– Here, you hug instead of kiss, and at first everybody was shocked when I gave them a kiss, says Patricia Alvarado Salas from Venezuela. Vertex has talked to three international students about studying in Umeå – a long way from home for all of them.

This semester, more than 1 800 students from other countries began their studies at Umeå University. Louis Liu from China, Patricia Alvarado Salas from Venezuela and Brooke Carlson from USA are three of them. They have, so far, experienced both surprises and good times, and they all agree that studying in Umeå is quite different from studying back home.

– HERE YOU HAVE ONE CLASS at a time, and once you finish it you go to the next. In the US you have 4–5 classes at the same time throughout the semester. It’s nice to focus on one class at a time, but I like the american model better. Maybe because I’m used to it, says Brooke Carlson, who studies Organic chemistry.

IN CHINA, EXPLAINS Louis Liu, they have more examinations rather than seminars.
– We talk more here, in seminars, and have less homework. Swedish students are more independent and do their homework by themselves. I China students work together more when doing homework.

ONE OF THE DIFFERENCES from Venezuela and Mexico is the use of English, says Patricia Alvarado Salas.
– I love that  many courses are in English, which makes it a common language for everybody. Another  distinguishing  characteristic is the presence of international students that brings diversity, tolerance and global point of view to the university.

TEXT AND PHOTO:
ANDERS SAMUELSSON

Read the full interview – and check out the big world map –
in the next issue of Vertex, which appears 3 December 2013.