Two Students Share Their Perspectives and Experiences From Trip Abroad to Sweden

ESU students exploring Sweden Photo Courtesy/ Robert McKenzie ESU students exploring Sweden
Photo Courtesy/ Robert McKenzie

By Olivia Hollister & Brooke Bayliss
Contributing Writers

Olivia Hollister’s Experience:

One of the things I hear all the time is that studying abroad is the most rewarding experience you can have in college. My two weeks in Sweden surpassed that.

With a group of 19 ESU students, we took off on July 14 to begin our two weeks abroad studying Comparative Media.

Almost immediately and literally in the security line, we found that our own group was the greatest group of friends to go on daily adventures with. Half of the greatest part of traveling is the people you meet along the way.

Days one and two in Sweden were rough because almost none of us had ever experienced jet lag before.

So on a Sunday when we woke up at 3 p.m. thinking it was 9 a.m., our minds were in quite a bit of shock. We all powered through it though.

On day three, we started our first day of class. First off, walking through the campus to get to class is breathtaking.

We studied at Lund University, a university that is older than our country.

All of the buildings had beautiful ivy growing on them, and the streets were all cobblestone.

Class started off with a prompted question and from there it was all open discussion, which is my favorite kind of class.

Everyone had so much to contribute from their readings of the assigned chapter, personal opinions and observations of our new environment.

Our three-hour classes flew by with Dr. Robert McKenzie leading the discussions.

Some days, we had the pleasure of listening to different Swedish guest speakers.

Almost every day, we had a different excursion to look forward to, whether it be courserelated like our trip to a popular newsroom or something fun and playful like our outing to Viking ruins, complete with costumes to dress up in.

Our two weeks in Sweden gave me memories to last a lifetime and lessons as well. Among all the lessons, some of the most important things I have learned are the following:

1. It’s true: Americans are loud. We found this out the hard way.
2. If you completely open up your eyes and ears and are willing to completely submerge yourself in the culture, you can learn more about yourself and others in a few weeks’ time than a lifetime with no travel.
3. Always step out of your comfort zone. I will never forget the amazing time I had and all of the opportunities ESU has given me.

Studying abroad was an amazing experience that I suggest everyone tries once in his or her lifetime.

Brooke Bayliss’s Experience:

Not only did I learn a great deal about comparing media from different countries, I had the experience of a lifetime while studying abroad at Lund University in Sweden.

Being a former East Stroudsburg University student and a current West Chester University student, I was ecstatic to be able to make this trip happen.

Dr. McKenzie made it easy and affordable to be a part of this trip, even as a transfer student.

I was fearful at first, thinking I may not know anyone and may be treated as an outsider, but I was happily mistaken.

Everyone on this trip was so welcoming; I even had classes with a few of the other students before!

We met every morning at the School of Journalism building, where we had deep and constant conversations about the material being studied.

Ola, one of our Swedish mentors who has been a well-respected journalist for the past 15 years or so, would sit in on some classes and give us a true Swedish perspective on the topics at hand.

In addition to class time, we also went on excursions including a behind the scenes tour of a top name newspaper firm, went exploring through historic castles in Denmark, visiting Viking grounds native to the Swedish ancestry, and so much more.

From climbing mountain tops that over looked the beautiful Baltic Sea to visiting prestigious Swedish Newsrooms, this trip was flawless.

I made friends and memories that will last a lifetime on this trip and I will forever be grateful for that.

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