Dart Scholar enjoys exchange programme

Anja van Genderen, a 2015 Dart High School Scholar and 2018 William A. Dart Memorial University Scholar, will graduate this summer from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland with a degree in biological science. During her university studies, she participated in the student exchange programme and spent a year at Uppsala University in Sweden.

Even though her time was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, Anja enjoyed her experience and plans to return to Uppsala University this fall to complete her master’s degree. Camana Bay Times's Laura Leontsinis asked Anja about her experience in the exchange programme.

CBT: What was participating in an exchange programme like?
It was an excellent experience despite it getting cut short. People in Sweden are very relaxed, kind and welcoming. This made Uppsala feel like a smaller city even though the student population is similar to Edinburgh. I chose to do my exchange programme with Uppsala because it has a strong biological foundation and the teaching is in English. I also wanted to explore Sweden and felt like it was a yearlong vacation of learning as I was able to travel through much of the region.

CBT: What are the benefits of an exchange programme?
AvG: You get to immerse yourself in a different culture. In my exchange programme, we were on our own once we got to Sweden, which I enjoyed because I had the freedom to do what I wanted while meeting new people and seeing new things. It can be a bit awkward for people my age to be forced into group social activities, so it was nice to be independent. Uppsala University has a "Student Nations" programme, which are associations that work together to make your time as a student enjoyable by organising activities, dinners and tours.

CBT: What was most different from your home school?
AvG: The structure of lectures was quite similar but the class sizes were smaller and the focus was more on student discussion and collaboration. I had to work on more group projects and group presentations than I was used to, which was nerve-racking but also good as it helped develop my discussion and presentation skills.

CBT: Would you recommend exchange programmes to others?

AvG: Absolutely! I recommend taking the opportunity because you get to explore a new location. However, be careful that the school you pick has the courses required for your degree and make sure you understand the language they use for instruction.