One of the benefits of studying at Stockholm University as Ervin sees it is the small-group teaching
Stephen Blake Ervin is in his first year of a two years Masters Programme at Stockholm University.

"I came to Stockholm University because I wanted to get out of the United States whilst I was young and see the world and experience other cultures and traditions," says Ervin. "Stockholm University is one of the top ranked schools in the world so I felt rather honored to be accepted to study here. I know it's strange for a US citizen to travel to Sweden to study English Literature but the programme here is wonderful."

One of the benefits of studying at Stockholm University as Ervin sees it is the small-group teaching he receives in the English Department.

"It's personal and friendly. I like the way the seminars feel kind of informal compared to the US," he says.

Although Swedish universities introduced tuition fees for non-European students in 2011 Ervin doesn't see this as a drawback for American students considering studying here.

"I think it's worth studying abroad because you get a sense of a culture you may never have encountered in the States; because the fees are also rather inexpensive compared to US universities, I would recommend other American students think seriously about studying in Sweden."

A typical day for Ervin means leaving his apartment and traveling out to the Frescati campus, just over 15 minutes from the city's central Station. Stockholm is one of the greenest cities in Europe and the campus is situated in a national urban park. Students have easy access to the library, sport's hall, numerous cafés restaurants and bookstore.

Ervin says: "I usually have a couple of hours class on campus and then hang out on campus with some of the other students before studying. We talk about class and catch up on what's happening. I like being on campus."

With all international masters courses at the university taught in English and most Swedes happy to speak English around the city, Ervin hasn't had a problem getting around.

"It's still a good idea to try and learn Swedish," laughs Ervin. "I'd tell any prospective to learn the language, and try not to be a 'typical' American."

With another year and a half left before he completes his studies at the University and not put off by the Swedish winter, Ervin is happy to be here.

"Stockholm's a great place to study and live. The main difference between the States and Sweden is the food and transportation. There's less choice here than in the US when it comes to food. But I've yet to come across High Fructose Corn Syrup so it's a fair trade! Public transport in Stockholm is much nicer!"

Related material

Video from US student Alejandro Verbiest, who also studies at Stockholm University.

Text by: Jon Buscall