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An Appreciation for Life

 Stora Södergatan View
Stora Södergatan View
Jana Chriselle M De La Paz
Major: 
Psychology
Program: 
Sweden
Term Abroad: 
Spring 2018

Q: Initially, what made you decide to study abroad? Why did you choose your program?

A: I wanted to experience a completely different culture and setting than my own. I've lived in the Philippines where there are only two seasons and California is always sunny and Sweden is a true winter wonderland that I never experienced before. Aside from the snow, I wanted to learn more about the Scandinavian way of life and the best way to learn is to do.

Q: What was the highlight of your study abroad experience?

A: Stepping out of my studio to play in fresh fallen snow that felt like powdered sugar is a memory I hold on to dearly. Aside from this fulfilled dream to play in the snow, biking through a medieval town with cobblestone street and passing by a cathedral built in 1100's to get to class is as picturesque in the winter as it is in the spring. My host university also has a botanical garden that bloomed so much flowers, specifically tulips in the spring that a walk through it was a must once the weather started getting warmer.

Q: What was your greatest challenge abroad and how did you overcome it?

A: Even though Swedes spoke English, everything around me was in Swedish, but they were helpful with guiding me to the right train track and even in the grocery stores. Applying what I learned in my language class and speaking a little bit of Swedish went a long way and it made me feel like I was a part of their community.

Q: How did your coursework abroad compare to your courses at UC Merced?

A: The class structure at Lund University was a little bit different than UC Merced but the lectures and course load was about the same. I definitely gave more presentations and participated in more group projects during my semester abroad than I would normally do at UC Merced. The class structure enabled me to meet and get to know other international students around the world and form friendships that I will be keeping.

Q: What did you gain from your study abroad experience?

A: I learned to not be afraid of change because it can lead to beautiful things simply by the seasons changing. I am more grateful and appreciative of nature for the natural beauty it brings. In the midst of our busy lives, Swedes taught me the importance of self care through fika (coffee break) either by yourself or with friends and just take a moment to be mindful of everything around and in you.

Q: What advice do you have for students considering study abroad?

A: If you're wondering if it's worth it, I would do it again in a heartbeart (plane delays and all). Aside from the global education you will be receiving abroad, it will enrich your life in a way you can't really imagine but just have to experience. Everyone in the study abroad office will go to great lengths to help you so you can have a smooth process applying and make it possible.