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Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part III

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part III

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 III

Here is the final installment of Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part III

I’m back with the amazing students from Part II to let you in on what they think. This last one is about the Swedish language and Tips for students from their home countries!


What were your first impressions of the Swedish language?

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

Mahmoud: It contains a lot of Ups and downs. (smiley face)

Tebkew: For me it’s a difficult language to understand. The way they pronounce some words is quite hard to mimic.

Sussy: My first impression about the swedish language was funny yet interesting. I also discovered words in French and English having similar meanings in swedish.

Ronald: It a hard and difficult language. I thought I would never speak even a word but now I can try making a few phrases like: Hur mår du? . meaning how are you?. Thanks to SFI (Swedish for Immigrants)

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part III

Blessing: I thought I would need at least five years to master the language

Nomsa: It sounded so difficult, I wondered if I will ever get to speak Swedish, let alone understand it.

Thato: I started learning to speak Swedish before I left home. It wasn’t extremely difficult, but of course the alphabet system is very different. On a daily basis I have been able to learn some words and expand my vocabulary.


Have you learnt or are you learning Swedish?

Mahmoud: Yes I started to learn and follow duolingo.

Tebkew: I am learning it now.

Sussy: I have learnt up to the SAS 3 ( swedish as a second language)

Ronald: Yes, I am learning Swedish at SFI. I have been learning for the last three months.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part III

Blessing: I am currently taking SFI (Swedish for Immigrants) lessons

source: allacronyms.com

Nomsa: I have on completed the first step in learning Swedish language at university.  I am currently on a break, hopefully I will get the strength to continue the next level soon.

Thato: I am still learning, although it’s great that most people know how to speak English and willingly switch to accommodate you. The town has a large international community, so it’s easy to communicate and navigate around because English is spoken wherever you go.



Do you have any tips for students from your country who would like to study in Sweden?

Mahmoud: I would advise them to: Know exactly what they want from continuing their studies and to be specific, Search for all available scholarships, Be open to all cultures, Prepare themselves for many changes in studying and life systems.

Tebkew: My tip is for future students of my country are to prepare themselves and set their mind for the winter season which I got very challenging.

Sussy: They should be prepare to learn the Swedish language if the must work here especially after their studies.  The cold in Sweden is more than that of the biggest cold store you’ve ever visited. Come with extra money for warm clothes . Make sure you come along with your food stuffs as they are pretty expensive here compared the prices at home

Ronald: I would advise those who wish to come to Sweden to try several scholarships such as SIDA, Swedish Institute Scholarships among others, since is quite expensive to study in Sweden on self-sponsorship.

Blessing: Swedish style of learning exposes you to the real world thereby allowing you to solve real problems. In as much as it is more practical with lots of fun activities, it is so intense that one must be prepared to be pushed to the limit.

Nomsa: Be open minded, be brave enough to take opportunities presented to you, to come and explore, have fun and enjoy the experience of being in a different country. If you are a change agent, then Sweden is the best country to benchmark.

Thato: It’ll be a wonderful adventure, but you must be prepared. Do your research. Read a lot about the university you want to study at and the town you will live in. Secure a scholarship or private funding, tuition and living expenses are high unless of course you can afford it. Get to know the practicalities required to move to Sweden. For instance, opening a bank account, what access your residence permit gives you, whether you have to find accommodation yourself or the university assists you.  Studying in Sweden is likely to be one of the best experiences you’ll have so if you’re thinking about it then pursue it! There are also great traveling opportunities to go around Europe when you have a break from your studies.

For new students coming to Sweden from your country do you have any tips? (what to pack from home, weather advice, fun information and practical tips?)

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part III

What to pack

Mahmoud: Bring Router, Swedish weather is not as bad as you hear in Egypt, Learn to cook, Study hard in weekdays but have fun in weekends.

Tebkew:  I advise them to bring ‘berbere’ which is prepared from pepper mixed with different spices and ‘Dirkosh’ which is dried form of Injera. 

Ronald: Regarding food, it may not be easy to carry lots of food from home but one can try to pack local spices such as Royco and others as you may not easily get them here and some cosmetics and hair accessories such as reusable wigs and weaves for the women. Do not forget to carry some winter wear! Though I would recommend that you buy your winter outfits here.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part III

Blessing: If you are coming from Zimbabwe, do not forget to bring your own mealie meal for sadza. A 5Kg packet will do. Temperatures are lower than in Zimbabwe but they are not that bad and all indoor temperatures are controlled.

