Tag Archives: african student

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part III

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

From North to South we have (Top left to right): Mahmoud Hanafy from Egypt studying Systems, Control and Mechatronics at Chalmers. Tebkew Shibabaw from Ethiopia studying Environmental Science at GU. Sussy from Cameroon studying Social Anthropology at social work and human right at the GU. Ronald Byaruhanga from Uganda studying Social work and human right at GU. Blessing Kabasa from Zimbabwe studying Electric Power Engineering at Chalmers. Nomsa Kgosietsile from Botswana studying Social work and human right at the GU. Thato from South Africa studying Leadership and Management in International Contexts at Linnaeus University

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

I’m back with the next installment of Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II.

I interviewed a few friends and colleagues doing their masters from different countries to give you a little taste of how it is to study in Sweden from various countries in Africa.

Here are their thoughts on food and music.


What do you think about Swedish food compared to food from your home country?

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

Kalix löjrom toast
Credit: Magnus Skoglöf/imagebank.sweden.se

Mahmoud: Swedish food is fine, I eat here vegetarian food and seafood. The difference is that in Egypt we have many spices that give a special unique taste.

Tebkew: It’s nice and delicious.  It’s a bit different from what we eat back home. In my country, we usually prefer to eat meat and other animal products. But here people mostly follow sustainable way of feeding style. So, people consume more of healthy foods such as vegetables.

Sussy: Swedish food compared to my country food to me is very artificial, have very little taste, or sometimes very salty a good example is the salted pork and boiles potatoes they eat during Christmas .

Ronald: I am not so adventurous when it comes to food but I think Swedish food is so nice, especially vegetarian food. Meat is quite expensive but affordable if you are a meat lover.

Blessing: Swedish food is prepared and served in an art-form with lots of vegetables. The delicious food is usually like a paradise of ingredients replete with tasty seasoning.  

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

Swedish Langoustine salad
Source: Jakob Fridholm /imagebank..se

Nomsa: Nothing beats my home flavor for I would say. The food here is actually not bad at all, they love cheese, it’s in almost every food they prepare, and since I don’t take cheese the food does not form part of my “interesting things in Sweden, list” however its manageable.

Thato: South African food is full of flavor, a fusion of spices give texture and personality to the food. I have experienced Swedish food to be quite mild in comparison. It is often modest and unsurprising. The Swedish also have a far healthier and organic outlook on preparing food.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition II

South African food
Source: eatout.co.za

What food do you miss most from your home country?

Mahmoud: I miss Okra casserole with meat slices and a special Egyptians dish called “Hawawshi” which is made of mincemeat in a local bread.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition II

Source: thefooddictator.com

Tebkew: ‘Injera’- that’s the traditional food of Ethiopia

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

Source: www.mmia.com

Sussy: Kwakoko and mbanga soup( graded cocoyam tied in plantain leaf and palm nut soup).

Kwacoco and Mbaga soup
Source: cameroonkitchen.wordpress.com

Ronald: Honestly, the only thing I miss is so dearly is matooke (banana), but the rest can be found in Sweden. There are several places in Gothenburg where one can get Ugandan/African food. For this, I recommend visiting Indian food stores if you miss something Ugandan.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

Source: kitchenjs.com

Nomsa: Beef, farmhouse boerewors, Tswana chicken.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

Pap and Tswana chicken
Source: http://escapesfromthelittlereddot.com

Thato: I really miss samp! It’s basically chopped dried corn kernels which you prepare as the main starch for a meal. Then you can add beans to it, a light gravy for added moist and some diced beef. I especially love it when my mom adds some powered milk while it boils on the stove.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

Samp and Beans with Spinach and Bacon (Umngqusho)
Source: spar.co.za


What do you think of music in Sweden?

Mahmoud: It makes me very happy, I like their music

Ronald: I personally do not enjoy secular music, but I love the fact the fact that I have bumped into African music playing in Swedish Clubs including Ugandan music, especially Jose Chameleon and Eddy Kenzo

Blessing: Swedish music brings with it a beautiful sensation to the ears. I think the Swedish pop genre is one of the best in the world.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition II

Source: giphy.com

Nomsa: I haven’t really listened to Swedish music, but I know we don’t dance to the same tune.

Thato: What they play on the radio is mostly the commercialized pop, hip-hop and rock music you find everywhere. I live in a small town so I can’t say there is a wide variety of music exposure.

Do you know any Swedish artists?

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

Of Course! Source: giphy.com

Mahmoud: Zara Larsson of course

Tebkew: Zara Larsson

Blessing: I know quite a number but my favorite group is Bo Kaspers Orkester and I love their song ‘Vi Kommer Aldrig Att Dö ’.

Nomsa: I know Sebastian Stakset, probably because he had a concert at my church, and his story was very inspirational.

Thato: Swedish House Mafia, their music is loved at home and all over the world really. Zara Larsson is also an excellent musical talent from Sweden, I really enjoy her songs.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

Swedish House Mafia Source: giphy.com

What is your favourite music or song from your home country?

Mahmoud: I like trance and house music in general, also one of my best is this for Amr Diab https://goo.gl/KTdrEt , also, I like classic romantic ones that have deep meanings like this: https://goo.gl/omKLkg

Tebkew: ‘Tikur sew’ by Teddy Afro

Sussy: A good makossa such as son me by the group X- maleya.

