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"You will experience and learn a different lifestyle here which is amazing!"

Irem Sultan Demir wanted to experience a calmer atmosphere than her home city of Istanbul, Turkey. She was so grateful for the helpful people, collaborative learning and chance to make so many new friends.

Why did you choose Umeå University?

For me the first reason was the world ranking. Umeå University had the highest ranking between my choices and it was my first choice. And I also wanted to experience and live in a completely different atmosphere than known city life. After living in Istanbul with 17 million people, I wanted to escape to Umeå where I felt like I was on a vacation for 5 months.

What do you like most about your studies in Umeå?

Taking 1 or 2 courses at a time, I realized that I learned more and it was less stressful than taking 7-8 courses.

What is one difference between education in your home country and education in Sweden?

If I must tell one difference, I would say that we are more involved, as individuals, in the courses and it´s not just about listening and taking notes. I had a lot of seminars, group works and workshops during each course which made me feel involved. For this reason I met some amazing people that I'm now friends with.

What has been the most challenging aspect of your exchange experience?

I didn’t experience many difficulties after I came here but, I can say that the rapid change in sunlight during the winter months has destroyed my sleeping routine.

What has been the most memorable moment so far?

I will tell this story all my life. I saw the Northern Lights the first day I came to Umeå. It was the most memorable moment for me because, some people couldn’t see it for months, but I saw it on the first try when it was a low chance to see it that night.

What do you do when you are not studying?

I’m an active person when I’m not studying. I like traveling, spending time with my sister and friends, going to concerts and experiencing new things. I have gained a new hobby here and that is having “Fika” with my friends.

What are your favourite spots around Umeå and/or campus?

There is one spot that I didn’t know a few days ago but now I go there every two days. It’s kind of a hidden place to watch the sunset and enjoy the view of Umeå. I think students should definitely find that spot! My other favorite spot is right outside library where we can sit and enjoy the sun and eat our lunch together with our friends. All of my favorite spots include the sun as we missed it a lot during winter.

What will you miss most about studying here at Umeå University?

I think I will miss a lot of things. Even though I stayed here only 5 months, I got used to a lot of things such as buddy activities, being 5 minutes away from anywhere, being able to talk with our teachers as friends, karaoke nights and having fika with my friends. But I think I’ll mostly miss the atmosphere we have here with other exchange students.

What would you say or what advice would you give to another international student thinking of attending Umeå University?

I think Umeå University is a really good choice for your exchange year. Umeå has the most different atmosphere with its extreme darkness and light, nice and helpful people and it’s away from chaos of a big city. You will experience and learn a different lifestyle here which is amazing! My advice for you is not to hesitate to talk and send emails to Umeå University if you have any questions; they are always nice and patient to answer them. There is always a solution for your problems here.

Name: Irem Sultan Demir
Home University: Yildiz Technical University
Major subject of study: Political Science and International Relations
Favourite Swedish word: Jaha and Stjärna
Favourite custom in Sweden: I absolutely loved “Fika”
Three words to best summarise your time in Umeå:
Memorable. Adventurous. Cold.

Further information

Buddy programme

Be part of a multicultural community engaging hundreds of students.

Experience Umeå!

Here are the top 10 reasons to live and study in Umeå.

Published: 2023-06-02