete. I also did not like this because I need to have the courses multiple times per week for the material to really sink into my head.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There wasn't anything remarkable about it that I witnessed. They were competent and I could answer most any questions that I needed answered. I did not have much interaction with the administration beyond what I needed completed

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The ISEP program arranged all my housing, so that was a non-issue. The area where I was living was safe and calm between all the people living in the apartment complex, but it is located close to a prison and, during my time there (and from what I understand), a police officer was shot and killed nearby to there but it was the only incident that I'd heard or seen.

* Food:

Quite simply, you're on your own here. You will be preparing your own meals in the group kitchens, assuming that you also live in the same area as I did, so the question of quality or quantity of food is entirely up to your own cooking ability. That said, ISEP does provide a decently large budget (I'll be coming back with the equivalent of about $800)so it should be able to last you as long as you're not going out to eat a lot. Because of that, the only reason this is getting a 4/5 is because it gave me the opportunity to learn to cook, which is something I wanted to do anyways.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I only participated in one trip arranged by the school, but it was able to spark my interest in visiting some specific museums and other sites in downtown Stockholm.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I had no personal problems with safety and the like, but there is a prison located close to the school and, from what I understand, there was an escapee that had killed a police officer before the convict was dealt with. Besides adjusting to the new area, which meant getting sick once or twice, I've had no real health problems while I've been here so I do not know how good their healthcare system really is.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

They had a couple specific classes for learning Swedish, but it was largely irrelevant outside of class. I can honestly say that I only ran into 2 or 3 people in my entire 4 months in Sweden that could not speak fluent English. Because of that, I had no need to learn the language, which was very good for me because I am terrible at learning other languages.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Meeting other exchange students
  • Participating in outside-of-school trips with other exchange students
* What could be improved?
  • The quality of teaching by professors
  • A greater variety of class choices in economics
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you are like me, DO NOT participate in a program like this. What I mean by "like me" is someone who recognizes that they are a shy, geeky individual who does not fit in with the common college student. This program attracts just those kinds of individuals and, even if they are more intelligent than the average college student, it will likely be quite difficult for you to really make connections with them and, since you can't really participate in clubs, you'll likely be pretty lonely .

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Sweden: History and Politics

Course Department: 1009HI
Instructor: Andrej Kotljarchuk
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I was extremely annoyed by this course because the description and supposed content of this course led me to believe that this would be a lecture course where I would learn about Sweden. Instead, it was the students who had to do all the work where we were expected to do all the research on the topics and then present them in class. As someone who is actually paying for school, I find it very annoying that the only teaching that I received was from other students or what I could look up myself online. Also, this was an all exchange student course, so they had no more special knowledge of Sweden walking into that course than myself.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Health Economics 1

Course Department: 1068NE
Instructor: Leo Foderus
Instruction Language: English
Comments: After two years at my own school,passing classes that were many times more difficult than this class, I have finally failed a course. I know and accept that a large part of the fault lies with myself, but I also think there were problems with the class. Quite simply, he did not provide the amount of practice content necessary to learn the material and pass the final test. We were given practice problems 3 times throughout the entire course and they only covered any single subject just once. He also did not provide enough example problems in class or really try and go over a topic more than once, even if it was completely obvious we didn't really understand.
Credit Transfer Issues: