Creating Life in Malmö, Sweden

There is a lot to be excited about when you decide to move to a new city or country. Not to mention experiencing a new culture but also expanding your network and making new friends. I thought I was going to take this journey alone until I learned that one of my classmates was also from Malawi. I quickly asked within the circle who this person might be and not long before I started asking, I had her phone number. We started making plans to travel to Malmö together and how to prepare for our stay in in the city.

Firstly, Malmö is located in the Southern region of Sweden called Skåne. Malmö is the largest city in the Skåne region and the third largest city in Sweden after Stockhold and Gothernburg.

Fast forward to the day we arrived in Malmö. The first thing we did was walk around the city (after we got some sleep) to do some sightseeing and gett familiar with our new home. Here is a general background of how you should start creating your life in Sweden:

  • Research transport options available

You will need to get around during your studies. You have two options as a student, actually three depending on how adventurous you are :o).

First option is the bus. As I talked about in the Welcome to Malmö blog, the transportation system in Sweden is great. Buses usually run every 10 minutes (except on Sunday’s). There are two different type of buses: the Green or Yellow buses. The green buses run within the city limits and the yellow buses run regionally. For instance, if you want to travel outside of Malmö.

  • Find out about health care

As a fee-paying student who is staying for less than one-year (in my case), you are covered by comprehensive insurance – FAS by Kammarkollegiet. Students staying more than one-year are entitled to the same health benefits as Swedes, provided they register for a personal numer. Find out everything you can about accessing healthcare in the case you fall sick during your stay in Malmö. For students coming from the EU, you should register for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in your home country before coming to Sweden. You can find out more information about health care here https://studyinsweden.se/life-in-sweden/health-insurance-and-medical-care/.

  • Download useful apps

Sweden is one of the countries leading in the use of digital technologies. The first application you download should be the Google Maps. That’s the only way you’ll be able to navigate through the city and easily find places. Secondly, download the Skånetrafiken app, where you can buy train and bus tickets and retrieve the train and bus time schedule. Download the Canvas and Kronox app (see previous blog on the Swedish study and education system). You can also make use of the Revolut app, which is fintech company that offers banking services. I used the Revolut app because my VISA card from Malawi would get declined at some places. With the Revolut app and VISA card, I was able to transact easily.

  • Make friends

Now it’s time to get connected with other students and make friends! Whether you’re staying in the University Housing or in a shared apartment, get to know your floormates and roommates. They will be your family for the next year or two. Make friends and find similarities and explore the city together. It is nice figuring things out as a couple or group than doing things by yourself.

Bilder från studentboende på Rönnbladsgatan 2A.

Moving to a new city is excited as well as scary but once you have the right tips to creating a new life, you’ll do just fine!

How COVID-19 has affected everyday student life

The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has certainly changed the way people lived their daily lives, especially students. I’ve experienced a method of learning that I never thought I would due to this global pandemic, but I’m also grateful for the way Malmö University handled the situation. Although, as students we were left with so many questions, they were able to control the panic amongst the students by answering to their best of their ability. As you could imagine, nobody really knew what the outcome would be but we still had to take precautions in order to reduce and control the spread.

Source: giphy.com

The semester has still gone on as planned, just digitally. We’ve been using platforms like Zoom, Canvas (see the Swedish study and education system blog) Slack and WhatsApp for lectures, group discussions, and assignments. Technology and the ability of the University lecturers to think fast and create alternatives to learning put our minds at ease. The library has remained open for students who might want to use the facilities there.

After the University announced it was closing until further notice, the situation became more realistic to me. I had so many questions as to how we would proceed with the remainder of the semester and if this would affect us completing the programme. Many students from my class who are residents or citizens from EU member states returned back to their home countries but honestly, that wasn’t even an option for me as Malawi is quite far.

The first thing I did was stock-up on non-perishable groceries and frozen goods too to throw in the freezer that would last me a while…oh, and lots of toilet paper. I wanted to limit how much I go outside of the house and reduce the possibility of contracting the virus. Writing final assignments and starting thesis writing has kept me busy during the week so that weekends are left to binge on my favorite shows and lots of Netflix, a healthy balance.

Source: giphy.com

At first, it was extremely hard to focus with working from home, especially with so much uncertainty and seeing how quickly COVID-19 was spreading. It made me fearful for the future and wondered how this would also affect the economy with many borders closing and flights being canceled. My faith has definitely gotten me through the stress and tribulations I’ve gone through with our new normal. I appreciate the approach the University took and the semester is finishing the way it should, just with a digital approach. They’ve tried to normalize learning as much as possible without disrupting our schedule.

Source: giphy.com

For more information on how Sweden is reducing the spread of COVID-19 and how you can protect yourself and others, visit https://www.krisinformation.se/corona .

