Facebook Mail Twitter

My One Year in Sweden (PART 1)

It doesn’t feel like it. How? I’m already one year here in Sweden? Oh my God! It sincerely feels like yesterday. My journey in Sweden as a graduate student at Södertörn University has been nothing but amazing. 

Five photos of Amaraizu Genius

By Amaraizu Genius

Journey to Unknown Destination

When my first choice, Södertörn University, offered me an admission in April 2020, it was a call for celebration. At the same time, I had mixed feelings – the pandemic just began in my country Nigeria. The world was shutting down; news of lockdown was everywhere and in the same month, my country had locked down. Silence. Total silence and then confusion, which was followed by long period of uncertainty.

I knew this study progression was an opportunity I didn’t want to miss. Not even the pandemic could stop me. Lol. In the midst of the lockdown in my country, I quit my job and booked a ticket to join an evacuation flight for Sweden and I left my home, my loved ones and friends. Yeah, while the pandemic was still at its peak, I relocated abroad. That was bold I must acknowledge, and I’m grateful that I’m alive, despite the chaos of the past year. It felt like a journey to an unknown destination, but like I said – it’s been nothing but an amazing one year. Soon after I arrived Sweden, I would start as a pioneer International Student ambassador at Södertörn University and I would be working with my professor as a Research Assistant on a project on automated decision-making.

Classes at Södertörn University

First day in class was an in-person introductory lecture. Yes in-person, while the world had closed up in 2020, Sweden still fixed physical classes. I was not surprised anyway. My surprises on Sweden’s response to the pandemic died down after my first week in the country. Just as I arrived the airport, I had masked up as it should be, but I was surprised people here never wore masks. It felt as if those who wore the masks were sick and deserved some pity. That’s a story for another day. After some weeks however, lectures eventually migrated to Zoom but still, Sweden was never in a total lockdown, it was somewhat partial.

Classes in Sweden is different. Very different from my expectations, whether physical or online. First, I was happy to understand that there is a healthy level of flexibility in learning at Södertörn University. I could always access my programme coordinator or my professors to discuss what works for me. But, the funniest part of this flexibility is that you cannot fail your exams. I do not mean that. Let me explain. Here, if you fail an exam, you have a right to rewrite that exam as many times as allowed for the course. In most cases, you are allowed to rewrite an exam up to 5 times, and you don’t even have to wait for a new semester to do that. In my country, do not fail your exams – but if you do, you have to wait till the coming year to rewrite. Another fascinating thing about lectures at Södertörn University is that we spend a lot of time discussing our ideas – my ideas matter so much for every course. I enjoyed this, and I felt empowered to explore, empowered to contribute and empowered to lead.

However, there is one thing I didn’t like about studies in Sweden – contact hours with professors are not much. As a full-time student, I have 40 hours a week for classes, but in a week, I barely achieve a quarter of that in contact-hours with professors. Well, for all those who are working and studying, which is allowed, these might be some sort of blessing.

Utomhusbild uppgången från pendeltåget

Low Moments and Other Moments

Before I dive into my low moments, let me highlight other moments that made my one year amazing. I travelled. North, South, West, and East of Sweden have felt my presence. Lol. It was beautiful, and my next journey will be across all Swedish borders. Sweden is bordered by Norway and Finland, and as well has maritime borders with Denmark, Germany, Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

Let me summarize my low moments before I continue with the amazing moments. The major low moments occurred because I was not prepared for winter. It was my first winter. I had read about winter, I looked forward to the snow and all that. But, it felt like my imaginations didn’t see better. First, the cold was colder than imagined, and the darkness was tiring. Imagine every other daylight starting as late as 10 AM and days getting dark as early as 2 PM. It alters sleep, alters body system and I even heard people fall into serious depression during this time. I found the changes in nature amazing at first, but later I was tired of it, especially since I didn’t have friends at those points. But there’s one thing you will never get tired of – snow. It is beautiful in its angelic white that seems to purify the whole environment. However, after snow comes ice and accidents.

Back to my other beautiful moments. I made friends. Right now, I have at least one friend from all the continents of the world. Maybe I should start an expedition to all these parts of the world. Many other moments made my one year great, I will be writing soon again to tell you these other parts of my journey – the parties, the tourism or the amazing grades for some courses: what do you want me to write about in the part 2?

Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn: External link, opens in new window.

Picture of the author Amaraizu Genius

Amaraizu Genius is an International Student Ambassador at Södertörn University.

Would you like to read more about this area:
Read more about: Student


Facebook Mail Twitter

Page updated