Exchange Student Profile – Filip
Although Laurier has one of the biggest exchange programs in the country, little is known about the foreign students that participate in it. This week, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with one of them, Filip Linden Lofgren, from Sweden, and he had quite a lot to share about the differences between studying here at Laurier and studying back home.
Tell me a little about where you are from? Is it a big city or a small city; is it anything like Waterloo?
FILIP: I’m from Växjö, Sweden.
It’s a pretty small town – about 100,000 people – and quite a few of them are students. I’d say the biggest similarity between Waterloo and Växjö is the amount of young people in the two towns; this comes with having a university in town. The atmosphere here is amazing, and everyday, with the exception of Mondays, can be quite lively. Also, Waterloo does have quite a lot of smaller houses, which is something I’m not used to at all; it’s basically all apartment buildings back home.
How many countries have you been to? Is this your first time going on an international exchange program?
FILIP: I’d say somewhere around 10 countries, but this is my first time outside of Europe and also my first time in an exchange program.
I think most people would agree that 10 countries is a whole lot. If you had the opportunity to re-visit any of these countries, which ones would it be?
FILIP: Probably England, considering I only spent a day or two in each place and it was with my university, so most of the time was spent on trips for school, rather than finding my own way around.
If I’m right, you are double majoring in English and Philosophy. What is the most challenging aspect of this for an exchange student like yourself, and how have you overcome it?
FILIP: The most challenging part for me has nothing to with my majors, but rather with the way the courses work in Canada. The whole aspect of midterms doesn’t exist in Sweden, nor does finals. We study 1-2 courses at a high phase for no more than 5 weeks, and then have “final exams” before we move on to new courses. We usually take 10 courses a semester, rather than merely 5 like here. So keeping up with 5 courses at the same time has been the biggest challenge. The only way to really handle is it by planning your time, which I’m still trying to get better at.
One last question, if you had all the money and time in the world, what would you be doing at this moment?
FILIP: I would probably be doing just about the same thing I’m doing now – except I’d be making more trips over the weekends and checking out more of what this country has to offer. I love the university environment, I love to study and learn from people that know more than I do, and if I had all the money in the world I’d still do that – but I’d be better dressed and have a few more cool toys, haha.