Tag Archives: gothenburg

Off to Denmark – one day trip with friends through the Baltic Sea

Living and studying in Sweden means more than only focusing on your own academic path or enjoying as much as you can the Swedish fika. Actually, when you’re a student here, there may be some chances to get to know new places and go through new landscapes that can enlighten your eyes and make you feel good.

If you live especially on the West Coast or the South of Sweden, it’s not so difficult to catch the opportunity to go and visit briefly countries such as Denmark, Germany, Poland and Norway. Well, that’s actually what happened to me few days ago. I’ve spent one wonderful day with some of my friends in Denmark – in a matter of few hours we were there and back to Gothenburg (for those of you who still don’t know what I’ve been doing and/or why I’ve been living in the second largest Swedish city, please have a look here).

Gothenburg is a city that strategically embraces the Göta älv, that is the river whose origin is in the Baltic Sea. Being a very important commercial port is not the only feature that makes Gothenburg a well known spot. Actually, its position is fairly favourable when it comes to travelling by ferry. If you happen to come here and plan to stay some time, why do not consider the option to take a ferry off to Denmark just for one day? It’s not that expensive, and especially if you are a group of friends, it can really be fun to spend some time on the ferry and then explore a little bit the North Denmark Region (Region Nordjylland).

In my case, my friends and I had the initial plan to reach Frederikshavn, a town whose harbour is well connected with the Scandinavian neighbours, as well as being famous for the quality of the fish. Once there, our idea was to move and visit briefly another small and still very important port town up in the north of Nordjylland, a town called Skagen. Its size is actually inversely proportional to its beauty and its historical background. Skagen was indeed home of many Danish Impressionist artists – who started the indeed so called Skagen Painters during the 19th century. Moreover, it’s fairly peculiar, considering its architectural style and the characteristic landscape where sand and dunes shape the seaside. By the way, before letting you show some glimpses of our short trip, let me just say that if you go there, you’ll have the chance to meet the point that both divides and unifies the Nordic Sea and the Baltic Sea.

Now, welcome on board and enjoy the rest!

 

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.

Food

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

Hawawshi
Source: thefooddictator.com

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

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

Injera
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

Matoke
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

Music

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!

Remarks

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.

Master in Communication Series Part 4: What am I actually studying?

Spring is here, as Supritha would say (by the way, check out her last post)! However, sun and flowers go along with something else, too. Another period of courses and lectures has started. To be precise, new courses. At least regarding my Master’s Programme in Communication at the University of Gothenburg.

Still don’t remember what I mean by saying the word ‘communication’ and what kind of Programme I’ve been attending? As usual, no worries: you’ll find everything here.

The course I’d like to talk about this time, is called Communication technology. As you can guess by the course title, the relation between communication and different kinds of technologies is the main focus.

Probably, human beings have never experienced such a huge range of technologies in their relative brief history on this planet. Yes, thousands of years ago our ancestors were able to make up a great amount of useful tools, or build majestic buildings; or organize the first written linguistic systems. However, in the last century at least, humans have reached such a high level in terms of technology, capable also to alter (positively?) the way how they interact among each others, and the way how they live.

The Communication technology course has just started, and it looks like one of the most interesting we as a class could have expected. The aim of the course is to provide us with theoretical and practical tools in order to better understand the reality shaped by technology, when it comes to the field of communication. How much can technology influence our lives nowadays? Are we really aware of the reach it has in every single aspect that features our daily routines?

Thanks to this course, we will be able to analyse and discuss the relation between the different communication technologies and the historical periods, as well as being able to break down the underlying relation between technology and communication. Of course, when it comes to this sort of combination, one can’t help but thinking to their close connection to the way how humans build organizations, and plan social activities. Moreover, the tools provided in the course will guide us to discover how technologies can be shaped, and how humans can get the most out of them, especially in particular cases of communication, such as communication disorders.

In the very last lecture, our amazing lecturer told us about the importance of meetings nowadays. Probably we take them for granted, but do you know how in fact they have changed over the course of the last decades? And how many dynamics may occur during one of your meetings with your fellow students or friends? Have you ever thought about that?

I’m looking forward to going through this course more and more. And I will try to keep you updated!

A presto


sources for featured image and other pictures: https://it.sheridancollege.ca/aboutIT/ict.html; https://mags2304.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/advantages-of-communication-technology/; https://www.nari.ee.ethz.ch/

TEDX Goteborg

TEDX Gotebörg Salon: Availability vs. Sustainability

TEDX Goteborg

On the 28th of March 2017,  Happy M Vegan kitchen hosted the first TEDX Gotebörg Salon event 2017. The topic was Sustainability vs. Availability. The event set out to inspire conversations around the topic of Food Sustainability.

TEDX Goteborg

The Famous sign

I have always been an avid fan of Ted Talks. I even have my own Ted Monday ritual in which I seek to empower myself by watching various talks. It could be anything from antibiotic resistance, the creation of robotic limbs to dream interpretation and understanding death. Ted Talks have always been an avenue in which my creativity flows and my mind travels.

TEDX Goteborg

Attending the event with Ekin and Livia

This salon event was a little different than the usual Ted Talk structure that were used to watching. Two Ted talks were screened linking to the overarching theme of sustainability followed by a panel discussion in which the audience posed questions.

TedX Goteborg

Discussion Panel: Åsa (moderator), Gianluca Tognon, Carina Sundqvist and Marie Butler

Sustainability

The Ted Talk was by Caleb Harper on Digital Farming. His initiative seeks to create a world of ‘digital farmers’ who will help to feed the estimated 9 Billion souls by 2050. With a decrease in farmers worldwide he seeks to digitize food using ‘food computers’ which aid the connection between plants and us as ‘digital farmers’. These labs can be housed in small spaces thus saving space.

Availability

The Second talk screened was by Megan Miller on insects as the new future food. Her project Bitty Foods involves the use of crickets as an alternative nutrient source. This I found very interesting. In some cultures around the world, such as some tribes in Kenya rain flies and other insects are consumed as a delicacy. However, faces around the room were comical with some saying they wouldn’t imagine eating ‘bugs’.

TEDX Goteborg

source: bittyfoods.com

The most interesting part of the talk was that she used crickets in dried flour form to make everything from pastries to pizza (pictured above). Her talk was powerful in that it questioned the norm and presented alternative sources of protein that would help to address the current challenges we are facing of the sustainability of the meat industry.

The panel discussion comprised of Gianluca Tognon, Carina Sundqvist and Marie Butler. Who are a professor in Nutrition, green growth expert and founder of Happy M Kitchen respectively. Questions from the audience included how energy efficient food labs and vertical farming initiatives are?. How to get children more involved in learning about good nutrition?. To how feasible cricket flour is as a large-scale alternative to wheat flour for the population at large?.

Panel discussion

It was a great panel discussion and event to which I can say that I learnt a great deal. I also learnt that the choices I make when I go shopping for groceries in Gothenburg affect the way in which food is grown, harvested and even wasted at home and around the world. Here are 5 great take away tips from the event.

TEDX Goteborg

I am happy to say that I will now make a conscious effort to buy more local food to support farmers as well as incorporate more fresh food in my diet.

Sweden has really opened my eyes to the world of food sustainability and thinking about the impact of what I buy and eat has on the environment.

Take Away

An interesting blogger I discovered at the talk is Hanna . Her blog includes recipes and a shopping list for only SEK 300 which can feed a family of four for a week. I am definitely going to try some recipes out and those cricket flour cookies looked really good I must say!

The next TedX Salon will be on May 30th and the TedX talk will be on October 30th.

TEDX Goteborg

TedX Goteborg Salon

Follow them on facebook for more details and remember to search for your network in your Swedish city!

From Sweden with Love

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

Culture

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

Weather

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

Generalizations

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

Hair

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.

 

5 tips to live cheap in Sweden

Here are my 5 tips to live cheap in Sweden. Being a student isn’t the cheapest profession on the planet. Especially not in Sweden. However, we still have to eat, live in accommodation, watch a movie and attend the occasional party and afterwork. That being said, I thought I would share some insider information for how to navigate expenses.

As a student at the University of Gothenburg I have had to learn tips and tricks of how to live cheap and keep on budget.

Top 5 tips to live cheap in Sweden

5 tips to live cheap

For a rough student budget here’s a post by ABC on the Cost of Living in Sweden in 2017. (Mostly Stockholm and Uppsala).

If you’re coming to Sweden, NB: the biggest expense for students is accommodation. It ranges from SEK 2500 – SEK 6000 and depends on the size of your room, if its shared and if you have your own bathroom, kitchen etc.

So, after paying accommodation these 5 tips should help you survive on a budget in Sweden!

Useful links:

Signing up to experiments at Gothenburg University: GU Handels experiments

Student discounts: Mecenat

Tips on how to navigate 2nd hand shopping: Second hand shopping guide in Sweden

For ideas on what to cook for the week: Meal prep ideas

NB: At the time of posting this blog the information was up to date. I will also seek to update it with new information.

Keep it tuned for more tips for students living in Sweden.

Follow Study in Sweden on Snapchat for more updates

From Sweden with Love!