Utskrift från Malmö högskolas webbplats www.mah.se

Sofia Hafdell

Sofia Hafdell studied International Relations and during her time at Malmö University she was an exchange student at Sydney University, Australia, and Istanbul Kültür University, Turkey.

What did you study at Malmö University? 

BA in International Relations. 

Why did you want to go on an exchange?

I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to travel and gain international experience and developing academically at the same time.

Sofia Hafdell har varit utbytesstudent i Australien och Turkiet

How come you chose to go to Australia and Turkey?

I had lived and worked in Australia before studying in Malmö and I wanted to go back. As soon as I started the programme I looked into the possibilities to go on an exchange to Sydney and the applied at the first opportunity. After Australia I could go on a second exchange in Europe. Turkey seemed to be a good option as a lot of their courses are taught in English.   

Tell me a little bit about your experiences; what were the best bits and the biggest challenges? The biggest differences between studying in Sweden and Turkey/Australia?

The best thing about the exchanges was gaining new experiences, perspectives and a little healthy perspective on ”home.” The biggest challenge was living in Turkey and experiencing a new culture and language. The difference between studying at home and abroad in Sydney was the fast pace which was both challenging and rewarding. My time in Turkey was perhaps less demanding in terms of the workload.   

Where did you live?

Both in Sydney and Istanbul I lived in shared flats in the city centres. Central Sydney, especially, can be quite expensive unless you share.

What was the teaching like? 

The quality of education at the University of Sydney is very high and as a student you have to take a lot of responsibility. We had lectures and seminars that covered some 20 hours a week. At Istanbul Kültür University the schedule covered more hours of the work, which is different from the Swedish system. As an exchange student, however, I was able to elect my courses and plan my own schedule.

What was the most important takeaway from your time in Australia and Turkey?

The people I met. I made a lot of close friends. Living abroad was hugely stimulating, both on a personal and academic level. The exchange with Turkey, in particular, opened up for lots of new opportunities, such as the opportunity to learn Turkish.

Which courses did you take during your time abroad? 

In Australia I took classes in law, politics and anthropology with a global focus. In Turkey all the courses were in International Relations, such as current global issues and foreign policy in the Middle East.   

Were your exchange studies in any way beneficial when it came to your career?

When I was in Istanbul I came in contact with an NGO where I also did my internship and where I later on was offered a job. The exchange was an opportunity to establish contacts internationally. My semesters aboard have made me more interculturally aware and the experiences I’ve gained help me in interactions with other people.

What would you like to say to students thinking about going abroad?

“Why not?” The University helps you with most of the preparations and the time, usually 4-6 months, passes by very quickly. 

Last updated by Maria Wennerberg