Ronald: I can say Valu valu for Dr.Jose Chameleon.

Blessing: Gospel and Dancehall music are my favorite genres. My favorite artists are Oliver Mutukudzi , Jah Prayzah and Winky D.

Nomsa: Believe me when I say I started listening to Botswana music so much when I got to Sweden, on those days that I really miss home. I won’t say it’s the favorite, but the song at the top of my playlist right now is Charma gal- Mmokolodi.

Thato: The genre I enjoy the most is rock music. Artists like The Parlotones, Prime Circle, BlackByrd and Freshly Ground are just a few that I really enjoy. South African house music is also phenomenal! It’ll lift your mood on a bad day and keep you dancing all night on a good day!


The interviews show the diverse nature of various foods and music from countries in Africa as well as how students feel about Swedish food and music. Zara Larsson had to feature of course. I hope you enjoyed seeing and hearing different foods and sounds from countries in Africa.

Here is a post I previously wrote about Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part I about all things hair and weather.

Look out for the next blog on the Coming to Sweden: African edition series.

Follow Study in Sweden on Snapchat for more updates

From Sweden with Love


NB: Disclaimer: This post is based on perspective and experiences of the students interviewed. It is not meant to generalize all African students in Sweden perspectives.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part I

I’ve been tackling how to best write about this topic. How it feels to a black African student is Sweden.

I have considered everything from doing a meme collage to a video story. However,to start with I thought it would be nice to share a few reflections and experiences.

I get emails asking me questions on everything from how to survive the weather. How to maintain natural hair. If racism exists in Sweden. Or, what to do when you’re craving food from home. So, this post is for you. As well as those who want to get some insight into being a black African student in Sweden.

Coming to Sweden: The African Edition Part 1

Coming to Sweden: African Edition

source: google.com


First, let’s just say that I’m realizing that when it comes to Swedish culture, we do things a little ‘say different’. For example saying sorry. Recently, I bumped into a fellow digital ambassador from India and said sorry. I expected a weird response but we both laughed when we realized that we both do it.

Growing up, we were taught that if you bumped into someone, someone dropped something, tripped or fell, you say sorry to kind of convey your empathy. It comes as a gut reaction. I quickly found that in Sweden, people find this odd and keep asking why I say sorry when I didn’t do anything.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition

source: giphy.com


Second, the weather will always be a topic of discussion until the day that I leave Sweden. No seriously. I once overheard some students on a bus discussing a classmate of theirs from Ghana (I think) and how he would go on and on about how the weather was terrible. They couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t just get over it. One thing I can say is that when you are used to sunshine (sometimes rain) and warmth for almost 365 days of the year it’s hard to (just get over it). Yes, it does get cold back home but not like Swedish ‘cold’ or ‘rain’.

Coming to Sweden: African edition

source: giphy.com

Speaking from experiencing my first Swedish winter and -6˚C, I doubt anyone just gets accustomed to it. Even for the second or the third or even the fourth time round. I’ve met other African students who have been here for years and even Swedes who say sometimes even they find it hard to cope. You get accustomed to it but it never becomes ‘normal’, you sort of just build tolerance. So, my advice for experienced winter students is to offer up some tips on how best to cope i.e. layering, exercise etc. when you find someone struggling.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition

Winter in Gothenburg


Third, I was kind of expecting this one. All the jokes about being asked how you arrived here? Is it your first time in Europe etc. Funny enough I haven’t encountered too many of these. On the odd occasion at afterwork a random girl will ask me what country I’m from and tell me that I’m making Africa proud. It used to get to me when even my lecturers would say ‘in Africa’. In my head I’d think there are 54 countries each with different stories, histories, cultures, geographies etc. so for me that’s like saying ‘in Europe’. But I take it in stride now and mention that it would be nice to know which specific country. I tended to get defensive in the beginning but now I’m quickly learning to:

‘Share our similarities, Celebrate our differences’

M. Scott Peck

Coming to Sweden: African Edition

source: memegenerator.net


Finally, I knew coming to Sweden meant less flexibility in terms of hair. I knew I would not be able to get the products I needed or it would be too expensive to get it done in a salon. Thus, I decided to learn how to care for my hair courtesy of YouTube. I did crotchet braids knowing they would last a few months before I decided what to do next. From day 1, I got asked whether it was my real hair or how I dry it when I wash it. At first I enjoyed answering all the questions even from random people who would walk up to me and touch my hair. However, encounters including hair sniffing and unwarranted touching quickly made me draw some boundaries. It’s great to be curious but it’s also good to ask before you touch or approach someone especially if its a stranger.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition

source: giphy.com

Take Away and Tips

Take it in stride. Before leaving home,past students from the Swedish Alumni Network in Kenya (SIANK) told us that when we come to Sweden we would not only be representing Kenya but the African continent on the whole. I am beginning to understand that being from a country so far away from Sweden is an opportunity to educate people about a culture, country and continent that is a world away.

The same way I am learning about Sweden and Europe is the same way I’d want Swedes as well as everyone else to know about my home country and Africa.

Here is a post I previously wrote about my study abroad experience coming from Kenya.

Keep reading for Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II where I will discuss food, music and language.

Follow Study in Sweden on Snapchat for more updates

From Sweden with Love

NB: Disclaimer: This post is based on my perspective and experiences. It is not meant to generalize all African students in Sweden perspectives.