During the lunch break, exchange students and newly arrived Master’s students mingled over coffee and sandwiches and took a moment to relax in between the morning and afternoon orientation sessions.

"My first impression is that Swedes are so nice, so warm," says Hoeok Oh, from South Korea who arrived just four days before the start of term.

Hoeok is at the University to study for a Master’s in Social Work.

"Sweden is one of the best countries for Social Work programmes. It has such a strong reputation in this field, so I wanted to study here," she says.

Fellow South Korean Hwanmi Lim, who is going to study Analytical Chemistry, was also attracted by Stockholm University's reputation as an educational centre.

"I particularly like the fact that a Master’s takes two years in Stockholm compared to just one at a lot of places," says Hwanmi. "It gives you more time to study and develop your subject knowledge."

Austrian exchange student Stefan Niederer was partly persuaded to come to Stockholm after previous exchange students from his university in Innsbruck University spoke so positively about their experience in Stockholm.

"They recommended the Geography courses to me," Stefan says. "And living in Stockholm. I've been to Sweden before and liked it," he explains, "so all in all I am very happy to be here."

Stefan is not phased by the idea of taking Geography courses in English.

"It's a great opportunity to build my fluency and language skills. It's very positive that Stockholm offers courses in my subject – Geography – in English. But I'm also looking forward to taking a Swedish course and learning the local language."

Shoaib Hashmi, from Pakistan, has already been learning some Swedish from courses on the internet.

"Hur mår du?" he says, with a good accent, grinning."I want to speak good Swedish. It's very important to speak the language and get to know Swedes – even if your courses are in English."

Shoaib, who is here to study Finance, chose Stockholm University after finding out about the international Masters programmes on the Net.

"I also wanted to come because Sweden has a reputation as a country with little corruption. It's known as a clean and safe country in Pakistan," explains Shoaib.

The only thing the students are a bit nervous about is the winter.

"It might be a bit of a shock," says Hoeok, "but I'm also excited to see what it's like."

Chiara Faggella from Tuscany isn't that worried though.

"I love snow," she says, although she might change her mind if we get another 100 days of snow on the ground like last winter!

"The chance to come here and study Fashion was a dream come true for me," she says. "It's been a bit stressful finding an apartment, but I've got a sublet for one month so I'm not too stressed. I just can't wait to get on with my courses."

Text: Jon Buscall

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See a film clip from the day on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDJDKOuga0I