Student Exchange Program Brings Swedish Nursing Students to Armstrong

Exchange student Malin Hubel first heard about Armstrong while attending Linnaeus University in her native Sweden. This nursing undergraduate always wanted to study in the United States and was excited about the opportunity to spend a semester at Armstrong.

“When the chance came, I took it,” she said. “I just love Savannah and wish I could stay for a year.”

The exchange program is part of a new partnership Armstrong established this summer with Linnaeus University and the city of Växjö, Sweden. In June, Armstrong President Linda M. Bleicken and Lena Frizen, pro vice chancellor of Linnaeus University, signed an official document binding the two universities and encouraging a reciprocal exchange between the two institutions.

Malin, who arrived on the Armstrong campus in August, particularly enjoys the opportunity to get hands-on nursing experience.

“I'm happy to participate in our clinics and class,” she reported. “Right now, mental health is my absolute favorite class. Our professor makes it so interesting and real.”

Malin has noticed a number of important differences between the healthcare system in Sweden and the United States.

“Nursing in Sweden is so much more focused on the patient and the patient's family-- sometimes too much,” she said. “The medical part of nursing is a bigger deal here than what it is back home. The nurse has a more laid-back role in Sweden compared to here in the United States.”

Although the adjustment to a new country, a new culture and a new university has been challenging at times, Malin has been extremely impressed by the students and the faculty at Armstrong.

“My favorite experience at Armstrong has to be all the nice people I have met so far,” she raved. “Everyone has been so kind. I just love the mentality that people seem to have here – so open-minded and so helpful!”

After returning to Sweden, Malin plans to finish her nursing degree and apply for a job with the Red Cross or the World Food Programme.

“I want to go to Africa for vaccine programs and work with developing countries,” she said “Hopefully I will spent a year or two in Africa.”

Emma Ekstrand, another Swedish exchange student attending Armstrong this semester as part of the university's new relationship with Linnaeus University, also enjoys the opportunity to study nursing in a different academic and cultural environment.

“I love it,” she says of her experience at Armstrong so far. “I have learned so many new things and get so many new experiences. I like all my classes and the teachers.”

Emma first heard about Armstrong from her student advisor at Linnaeus University. She checked out the Armstrong web site and was impressed by what she saw.

“I heard that Armstrong has a very good nursing program,” she explained. “I wanted to learn how the healthcare is over here and how it's different from back home in Sweden.”

Emma admits that the language barrier has been challenging at times, but said she is making significant progress as the semester progresses.

“It was hard in the beginning to learn all the new words and to translate that to Swedish,” she explained. “But it's getting easier for every week that I am here. Everything is just so new and I love it.”