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exchange student question

by wvkaty Online Now Jan 26, 2007 at 8:59 PM

My daughter is thinking of doing a student exchange to Karlstad, she is 19, American, and somewhat shy.

I was curious after reading a very negative review of Karlstad as a city (they said it was very boring, rural, nothing to do, full of old people) what someone else thought of the city for an exchange student.

Is the university residences for international students convenient to campus? (walkable or?)

Do you think other students there make exchange students feel welcome?

I would really like your candid comments as I want this to be a good experience for her....

thanks for any and all comments..


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4 Answers
  • Sjalen's Profile Photo

    RE: exchange student question

    by Sjalen Online Now Jan 27, 2007 at 2:04 AM

    First of all, I have no idea what studying in Karlstad is like as I've only ever stopped in town shortly when passing through. However, some general comments:

    Karlstad is known for its many hours of sunshine. When a Swede is happy you say that he/she "shines like the sun in Karlstad". :)

    Swedish cities in general are small by international standards as we are only 9 million people here. In Karlstad, there are around 82000 inhabitants. Nevertheless, I think they have quite a few bars and restaurants for a city that size. But of course it's fairly quiet on a Sunday in January for instance and you won't find that many specialist shops but mainly "High Street" chains. Then again. it probably gets very lively in May with the loooong daylight hours and green parks and water features in the city centre where you can swim.

    Karlstad is the capital of the province called Värmland which is known for vast forests dotted with lakes everywhere. The sort of place where you get up on a hill and see for miles and miles. Karlstad itself is by Sweden's biggest lake, Lake Vänern, which means boat trips in its archipelago. Värmland is also known for being the home of Nobel Prize winning author Selma Lagerlöf and other poets and musicians inspired by the poetic landscape.

    Communications include trains to both Stockholm and Norway so you can have a look around the region. Read more at their site:


    As for student life. I have just looked at the university's own student forum on internet. There I have found that Karlstad's ambitions right now is to attract a lot more international students in future. I have also found that some students love the scenic area and the university life whilst others cannot wait to get away to bigger cities with more nightlife. So, I guess it's a bit what you make of it - there are lots of sports associations and so on - the town is famous for its ice-hockey team.

    I also found an announcement about English/American Christmas carols in the forum too and thought that maybe you can mail the student who posted it since she should be in the know about international life if she organises that sort of thing even if it is a Swedish choir doing it. Her name is Amanda (just say you found her e-mail in the student forum or through VT):


    Finally, I can compare Karlstad to the slightly smaller Växjö where I studied and which sees lots of international students and we welcomed them with a walk through the dairy section in Swedish supermarkets (so as not to put fermented milk in your tea!) and then had all sorts of events for them. I think Karlstad will be similar. Especially with its international ambitions.

    You can also see if VT member rojo72 has more to tell you!

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  • Rojo72's Profile Photo

    RE: exchange student question

    by Rojo72 Online Now Jan 28, 2007 at 10:32 AM

    Hey there Cathy,

    I've sent you a reply to your email, but since I saw your post here too I thought I'd write a line to second most of the things Sjalen wrote. :)

    I think she'll have fun!


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  • RE: RE: exchange student question

    by wvkaty Online Now Jan 29, 2007 at 7:55 PM

    thank you both for you assistance! I will pass this on to her.
    Be well,

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  • Katrinarpi's Profile Photo

    RE: exchange student question

    by Katrinarpi Online Now Feb 19, 2007 at 7:56 AM

    Im a host student of the exchange students in Karlstad and I must say everybody Ive met here, both swedes and other nationalities all talk most positivly about our city. There are a lot of activities, especially for the exchange students with trips and tours all around the area. :) And people are very friendly, dont you worry about that :)

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