As a Brazilian, I have never celebrated Thanksgiven, a holiday that is not celebrated in Sweden either.
However, just like Ines, this year I decided to make some time to think about and appreciate all I am grateful for.
Thus, do expect to find here a raw and honest personal statement of how Sweden has changed me so far and why I am thankful for all it has done to me already.
I am grateful for all the challenges
I cannot talk about my time in Sweden without mentioning at first how challenging it has been so far.
I must confess I did not expect it all to be so personally and academically challenging, therefore dealing with my own expectations have also been an important challenge for me amongst all the others.
I find my LL.M. programme to be very hard and on top of that, I had to struggle a lot in order to get in shape and meet the expectations of it.
The education system here is pretty different from the one I was used to, and it took me an extra effort to become as participative and active in classes as I was supposed to be.
I will not deny that I faced a hard time managing it, but looking back now I am very grateful for being pushed out of my comfort zone in a way that I had never been before and for being exposed in a way that changed me into a more though and prepared person and professional.
I am grateful for losing control
Oh yeah, it has come the time when I need to confess that I am an irremediable control freak.
Yes, I like plans. Yes, I like following the plans. And yes, I like to get the planned outcomes. That is me 🙂
So, as you might expect, I tried to deny for a long while that we actually don’t have full control of our lives. But my friends, let me tell ya, my time in Sweden made sure to teach me this lesson once for all.
Now, I am reeducating myself to work hard for what I want and to be glad and open about the surprises that life is keeping for me.
And yes, it feels good not to know where I will be living next year, what I will be doing and if I will be satisfied with it or not.
Now, I see clearly that I needed to face this challenge in order to find a different and better kind of balance in life. And I am glad I could do it in Sweden!
I am grateful for finding out more about myself than I expected to
As a natural consequence of the two previous topics, I found out how hard I am to myself and how unhealthy it is in a short and long-term perspective.
So, I am grateful for becoming aware that I need to manage the harsh (and sometimes unfair) criticism towards myself and appreciate more what I am capable of doing instead.
When you leave your comfort zone bubble you learn not only good things about yourself but also the worst facets of your own being.
But the best part of it all is that I could not think of a better place to become a more balanced person, then Sweden, a country where society tends to be more human shifted and where our well-being really matters.
I am grateful for having the opportunity to invest in my career
What can I say about this life-time opportunity of investing in my career through an LL.M. degree in Sweden with the support of the Study in Sweden Institute?
I could not be more grateful for the trust placed in me and in my potential of being a future leader not only for my country but also for the world.
I am fully committed to making this happen and on making the most out of my time here, sharing and gathering as much experience as possible.
I feel very blessed for this opportunity and you can feel the same way next year. So, if you believe you can be a future leader and build a long-lasting relationship with Sweden apply to the scholarships available.
I am grateful for learning a new language
Over the last years, I gave up on some of the things I like the most in order to pursue my career and academic goals.
In a nutshell, I dedicated all my time and energy to Law degree, internships, Accounting degree, post-graduation course, and of course, work, a lot of work!
But now I am able to learn a new language and what a delicious challenge it has been. It feels so good to learn something that you literally don’t know anything about, with all the curiosity involved and the thrill of the new achievements.
Oh, the time you allow yourself to release your inner children, naturally, forgive your errors and congratulate yourself for the developments, even when they are quite small.
I had forgotten this feeling of doing something with no pressure but instead because it feels good. And I am grateful for that!
I am grateful for the beloved ones I left at home and for the new friendships
It is also time to remember the beloved ones I left at home and appreciate the love memories I carry with me wherever I go.
In addition, I feel so glad I have met so many amazing people since I arrived in Sweden, people from all over the world, with different backgrounds but somehow with the same enthusiasm towards life.
Human connections are the base of our lives and we should all be grateful for everyone that has crossed our paths and taught us how to be more kind, smart and strong in a way or another.
I have been living in Sweden for three months only and I am certain that the universal time parameters changed since them because most of the time it feels like I have been here only for two weeks or so.
On the other hand, these three months were so intense at school, adapting to a new lifestyle and learning new lessons that sometimes I even think that two years have passed already since I arrived here.
I find myself in this dichotomy of feelings, but one thing I know for sure: that Sweden has changed me in a way that I could never expect and that I will be forever thankful for this.