The application for an exchange semester is soon opening, and many might be stressing about which universities to apply for and where you want to go. As I went on my exchange a year ago, I have some experience on this matter which I hope can be useful for some of you.
1. Where do you want to go?
Do all of your friends want to go to Singapore, but you want to go to Scotland? Or Canada? Or Denmark? Then go to Scotland or Canada or Denmark! If you are nervous about going without friends, you don’t have to worry. I went on exchange without knowing anyone, and it turned out amazing. One of the first few days the university arranged a dinner for exchange students, and the people sitting around my table that night were the people I spent the rest of my three months with.
2. What do you want to experience?
All countries and regions have different possibilities when it comes to the overall experience of the exchange semester. Do you want to travel all over Asia, then choose a country with easy access to traveling. Do you want to become an amazing surfer? Then look for universities close to great surfing opportunities (and that does not necessarily have to be Australia). Or maybe you want to become a super cultural hipster, then perhaps a cool capital in Europe might be right for you. The options are endless, you just have to think about what you want to experience during your exchange semester.
3. Which languages do you wish to improve?
Did you learn any languages in school that you wish to improve, or do you maybe want to learn an entire new language? Then looking for a university in a country that speaks that language might be perfect for you. If you go on exchange solely for the purpose of learning a new language, you might have to put in some hard work yourself though. Speaking from experience, it can be difficult to get to know the locals when you’re on exchange.
4. Where will you have the most fun?
Of course, going on exchange is a great opportunity to get to know new people, experience new things and study courses you can’t study in Lund. But most importantly, it is supposed to be one of the best experiences during your education. Make sure that you have some fun along the way!
5. Ended up in a city that you didn’t want to go to?
After applying for exchange and waiting for what seems like an eternity to get the results, you might not always be super happy with your destination. Here I write with tons of experience, as I ended up in Vienna which was not want I wanted at all. All summer I was questioning whether I actually should go or not. And I am so grateful I did. It was incredible, and not at all as I was expecting. I would encourage you to go no matter how you feel on beforehand, because you have no idea how it actually is until you’re there.
As you might have understood, the most important thing is to think about what you want. I wish you all good luck with the application!