Studying abroad opens your mind, so does going home

3 life-changing quotes of wisdom you can learn from.

Not long ago I decided to take the life-changing step to pursue my Master´s degree abroad at Lund University and it took me a lot of conscious effort to cross this barrier of fear, anxiety and familiarity.  And guess what, here I am now after months of learning, socializing and numerous Fika sessions,  temporarily heading back to that comfort zone I call “home” – my beautiful Vienna, the capital of Austria (and maybe your next holiday destination).

But what I didn‘t expect is that taking a break from studying in Sweden and returning to that comfort zone, ultimately led me to reconsider my relationship to myself, my home city and its people.

Here are the quotes an Austrian international student at Lund University encountered at home because of her decision of ´driving home for Christmas´ (because she really didn´t want to celebrate Christmas in Sweden):

„You are walking around like you are on air“

– my one friend on my rekindled love to my home city

Before I arrived for my Master´s studies at Lund University, I considered my physical environment in Vienna as not so spectacular. Ever heard of the St. Stephen´s cathedral in the inner city? Only a mainstream sight for tourists. The high numbers of the old, traditional coffees without containing the name Espresso house? Well, I had my ordinary Fika sessions there even before moving to Sweden.

But those statements became unnecessary remarks after I temporarily returned from my studies in Sweden. Living in both Malmö and Lund has been truly an amazing experience so far because of the differences from my life home. Exactly, it´s different.

Life in Vienna largely varies from life in Malmö and Lund, smaller aspects I never payed attention to before moving to Sweden, such as blinking stoplights, the Viennese “charm” or simply the fact of living in a capital city with 1.8 million people.   

That´s why I started to embrace every cultural aspect of my home city when visiting my family and friends during holidays – maybe a bit too much.

The moment you start questioning your decision of leaving this cultural heaven. |
© Jessica Diez

„How are you in Sweden?“

– my indefinite number of relatives and friends who asked me this question

One of the most rewarding experiences of studying abroad is the diversity of people you will meet, where you can develop new friendships, gain self-confidence and learn about new cultural perspectives – just to name a few of the wide spectrum of benefits when studying abroad.

On the other side, your family and friends awaiting you home, eager to hear your tales and stories of mysterious Sweden, have known you before you developed all these personal characteristics. And before you became that international student at Lund University

Before moving to Sweden I took the time spent with family and friends back home for granted, since they were part of my everyday life. However now studying abroad, there is this degree of uncertainty of when your next get-together will take place.

That´s why I learned during my trip home to value more the time with family and friends.

Our very Austrian reaction on spending quality time together – and on hearing stories of Swedish lifestyle and student life. | © Jessica Diez

„I DID WHAT?“

– my thought while contemplating about my student life

Studying abroad confronts you with a lot of new experiences. A LOT.

That´s why I took the time when going home also to reflect and digest the past months of being a Lund University student. Not only it helped me to be aware of my academic progress, but also the personal developments I have made so far.

Even though this whole study abroad experience still appears to me like a surreal piece of art.

Contemplating about life in Sweden while craving Austrian dishes like “Gebratene Semmelknödel mit Ei”. Almost as weird sounding as Swedish delicacies.| © Jessica Diez

So stay home and `Goodbye Sweden´?

To be honest: Once you have arrived home, it is tempting to just cancel your return ticket to Sweden and stay where you are because of the simplicity and familiarity of your life before. No Swedish language barriers. No extraordinary sounding delicacies. No Swedes.  

But only because of my step out of my comfort zone to study at Lund University, I got the chance to encounter these wise quotes, personally develop myself and ultimately open my mind on the important things in life – that´s the beauty of leaving home.

Goodbye home and see you again!

– international students who begin their journey to Lund University