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Av Frida Lindh - 14 november 2011 13:15

Today we got in contact with a few previous exchange students. Frida has a lot of friends that have been exchange students both recently and a few years ago; both in the United States and in other parts of Sweden. So we contact them through Facebook and asked them if we could meet up someday and interview them about their exchange year. But we are aware of that some of them we won’t be able to meet face to face because they live far away from Gothenburg and / or in other countries. With those people we will have a phone-interview instead!

We also contacted a boy, Cesar, from Venezuela that was an exchange student in Sweden a few years ago. It turns out that he has actually been living in Sweden ever since! He only went back to Venezuela to finish high school then he actually moved to Sweden and started to study on a university in Stockholm. Now he has his own apartment there and a part time job besides his studies, and recently got engaged to a Swedish girl. He talks Swedish fluently and still has a lot of contact with the host family he stayed with during his exchange year, as well as his Swedish friends.

 Then we also talked to a girl named Stella from Brazil who spent a year in Sweden living in Frida’s house. Stella understands almost everything in Swedish but she find it a little bit hard to talk Swedish. We totally understand that because Swedish really is extremely difficult!  But the point of talking to Stella wasn’t only to hear her story about her experiences in Sweden, but also to get in contact with a Swedish girl that is an exchange student in Brazil right now and that is living in her house. We want to interview someone that currently is an exchange student, to see what she has to say about her experiences now half way through her year abroad.

Av Frida Lindh - 9 november 2011 13:15

Today we went to an interview with an organization that is called STS. It was a relief that their office actually is located in Gothenburg because now we actually knew where to go – Kyrkogatan. So this time we didn’t have to make a time plan and a what-to-do-if-we-get-lost plan; everything went really smoothly. They had told us to drop by at 3, so 10 minutes to 3 we were standing outside their door. It’s better to be early than late, right?

We decided that today Alice would take notes because she’s a faster writer, and you can actually see what she writes when she’s stressed – compared to Frida’s handwriting which is more or less unreadable. When they let us in into the office we got an unexpected surprise; there was a cake on the table! Hungry as we usually are, we both accepted a piece of the delicious cake. Then we got to work. The interview took about an hour and as expected we got all the information needed for the handbook. We also found out that there’s one thing with STS that makes it different from the other organizations – they have a meeting with the student that is about to go away to another country as an exchange student and it’s parents before the student leave Sweden. In this meeting both the student and the parents can ask questions about expectations and worries for the upcoming year abroad; in this way we believe that the student as well as the parents will feel more relaxed and know what to expect.

Now we got all the information that we need from the four organizations. So our next assignment will be to find previous exchange student and interview them about their year abroad. But we have learned through the interviews with the organizations that the majority of the students go to the United States (about 85 %). Therefore we believe that it’s really important to also find students to interview that went to another country, so we get other perspectives. Because going as an exchange student to the United States or going to China would be two completely different experiences. We want to find students that went to a completely different culture and learned a completely different language. But of course we will talk to students that went to United States as well, because lets face it – according to the statistics United States is the most popular country to go to.

Av Frida Lindh - 23 oktober 2011 13:15

We started with EF and their office is located at Strandvägen in Stockholm; it took us almost 2 hours to get there due to transportation problems (we’re not used to the subway system). But we had counted on that when we made our time plan, so we still got there on time! And once we got there everything went very smoothly; we switch roles today so Alice was the one taking notes while Frida was interviewing. We asked the same questions as yesterday because we need the same information about the different organizations in order to compare all of them to each other. We also learned that with EF you have more options on how you want to live in the country to choose to go to; host families, a campus on the school with other students, or by yourself in a student apartment located close to the school you are attending. First when we got aware of this we thought about not using it in the handbook; but then we realized that this was a good opportunity to show the differences between the organizations in the handbook. Because with YFU which we visited yesterday you can only choose to live with a host family.

After that we went to our next organization; Explorious. Because the previous meeting took a little longer than we had planned, we realized that we wouldn’t get in time to our next meeting. We were also uncertain of where Luntmarksgatan was located, so we decided to call our friends for guidance. They made it clear for us that they didn’t trust our sense of orientation and doubted that we would get there in time (the office closes at 17). Therefore they offered to pick us up and drive us the Explorious. Thanks to them we did get there in time. Once again we got answers to all the questions we needed for our handbook. We also found out that Explorious as well as EF have a larger focus on European countries; you can choose between Irland, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. YFU, on the other hand, focus more on non-European countries. We believe that this will be useful information once we start making the handbook; it’s important to show the differences between the different organizations.    

Av Frida Lindh - 22 oktober 2011 13:15

Today was our first day working with the project work. We had planned to start with it a little bit earlier, but we faced some complications; almost all the exchange organizations that we wanted to visit and interview were located in Stockholm. But first, when we found out that the offices were located in Stockholm, we thought about calling them instead. But we figured that we would get a better picture of the organizations if we talked to them face to face. Then we remembered that we had planned to go to on a trip to Stockholm in the end of October and visit some of our friends that live there, so we took the opportunity to visit the offices at the same time. The first organization we went to visit is called YFU (Youth For Understanding). The head office is located on Vikingagatan in Stockholm, and after running around in circles for a while we finally found it. Only 10 minutes late (we had called them the day before to book a meeting) we entered the office.

We sat down on a couch in a nice decorated room with a woman from the staff and she offered us some coffee. We both turned down her offer. Then we started the interview; Alice talked and Frida took notes. We had prepared some questions of the most important things we wanted to know; which countries you could choose from, the age limit, the prices and what is included in the prices, how they choose the host families and the school, and if you had to have some knowledge before you go as an exchange student. The woman answered all of our questions in a good and clear way, so afterwards we were really satisfied. We also got a really good impression of the organization, the staff was really kind and helpful, and the atmosphere was welcoming.

Tomorrow we're going to visit two other organizations that are also located in Stockholm; EF and Explorious.  


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