Leaving my home and my safe place for four months was something I thought would be the hardest thing I would ever have to do. Experiencing a new culture and country on my own was both exciting and terrifying, and when getting on that plane my stomach was filled with butterflies.
But I was wrong. Leaving Sweden and my family for four months was nothing compared to leaving my beloved Michigan State University and fellow Spartans behind. These four
months have allowed me to grow as a student, a world-traveler and as a human being. I have acquired skills in the English language I did not think would happen in four months, I have met people I
am going to stay in contact with for the rest of my life, and I have learnt how to be independent and that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. Michigan State will always be a huge part of who I am and what I identify with, and I will forever be grateful for my experience!
Coming to the States to study is of course an experience in itself, but for me it was also an opportunity to develop my social skills and confidence. I decided to take two classes in communication, one in PR and one in Social Psychology even though my major is business. Studying new subjects and trying different courses turned out to be one of my best decisions here. In one of my communication classes we have spent a lot of time working on public speaking skills, including writing speech outlines and giving critique. I really challenged myself during this class, and was honored with a Best Speaker diploma at the end of the semester. Something that unfortunately would not have happened if I had stayed in Sweden. Michigan State will allow you to grow in whatever field you want to, if you just ask. The professors and TAs are always available, and the only thing stopping you is you.
It didn’t take long to feel at home in East Lansing. MSU’s campus makes you feel welcome and is very personal. Talking a walk along the Red Cedar, visiting the Children’s garden or driving to the mall becomes an appreciated routine quickly, and living in such a vibrant community is comforting. There is always something going on — a sports event, a sale at the bookstore (they have a lot more than just books, believe me), club activities or tailgates. If you want to get out of your house, you only have to look outside and there will be something for you to do.
During my first couple of weeks I also joined a club. This is something I highly recommend as you get to know new people, have weekly activities and is a way to experience the American culture. CHAARG (the amazing club I joined) have taken me to a cider mill, on a hay-ride, to a formal, a fundraiser, endless workouts and so much more. Getting involved during college is very common, and a lot of very “American” activities are found through clubs. Michigan State have a huge variety in what clubs you can join — anything from a polo club, to a squirrel watching club (they are everywhere on campus!), to some kind of sporting club. I’ve found some of my best friends in the club I joined, and I know we will continue talking for a very long time.
I would like to take the opportunity to thank Michigan State University and the American Semester Program for the best four months of my life. I have learnt so much and gotten so many new friends, and am from now on forth I am a true Spartan. Go Green!
Interested in learning more about our programs and exchanges? Take a look at our website, americansemester.msu.edu, where you can find a variety of resources.