Four questions

for Sandra Langvall, who is studying for a master’s degree in physical oceanography but currently is an exchange student in Mexico.

HOW DID YOU HAPPEN TO CHOOSE TO GO TO MEXICO, AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING THERE?
“I’ve always wanted to go abroad during my studies, and preferably somewhere warm. I was looking at various exchanges and thought I would have to content myself with Great Britain, when I was at a seminar on foreign studies and heard of the physics department’s exchange with Mexico. It’s a project-based exchange, so taking courses in physics is not required. I’m now working on developing a homemade CTD, an instrument for measurements in water environments, to increase monitoring of the environment here in Mexico. Purchased CTDs are expensive, and it’s hard to have a sufficient number of them to maintain a good level of environmental monitoring.”

WAS STUDYING ABROAD AN OBVIOUS CHOICE?
“Well, it was always something I wanted to do and at first had thought of doing during my bachelor’s degree, but there never seemed to be a good opportunity for it. Nor did there seem to be any good opportunity now during the master’s, but it’s more flexible, and finally I just decided I should go and if necessary study for an extra term.”

HOW IS EDUCATION IN MEXICO DIFFERENT FROM SWEDEN?
“I’m not taking any courses but rather just working on the project, but it’s very different from Sweden. The whole culture is very different and that also affects education, of course. It’s hard to cite anything specific, but naturally it’s harder to get around in the system when you don’t know the culture and the language.”

DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR STUDENTS WHO ARE CONSIDERING GOING ON AN EXCHANGE PROGRAMME, BUT HAVE NOT YET TAKEN THAT STEP?
“JUST DO IT! Ha ha, no, but it’s really worth it. It requires a little extra planning and such, but it’s worth it. You gain perspective on everything.”