A few weeks ago I sat down with Louise Sandstroem, a senior Industrial Design major who is here at PhilaU all the way from Gotheburg, Sweden. During our time, I was able to talk to her about what her life has been like here in the U.S. and about her reasons for choosing PhilaU.
Kellyn Kemmerer (HC): Was coming to college your first time in the U.S.?
Louise Sandstroem (LS): No, I started high school in the Columbia, Maryland when I was 15, after my dad was relocated for work. I’ve been here for 7 years now.
HC: As an international student, how do you think your college experience may have differed from someone native to the U.S.?
LS: Everything is in a new language with a new way of thinking, especially with math. You learn more things culturally and you look at stuff more critically. There are small daily things that differ, like expressions and time differences.
HC: Is there an American expression was you thought was odd or had to get used to?
LS: Yes! Take it with a grain of salt, different slang and every day terms, and shortened things, like text acronyms, took some getting used to.
HC: What made you choose PhilaU?
LS: I liked the close knit community that PhilaU has. I could see myself feeling at home on the campus when I came to my campus visit. I also liked the size of my major, since it would allow me to get to know the professors and students from other years.
HC: What drew you to your major?
LS: I always thought I would study engineering in college, but after I had an engineering class during my senior year of high school I realized that I did not like crunching numbers all day, even though I really like math. I am a creative person and I realized that whatever I studied would need to include that somehow. Industrial design meets somewhere in between the math and creative, allowing me to do both on a regular basis.
HC: What do you believe is a strength of PhilaU’s international student program?
LS: Our student coordinator, Hannah Bar-Giora, takes the students on a one on one basis, and likes to get them to know the area She lets us know about the city, goes over slang, what we can expect, what can be different. It’s a small international student community. We’re all on a first name basis.
HC: Do you want to move back to Sweden after graduation?
LS: Yes, if there’s a job. The rest of my family and dog just relocated her, but my brother is still at home.
HC: Do you have any advice for new students?
LS: Get involved in clubs and activities on campus. Also, make use of the city being so close for shopping, great food and just hanging out.