I am currently in my 3rd semester, which I spend abroad as an exchange student at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea.
Your plans after graduation?
I would like to work within the fashion industry, specifically the sports industry, as I studied Fashion management in my Bachelor's program in Berlin. Thereby, this Master's program in Marketing in Umeå was a great addition to my previous studies, as I am now specialized to work within the marketing department of a firm. I see myself especially working within project management, steering and leading projects as I love to organize and work in groups.
Why a master programme in Umeå?
I looked at various Master programs in Scandinavia, however, felt that the program in Umeå would fit the best concerning the university and program as well as the student life. As I am from Berlin, I wanted to study in a smaller city, that still is very internationally orientated and offers a program that involves practical components such as group projects and internships. The location of Umeå being so far in the North made me interested to experience something new.
What is the best with the program?
My program in Umeå is in total 2 years long, whereby in the first semester you study your specialized subjects (Marketing for me) and in the second semester you study elective courses and have the possibility to do a 3-month internship. You can also choose to only study the program for one year with still getting a Master's degree.
However, I decided to study for two years, as this choice includes the possibility to go one semester abroad to one of Umeå's many exciting partner universities in the whole world. I am currently studying in Seoul, which is such a great experience to explore a new culture and get to know a different study environment.
Studying in Umeå is very practically orientated
One other part that I really like about studying in Umeå is that it is very practically orientated. You will have many group projects and work in many modules together with companies in Sweden. And also the class sizes are rather small, making it possible to have personal contacts to your professors, who you greet very casually with "Hej" and the first name in Sweden.
What I personally love about studying at Umeå university is that there are so many ways to engage in different projects outside of your regular studies. In Sweden, student unions are a big thing and a great way of getting to know new people (especially Swedes) and gaining new hands-on experiences.
During my second semester, I was the project leader for a project called "Business Week", where I recruited my own project group and planned and organized a trip for other students to go on company visits in Stockholm and Amsterdam. Furthermore, I was the Vice Head in the social committee of the business student union, organizing all the fun things in the student life such as parties and events - And believe me, there are a lot in Umeå! Every student union has its own student pub where every Friday an event called EPP (After study pub) is happening. On the weekends the pub turns into a club and frequently, there are so-called "Sittings" happening, which are very Swedish and a kind of fancy dinner with a party afterwards.
The buddy program
Finally, when you are arriving in Umeå, you will be part of the buddy program, which organizes many events throughout the semester. Umeå has a large number of international students, making it easy to find amazing friends and getting to know other cultures. Usually the groups consist of about 40 people and there will be events with only your buddy group, but also big tournaments against all the other groups, for example in Brännboll - the national sports in Sweden ;-) You might also wanna check out "Brännbollsyran", the biggest festival in the North that happens every June in Umeå - It is awesome!!
What is best with Umeå?
- Isn't it so cold and dark in the winter?? I heard this question a lot from friends and family back home in Germany and my answer is every time: Yes, but you won't feel it as there is so much going on - To me it is the best place to study!
First of all, it is a small, cute town where you have great nature around and "downtown" you can get everything you need. The ways are very short - I bike everywhere less that 15 min, even with -20 degrees and snow ;-). Also, Umeå is a student city with 1/3 students of the whole population, and everybody lives very close to each other, making it possible to often spontaneously meet up for a cup of coffee or to cook dinner together. And you can of course see the Northern lights on many evenings throughout the winter.
IKSU sport center
Another big advantage of Umeå is IKSU, a huge gym that offers basically every sports you can imagine. It has a pool, a big climbing and bouldering hall, indoor beach volleyball courts and all other courts to play in example soccer, handball, basketball badminton, etc., many fitness classes and it even organises smaller outdoor trips, for example to ski, hike or camp in the region around Umeå. I usually go to IKSU about 5-6 times a week as it is a great place to meet up with friends and work out after studying - I hardly know anyone that hasn't got an IKSU membership.
Travelling around Umeå
Even though Umeå is located so far North, it offers many possibilities to travel on the weekends. There are various national parks in the region, you find a ferry that goes to Vaasa in Finland, and one of my best trips was a tour with friends to the Lofoten in Norway. Of course, also Stockholm is not far away for those who miss the big city after a while!
Living in Sweden and the Swedish culture
In the beginning, it was not as easy to make Swedish friends, as Swedes are in general a bit more reserved than Germans. However, everyone is extremely friendly and helpful and once you become friends, they are the best friends you can imagine. Also, the Swedish culture has many amazing traditions to explore, from big holidays such as Midsummer to Lucia to numerous fika breaks with your friends. Fika is the Swedish coffee break, that basically can happen at any time a day and how often you want.
Do you have any advice to prospective students?
Apply!! You will have the time of your life, learn so much, evolve as a person and make tons of new friends!