As summer approaches, many university students in Sweden, including international students, are approaching the end of the academic year. Some will be returning in August and others are graduating in the coming week. Academic Solutions has interviewed two international students about their experience of studying and working in Sweden.
Both Maxime, a Dutch international student, and Ellyne, a Singaporean international student, are pursuing a master’s degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Lund, where they began their studies in August 2021 and will finish in June 2022. Not only do they study together but they also work together at the Sten K. Johnson Centre for Entrepreneurship as marketing assistants.
“I came to Sweden because of this program,” Maxime explains, “since it offers a very hands-on approach where we can put the theory we learn into practice.” In addition, Lund University is a Top 100 university with a reputation for high-quality education, equality, and a welcoming environment for students.
Ellyne, like Maxime, emphasizes the practical part of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation master’s program. “The curriculum seemed exciting since it allowed us to build our own business and be really hands-on,” Ellyne says. She even sees Lund and Sweden as a mini-business incubators, and the startup program helped her to meet her cofounders.
Ellyne and Maxime share similar experiences in Lund both finding Lund “really cute and small, it really feels like a village,” says Maxime, while Ellyne adds that Lund is a “student hub, that is very cozy and conducive for studying”.
Maxime felt that in the beginning” the people a bit distant, whereas Dutch people really like to be open & would even talk to strangers, so that was a bit different compared to the Netherlands. After a while I figured out that Swedes first want to see how the wind blows and then will open up after some time.” But after the wind blows and Swedes open up, Ellyne explains that you will end up “running into all your friends, as you end up knowing everyone in little Lund”. Despite, Lund’s cultural and academic history behind it, Ellyne has chosen to move to Malmö for a bigger city life as she’s used to it, coming from Singapore.
” Sweden is significantly different from Singapore in that it gives you more autonomy and creative freedom. In comparison to Singapore, where education is very stressful and competitive, resulting in people being defined by grades, the university and lecturers place a lot of trust in you here, allowing you to have a lot more independence.”
In addition to Ellyne’s academic perspective, Maxime emphasizes her general Lund experience. “I enjoyed my time here in Lund, but also in the surroundings of Lund, the whole Skåne region actually. It’s very easy to travel, explore new places and I think I was also very lucky to get to enjoy typical Swedish holidays such as Valborg and Lunds Karnaval. Next to that, the people made my time the best: we had a great mix with over 20 different nationalities in our master’s program, so it was very diverse and inclusive!”
As mentioned earlier both Maxime and Ellyne work as marketing assistants at their faculty, called Sten K. Johnson Centre for Entrepreneurship.
They manage all of the social media networks, including the alumni portal. ”I got this job through Academic Solutions, whom my faculty is collaborating with and it was taken care of so professionally, by being in very close and direct contact, if I have any questions the whole team is able to reply to my case. Without Academic Solutions, it would not have this possible, or at least not this easily, to get a job in Sweden, which is something I’m thankful for!”, says Maxime.
Ellyne goes on to give some instances of tales they’ve shared on social media, such as “features on people,” in which they include their background and advice, thus turning them into spokespeople for their program. “Humans of New York served as a source of inspiration for us”, states Ellyne. According to her, their employment is not only enjoyable but also a terrific way to meet new people, as evidenced by the extensive interviews they have conducted with researchers and graduates.
Find their social media networks here: https://lusem.lu.se/entrepreneur
” I’m not sure what I want to do in the future, but it was a great learning experience and at least I gained a broader grounding while being more involved in my own master’s program,” says Maxime.
Ellyne, on the other hand, plans to continue in the marketing field with her start-up, which she established during her master’s degree. “By creating new algorithms that can transform figures and graphs into an easier interpretation,” Ellyne and her co-founders seek to make “marketing analytics easier for smaller enterprises.” Her research team has received funding and will continue to work on it in Malmö, which Ellyne describes as “an incubator for start-ups that leads to inspiration.”
”I only worked 3 hours a week, so it was quite doable I’d say. Sometimes it was busier, but that was mainly because you’re dependent on others to provide you with the necessary information and because of the high intensity of my master’s program. At least I also got to develop my time management skills!”, states Maxime. Ellyne, like Maxime, notes that she “learned a lot from working and studying hands-on, recognizing the practicality of learning to do both.”. At times, Ellyne also found it more stressful, having “no balance and needing to better arrange my time, but it finally worked out”. Ellyne adds that she feels “really accomplished with everything I’ve done this year.”
“Unfortunately not, I really enjoyed my time in Sweden, but before starting a proper career, I would still love to travel, which is what I will do after the summer break” states Maxime. Ellyne has however applied for a couple of positions in Sweden and is currently undergoing the interview process. “As a result, I’m renewing my visa and intend to stay in Malmö,” Ellyne explains.
” Yes definitely!”, say both Maxime and Ellyne. “I loved every single bit of it and wish that my program would last another year. A tip would be to figure out the housing market to find yourself a nice place in Lund and from there on, the environment is so welcoming because of all the students, that you’ll for sure feel like home!”, stresses Maxime.
Even though Lund is a “significant adjustment from a big city,” Ellyne notes that “there are many advantages in Sweden for launching a business, as well as academic support from Lund University.” “There are many opportunities in Sweden, including internships and part-time jobs!” Ellyne adds, “Try it to see it!”
Text av Sarah Tavakol
Publicerad av Viktor Cederholm