In my first post I introduced you to my future Alma Mater – Malmö University. Now it is time for me to introduce myself. Let me tell you about my first two months in Sweden and how living in in the land of Vikings differs from living anywhere else. And answer the burning question: was it a good decision?
I came to Sweden for a year with one suitcase, wearing flip-flops (quite inconsiderate choice of footwear for northern countries if I might add) with my brand-new raincoat under my arm (that similarly to the flip-flops just didn’t fit into the suitcase). I cannot say I was particularly scared or excited about coming – after all I have already lived in Denmark, just across the bridge from Malmö, in a lively capital of Copenhagen. I wasn’t even sure I want to go. And then… Sweden happened.
MY COMMAND CENTRE – IKEA BED
Two months later, two months into my Interaction Design Master’s program, a brand new Swedish Institute Digital Ambassador, I sit in my bed and I cannot stop myself from already thinking that maybe a year is not enough. Yeah, MY BED – here we come to the first thing that changed for me. I am pretty sure some scientists already proved that when you come to Sweden the epicenter of your universe gently shifts to your bed. It may sound like a bad thing, but it really isn’t. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t just sit aimlessly in my bed browsing the internet for cat pictures (oh ok, maybe Sunday mornings). I am a generally social and busy person, which means that usually I would go for some kind of workshop or a meeting after school and then hit the gym. By the time I am home it is already dark for several hours. But when I get to my bed it feels like the only place on Earth without wind, rain or bike rings. And it’s mine. This is a relationship like no other (I have to fairly warn you though, this wonderful relation does costs you several thousand coronas per month).
During these 2 months I dived head first into a new field of interaction design, I met hundreds of new people, moved to a new place 2 times, bought 2 bikes, laughed, danced and learned. Not that it was all a fairy tale. The first two weeks were incredibly exhausting, when all of a sudden you are thrown alone into a new environment with the stress of finding an apartment and a bike (at this point let me stop and give you one advice – don’t come to Malmö with flip-flops but without a place to live for the next year, please do the opposite). But once I got through that, oh it only gets better and better! A year has passed since my backpacking gap year experience and I managed to forget how amazing it feels to challenge oneself like that. Everything seems new and exciting, possibilities are endless and every other day feels like an adventure. I sincerely believe that experiencing new cultures unlocks some clip-box in your head, allowing you to think differently, see possibilities that haven’t crossed your mind before. You know, not new landscape but having new eyes (thanks, Proust). Just challenge yourself every once in a while. That’s it – before I fully go into Paulo Coelho mode.
COZINESS LEVEL 100
Of course I miss my home – my friends, family, a small white room at the attic of a town house and my cat purring 800km from me. But Malmö, maybe because of being such a small city, has an incredible potential of coziness. Never have I thought, that only after a month I would already feel at home here. But somehow I do. Even though I thought I am too hot-blooded, too critical and certainly too loud for a Scandinavian, I find and embrace little pieces of my inner Swede. My shared love of pastry. An irrational pleasure of biking on the cold morning to a fresh market. Patience for mastering my boules skills. Inexplicable urge to buy out all of the bacon from the store. Collective responsibility of group work. Need for having (and using!) gym membership. Inner peace of being in the woods, near a lake or at the seaside. Attention for craft. Search for a life-work balance. And passion for creating something meaningful together. Seems like I have quite a lot of Swede in me after all and Scandinavia really is pretty cool. (Oh yeah, did I mention blonde guys everywhere?)
To answer a question all of my friends ask: yes, I am extremly happy I decided to come to Malmö. What about you? What are you waiting for? The admission process for studying Master’s Degree in Sweden has just opened. Here is your possibility to challenge yourself and find your inner Swede. I wish you best of luck!