Nomsa: Don’t carry many clothes, just bring a few warm clothes for the first few days when you are still settling in. Carry African attire, to represent Botswana. For the food, if you are into spices, then carry your favorite spices from home. Hair and skin care products are a must, don’t make a mistake of leaving those.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part III

Thato: Keep track of all the arrangements when you’re moving your life from South Africa to Sweden. Although it’s very exciting, it’s a big task so keep a journal of everything you do including contact numbers of key persons from the embassy and university. It is advisable to also leave a copy of your passport with a family member should anything happen with your documents.  Of course you’ll protect them with your life! You may also have to bring all the originals of your qualifications from home, so check this with your Swedish university before you leave.

You are likely to get support from the international office at your university, but take ownership of everything you need to do so that you are well-prepared. Oh, and don’t shop for boots and coats at home. Lol! They’re not suitable for Swedish winters, you’ll shop when you get here for the real snow-resilient stuff! It can get quite cold, but you’ll survive it, maybe even enjoy it.  The summers are wonderful, the winters are dark, but fear not because plenty of chocolate and coffee (what the Swedish call fika) will get you through! Do yourself a favor and learn how to ride a bicycle before you leave, chances are that’s going to be your main mode of transport! You don’t want to be a twenty-something-year-old crashing into poles in broad daylight like I did. Enjoy Sweden, study hard and represent our country well!

Take Away

The purpose of the the Coming to Sweden Edition is for the readers to get to understand a little more how it feels to live and study in a country so far away from home. However, it also seeks to be a how to guide of what to pack when coming from home, basic first steps and how to adjust to winter (smiley face)

A big thanks to the six students who allowed me to interview them! Can’t wait to FIKA after the summer break.

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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.

3 non-academic reasons to choose Sweden

When people look for a bachelor’s, master or a PhD abroad , Sweden is not always the first option. Australia, France, Germany, England, Japan, US, Canada, Switzerland (a lot of people asked me if I was studying in Sweden or in Switzerland HAHAHA! – both are pronounced in a similar way in spanish), and many more are popular destinations for students. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that all those countries are great places for studying, and it depends a lot on what you like. But let me give you 3 non-academic reasons why Sweden is THE best country to study.

sofia_sabel-swedish_school_of_textiles-4251Credits: Sofia Sabel/imagebank.sweden.se

#1 Innovation

Let’s start with one of the most important reasons. Did you knew that Stockholm is one of the cities with more startups per capita? Now, what the heck does this mean. Right now you might be listening to music in one of the most important and recent ones – Spotify! Or maybe you are listening to Edite’s amazing podcast (I definitely recommend you to listen to it) or playing Candy Crush, the list keeps going but you get the point right? Anyway, in Sweden there is a constant development in terms of technology, there is a lot going on and this is definitely the place to be if you are an entrepreneur, even if you think that starting a bushiness is hard, funding may be available via VINNOVA, Sweden’s innovation agency.

hans-olof_utsi-space_research-5369Credits: Hans-Olof Utsi/imagebank.sweden.se

#2 Sustainable

Sweden is well known around the world for being an eco-friendly country, not just because how their waste-management abilities. But also because the educational system teaches people how it is possible to reduce the environmental footprint of humans. I remember an article about “Sweden buying garbage”, and my first thought was – why would someone buy trash? – but I kept reading anyway.

As a result of this sustainable culture and education, people recycle so well that they don’t have enough rubbish to incinerate to produce energy. In fact, 99% of Sweden’s waste is now recycled (for all of you people interested in sustainable and environmental topics, Sweden offers a lot of programmes related to sustainability) how cool is that! Sweden has become Europe’s biggest importer of trash from other countries.

Another thing that I notice is that people often tend to buy “local” products, and the main reason for this is: first, to support the local companies, and local producers, but also, to reduce the emissions. How come? Well, if you consume local products the transportation (trucks, airplanes, ships) for those products has a smaller impact since less fuel is burned to move the products around the world. Easy.

I could spend days talking about Sweden’s sustainable culture, there’s research going on that I don’t even understand, and definitely there is a lot of development going around here.


cecilia_larsson_lantz-recycling-1075Credits: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se

#3 Employment

A lot of people ask me if I would like to stay in Sweden, and the answer is simple – YES! – Explaining why is the tricky part (or at least for me). Let me beging with the fact that NO ONE will give you a job out of nowhere, if there is one sentence that sums perfectly how I feel about life is this one: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. So far I can’t complain about the opportunities that I have created and my talent has allowed me to take – I feel like I’m giving a speech in an award ceremony or something like that, but let’s just get back to the point.

