What Sweden taught me, in a nutshell

Every experience leaves a mark and studying abroad is no different – it has a profound power of impacting a person. My 2 years in Sweden have been just like that: impactful, memorable.

So I looked back at how Sweden left its mark on me and, in true Swedish fashion, my 2-year journey can be classified by seasonal changes.

My first winter taught me endurance – it was my first semester, my time to prove myself, to make it through the darkness caused by the lack of sun. Working hard was never a problem, but now I was working harder and like with everything that you do more of, the mind and body need some getting used to the new situation. Like doing 15 push-ups more than usually, you ache and you wonder why you’re inflicting yourself pain. But then it’s all worth it. I tested my limits over and over again, and for that I am thankful – my resilience and strength have been my companions through thick and thin. Along with coffee, a grad student’s fuel.

My first spring taught me the value of newfound friendship – when we move away from our home countries, we leave our comfort zones in one way or another. Despite having moved a few times, the horrible feeling never left me: the one where you leave without your closest family and friends. All you want is to take them with you, because you know they are what you call home. In the inability to do so, you set for making new friends, while nurturing your old friendships back home. The beautiful thing about it is that, if done right, you don’t sacrifice anything or anyone – you simply expand, you bring new, amazing people into your life that you grow to care very much for. I had the fortune of meeting such people in Lund, people I have shared wonderful experiences with and with whom I keep in touch on a regular basis.

My first summer was a lesson in taking things into my own hands – dissatisfied with my Swedish courses, I decided to spend most of my summer in empty, deserted Lund in order to study Swedish every day, intensively. It empowered me to see that my progress was palpable. Learning made me happy, which shouldn’t surprise anyone by now, I guess.

Being back in Montenegro for a couple of weeks made me reflect on my time in Sweden and I realised how much that first year had changed me for the better. I had grown a lot, I became more patient – a virtue I had only in moderation prior to moving to Sweden.

My second year taught me persistence – with challenges such as writing about 5 essays in under a couple of months or the thesis, I learned how to advance my research and writing skills. This helped me realise that persistence is key, that grit and persistence are what helps me move forward towards success.

Sweden also taught me how to fika, and how important it is to fika often. 🙂

I will always remember my time in Skåne with fondness, and come every spring, I will inevitably think of driving past fields of rapeseed flowers in bloom creating a mesmerising impressionist painting in perfect synergy with the bluest of skies, almost as if they imitate the colours of the Swedish flag.

This is my last blog post. Thank you for reading for 2 years and I hope you liked it.

#swedena, over and out.

#swedena, over and out.

P.S. I won’t be completely gone from Study in Sweden: make sure to follow us on Instagram and Snapchat (studyinsweden) because I will be posting there over the summer.

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Featured Image credits: Måns Fornander/imagebank.sweden.se

Dena

A Montenegrin student studying International Human Rights Law and IP Law at Lund University. Dena finished her studies in June 2016.
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