Ariana Haddad's Study Abroad Experience
Expected Graduation Year: 2020
Host Country and Name of School: Lund University, Sweden - Fall 2018
How did you prepare for Study Abroad and how did you choose your program?
Studying abroad was always a dream of mine, so I started preparing very early. I researched the school and the programs it offered, as well as the country and its culture. It was a simple choice for me actually, I needed a program that my scholarship would cover and that would fulfill my engineering requirements. Lund University is a top engineering school in the world and I wouldn’t need to worry about tuition.
Where did you stay, and how was the experience?
I stayed in a six-person corridor room, meaning we each had our own rooms, but shared a common area. It was really special to be in this type of housing because we were able to become extremely close with each other. Everyone in my corridor room was from a different country around the world—Brazil, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, China, and Cyprus. We would get together every Sunday night and cook. We called it “family dinner” because we became each other’s families away from home. Each week we would cook traditional food from one of the countries we were from. We made everything from scratch, including dumplings, chicken tikka masala, naan, moussaka, Brazilian fish stew, Taiwanese street food, Boba tea, and of course for American night we made hamburgers and French fries! My experience abroad would not have been the same without my roommates and these family dinners.
What courses did you take and how did they differ from your courses at SCU?
I took Biomechanics, Introduction to Microfluidics and Lab on a Chip Systems, and Religion in Politics. The biggest difference was that I had so much more free time at LU than I normally do at SCU. In my technical classes at home, I would have lab once a week for three hours. At LU, I had three labs total for each technical class and most of the time they were not for a grade. I also only had class for maybe 2 or 4 hours a day, which is a sharp contrast to my class schedule back home. In Sweden, they focus heavily on group work. In every class, they have some sort of project or assignment that requires working in groups of two or more. The Swedish professors expect the students to study outside of class mainly and don’t hold regular office hours like professors do in the United States. In addition, the grade of the class was based only on the grade of the final exam.
Did you do much travelling or participate in other activities?
I travelled to England, Scotland, Turkey, Denmark and many, many cities in Sweden. I also had the chance to do some research in microfluidics and develop PDMS chips—Polydimethylsiloxane, a polymer used for fabricating and prototyping microfluidic chips]. I had classes with local students, so I studied with them most of the time. I also participated in FemiLund which is a feminist club on campus and worked in the engineering café.
How have you changed as a result of your experience?
This will definitely change the way I approach engineering. It has given me a more holistic worldview that I will be able to carry into my future projects and endeavors. It has also taught me to be patient when it comes to solving problems and working with others.
Would you recommend Study Abroad to others?
Yes, absolutely!! If you want to experience something new and be immersed in a new country and culture, I highly recommend it!