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Study Abroad - From WASEDA to the world -

From WASEDA to Sweden

Akira Kimura
4th year student at the School of Political Science and Economics

Firsthand experiences on exchange to Sweden

When you hear the name Sweden, what words come to mind? Probably words such as "Scandinavia," "cold," "blonde beauties," and "advanced welfare state." All of these are true.

In Sweden's second largest city of Gothenburg, where I spent my exchange, there are students from all over the world. With a population smaller than that of Tokyo and Osaka, and a small and compact area, it was a town very easy to live in.

Different to when in Japan, time seemed to pass slowly during my student life in that city. Of course my time was overloaded with homework and study, but even so, I felt life in Sweden was slow-paced and I could take it easy. After class, I spent teatime, called Fika, with my friends, and we would have relaxing chats about many things. Also, on Wednesdays and Fridays, not only students, but also the young and old, would drink and talk together in bars and pubs until the early hours of the morning. The city itself has that kind of culture, such as light meals being free at restaurants on Fridays, and there were many things that would be unthinkable of in Japan.

What I felt the most about this lifestyle is that the Swedish people openly enjoy life from the bottom of their hearts. Of course there are huge differences in culture between Japan and Sweden, however, they treasure themselves and time with their families, and lead happy lives. When I looked at the Swedish people, I was made to think whether I was enjoying life, and whether Japanese people were enjoying their lives.

Not only absorbing the knowledge, but experiencing things firsthand is something you can't experience in Japan, and the true joy of an overseas exchange.

Getting a ride back to the mainland on a local's boat after missing the regular boat when visiting an island with a German friend (Kimura is the second from the left)

Last picture with university dormitory friends before returning to Japan.
At Gothenburg Central Station (Kimura is to the right)