Florian Howecker

Semester abroad at Umeå University, Sweden.


My semester abroad in Umeå at the Institute of Design was a fantastic experience. The Institute of Design is one of the most well-known design schools worldwide. I decided to go there together with my friend and fellow student. Mainly because I wanted to try some totally new experiences but also because of the good reputation of the Design Institute. I even met former FH JOANNEUM students in some of the year groups at my new home. Conversely, several students from Umeå have, in the past, spent their semester abroad on our course.


I made a lot of new friends in Umeå, some of whom I’m still in contact with. I even visited a friend from my former buddy group at his home a few months ago when travelling to Hong Kong. Umeå is known for its well organised buddy groups. You soon get to know lots of people of different nationalities here and do a lot together in your free time.


Umeå is an interesting town. A long way north, just 200 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle, it’s a student town unlike any other. You see, a good quarter of the population are students. You can tell this from the numerous parties going on in the town. But there are also just as many flat-share parties involving up to a hundred people and sometimes even more. Trips to Lapland, skiing trips, dog sled riding, staying in an ice hotel, jumping naked into a frozen lake or sweating it out in a sauna - there are no holds barred here.


I urge anyone who is open to new experiences to spend a semester abroad. There are so many young students with the same aims and questions who want to spend a semester abroad: you’re definitely not alone. It’s an experience of a lifetime which doesn’t come along often and which you should make the most of.