The Swedish study and education system

Niklas Ekdahl, Jonna Jansson och Angelina Petrovic

The approach to learning at Malmö University is different from what I was used to in Malawi…

My experience with the Swedish education system at Malmö University has been amazing. The way the programme has been delivered has made the time fly so fast. It’s been engaging, challenging, interactive, fast-paced with lots of group work, discussions and case studies…phew!

I wouldn’t have chosen a better way to study. On top of that, everything is digital! That’s right, no need to print those 50-page papers and essays. Everything is submitted online but I wouldn’t have expected anything less from a sustainability program.

The structure and approach to teaching encourages a lot of independent studying and free-thinking, so you’re expected to dig deeper from the material that the lecturer gives you. Students usually take one course at a time. For instance, we take one course for 5 weeks and then for the next 5 weeks, we take another course etc.

Here’s a general breakdown of my experience studying at Malmö University during the year:

Kronox

Kronox is a web-based platform and mobile application where you can access your school schedule for the semester once you have registered. You can access information on the classes you have each day, the time of the class, the topic that will be delivered and the room and building where the class will be. You’ll learn more about this during orientation week in late August.

Canvas

Canvas is another web-based platform and mobile application for learning management that teachers use to interact with their students. All assignments are submitted on Canvas and you can also access reading material, PowerPoint presentations from class and other announcements from your lecturers and the University. You can also interact with your lecturers on the platform if you have any questions or inquiries for them. Canvas has been a life-save because you don’t have to print bulky assignments. How sustainable is that?

Case Seminars

Case seminars are another form of examination and graded assignments. Basically, you work in groups on various case studies and sometimes present your ideas and solutions to the class, while applying theoretical knowledge learned from class. Case seminars include lots of discussions, brainstorming, knowledge-sharing with your classmates and problem-solving!

Written Exams

These are sit-down exams with the whole sha-bang; invigilators, sitting in an exam hall, and hoping you studied enough to write sensible answers! Luckily for me, we’ve only had one written exam the whole year. In Malawi, we had written exams almost ALL of the time and boy was it nerve-wracking.

Group Work and Class Discussions

I would say about 90% of assignments and classwork is done in groups. We are encouraged to interact and work with our peers on assignments. This involves lots of meetings and lots of WhatsApp groups for easy communication with your group members. The good thing is you work with different people on every rotation or assignment so at least you get the chance to work with different students. Healthy debate and discussions are encouraged. There are no right or wrong answers since we are students coming from different backgrounds with different perspectives.

Peer Teaching Seminars

Peer teaching is when students teach their peers on designated topics. The lecture puts the class in groups and each group is given a course topic or area to “dig deep” on and teach their peers via PowerPoint presentation. This is another form of examination and a way of encouraging group work and collaboration.

Guest Lecturers

During the year, we’ve had several guest lecturers and experts come in and cover different topics. It’s been amazing to hear different perspectives of sustainability from different experts in the field.

Three Chances to Resubmit Assignments and Re-examination

My favorite part about learning in Sweden. The University is understanding and gives you three chances to submit and resubmit/rewrite examinations and assignments. For example, if you write an assignment and you submit it the first time but you failed, the lecturer will give you feedback on what to fix on the paper and you can resubmit for a passing grade. You’ll have two more chances to resubmit.

Thesis is Written in Pairs

That’s right, theses are written by two or three students. You pretty much group yourselves according to the area you are interested in. I like this because you share the knowledge, work and not to mention the stress.

Digital Learning during COVID-19 Quarantine

Amidst the coronavirus outbreak, the University switched to digital teaching and learning. The remainder of our lecturers will be conducted online through Zoom conference calls, Slack and WhatsApp.

//Tapiwa

Welcome to Malmö, Sweden!

I don’t even know how to begin to express the butterflies, excitement, and joy I felt when I stepped off the plane at Copenhagen Kastrup Airport! Copenhagen Airport, Kastrup is the main international airport serving Copenhagen, Denmark and a large part of southern Sweden including the Skåne region (where Malmö is).

Source: giphy.com

My first impression of Malmö was that it was beautiful with amazing infrastructures. The buildings gave me 18 century and 21st century vibes, blending old buildings with the new ones.

School hasn’t kept me too busy to explore the city. Here are my favorite places in Malmö:

Emporia and Triangeln Shopping Malls

If you’re looking for a mall with multiple floors, stores, and restaurants then head to Emporia and Triangeln. You can also check out Mobilia Mall.2

Turning Torso

The Turning Torso is a beautiful architectural building built in the early 2000s that has a structure like a turning torso (literally). It’s one of the buildings that makes Malmö standout.

Lilla Torg

This is a square full of restaurants, cafés and stores. Perfect for date nights with your friends…or bae. Be sure to try Café Pronto located at Lilla Torg because it has the best cheesecake in town!

