by Faiqa Shahzad, LLB Law Student (Final Year)
Living and studying in Örebro, Sweden was perhaps one of the most enriching experiences of my life, allowing me to grow both personally and academically. Although my time abroad was unfortunately cut short due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I would change nothing about the eight months I spent in Sweden.
Örebro University was my host university and is situated in a small Swedish town that centres around a beautiful medieval castle. The University was incredibly welcoming with an orientation programme and events during the semester tailored to ensuring that all the exchange students got to know each other and the Swedish students. I was able to experience Swedish traditions such as fika, which is the custom of spending time with friends or family to share coffee and something sweet as well as the Scandinavian equivalent to ‘pancake day’ known as ‘Fettisdagen’, which translates to ‘Fat Tuesday’, in which the customary food of the day is semla, a sweet cream bun.
Studying abroad is something I chose to embark upon in order to widen my international understanding and to experience living and studying in a foreign country. By studying abroad, I was able to take different modules that were not available to me at Coventry such as my now favourite module, comparative and foreign law. Throughout my time abroad I was also able to travel around Scandinavia, visiting various cities and most excitingly Swedish Lapland where I experienced sub-zero temperatures, inches of snow, a husky sledge ride and had the luck of seeing the northern lights, which was a lifelong dream of mine.
Coventry University, through the law school and CGE offered me much support in choosing one of their partner universities to study at, as well as being available to me whilst I was abroad with any issues I may have had. This is most clearly demonstrated through the clear advice and support I was given in March, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, in which my return home was facilitated by the university in order to ensure my health and safety.
I would recommend studying abroad to all students as it is an apt opportunity to gain an international view of the world outside of the confines of British culture and understanding. It was interesting being a British person abroad in Sweden, especially in the current political climate, and fascinating how the British government and its policy on Europe was regularly subject to ridicule by other Europeans. Living and studying in Europe allowed me to feel more European and part of a wider international community, which is important in an increasingly globalised economy. Choosing to study abroad was one of the best decisions I have ever made, giving me many lifelong friends from all over the world and I cannot recommend the experience to others enough.
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