What’s going on in my life?

Still here, in Umeå, the north of Sweden. It feels strange that almost two years has passed, time really flies. I wanted to share what’s happening at the moment and what I’m planning to do when I’m done with studies. I guess, for many these are big questions and when we’re done with studying we might feel lost. In about one month, if everything goes as planned, my life as an international student, as well as a digital ambassador will be over. And then it’s time to turn the page.

Thesis

Sometimes stressful but has to be done. I’ve considered it a school assignment, no different than the ones I’ve done before, just much longer. In the business school of Umeå University we have to do our thesis in pairs, which sometimes makes it easier, sometimes more difficult. You need good communication skills when working as a team and have to compromise, but the exact same skills you’ll be needing in working life.

Pole dancing & hand balancing

After the thesis, my second biggest time consumer is training. I joined the pole dancing classes in Umeå exactly a year ago and never stopped. I’ve written before about the opportunities for doing sports in Umeå and how most students go to IKSU, one of the biggest sports facilities in Europe. I got a membership when I moved here and went there for a long time. But at some point I realized the only things I did there were handstands, hanging from the wall bars and stretching. Things I could do almost anywhere else. So I recently cancelled my membership and decided to focus on the fun stuff. Though IKSU was a lot of fun too and the location is great if you live near the university.  

Drawing

This was a very recent, positive surprise. I met a few girls at the pole dancing school and one of then told she was interested in starting a study circle. I hadn’t heard of study circles before, basically anyone can start one for instance in Studieförbundet, or Folkuniversitetet. You just need at least three people with a common interest. They will provide you a place where you can meet at a certain time weekly, for free. So we’ve been drawing together the past couple of weeks. One of the few things I really missed about Finland was taking art classes. Having someone giving you feedback on the things you’ve created and someone who’d push you out of your comfort zone. And this was the perfect opportunity for that.

Swedish language and culture

Still not perfect, but better and better. I can now read quite complex books and often use Swedish even if I could speak English. Doing pole dancing has definitely helped as many people there prefer to speak Swedish. My current struggle is getting the grammar right. People don’t usually correct you when you speak, so I’m never really sure, how correct my Swedish is. But at least, I can get myself understood. I’m also still exploring Swedish foods, though at the moment, I don’t have any new ones on my bucket list.

What are my plans for the future?

I haven’t planned the upcoming summer in detail yet. I will be visiting Finland at some point, but not entirely sure for how long. Although, Umeå has treated me well, my plan is to move out. My next stop will be Stockholm, as the opportunities for work are better there. Most people who come to Umeå for studying don’t stay, so my social ties to this city aren’t really strong. There will be things I missed bout Umeå, including our cats and the northern lights, but I was never planning to stay. Stockholm is also closer to my home city, Helsinki, so visiting home will be easier. I’m still more focused on finishing school than worrying about the future, but soon I will start serious job-hunting. I’m planning to share here how easy or hard finding work in Sweden will be, as it’s a question many people have asked me. At this point, I’m extremely grateful for having the opportunity to study in Sweden and getting to share my experiences here. It hasn’t always been easy, but during the hard moments I’ve been trying to remember where I’m heading and why I came here in the first place.

 

Leonilla

A Finnish student studying for a master's degree in marketing at Umeå University. Contact me at leonilla.studyinsweden(at)gmail.com
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