Meet the Students – Leigh S.
Leigh S. was the president of Roots & Shoots when he decided to study abroad. He was a history major who left for Sweden in his first semester as a senior and managed to bring back 18 credits. He has since graduated from WCSU.
Stockholm, Sweden, Södertörns Högskola:
Leigh attended Södertörn högskola in Stockholm, Sweden in Fall 2012.
What were your favorite and least favorite foods?
Leigh: Sweden is not a country really known for its foods, but it definitely shines in the sweets department. Cinnamon buns, or “Kanelbulle” are a staple, saffron buns, and princess cake or “Princesstårta” are great, too. Sweden is known for Glögg also, which is a delicious mulled wine common during the holidays.
Did you travel a lot?
Leigh: Yes. A lot of the Baltic countries have cruises between them that last two nights, and the day in between you get to spend in a city. Through these cruises I went to Helsinki, Riga, and Tallinn. I spent a long weekend with other exchange students in Warsaw, and also spent Christmas and New Years in Madrid with my roommate, who is Spanish.
What did you do during your free time?
Leigh: All the exchange students just would spend time together. Going to clubs, bars, trips to other countries, or just enjoy meals together.
What were your favorite and least favorite things to do while abroad?
Leigh: Just exploring the world with people who are just as lost and foreign as you are was the best! Anything that involved me doing something I would probably never have the chance to do again was my favorite. My least favorite thing was not doing my favorite things.
Was communicating easy?
Did you learn a new language, and how fluent would you consider yourself?
Leigh: I have gotten quite good at Swedish, but I can read better than I speak. Being in Spain renewed my interest in the language and I registered for it this semester at WCSU.
What difference did you find with regards to academics?
Leigh: The academic culture was much more relaxed here. Students and teachers are on a first name basis, and most classes were in a roundtable setting. I usually had 4-6 hours of class a week.
What advice would you give to other students traveling abroad?
Leigh: Don’t ever deny yourself a good time. You are going to make friends for life, but you aren’t all going to be together at the same time like you were abroad.
Think back to when you first arrived in your host country. What was something that surprised you and/or something that was totally different from what you are used to in the U.S.?
Leigh: Sweden is definitely different than the U.S., but it never felt “foreign.” Everyone spoke some degree of English, and American culture was very common. Swedes are definitely more quiet and reserved than Americans, but everyone was certainly friendly once you began speaking with them.
How would you summarize your overall experience?
Leigh: Fantastic. Spending time in Europe has begun a new chapter in my life.