Linnea Nilsson: Sweden to Sacramento

Linnea Nilsson was a Health Science student at the California State University, Sacramento. Interview and photos are conducted and taken by yours truly. On a side note, Linnea was the first person I met in California. We later became roommates. She was truly an essential part of my exchange. 


Why did you decide to do exchange at Sac State?
I wanted to do my exchange in the USA to experience new cultures, especially the American culture. So, I applied for five different universities in the US, and Sac State is the one I got. My major is health science, and Sac State has a big department for that, which gave me opportunities to take interesting classes in my field.

What was your favourite thing that you learned about American culture?
I liked that the Americans are very open (compared to the Swedish culture). They talk a lot and say what’s on their minds. If you’re on the bus, or in an elevator, there’s always someone who says hi and smiles at you, which I appreciate a lot since we don’t really do that in Sweden.

I also got to know that the Americans are very engaged in stuff, such as sports and events. I really enjoyed when everyone went to a game a supported our team together. And there is such a good atmosphere. At games at home, there are often fights between the supporters. But at the games I went to in California, people were cheerful and happy.

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What is your favourite memory from exchange?
It’s really hard to pick only one favorite memory, because I got a lot. But one of them is definitely going to Hollywood for Thanksgiving with my sister and some of my new-found friends from all over the world. We went shopping on Black Friday, spent time on the beach at Santa Monica and had a great thanks giving dinner that ended with a night at a really nice Mexican bar. It was the perfect weekend.

What is one thing about Sweden that you missed while you were on exchange?
The thing I missed the most was actually Swedish coffee (I think everyone knew that lol). I’m used to drinking very dark and strong coffee, which is not usual in the US. So I often made my own coffee or ordered with extra espresso shots at cafes.
I thought I would miss my family and friends more, but since my family came visit and I Facetimed with them and my friends, it wasn’t that bad.

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What destination do you want to travel to next?
My next travel will be to Hawaii and hopefully New Zeeland. I’m going to apply for an internship at a health care center in Hawaii, but if I don’t get it I will go there on vacation. Me and two other friends went there a few days before Christmas last year, and I fell in love with it. The people, the climate, everything. So, I felt that it wasn’t enough with only five days there and therefore, I’m going there after my graduation. And after Hawaii (depending on the internship), I think I’m going to New Zeeland to visit my friend who’s going to be an au pair there. I have never been there before, but it looks amazing so I would really like to explore it.

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UC Berkeley

Ah, the search for graduate school continues. My undergraduate life is coming to an end (CRYING), but a new chapter is about to begin. The big question is… What graduate school should I go to? I need to attend a school that caters towards my program, needs, and views.

Any answers are much appreciated! 

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  • Hoping to get a Master’s in Journalism
  • Want to take elective courses related to my Women’s Studies Minor, like International Relations topics
  • Political views are pretty Liberal, but I want a campus where freedom of speech and opinion is welcomed
  • Even though I’m a graduate student, I still want that college feel
  • I’m a sucker for beautiful architecture
  • I want to be surrounded by hard-working, intelligent people

Now onto the whole reason I wrote this blog post… My trip to UC Berkeley! Berkeley has always been a possible graduate school option for me. It’s renowned for its competitive acceptance rate and academic opportunities. I’ll admit, this university has some outstanding reviews from students, faculty members, and visitors. However, I didn’t realize how well suited this campus was for me until I visited.

The Campus

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Animal Rights Protest in Place

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Sather Tower (The Campanile)

Library

The Social Life

Work and Social balance is extremely important to me. Even though my academics always come first, I make time to explore and have fun. For a school that is home to some of brightest students in the world, this campus sure knows how to party! I had a wonderful time celebrating Berkeley’s alumni weekend at both a Fraternity party and the Football game (GO BEARS)!

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Fraternity Party

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Outside The Fraternity House

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Football Game

Whether I end up going to Berkeley or not, I had an amazing experience learning about the school’s traditions, cultures, and history. I think fate will definitely lead me to the graduate school that is right for me.

Special shoutout to Serena for giving me a personal tour of the campus!

A Thank You Letter to Western University

Upon finishing three full years at Western University, I decided to write a letter to the school itself. Three years ago, this was my dream school. I was an excited, ambitious, and courageous 18-year old, ready to start my new life at a university I was already in love with. I experienced such difficulties and regrets throughout my three years attending Western. But, none of these ever had to do with the school itself. I often thought how great it would be if I could drag the school, and my wonderful program back to my hometown, Toronto, with me. I can’t believe my journey at Western has already ended. And how it ended way too soon. Maybe I’ll go back and write a thesis, maybe I’ll go back and take a few easy and interesting classes I never got to enrol in while I was a student there. But for now, Here is a thank you letter to the University of Western Ontario.

Thank you Western for opening up my eyes. For showing me that identities can be questioned, changed, and shattered. My white-washed, heteronormative, patriarchal lens has been broken. I thank you. I thank you for showing me the people I knew existed, but never got to see. I thank you for making me even question me. For showing me that life doesn’t exist in binaries and that conforming is totally lame. For showing me love, and challenging me with hate. For giving me fake friends, and a few real ones. For making me cry. Oh, how you made me cry. I don’t think I ever shed a tear before university. My highest highs and my lowest lows were spent here. Because of you Western, I am the person I am today. Because of you Western, I will be able to face any challenge that comes my way.