Every story has to end at some point, every movie has to have an ending either happy, sad or open, and so does my journey with Study in Sweden. In the past two years, from study to work, Sweden has offered me a lot. The offers have come in different forms from life lessons to beautiful memories that I will bring with me whenever I go. Below is the 4 biggest offers that Sweden has brought to me.
1. International friendship is the best
I was nervous when I first came to Sweden. I kept wondering if I was able to make some friends here as we speak different languages. I was also afraid of cultural barriers. How I could make friends with people coming from other countries? But then all of those doubts disappeared when I first met my classmates. Our class composes of 38 students coming from not only Sweden but also nearly 20 countries all around the world.
The Swedish education system has helped us break our cultural barriers through groupwork, group paper and all other fun activities such as nations or Sittning. And then from strangers, we have become life-long friends. We travelled together, shared accommodation together. We also have a support system in the class to help each other during the pandemic and also during thesis writing.
Emma has written a wonderful blog on friendship in Sweden. And if you still wonder how to break your comfort zone, read this beautiful blog from Hazal before coming to Sweden, I’m sure it will help you a lot.
If you feel nervous meeting new people, prepare a small talk about yourself and practice it, and just be yourself in the conversations. Remember we are all students when coming to Sweden, and that’s the starting point.
2. Study is not only your own journey but also about sharing with others
Sweden has offered me 2 different ways to grow my academic and professional learning. Indeed the Swedish education truly focuses on self-study. But it’s not only that! Group work is a crucial part.
Most of my courses in the Master programme has at least 1 group work assignment ranging from academic paper to presentation. The Swedish way of group work has helped me boost my communication skill and work organisation. Group work is also an excellent way to bond with your classmates. If you are still curious about group work in the Swedish education system, check out this detailed description of group work by Supritha. Meanwhile, self-study is a perfect way to enhance my concentration and creativity. And libraries are my best friends for these self-study hours. Emma has written a perfect blog post about how you can make the best use of university libraries, check it out!
The combination of self-study and group work has enhanced my academic skills and knowledge in all aspects, especially my research skills. And then, now when I’m working for an international organisation in Europe, I also bring all of these elements with me and incorporate into my work to effectively work on my tasks by myself but also collaborate with other colleagues for better work results.
For successful group work, you should identify the roles of group members during the first meeting and make sure that everyone is clear with their roles.
3. Living sustainably is not difficult
Sweden has also made me realise that living sustainably, it’s not that difficult. In two years living and studying in Sweden, I have adopted quite a number of sustainable habits such as buying and using second-hand stuff, cycling and taking public transportation, sorting waste into different types, etc.
I still remember I was astonished when I saw the number of trash bins at my student accommodation, but then sorting waste into 5 different kinds has become my favourite activity. From a second-hand buyer, I have become a second-hand seller. When I moved to a new place, I either sold or donated most of my unwanted stuff. Lusanda has written a series of wonderful blogposts about second-hand, check it out!
The Swedish way of living has taught me that if you have a will to live sustainably, Sweden will definitely offer you a million ways to make your sustainable life easier.
Check out your local second-hand shops on your first days in Sweden, they would help you save a lot of money!
4. Overcoming the darkness of winter is a way to learn about myself
Last but not least, living and studying in Sweden has made me realise my inner strength, especially during the winter.
During my first seminar at Lund University, I have been warned about Sweden’s winter darkness. At first, I thought it was not that bad, but the first November without sunshine was horrible to me. Thus, ‘surviving’ the first winter in Sweden has been one of my greatest achievements in 2019.
I have become more aware of my physical and especially mental health. I have learned to communicate with myself during my first winter here to overcome the seasonal depression. Studying abroad is not only about getting new knowledge, but also learning about myself and my inner strength.
Sweden and its winter have offered me the opportunities to rediscover and reconnect with myself.
It may be easy said than done. But if you still feel unsure about the Swedish winter, follow my blogpost about overcoming the winter darkness of Sweden or Lara’s winter survival kit.
Don’t try to fight the winter, but learn to live with it and treasure its own beauty, you will have one of the best Swedish winters.
From “How did I fall in love with Sweden” to these 4 best lessons I have got from Sweden, it has been a beautiful journey with you all. I hope you will receive even better offers from Sweden when coming, studying, living and working here.
I guess it’s time to say goodbye to all of you who read me at this time. It has been a wonderful time sharing my experiences with you all. I hope my blogposts, tips and experiences have served and inspired your own journey.
Thank you Study in Sweden team – Thank you audience!