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"It has been a life changing and memorable experience"

Robin Chan from Canada took the opportunity to study at Umeå University for a full year as an exchange student. He has fully embraced the active social life, chance to take excursions, and the Swedish system of studying one course at a time.

Why did you choose Umeå University?

I have always wanted to live in Europe. For context, my exchange options were based on the study programme that I am in. Since I am doing biology and science related subjects, my choices were narrowed down to Sweden, South Korea, and Australia. I know that in general, Sweden ranks high in quality of life. Which is similar to how Canada ranks so I was interested to see what it was like. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get away from the cold!

What do you like most about your studies in Umeå?

I like the student bubble. It is great for meeting other students from around the world and learning about other cultures. You see them all around campus, the gym and even grocery stores. It is always fun to stop and have a chat.

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

It is completely different. But one difference would be that we only get ONE attempt at an exam in Canada. No chance of a re-exam!

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

The most challenging has probably been deciding between events to attend! Often there is quite a lot going on and its difficult to choose since FOMO (fear of missing out) is common. Another challenging thing would be that all of the friends I've made this semester will be leaving since they are only doing half a year. So it’s a little sad!  The good part is that I am here for a year so there’s another semester to meet more people.

What has been the most memorable moment so far?

No specific moment, but just recognising the opportunity that I am able to do a year abroad. It has been life changing and memorable.

What do you do when you are not studying?

When I'm not studying, I am at IKSU (sports facility on campus) or hanging out with friends. Usually it could be cooking meals together, partying, or exploring the city. I've been trying to travel somewhere at least once a month. So far I've been to Norway, Italy, and the Netherlands. Looking forward to the next destination. Also, I am doing the Swedish slöjd (woodworking) course and when I have free time, I am carving something!

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

Nydala lake and IKSU! At university I don’t have a favourite spot since the entire campus is amazing. I try to check out all the spots around campus for studying.

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

For sure it will be the student bubble! Other than that, I will miss the course structure. How you focus on one course at a time is a really great system. It also allows for extra free time every now and then. Sometimes too much free time…

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

Try new things, meet new people, and say “yes!” to things even if you are slightly interested and on the fence. I would also say to push yourself out of your comfort zone.

Name: Robin Chan
Home University: Grant Macewan University in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Major subject of study: Biology
Favourite Swedish word: Jaha and Nähä 
Favourite custom in Sweden: Jämlikhet! And of course fika
Three words to best summarise your time in Umeå: Adventure, excitement, unique

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: 2022-12-21