Malmö Museum

Need time off from your studies to do something chill but fun? Check out the Malmö Museum. The museum houses the Malmöhus Castle, a real submarine, the new Aquarium and lots more! I even found an aquarium with fish from Malawi!

Fish from Malawi – Malmö Museum

Folkets Park

Different events and activities take place at Folkets Park, including free ice skating in winter! Check out the calendar for activities here: https://malmofolketspark.se/

Beach – Ribersborgsstranden

What’s better than watching the sun go down next to the beach? NOTHING. Ribersborg Beach is Malmö ‘s most visited beach as it’s a perfect venue to hang out with your friends when the weather is good. You can do everything from swimming to barbecuing!

Möllevänstorget Market

This is another square in Malmö that holds an amazing market for all of your fresh produce and eggs. The square also has several stores and cafes that you might be interested in!

Other things I LOVE about Malmö:

Public transportation system

Malmö has a great public transportation system where you can choose between taking the train or the bus. The train usually stops between major places like the Central Station, Triangeln, Hyllie and all of the major towns. The purple trains (Pågatåg) usually stop in the smaller cities and towns but the grey (Öresundståg) train stops in the bigger cities (Helsingborg, Malmö, Copenhagen).

There are two different buses you can use: the green buses and the yellow buses. The green buses run locally within Malmö and the yellow buses run outside of Malmö. You can easily buy a bus ticket either at the ticket machines located at the Central Station or by using the Skånetrafiken mobile application.

A cashless society…?

I’m sure you’ve heard it before that Sweden is a cashless society, but honestly, in Malmö there are so many places you can use cash. When I was coming, I brought USD to change to SEK and one of my friends almost made me panic because she told me it was impossible to exchange cash for goods. So, if you’re coming from a country that mostly uses cash for transactions, worry not! Most places in Malmö accept cash but it’s always handy to have your card ready just in case you go somewhere that doesn’t accept cash (they usually have sign’s up).

Diversity

Malmö is very diverse with over 170 different nationalities in the city. I’m sure you will find someone from your country in Malmö. I never expected to find Malawian’s here but so far, I have met about 4 Malawians and being around them has made it easy to integrate into the Swedish society.

Hillsong Malmö Church

I am a practicing Christian so it was important to find a church home for the duration of my stay in Malmö. Luckily, I found Hillsong Malmö, which is a subsidiary of Hillsong Church in Australia. If you’re into Christian rock then I’m sure you are familiar with Hillsong United and Hillsong Worship.

Easy to get to Copenhagen – Tivoli Garden

Malmö is super close to Copenhagen – just a 26-minute train ride. If you want to have that big city feel and just want to travel without going too far from home, I recommend you visit Copenhagen. There are lots to do, especially at Tivoli Garden.

African Shops

You can find almost anything and everything that you were using in Africa (if you’re coming from Africa). I panicked that I wouldn’t find hair products or even some of my favorite seasonings and spices – but I found a few shops that sell products from Africa. If you’re looking for corn flour to cook nsima (Malawi) or ugali (Kenya)  or just some of that Maggie spice that you used back home, you can find them near and around Södervarn. You’ll go through a grocery store tour once you arrive so you’ll get to see where you can buy what!

Tapiwa

How to survive on a student budget in Malmö

All roads lead to Malmö in September 2020…but hold up, wait a minute! Let us put some budgeting into it. You’re ready for your move to Malmö for your studies at Malmö University, but you need a general breakdown of the cost of living and how to survive on a student budget.

First things first. Make sure you meet the minimum maintenance fee required by the Swedish Migration in order for them to grant you a residence permit. When I was applying, the monthly maintenance fee was SEK 8, 370 per month so make sure you can demonstrate that you’ll be able to cover your expenses during your stay in Sweden. For more information on the residence permit, visit the Swedish Migration website at https://www.migrationsverket.se/English/Private-individuals/Studying-and-researching-in-Sweden/Higher-education/How-to-apply-for-the-first-time.html

Here is a breakdown of my monthly expenditure quoted in Swedish Kronor (SEK):

Rent 3300
Food, groceries and toiletries 500-700
Phone 95 (3GB data, 2000 texts and 200 minutes within Sweden)
Monthly bus ticket 412.50 (thanks to the Studentkåren discount)
Leisure budget 200 (or less)
Emergency money 300
TOTAL 5, 007.50

Once you arrive at Malmö University, make sure you register for the Student Council (Studentkåren) to take advantage of all of the amazing discounts (and other perks as well!). The 30 day monthly bus ticket is usually SEK 550 but with a student discount, it comes down to SEK 412.50. Too good of a deal to pass up, right?

