Exchange Program-Sweden

Jonkoping International Business School

Student Experience - Sweden

Exchange Student, Rishan Wanniarachchi

Jonkoping International Business School, Sweden – Fall 2006

“I recommend anyone to go on an exchange program as this will change your life for the better and broaden your horizons. I guarantee that if you go with an open mind, you will not want to leave.”

To obtain a VISA, I sent my application to the consulate in Los Angeles.  Because I am a resident of the U.S and not a citizen, it took 9 weeks to process.  If you have a U.S passport, it should not take more than 4 weeks. It cost me $150 for the visa including delivery costs.  There was no interview, but I went through a lot of hassle which is not the case for U.S citizens.  You must send a copy of your acceptance letter, 2 photos, passport, bank statement and application to the consulate. 

Before departure, I received a package from JIBS in May with the acceptance letter, information about courses, housing, traveling and living in Sweden.  Keep in touch with the coordinator in Sweden, Besime.

For my flight, it cost me a lot more than others because I traveled to Sri Lanka from Sweden and then back to Florida.  But I would say it will cost at least $1800 from Hawaii to Sweden (roundtrip).

I arrived in Stockholm on the 24th of August and in Jonkoping the next day, in the afternoon.  Because I missed the first 4 days of orientation as a result of a delayed visa, I was not picked up from the bus station (or airport, whichever mode you use).  Students must sign up around July (for Fall) and indicate the date and time of arrival.  They will then be taken to the international office at JIBS and be given the housing contract and keys.  From what I heard, the orientation should NOT be missed not only because of the information delivered, but also because there are welcome parties and theme parties every day.  It is also the time to make new friends so don’t miss it.

I selected my classes before leaving for arriving in Sweden.  The classes were marketing electives - Business to Business Marketing once a week (Integrated Marketing @ HPU), and Creative Marketing once a week (second part of Fall).  I DO NOT recommend the 2 courses I took at JIBS.  The teachers were horrible as they focused on the wrong areas of study. I do not feel like I enhanced my knowledge enough on marketing after taking those classes.  From my personal experience I believe that HPU is better. Students will have to do a lot of self studying and research.  Class attendance is not critical, but working in groups with other nationalities can be tough but very enjoyable.

For assistance with anything, the coordinator in Sweden, Besime Uyanik is very dependable and helpful. Peter Hilton, the director, I heard is also very helpful.  There is also a student association that can help you with certain matters.

I signed up for housing online in May.  I stayed at a student housing area called Raslatt which is THE place to be for international students.  It’s a 15 minute bus ride away from school.  The room was furnished with a bed, night stand, table, computer chair, 2 lounge chairs and a coffee table, closet and a huge open rack.  There is a semi equipped kitchen and 1 bathroom.  Most apartments have 3 rooms which come in 3 sizes.  You must pick the room you are given and the price depends on the size.  I had a medium sized room which was Kr 2185 (I think) including internet. I ate mostly at home, which is the cheapest way. Dining can be expensive for a student.  There is a supermarket within the housing premises called Willy’s which has reasonably priced items.  On average an exchange student will spend about $650 - $750 per month.

More than 95% of students used prepaid cell phones and signed up with a company called Comviq.  You can purchase a phone and the S.I.M card downtown for about kr 400.  We all used Skype to call home. The local currency is the Swedish Kroner.  The average exchange rate is about KR7 for $1.  I did not open a bank account (most students did not) and used my visa debit card to pay and withdraw money from the ATM.

There is 24 hour access to the computer lab in school.  All students who have university housing will have high speed internet access at home.  The fee is included in your rent. Not many campus recreation facilities are available.  But at Raslatt, there is a student lounge room with TV, pool table, foosball and music.

I did not have health insurance, and I got hospitalized for a day which cost me $250 on the spot and more later on.  Students should definitely have health insurance even though it’s not required by JIBS.  I was taken to hospital which was close by to where Raslatt was.

English was spoken by many.  But it is better to learn words that would be used in daily life such as food names.  The cold can be a problem for someone used to living in warm climates.  I recommend going in the summer or fall.  The school system can be annoying as well because there is no set time and class for meetings.  You must look up Jibsnet to know the location the following week.  Classes can also clash which forces you to pick a class to attend.  I think it is absurd.

You must make Sweden your base and travel around Europe.  To me the main experience was living, meeting and traveling with international students.  The student association organizes trips to Stockholm, Helsinki and Kiruna.  I recommend you go on all these trips.  I had the best time of my life in Sweden, not because of the city I lived in, not because of the school, but because of the students and the culture that was set. Getting to travel around Europe really made my trip a success. I would rate my personal experience extremely high and my academic experience low. I won’t do it again, I think, because I got everything I wanted from this trip.  The greatest point was traveling, making friends from other countries, partying and traveling!