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Meeting internationals in Stockholm

Education abroad is not just about studies or work. For me, it is much about the opportunity to meet different people from all over the world. Since everybody speaks English in Stockholm and the city itself is very international, I was able to meet many interesting people for the past six months. In this post, I will share three stories that made me feel surrounded by a fantastic community of internationals in Stockholm. 

Story 1. People at the uni 

For starters, KTH is a great place for meeting people from other cultures and countries, as internationalisation is one of the university’s top priorities. For instance, there are four or five Swedes in my class, and all of the other students come from all parts of the world and have various backgrounds. During one of the first classes together, when we were introducing ourselves, I was amazed by the vast geography of places my classmates come from: Italy, Chile, Slovakia, the Netherlands, USA (Hawaii and California), Iran, Japan, Finland, India, Malaysia, and these are just a few I was fast enough to write down. 

Studying in such an international community has a lot of perks for me, and it’s not just about my genuine curiosity about getting to know other cultures. It is also an excellent start for my future international career since I will already have vast experience doing projects in international teams by the time I graduate. It is highly appreciated in the job market nowadays.  

Also, Claire and Declan, my fellow bloggers, are so cool! Claire is from Michigan, and Declan is from Ireland, and we have so much fun working together! We actually know each other quite well, and although all of us have quite a busy schedule, we sometimes hang out outside of work, too. 

Story 2. SI scholars and their friends 

After I moved here, I got to know some people who received an SI scholarship. Some live in Stockholm or Uppsala, and some live in other parts of Sweden like Gothenburg or Malmö, but they come to Stockholm sometimes. We always have a lot of things to discuss, as we study in different places. That is how I also know the details about other universities and study programs, and can advise people considering coming to Sweden for studies and asking me about it. 

Moreover, it also broadens my network because all of us will graduate eventually and start looking for jobs, so these connections might come in handy. For instance, one of the girls who received a SI scholarship a couple of years ago invited me to her birthday party. There, I met many interesting people and exchanged contacts with them. Now that we are connected on FB or LinkedIn, I always know who to go for a fika with and ask if I need something work-related. 

Me with a couple of SI scholars in Stockholm and their amazing dog Brooklyn

Story 3. A portrait on the napkin 

This is probably one of the best stories that happened to me in Stockholm yet, and it gives you a good idea of how engaging life in a new city can be. 

One Friday night earlier this month, I went on a walk and took a book with me to read in a coffee place at Odenplan. An elderly man was sitting not far from me, enthusiastically watching some kind of a lecture on his laptop. After fifteen pages of my book and half of a croissant, he came up to me and handed me a napkin with my portrait, saying that he was inspired by how I was sitting there and reading in my glasses. 

We exchanged a couple of phrases: he asked where I was from and said he was very fond of old Russian films. I did not have time to clarify how much ‘old’ we are talking about here, was it Eisenstein, Tarkovsky or Ryazanov, as he immediately remembered Malevich and said he paints in a similar, minimalist style. I googled the name on the napkin, and it turned out that my new acquaintance is a prominent modernist artist with an exciting life path. He was born in northern Iraq in Kurdistan, one of the most conflicted regions in the world, then studied art in Spain and later migrated to Sweden. Since the 1970s, he has exhibited his works worldwide, including Tokyo, Paris, London, New York, Stockholm, and Copenhagen. This story has been a sign for me that I should probably go out more often because work and studies are important, but this kind of magic always happens spontaneously. 

My very first portrait on a napkin (and in general, too)

I hope I could give you an idea of what living in Stockholm feels like, so feel free to share your experience with the city or expectations if you haven’t visited it yet! 

// Valerie 

2 thoughts on “Meeting internationals in Stockholm”

  1. I really interesting to join with you and your network when reading the above stories.

    1. Hey Hasantha,

      Sure, let’s connect on LinkedIn 🙂

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