So far everything seems to be falling into place. I started my third coop work term at Saint Mary’s and am now anxiously awaiting to hear from JIBS (Jonkoping International Business School) in regards to my application. My advisor for international activities has sent them my nomination and they apparently have accepted me, however I still need to officially apply for school and my residence permit. I found a great website that explains the application process: (http://www.swedenabroad.com/en-GB/Embassies/Ottawa/Study-in-Sweden/Residence-Permits-for-Students/).
To be able to study abroad I had to apply to the exchange program at my university and get accepted before applying to JIBS. The exchange program at SMU is open to students who are registered as a full time/part time SMU student, is from any academic discipline, has declared their major (or are in the process of declaring a major) and possess a GPA of 2.5 or higher. A lower GPA may be accepted if the candidate has demonstrated leadership, participation in extra curricular activities, has an interest in global issues and has set clear personal and career goals. The candidate must be able to receive transfer credit towards your degree, have completed 30 credit hours at SMU before leaving for exchange. Students are not allowed to go on exchange in their home country except in certain circumstances, and some of the partner institutions may also have additional academic requirements. These are the policies for Saint Mary’s so other schools may have different or additional requirements (http://www.smu.ca/administration/international/s_exchange.html).
The application process to study abroad was as follows. I had to fill out the application form and choose three school options and research the classes they offer . After choosing the school and deciding what courses I wanted to take, I had to fill out a letter of permission to ensure the courses could be transferred to SMU. Once the courses were approved, I added them to my application along with two reference letters. One letter had to be from a professor and the other had to be from a job supervisor. The last piece of information the international activities wanted was an updated resume and a cover letter addressing specific questions.
Once I acquired all of the documents, I put them in one large envelope and placed it in the bin amongst the other hopeful applicants. In a couple weeks I was accepted and the application process to JIBS began!
I’m hoping everything will work out so I can go to Jonkoping because I have always wanted to travel to Sweden and other parts of Scandinavia. I always thought their scenery was so beautiful and culture and government so interesting and different. Being able to live there and experience it would be amazing and a dream come true! So no surprise, when I was researching the various schools the SMU abroad program is affiliated with, I instantly was drawn to Sweden and the town of Jonkoping.
Jonkoping is located on the southern end of Sweden’s second largest lake, Vattern. It is Sweden’s 10th largest municipality and has about 122,000 inhabitants. It is apparently referred to as the Jerusalem of Sweden due to the towns many churches. (Jonkoping Travel Guide – Wikitravel, 2012).
JIBS is recognized as the most international business school in Sweden and is one of the most international business schools in the world. Around 30% of both the employees and students come from outside of Sweden.
The first JIBS students were enrolled in 1994 and in the last twenty years, JIBS has grown to a comprehensive institution offering Bachelor, Master and Doctoral education. It has become world renowned in many research areas. It has its own board of directors and is owned by the Jonkoping University Foundation (http://hj.se/jibs/en.html)
I’m really hoping that everything works out and that I can go abroad in January because it would be perfect timing. My family can visit in the spring and then I can graduate from university in October. I hope being away will help me gain a new perspective on the world, and allow me to feel comfortable travelling to other countries. I also want this experience to bring me out of my shell and help me to not be so worried all the time. I’ve wasted so much time worrying about things. I realize know worrying about things gets you no where. You can’t control what happens in life, you have to just live it to the fullest and go with the flow. If things happen, you get through it one way or another. I don’t want to let life past me by and have nothing to show for it. The world has so many things to see and experience, and I want to see as much as I can before it’s too late.
Of course it feels nerve wracking to go on this adventure alone, but at the same time it’s exciting! I have known other people who studied or worked abroad and they all had good experiences, so what’s there to be worried about? When my sister went to Paris as an au-pair for a year, I was thrilled and envious that she got to have that experience. Back then I thought I could never something like that, but then I said “if Ally can do it, so can I!” We are from the same gene pool after all! (However, I will be doing more studying than diaper changing…though I’m not sure which one is worse!).
Until next time…