In most universities, student life is about more than just studying and undertaking exams. Extra-curricular activities play a critical role in giving students a chance to explore their interests outside the classroom. The culture is the same as Swedish universities. This is why it is important to consider joining a student association during your studies. In this blog, I will share with you some of the organisations that one can participate in as a student. More importantly, I will share some of the reasons why you, as a student in Sweden, should take part in student associations.
What are Student Associations?
Student associations are sometimes referred to as student societies. These are organizations that are operated by students at a university and whose members are students. In some cases, the society can also consist of alumni members. Student organisations exist to bring together students who share a common interest. These interests are diverse and can revolve around music, drama, sports, politics, religion, and much more. In short, no matter which university you attend – there is a society for you! So what do you need to consider before joining a society?
What to Consider When Choosing a Student Association
This really depends a lot on your personal preferences more than anything. I mean; not everyone enjoys waking up early to spend 4 hours going up a mountain only to come back down exhausted and hungry, but some call it hiking, and apparently, it’s fun. In short, not every student club is for everyone. And that’s okay because there are so many to choose from and one can always find one that suits their interests. Some of the things you can consider when choosing the association to join include:
1. When the association accepts new members (most clubs have a rolling admission system, but some only take in new members at the beginning of the year/semester).
2. The timing of club activities compared to your schedule. Most associations naturally structure their activities outside school hours so as to be accommodative to all students. It’s still a good idea to check that club activities will not affect your schoolwork in case you have a demanding schedule or are planning to join more than one club.
3. Joining or subscription fee. Most student associations are free to join and members do not need to pay any subscription fees. However, occasionally, the society can decide to hold some activities which may need members to chip in with some money. It’s usually not much-and mostly worth it.
Why Join Student Associations
Because schooling is more fun when you get to hang out with people who share similar interests with you. It’s that simple. But if you are still not convinced, maybe consider the following:
Explore your interest further
Typically, we want to do more of the things that interest us. Well, a student club can give you that chance. So you like playing football – well, you can join a soccer club and play with other students at least every week. Suppose you enjoy discussing politics. Then maybe you can join a debate club. Joining a student association is also a good way to learn more about a particular area of interest. For example, sustainability clubs usually have a lot of enlightening sessions and activities. While Greek-culture-inspired clubs are not that common in Sweden, you can join a couple of social clubs as well and get to organise really cool parties.
Gain a Sense of Belonging
I think, because, club members in student associations have a lot in common, each club is like a little family within the university. Hence, being part of an organisation gives one a sense of belonging. I’m a part of the Network for Future Global Leaders at my school, and I can attest to the fact that my fellow club members have been there for me a lot. From food recommendations to winter survival tips; I have had it all. Such support really means a lot, especially when, like most international students, one is miles away from home.
Be In The Know
A lot of activities happen at universities. A lot! I am studying at a relatively small university but I still struggle to keep up with all the activities going on around me. I can imagine that the experience is, even more, overwhelming at bigger universities. Being in a student club generally keeps you in the know about what’s happening around the university-particularly in your area of interest. Also, because societies usually collaborate, being in a club also makes it easier to know what activities others are working on, in case you want to join in.
Boost Your CV
Besides your grades and work experience, your extracurricular activities also paint a picture of the type of person that you are, beyond the classroom. I personally think that it enhances your personality and shows the type of person that you are in a more personal way.
Opportunity to be Help
Some organisations exist to assist other students. For example, the student union and international student unions all exist to assist students to navigate through the school process. As a member of such an association, you get to help make the lives of others easier, better, and more enjoyable. That can be quite gratifying in its own way.
Most unions usually showcase their clubs during intro week so that new students can find out about them and their activities. However, if you feel you want to know more about joining a student association, it’s good to reach out to some members or reach out to the club via email or social media pages. Remember, the idea is to try. If you join and find that a particular club doesn’t serve your needs, you can still choose to leave. So go out there. Go explore. Go and be awesome-with others!
Till next time. Hej då!