Graduation: One year of growth in Sweden


Written by Nana

19 Jun 2024

As I stood on the stage, diploma in hand, I couldn’t help but smile. “I am a master of something, Mom!!!😆” Graduating from Jönköping University with a Master’s in Sustainable Communication was a journey filled with plenty of surprises. Coming from Indonesia, choosing to study in Sweden felt like diving into the unknown, but it turned out to be the best decision of my life.

Surprise #1: The class & the dynamics inside!
First, let’s talk about what studying in Sweden is really like. The education system here is practical and encourages you to think creatively. It’s not about memorising facts but about challenging ideas. Coming from a culture where students are usually more passive, it was quite eye-opening for me to see how involved students are here. We were given the freedom to inquire, investigate, and create. Courses ended with feedback from us students, and there were a lot of projects and group works that have prepared me to tackle real-world problems.

Surprise #2: Swedish graduation is really chill~
University graduation in Sweden (at least mine) is quite a chill affair—literally and figuratively. There were no grand ceremonies or extravagant parties. Instead, it was a relaxed, intimate event where the focus was on growth and shared joy. Yes, we still gathered in a hall with our professors, classmates, and our families, everyone who graduate were on the stage for several minutes but it was more about exchanging warm hugs, no robes or graduation hat involved, our names were not called one by one to the stage. The simplicity of it all made it even more special. It was more about celebrating our hard work and growth in a genuine, heartfelt way.

international students during graduation ceremony
Me and some of my classmates who graduated together! //Photo: Adele Fanolla

Surprise #3: Sustainability is a way of life
Studying sustainable communication in Sweden is a perfect scenario for me. Sweden’s commitment to sustainability is evident everywhere—from efficient recycling systems to eco-friendly public transport. This ethos is deeply ingrained in the academic environment, where you’re encouraged to consider the ecological and social implications of everything you study.

Surprise #4: I met my second family 🙂
Every connection I made contributed to my unforgettable experience. The closest friends I met here, from all over the world, became my second family. Not just classmates, I met wonderful connections outside of university as well from volunteering, being a digital ambassador, and trying to engage with local communities. We shared experiences, learned from each other, and had fun exploring Sweden together. From trying out traditional Swedish dishes to celebrating local festivals, these moments created bonds that will last a lifetime. These people taught me that home isn’t just a place—it’s the people who make you feel welcome.

international students with friends
I met soooo many good friends here from all over the world! //Photo: Nana

Surprise #5: Doing a thesis in 2 months is cray cray!
But not everything was smooth sailing. Being in a one-year master’s program meant I had to complete my thesis in just two months. It was a hectic and crazy experience—juggling research, reading countless books, and writing a cohesive paper. But the feeling of accomplishment when I finished was unmatched. It taught me that I could manage my time efficiently and work under pressure without compromising on quality. These experiences made me a stronger, more confident person.

Surprise #6: The highs & lows are different from what they warned me about
People warned me about the dark, cold winters. But guess what? I loved the snow! It was the midnight sun during summer that threw me off. The constant daylight messed with my sleep and body clock, something no one had warned me about. But these tough times taught me resilience and adaptability, making me appreciate the small changes in the season even more.

an international student from Asia in winter and snow
I experienced my first snow & winter ever, and I loooove it! //Photo: Nana

Retrospective: I can truly feel my growth here!
The last time I met with my classmates, we talked about how much we had grown, and everyone agreed—we had all changed for the better. Looking back, I see how much I’ve grown as a person. I’ve become more independent, navigating life in a foreign country. I’ve learned to embrace different cultures and perspectives, which has made me more open-minded. For example, participating in group projects with classmates from around the world taught me the importance of communication and teamwork. I learned to listen, to compromise, and to appreciate different viewpoints.

What I’d do differently
If I could do it again, I’d dive more into learning the language. More language practice would have opened up more opportunities, helped me integrate better into society, and allowed me to participate more in local events.

Moving forward
As I move forward, I carry with me invaluable lessons and friendships. To anyone considering studying in Sweden, I say go for it. Embrace the journey with an open heart. It will challenge and inspire you in ways you can’t imagine. Sweden has given me a global perspective that I will always cherish.

light pillar phenomenon in Sweden
I experienced sooo many firsts, like seeing a light pillar phenomenon here 🙂 //Photo: Yahya Malada
Northern lights or aurora borealis found near Jönköping, Sweden.
Also, my first northern lights, dancing in front of us!!! //Photo: Nana

In the end, every moment of this year—good and bad—was worth it. I am proud to be a graduate of Jönköping University and excited for what comes next. 🥳 🥰


Written by Nana

19 Jun 2024