Studying Abroad at the Swedish Defence University

Duncan Cooper
Tuesday 9 May 2023

I’m Duncan, I studied German and International Relations and I previously worked as one of the Interns in the Global Office.

Last academic year I had the opportunity to study abroad at both the Swedish Defence University in Stockholm and the University of Vienna. Studying abroad was one of the best experiences I have ever had. Not only was I able to study at fantastic universities and gain different insights into my subjects, but I was also able to fully immerse myself in the culture of my host countries.

Student infront of Swedish Defence University
Me outside the Swedish Defence University

I studied International Relations for one semester at the Swedish Defence University in Stockholm. The Swedish Defence University is truly unique as it is made up of both civilian students and military professionals. As a result, the university offers an amazing academic environment and a completely different insight into issues within International Relations. At the Swedish Defence University, students have the opportunity to specialise in issues relating to security and defence, such as terrorism and irregular warfare.

The Swedish Defence University old building
The Swedish Defence University old building

During my semester in Stockholm, I was lucky enough to be chosen to take part on an Intensive Study Programme on Societal Security. During this week-long programme I worked alongside other students and practitioners from across the Baltic Sea Region. I learned a lot about societal security and was exposed to many different perspectives, which was incredibly rewarding. After the programme I was then offered a six month long internship, during which I gained an even deeper insight into societal security and got to write my own case study on climate change as a societal security crisis – an experience that is proving to be very useful now that I am writing my dissertation!

Sunrise in Swedish Lapland
Sunrise in Kiruna, northern Sweden
Ski tracks in lapland
Sunset was only a couple of hours later – I still managed to go skiing before it was too dark!

Apart from studying and socialising in the Officers’ Mess, I also travelled throughout Sweden, visiting Stockholm’s beautiful archipelago, taking the night train to Kiruna in Swedish Lapland, skiing in Åre, and visiting Christmas markets in Gothenburg and Malmö. Along with my Swedish friends, I also went on an overnight cruise to Finland – a rite of passage for every university student in Stockholm. Although all of my classes were taught in English, I took advantage of Swedish-language classes offered by the university and picked up lots of useful Swedish phrases. This helped me to further immerse myself in the Swedish culture.

Statue of Gustav Adolph in Gothenburg
Weekend trip to Gothenburg
Gothenburg old district
The old district of Gothenburg

I cannot recommend studying abroad enough, it is a truly enriching experience where you can develop both academically and personally whilst experiencing another culture and broadening your horizons. I would definitely recommend studying at the Swedish Defence University to other International Relations students.

Stockholm Christmas Market
Stockholm Christmas market, the perfect place to buy Christmas presents – and to try some Glögg (Swedish mulled wine)
Moose Christmas Lights
Stockholm had lots of amazing Christmas decorations, including these Christmas Moose

If you would like to find out more about studying at the Swedish Defence University, or studying abroad in general, please email [email protected]

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