Created on Sunday, 01 August 2010 10:46
Written by Jan Wang
After entering the workforce for almost a year, I made the decision to further my studies in Lund, Sweden. It turned out to be the best decision I have ever made and the happiest year in my life.
I was an accounts assistant in one of the world’s most respected company. The pay was meager and 12-hour working days were common. The working culture was less than bearable, yet I hung on. The economy was bad then, and I was lucky to get a job so quickly. Moreover, the company name would definitely ‘dress-up’ my CV for the next job.
But before long, I was jaded and burnt-out. I became one of the many who suffered from ‘Monday-blues’ and complained about work constantly. I dragged my feet to work, hoping that days would pass by quickly. I knew something was not right, yet I could not find any way to correct it. Sometimes, reality is harsh and do not always leave you with many choices.
The breakthrough came when I realized that I was admitted to the Masters’ program in Lund, Sweden. I only applied for it because I found out that tuition fees were free in Sweden and spending a year in Europe sounded too-good-to-be-true. I knew that studying overseas was only possible if I got some sort of scholarship or if tuition fees were free.
The adrenaline rush came when I realized that it might actually be possible to spend a year studying again, and in Sweden! Months after my parents agreed to pay for my living expenses there, I still had problems believing that I will be spending a year studying in Sweden, traveling in Europe and experiencing all four different seasons there.
The decision to go was a no-brainer for me. Studying overseas has always been my dream for I knew that such an experience would be invaluable and incomparable to any other. I have always been independent, thus, going to a foreign land so far away without knowing anyone was not daunting at all. On the contrary, I was fired up and ready to take on the whole experience.
Many friends tell me how brave I was to go there alone, but they have no idea how much I was looking forward to the freedom and being accountable to just myself.
I did extensive research about student-life there but information was limited and housing was difficult to find. All I could do was put together the bits and pieces of information as well as be prepared for the cold winter there.
Studying in Sweden was extremely enriching due to the good mix of international students and their proactive approach to education. We were always required to host ‘seminars’ for problem-solving or chosen topics, which required extensive brain-storming and engaging the class. As the culture differs considerably from Asian cultures, it takes some time to get used to things before I started enjoying the lifestyle there.
Apart from the amazing people I have met in Sweden, highlights of studying there include the unique student activities there such as Valborg and Lundakarneval. Traveling around Sweden and the Scandinavia is also a must-do as the landscapes are breathtaking and unique. The best experience I had there was travelling to Kiruna, which is in the Arctic Circle, alone. Kiruna is where the famous ‘ice-hotel’ is, and you could try out activities such as dog-sledging and spot the northern lights dancing at night.
Although the standard-of-living is rather high there, housing is affordable cooking your own meals would save you a lot. Most information about studying in Sweden could be found at www.studyinsweden.se
and applications could be submitted at Studera
I would definitely encourage people to step out of your comfort zone, spend some time studying overseas or simply traveling around to experience different things. Open your heart and you will find yourself gaining new perspectives through these experiences.About the author: