Tag Archives: life

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My first months in Sweden: how lucky am I?

So, what’s about Sweden? How is it? What are you studying exactly? And how is your life there? Is it really cold, right?”

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And so on. These are only few of the questions that my friends have made in these last days, as I temporary returned back to Italy, due to Christmas holidays. I’ve tried to answer them, but then I thought: why do not share it here on the blog? As I may sum up, I’d say that this post is a sort of recap of my first four months in my new country: Sweden. (Do you remember why have I chosen Sweden?)

To be fair, the exact place where I’ve been living (maybe some of you already know that), is the nice and welcoming city of Gothenburg. A city that I loved from the very first gaze, from the first steps I took while getting off the bus coming from the airport in a sunny afternoon last August. The first approach with the city and its inhabitants: my landlady, people around the streets in the city centre or working in supermarkets, or in some university offices. The sound of the Swedish language, the Welcome Days for the international students in a big cinema and then in my department; the beginning of a new academic adventure and the chance to get to know new classmates from all around the world.

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First day at the Welcome Days for international students in Draken, a nice cinema in Gothenburg

Yes, I’m lucky to be there, to live and study in Gothenburg. And I’m pretty sure about that every time I can shape an answer to the question: “Do you like staying there?”. You know, I come from Italy, specifically from the South. I’d say that my region is one of the most beautiful places in the world and many friend of mine told me: “You’re leaving behind this wonderful sea, the taste of our food and coffee… and up there it must be truly cold”, and so on. But you know what? I feel that a country such as Sweden fits perfectly the way how I am and how I perceive the reality and the world around me. So, have I already mentioned before? I’m really lucky to live in Sweden.

Being in Sweden means also that I had the chance to become a Digital Ambassador – and if I’m writing this blog post right now, it’s also because I’m glad to have been chosen to represent Sweden, my home country (Italy)  and my university. I’m glad to have the chance to express myself, to talk about my experience and to help international students yearning for knowing more about the Swedish lifestyle as well as the academic world. Last but not least, since the beginning of this ‘adventure within the adventure’, I cannot not mention the fact that I’ve met wonderful people being ambassador such as me.

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Probably, the fact that I’ve travelled and lived abroad before helped me in coping with these first months in another, different country. However, if you’re reading this post and you’re going to take a decision regarding your personal studies abroad, and you haven’t lived outside your home country before, I’d say that Sweden may be a good choice.

No matter how cold it may be… you can always dress properly, right? And as far as I was told, Swedish summer is very nice and full of things to do in environments which share a ‘common denominator’: Nature!

Hopefully we’ll meet here in Sweden… in the meantime, I wish you all happy holidays!

 

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SwEquality, part 2: from Germany to Sweden, dreaming a life here. Meet Victoria!

Few pieces ago, I talked about the equality and the dignity concerning disabled people in Sweden. You might want to know more about, if you have not read it before… so there we go, you can find it here.

Anyway, let’s narrow the focus a little bit and let me tell you about how lucky I was few days ago. I’m going to tell you about a person whom I had the great pleasure to meet and to talk to; let me introduce her to you: Victoria!

“I didn’t think it could have been possible, making an experience like this abroad. But here I am! And you know what? I’d like to spend my future here in Sweden”.

She comes from Germany and she’s an Erasmus student here in Gothenburg. Because of a muscular disease she is using an electric wheelchair and has assistants with her 24 hours per day who help her to do everything she cannot do herself, like housework or dressing herself.

“You know, I chose Sweden and I decided to come here and try a completely new experience for me. My parents helped me a lot, too, even though they were very sceptical if this could work for me. Honestly, it was the same for me at the beginning. I’ve previously been in Gothenburg last year, for a short vacation. I really liked it, so I wanted to come back and therefore I did everything I could to make this happen. Now, I’m an Erasmus student. I’ve been here since August and I’m planning to come back as soon as possible, perhaps in two years. My aim is getting a Master’s degree at Gothenburg´s University.”

“What do you study, Victoria?”

“I’m currently studying Cultural Studies and I’m thinking about doing a Master Programme in ‘Kultur och demokrati’. “Will the classes be given in Swedish?”. “Exactly!”.

Victoria started studying basic Swedish in her country, and now she’s doing her Erasmus attending classes in Swedish, too. (PS: I’ve been in Gothenburg for almost three months, but don’t tell anybody that I know barely ten words in Swedish).

“In Germany, services for people with disabilities are quite good. However, there’s something that I unfortunately have to admit: people’s mindset about disabled persons is not so good. I mean, it seems like they help you because they have to, not because they really want or care. And this, I think, is the great difference with Sweden. I feel like here people actually care about you. Really. Moreover, the political establishment in Germany is making things quite difficult for us, trying to cut money for assistants and so on, so people like me can not have an autonomous life any longer, and if you add it to the overall outlook and behaviour of people… well, I feel I’m happy here. Almost everything is easier for me. The only thing that could work better for me…”

“Yes?”

“You know, I found an apartment thanks to SGS (N.d.R: Student Housing – Studentbostäder) and I live in a very very big building, with hundreds of students. It’s not so easy to socialize there, plus I live on the other side of the river (Lindholmen) while my faculty is basically in the city centre. I wish I could socialize more. I have friends in my class, yes, but it would be nice to know more people, I think.”

“Hmm… I know what you feel, I can imagine.”

“But, I can’t complain actually. Services here are very, very good. And as I said before, people really care about you. Tram drivers can get off and help you get in voluntarily, people really go the extra mile to help you”.

“What are your interests? What do you like to do in your spare time?”

“My free time is much easier here, too. I can just go to the cinema or a museum without thinking about barriers which might cross my way! I really like watching movies and going to museums. And reading and writing, of course.”

“Christmas approaches…”

“Yes… but I’m a bit sad because I’m going to go back to Germany. My Erasmus will end soon, and I’ve to write my bachelor’s thesis as well. I really don’t want to leave Gothenburg, but my goal is to come back again. And of course I´m also happy to see my family and friends again.”

“And I’m sure it will happen!” “Hope so! By the way… I’m going back home now… I’ve to study!”

Sure! Thanks so much, Victoria… I’m very glad to have met you. And see you soon!


Victoria is a blogger, too. You can find out more about her stories by visiting her Facebook blog page ‘Vicis wilde Welt‘.