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Meet Zoe Marazita (she/her/hers)

Program and Location:

Fall, Lund University Exchange; Lund, Sweden


Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Mathematics

Why did you choose to study abroad?

My learning style is very hands-on and I have always sought out opportunities to travel as a way to challenge myself and to expand my perspective on the world. Because of this, I knew that I would want to study abroad in college. As a mechanical engineering student, one area that I have been interested in is sustainability. Studying and living in Sweden in particular gave me a chance to explore engineering in the country that is widely considered to be the best at sustainability.

What did you learn about yourself?

From living abroad, I gained a lot of confidence in my ability to navigate difficult situations and new unfamiliar environments. Upon arriving in Sweden, I knew no one, did not know how to get around the cities, and did not speak the language. I quickly had to learn new transportation systems, adapted to the ins and outs of the Swedish lifestyle, and navigated new countries across Europe where there was sometimes a language barrier. Through patience and an open-mind, I was able to make some really great connections with people throughout the semester and made many unforgettable memories!

What was one of your favorite parts of your program?

One of my favorite parts of the program was living and learning with people from all corners of the world because the university in Sweden was largely made up of international students. Lund University made an effort to integrate all of the international students into the wide variety of university traditions through student organizations such as the engineering guilds and student nations. These organizations had lots of fun traditions like wearing matching colorful overalls, swimming in the campus lake in the middle of the night, and attending lots of big dinner parties where you eat four courses and do Swedish songs and dances. Learning about not only the culture of Sweden but also the cultures of my international friends allowed for many memorable experiences and exchanges. I often found myself attending dinners where people would cook food from their home countries, which was perfect because I love food. Now I also have friends to visit all over the world!

What advice do you have to future study abroad students?

I would advise future study abroad students to fully immerse themselves into the culture of their host country and approach the experience with an open mind, a sense of curiosity, and an appreciation for different people and different ways of thinking. Your time abroad is such a special time that you will remember for the rest of your life so be sure to take advantage of every opportunity. You never know when you’ll end up on an adventure!

How did your study abroad experience prepare you for your future career?

The work of developing with an eye toward sustainability–a global issue–requires that the next generation of mechanical engineers be ready to work with the knowledge required to work globally. My time abroad, meeting and interacting with current and future mechanical engineers, getting a sense of different conceptions of leadership, innovation and collaboration, has helped me to develop the cultural competencies I need to adapt to and work with a global workforce and to be able to place whatever project I am working on in a global context.

Would you do it again?

Absolutely without question!