By: Abdullah Ahmed
I always knew that I wanted to do my Master’s from abroad, especially because I wanted to pursue a PhD later on. But it is quite intimidating to choose a country; it is something which is going to stick with you not only for the length of the programme, but for your entire life. The experiences you gain during your programme are something you will cherish for an entire lifetime. So no pressure, right? If you are feeling this way, I completely understand because about a year ago, I was in the same position. So how did I go from a feeling of anxiousness and confusion to being sure about my decision? To be honest, this feeling stays with you until you arrive in the new country and start to experience it.
My arrival in Stockholm did not go as well as I expected because I could not make it on the dates specified by the university. The University hosted a “Welcome Service” at the airport to provide transport to students to their new homes. So the first thing is make sure to book your flight on a day which the university is providing this service. Otherwise, you will be on one of the bus stops in the city with all of your luggage like I was. So not off to a great start. But it slowly started changing.
The cliché pictures of a diverse group of students studying in the university library found on every university brochure is something that actually applies to this city.
The orientation at the university was the time when I started feeling extremely positive about the city and knew I had made the right decision. One of the greatest advantages of Stockholm is its diversity. You will find people belonging to different countries, races, cultures and ethnicities. Meeting a diverse group of people really opens up your mind and helps you comprehend the world a bit differently, in a positive way of course! So the cliché pictures of a diverse group of students studying in the university library found on every university brochure is something that actually applies to this city.
Arrival Days at Stockholm University
I have not met a single person in Stockholm yet who does not speak English.
Another thing I was extremely worried about was the language barrier I might face. Since Sweden has its own language, I expected I would find it a bit difficult to adjust. During my first month here, whenever I wanted to ask for directions or something I was confused about at a shop, I would always ask, “Do you speak English?” or try in my broken Swedish “Talar du Engelska?”. And to my surprise, I would always get a “Yes” in return. After a month of initiating my conversations with this phrase, I stopped asking people because I have not met a single person in Stockholm yet who does not speak English. So that is amazing news for international students. A European country where you do not have to worry about the language barrier! So all in all, a diverse group of students, an international student vibe to the city and amazing fika options are a few things that should make you feel at ease about choosing to study in Stockholm.