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University Life Sweden vs USA

Emelie Beckman, C'25

Traveling back and forth over the Atlantic

Having grown up in another country with a different culture and perspective on education I can definitely say that after spending a year and a half at an American university there are some big differences between university life in America and Sweden, or maybe even Europe as a whole. I though it might be interesting to contrast and compare some of these differences, which might also evidently show some of the changes I was faced with once arriving to this country.

First of all, even though education in America and Sweden are highly valuable and enriching, the system is very different. Most significantly is how classes and grading works. In Sweden classes are almost always formatted as lecture but what differs the most from America is that it is in no way necessary to go. Classes are seen as an opportunity to have concepts explained, but if you as a student would much rather just read the material by yourself and then take the tests that is fine. This differs a lot from here at the Mount were I feel like I have to attend every lecture and be on top of my game to get good grades. Further more the grading system and test taking is very different. In Sweden there are rarely homework being given out at University. Most commonly you study your material and then take big tests, or make big projects, to determine your grade. Although I like the competitive pressure that comes with our system I feel like the way we do it at the Mount has taught me a lot since it keeps me constantly studying and reviewing the material, instead of having me study a lot before one test.

On a similar note, if one might not have already guessed, in Sweden university students do much more studying on their own and things are not led as much by the professor as they are here. In good and bad this I believe makes many students at Sweden universities very independent but it also makes learning a bit more difficult if I might boldy presume. This also places a lot of burdening responsibilities and stress on students in Sweden. I do think this is an efficient system however since it makes university students very responsible and helps them to grow into the individuals they want to become.

Personally, as an athlete, the biggest difference for me between American and Swedish universities is the connection to sport. In Sweden we do not have athletics as a part of the universities, rather if one does sport one would have to do it for a club. Whilst many Swedish athletes do manage to balance their university life with club sports I and many other young athletes choose to come to America where it's easier to be a student athletes and there exists more easily accessible resources at hand as a part of your school.

Lastly, THE CLOTHING. Even in high school I felt like every day was a fashion show. You had to stay updated on every single trend and come up with these unique but still trendy outfits all the time. I had one girl friend (who is now studying at fashion school in Paris might I add) who challenged herself to never wear the same outfit more than once in the span of a year. She succeeded and never once did she not manage to look like a model of duty. Anyways here I can roll out in my pjs in the morning and feel completely comfortable with it. I enjoy this at times and at times I don't. It's very comfortable however sometimes I like to dress up.

Swedish Lesson of the Post:

School - skola

Class - lektion

Grades - betyg

Fashion show - mode visioning

Emelie Beckman, C'25