Hey, nice to meet you!
My name is Jessica, and i’m a 19 years old French-Cameroonian student. I am currently enrolled in a bachelor’s program orientated towards European and African issues in Sciences Po, a school for political and social sciences in France. For my third year in this program, my school gives students the opportunity to spend a year abroad while doing and internship or attending university. I chose to spend this year abroad as an Erasmus student in the city of Stockholm, in Sweden ! I will be attending Stockholm university, in the department of Political Science.
During this whole year, I will be sharing my discoveries, and experiences with you guys ! Holding this blog will be an amazing and creative way for me to keep track of my journey and be able to reflect back on it as my stay here will end. However, I would also like to make my experience as profitable for you as possible. I will try my best to share little tips and tricks with you, concerning the different aspects of life here in Sweden, and give you an overview of what you can expect if you plan on moving here !
Before getting into that let met first give you an overview of my journey, and help you understand my upcoming experiences, choices, and my perspective on things !
From Central Africa to Scandinavia
I was born and raised in Cameroon, a central african country. I lived for a few years in Limbé, coastal town lined with black-sanded beaches and surmounted by a 4040 meter high active volcano. My family and I quickly moved to the city of Douala, a bigger city, and the center of Cameroon’s economy. There, I attended primary school, middle school and high school in a french institution.
Of course, growing up in Cameroon highly influenced my vision of the world and my interests in life. The lack of real democratic institutions, hindering the development in my country, like in many other african countries, triggered my interest for politics. I was also very attracted by social issues and medias (I have never been very good at settling for only one topic at the time).
Therefore, after graduating from high school, I went through an international selection process to enter one of France’s greatest schools : Sciences Po. I succeeded in going through the admission procedure, and entered the school in 2014. Sciences Po in french, is a diminutive for Political Science. People usually think that it’s a school where we only study political science but it’s actually much more. We study sociology, microeconomics, macroeconomics, history and many other subjects… which is why I prefer to call the school a social science institution.
I enrolled more specifically in the Europe-Africa program, which is a program offering European but also African perspectives on economics, politics, strategies, business and history for instance.
In order to attend the school, I first moved from Cameroon to Paris, to pursue my first year in my bachelor’s program. It was a big change for me, since I had always lived in Cameroon, in the cocoon of my home and family. However, I was used to Paris, for having spent all my summers there since I was a kid.
Living in Paris was a great but overwhelming experience. I had the opportunity to enjoy the heady atmosphere of the city, the many cultural activities, but also the amazing nightlife. However, when it came down to studying and getting used to the Parisian routine, things didn’t prove to be as exciting. It was often a difficult to go home late, go to the library which was very far from home, attend exam halls outside of the city etc..
It was nevertheless a great experience overall! It definitely made me grow a lot.
For my second year in Sciences Po, I had to move to the city of Reims, where my program was delocalized. Moving to such a small city was, surprisingly, the biggest change that occurred for me. I was very afraid that living in such a small city would be boring and strange. But so far, it was the best of all the years that I had to spend abroad. I had an amazing time in this city, reputed for its champagne and amazing cathedral where french kings used to be crowned.
At the end of my second year, I had already changed cities twice in two years. But yet, I’m on the the next change: Stockholm!
When I had the opportunity to chose an university in which I would spend a year abroad before ending my bachelor’s program, it wasn’t hard for me to make a decision.
Having already lived my whole life in an African country, and travelled a lot in Africa, I chose to stay in Europe. Then, I had to find something that would be interesting as a living experience, but also bring me useful knowledge and an interesting perspective on politics and societies hat I could bring back home in the future.
I decided to apply only to Universities in Northern Europe, because, believe it or not, Northern Europe is very exotic to me! The farthest I’ve ever been in Europe, is Germany so I was very curious to discover the Scandinavian lands. Also, Scandinavian countries are reputed for their political and social systems, praised all around the world. I therefore found it interesting to try and live there, making it a living but also academic experience.
I sent my motivation letters, CV and all necessary files to different universities. A few months later, I received an acceptation letter from… Stockholm University !
And that is how this whole adventure begun.
I will come back to you in a few, to tell you a little more about my expectations, and the way they were challenged ( or confirmed ) upon arrival in Stockholm.
Until then, take care !