Reflecting on my time in Sweden after half a year back in the UK, I can notice a few differences between the two. Some are obvious, and some are far more subtle.
The first thing that I found strange when going about my day to day back in the UK was the language difference. This may seem obvious, but I had got used to either zoning out among a background chatter of Swedish, or tuning in to try and passively learn a few words. The difference on public transport or in a busy space is quite clear when you are forced to listen to everyone’s conversation!
The more welcome changes included the usual home comforts, firstly, of course, a very welcome decrease in the price of a beer! However although I loved to moan about the fierce cold in Sweden, I find myself missing those dry, crisp freezing mornings when cycling into uni through soggy, grey Manchester. It is always nice to reacquaint with old friends, however I do miss the vibrant diversity of my multinational friendship group in Sweden, and try to stay in touch as much as I can.
A notable change in workload has welcomed me back to final year university life, making me very glad I was able to enjoy a much less challenging year before stepping into the fire. One of the best things to come out of this was the time to reflect and formulate ideas for my dissertation. I am writing this on an urban development in Copenhagen, and living in close proximity for a whole year gave me the chance to visit and learn more about it, making final year a lot less stressful. I also get to tell myself that through visiting Copenhagen vicariously every day, I never really left!
The Holmene urban island development – the focus of my dissertation. ( I wish I was on this island in Copenhagen rather than in the library! )
To summarise and finalise this blog, the year abroad experience was not only a great thing during my stay in Sweden, it also continues to offer more to my life as I reflect on my academic and personal life back in the UK. I would urge anyone reading this, or considering the Erasmus programme to go for it! Before it’s too late!