Sweden has a lot to offer, companies are looking for new talent everywhere, and the opportunities to mingle and talk with future employers are many. Job fairs, lunch-seminars, lunch-lectures, fika with companies, academic tours through the facilities, thesis projects within a company, internships, summer jobs, guest lecturers, and so on. Honestly I don’t know what to expect, and this is just my perspective of what I see and what I’ve heard, Gimmy perfectly sums up everything you need to know in your job hunt.

guillaume_de_basly-industry-3127Credits: Guillaume de Basly/imagebank.sweden.se

sofia_sabel-trainee_program-1724Credits: Sofia Sabel/imagebank.sweden.se



Study Abroad: Kenya to Sweden

“Could study abroad be the answer to all your woes?”

Are you feeling down? Weary?

Someone just stole your lunch from your communal work fridge?

Or did you just graduate from that Bachelor’s degree and don’t know what to do next?

Then this post is for you!!!

My name is Anita Mureithi and I come from Nairobi, Kenya. The country where the sun never stops shining. You spend at least 6 hours in traffic where you can buy everything from fresh crisps, the daily newspaper to car wipers or meet the occasional lion that strayed from the National Park (okay this only happened once..ok..maybe twice..)

Life in the 254

Study Abroad

So imagine the shock when this Kenyan girl arrived at Landvetter airport after a layover in sunny Turkey to rain pounding my face and hearing that it’s still summer. After the rain came two weeks of ‘relative‘ warmth. But now autumn has slowly started to creep in and all the stories from previous Kenyan students mentally preparing me for the cold seem like a hazy dream.

Sunny Gothenburg

Taken in warmer times

Apart from adjusting to the weather, in my 60 days in Sweden I have made great new friends from all over the world. Eaten more meatballs than humanly possible. Went shopping for groceries in a language that I don’t understand (this is harder than you can imagine). Danced until my feet hurt. Walked in Delsjön forest and swam in Skagerrak (next to the North Sea) , all while studying what I love on a full scholarship.

Study Abroad

So what are you waiting for? This could be your study in Sweden story!

Applications are now open for International students for first admission round Spring 2017 on www.universityadmissions.se/intl/start . Be sure to check out www.studyinsweden.se/scholarships/ for scholarship information.

There’s no degree that’s too out there. They even have a course that focuses on Japanese comic culture at Malmö University. Yup! Comics! With a choice of over 35 Universities. I am sure you’ll find your perfect fit!

Keep checking in for more of my time here in Sweden including, my first Christmas, snowfall, Swedish class and my long term love hate relationship with Google Translate.

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From Sweden with Love!

Explore Gothenburg

This is Fårö, the most beautiful summer landscape in Sweden

Under the glistening sun, the blue sky and the calming sea breeze, I rode through the forests, the sandy beach and the vast meadows of Fårö on an Icelandic horse called Åsa.

Horse riding in Fårö

Anyone can do this!

Most of us are first-timers without any horse riding experience. There are experienced riders to guide and accompany us during our entire horse riding journey through the beautiful Swedish landscape.

Riding on Icelandic horses in Fårö

A surge of Adrenaline

When I first got up on Åsa, I panicked when I don’t know how to control her to move left or right. As we began riding, the horses obediently follow behind each other. Downhills, uphills, slow pace, fast pace … a combination of everything during the one hour of horse riding.

My pulse fluctuated dramatically. I went from eager to panic. From nervous to steady. From calm to exhilaration when Åsa began to trot on the beach.

Iceland horse on Fårö

Fårö reminds me how great it is to be outdoors, to busk at nature and to slow down

Photo by Satu

Journey through the nature, a ride to remember

Horse riding through the forest in FåröA450475B905045

Fårö has the most beautiful summer landscape in Sweden!

Fårö, a small Baltic island which lies off the north of Gotland. Fårö translates to ‘Sheep Island’ in Swedish and there are certainly more sheep than human on this island. With a population of less than 600, there no banks, post offices, medical services or police. During summer, Fårö can expect 10,000 visitors a day! If you want to visit Fårö, remember to book your summer accommodation early.

Fårö is also where the legendary Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman used to live and several of his films were filmed here. Here you can find Bergman Center, a museum that focuses on the life and artistic achievements of Ingmar Bergman.

