On this page ERM students who went for a semester abroad tell about their experiences. Thanks to all contributors.
If you also went abroad and want to share what you have experienced, please send us an e-mail to erm.bost.btu(at)gmail.com. We would be really delighted to publish more current reports.
It is a great experience to study biology in Costa Rica. Most of the modules include several days excursions to the nature doing practical work for small projects. Despite it, courses are more intensive than in ERM and include a lot of assignments. It is very beneficial to come with some Spanish language knowledge as all lectures are in local language, but no worries if you are beginner – you can catch up fast.
Campus in San Jose (the capital) has a perfect location in the centre of the country so it is easy to reach any touristic destination, and there is a lot to see! Pacific Ocean, Caribbean Sea, tropical forests, mountains, volcanoes and a lot of wild animals which you can find everywhere. During my stay, I did volunteering in NGO, which let me visit the most remote places in the country, earn experience, meet interesting people and learn more about Tico’ culture.
People are really social and laid-back, and at the same time really passionate and can tell you 1001 fun facts about their hobby/interests. You can easily make new friends walking in the park or buying exotic fruits on the street markets. Nevertheless, walking outside in the evenings (after 6pm) is not recommended, and safer to use UBER to move around the city.
Completing visa is a time and financial burden the first month, however the university administration tries to help as much as possible to finish all bureaucracy and contact right governmental clerks to get all signatures.
I consider Costa Rica to be a fantastic place for a semester abroad!
One of the most popular activities at Lund University is probably going for fika with your study mates.
You go to town, preferably to Cafe Ariman next to the cathedral and just stay there for several hours until it is time to go home.
That's what my days in Lund are like: go to the university at 9 am, stay until 4 pm, get some fika and maybe go to a nation at night. The nations are essential for social life: It's the only place reasonably priced beer and food and it's where all the parties take place.
Sometimes I also work there for food and drinks, a good method to get dinner and get to know swedish people.
Apart from that, I do what most exchange students do here: I explore the country.
Copenhagen is only half an hour away by train, Malmö ten minutes. There is the seaside in Lomma, a popular beach to visit on the weekend, and of course nature reserves and national parks: forests, cliffs, lakes, rivers and nights full of stars. If you hunger for civilisation and culture, Göteborg and Stockholm are there as well; a three hour trip on the train will take you there.
When it comes to studying, Lund University offers a wide range of high quality courses: biology, chemistry, GIS and many others. Additionally, there are the SAS courses for exchange students that cover every aspect of Scandinavian cultur and history. I chose two courses from the Department of Biology: Marine Ecology and Ecotoxicology. Marine Ecology was a fun course with one week excursion to the sea to take samples for a group project.
The professor lookes like a real marine biologist (sturdy build, checkered shirt), provided us with cake and gave us a lot of freedom in our work. Ecotoxicology is a lot about lab-work, doing all the different toxicity tests and checking and accumulation of pollutants in the trophic chain. In general, the quality of courses is high, so if you are interested in biology, Lund sure is the place to go. Administration is usually quite relaxed, so you'll be able to do whatever you want without any problems (Only from the BTU's side..).
Karla Münzer, ERM student
The University at Buffalo (UB) is a truly international experience. UB has the highest number of international students among the major American universities. You get a really good introduction and all organizational matters work smoothly. With about 30,000 students and almost 10,000 staff almost every major field of research is represented. UB is worldwide known for its medical and engineering department.
My best experience at UB was a lecture by Kofi Annan and a personal chat with him afterwards. Another guest lecture by Tony Blair was really interesting as well! Exceptional guest lectures as mentioned above are organized by a very active student board. But the "regular" teachers at UB are also very good and enthusiastic, not comparable with most of the professors from BTU.
There are also a lot of offers for your leisure, ranging from all sorts of sports clubs to environmental groups.
The only negative aspect of UB is that it is built mainly for automobile commuters. As a biker or pedestrian you will encounter some difficulties on campus and in the City of Buffalo. However, Buffalo has a really active environmental movement and certain parts of the city have changed their infrastructure towards more walkable neighborhoods. The City is also known as one of the most "artsy" places in the States.
I can highly recommend UB for your semester abroad. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me!
"If you are in Rome, do as the Romans do" could be the perfect heading for a stay in Jordan. For me everything there was new, exciting (either positively or negatively) and taught me an important lesson for life. When you think that our Secretary of Studies is inefficient coming to the GJU will open up a fourth dimension to you. Running through the registration process in the first week of my stay, made me almost appreciate the endless hours spend in a certain room of the main building, because at least in the BTU you know the one and only who is to blame. However after complaining to many people how it was hard to find a single person in the Registration Unit of Amman's supposedly "elite" university, I simply threw myself into the constant marathon all students have to finish before they can start the first week of studies.
This might sound horrible but actually a stay at the GJU is quite a lot of fun. The Environmental Department offers a lot of courses that ERM does not have in the fields of Renewables, Water and Tools (e.g. GIS), that are very beneficial for the Environmental Managers we want to be one day. The head of the program is the lovely Dr Muna Albanna, whose motherly instinct will dry the tears of many visits to the Registration. All the lecturers I had spoke perfect English, many did their PhD in Canada and the UK others in France. For an intercultural experience the middle-eastern ways of Jordan will be a challenging and yet enjoyable playground. Every time you think that you understood the core of the social life there a new door will open to lead you on to the next level of understanding yourself and those around you better.
In Amman you can find both, Arabic style coffee houses crowded with men and shisha smoke as well as fancy European cafés. The possible free-time activities will only be limited by your time and financial resources, but for any budget you can find thrilling past time in the city that existed through so many different ages of civilisation.
The department of student affairs will help you with any matter: housing, transport or trips to the main sights. Visa matters are tackled together with an officer in the GJU so you will never be alone with your troubles. However even if you are facing problems outside the reach of university you will always find a helping hand in the Jordanian society.
As a girl coming to the Middle-East I would never have thought that moving about in a strange society, city and language could be that easy!