Fårö, Gotland coastal landscapeFårö landscapefarm in FåröFårö, Gotland landscapeFårö, GotlandBy the beach in Fårö, GotlandSunrise in Fårö, Gotland

This is also where the horses live and roam freely

Horses in Fårö, Gotland Icelandic horses in Gotland b875205

#ThisFeeling is one of my most memorable experiences in Sweden

Iceland horse in Fårö

Visual Tour of The Science and Maritime Museum in Malmö

Welcome to the Tekniska and Sjöfarts museum

Also known as the Science and Maritime museum, located on Malmöhusvägen in the middle of Malmö, this visit takes you  on a journey through Swedish history to an interactive future.


One of my highlights creeping into an actual SUBMARINE U3 which was in operation during WWII

This was  the first submarine with a fully Swedish design and also the first with a completely welded pressure hull, a construction method developed at the Kockum Shipyard in Malmö (Kockums Mekaniska Verkstad AB).


Operating the submarine’s periscope with a live view of Malmö


Carl Linnaeus,  a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, who formalised the modern system of naming organisms called binomial nomenclature, is also known by the epithet ‘father of modern taxonomy’.

Here you see a glimpse of different types of animals preservation and even dissection dating back to the 1700s. It provides a sense of  wonder and curiosity about nature at that time.

IMG_47537078907807 IMG_47499859486IMG_4747897070

Meet the world’s most famous scanian, Tycho Brahe

Tycho Brahe was a Renaissance man born in Scania (then Denmark, now a part of Sweden), well known for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical and planetary observations. AT the ‘HIMMEL och JORD’ (heaven and earth) exhibit, the fun thing to do is to enter the ‘dark room’ and steer around the planetary system and navigating around the universe.



Rewind back to the early 1900s and enter the ‘Vehicles of the Future’ exhibition.

This exhibit also highlights insights into how people have historically felt about the future, with a sustainable perspective and take your time to explore the different vehicles, aircraft and engines.

Highly recommended to try this – lifting a horse power. It’s tough, I couldn’t do it alone by myself.

IMG_47657696y0py9p8up IMG_4710097070IMG_46718780o7u9p8p

Do you know Skånska inventions? Toothpicks, pacemakers and nanotechnology are among the 32 inventions from Skåne at the SMART! exhibit


At the second floor of the museum, you can try out various interactive and experimental games with your friends. Try out the ‘brain activity race’ with a friend. You and a friend are seated between a table, facing each other with a band around your head. This band has the capability to track the brain activity and triggers the ball (placed in the middle) to move towards either of you. The trick to winning is to RELAX and not think of anything!

I underestimated the time and had only had 2 hours+ at the museum which was really not sufficient. I didn’t manage to visit the Nordic region´s oldest surviving Renaissance castle which was right across the museum. Well, till next time.

University of Borås – My First Choice and here’s why

After graduating with a MSc in Corporate Finance, I worked as a corporate analyst in Singapore for a year. Work was good but I often found myself wondering what it was like to work in the textile/fashion industry, something which I’d always been curious about and always wanted to do.

Then it struck me ‘I have to do this and go after what I want’.

It’s not easy to ‘follow my heart’, give up my career and steady income. Not to mention, the uncertainty of switching to an entire different industry which I barely knew, not knowing if it was even worthwhile. The more I thought about it, the more energized I felt. #YOLO, if not now, then when?

Why is it my first choice?

University of Borås offers textile management master program in English, exactly what I’m look for and even better, I don’t need prior background in textiles, fashion or design.


With full scale textiles manufacturing equipment on site, along with one of the only five knitting machines in the world is located right here, University of Borås is more than just a university!

Industrial knitting machine in the school

University of Borås has a strong reputation with a front edge on several exciting research projects. When I learned the capability of smart textiles and how it can improve people’s everyday lives, I became even more intrigued. Further more, students at University of Borås are regulars at fashion week.

University of Borås is located in the city center and within walking distance to many cafes, Knalleland shopping center, secondhand shops and several supermarkets. Many fashion companies are based in Borås and around the region – Gina Tricot, H&M, Lindex, Ellos and many more – where many students have their internships.


It’s an ARTSY town where many well-known graffiti artists have set foot. Don’t miss out the Nolimit Borås street art in this town!


Here in Borås, my friends come from all over the world, it’s a truly diverse student town. What more can I ask for?