Here are some tips that will help you stick to your budget:

  1. Take advantage of second-hand shops. In the spirit of circular economy (sustainability lingo), I encourage you to check out some of the second-hand shops Malmö has to offer to keep you trendy on a budget. Not only will you save and get nice things at a reasonable price, but you’ll also be saving the planet from unnecessary waste and retaining the value of things within the economy (more sustainability lingo).
  2. Register for the Studentkåren. This is the Malmö Student Union that is working hard to make student life easier for you. As a union member, you can access tons of discounts, including the Skånetrafiken monthly bus ticket.
  3. Borrow course literature. You can borrow course literature online or get hard copies from the library. If you would like to purchase books at a reduced price, you can buy them second-hand.
  4. Find student-friendly grocery stores. Find grocery stores that have budget-friendly prices. You can even go a step further and download the mobile apps so you’ll get to see daily deals the store is offering. I typically shop at Lidl and Willy’s because of their reasonable prices. You should also follow some of the food rescue organizations in Malmö e.g. food2change and Rude Food. You can get lots of free groceries every week from these organizations.
  5. Get a part-time job. Finding a part-time job without the general knowledge of the Swedish language is tough, but not impossible. You can register for the Malmö University student career services at https://student.mau.se/jobb-praktik/hitta-jobbet/. Here, you’ll be able to see which organizations are looking specifically to employ students part-time.
  6. Home-cooked meals will become your best friend. I have probably only eaten out once or twice since moving to Malmö. I always carry lunch to school and avoid buying food on campus as it can be costly. Luckily, all of the University buildings are equipped with fridges, microwaves, and sinks so you can store and warm your food at school!

Depending on your interests and habits, you can actually save money! I hope these tips work for you during your studies!

It’s almost time to submit your supporting documentation. How and where should you start?

Applications for the autumn 2020 admission have closed. So what’s next for those who were successful in submitting their application on January 15th? It’s time to put your supporting documentation together. This documentation is proof of your eligibility to study at Malmö University!

There is so much information to sift through but worry not, I’m here to give you facts and tips before you submit your eligibility documentation. First things first, take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Regroup. Let’s go!

How should you prepare to submit your supporting documentation? Not sure where to start? Here’s a step-by-step on what you should begin with:

1. Start by checking what supporting documentation your course and the University requires. Some courses require a letter of motivation, your curriculum vitae or some other documentation.

When I was applying for the Leadership for Sustainability programme, one of the supporting documentation they required was a summary of my project paper from my bachelor’s degree. So, be careful to check what documentation your programme requires!

2. Next, check the required documentation for eligibility at University Admissions here: Documenting your eligibility for studies

This means your transcripts, certificates, and English proficiency test results. For master’s applicants, there are some cases where you don’t have to submit proof of English proficiency. You can check these further here: English Requirements

You can also check country-specific requirements here: Country Specific Requirements

3. Make sure you upload your documentation in the right format as required by University admissions. The last thing you want is to have your application delayed or rejected.

Scan all of your original documentation in its original form. For instance, if your original transcripts are in color, make sure you scan and submit them in color. Once you’re ready, you can upload your supporting documentation by logging into your University admissions account (the same account you submitted your application to).

4. Applicants from EU countries have the opportunity to apply in the second round for the autumn 2020 intake. If you’re from the EU, in case your documents weren’t ready or you missed the first round of applications, you can apply in the second round. This round is not recommended for international applicants from outside of the EU.

Now you’ve submitted your documentation, congratulations! Now, the waiting game begins. While you wait, keep in mind these important dates:

• February 3rd – Deadline to submit supporting documentation proving eligibility
• February 10th – Swedish Institute Scholarships open
• April 3rd – Notification of results for master’s applicants
• April 15th – Applications for the second round for EU applicants open
• April 20th – Notification of results for bachelor’s applicants
• April – Malmö University scholarships open (admitted applicants will get a notification email from Malmö University)

The application process is user-friendly and all of the information to your questions is on the University admissions page, but if you get stuck, you can send an email to study@mau.se! All the best.

Adopting recycling habits for Malmö, Sweden.

Recycling in Sweden is like a culture that is everywhere, and everyone is following it. Recycling is a priority here and if you are coming from a background where recycling is a second thought, you must learn at least basic ideas about proper recycling. If you are planning to come and stay in one of the housings offered by the University, then all the recycling tools with clear instructions are kept in place. Follow these simple 4 tips to adopt recycling habits.

  • Stop collecting plastic bags: Plastic is one of the most difficult material to recycle. It increases the cost and energy needed to recycle and if not recycled, but it stays as active pollutants in soil and sea for thousands of years. Instead, buy a jute bag that you can reuse for multiple times.
  • Collect waste separately: Our homes generate different types of waste. If we can separate the waste from its origin, it will save time, money and energy needed to recycle. Establish a habit of collecting plastic in one container, bottles in another container, papers in a separate container. If that’s not possible, separate organic waste (waste food, plants) and inorganic (plastic, bottles, and cans) waste. This will help you adopt Swedish recycling habits very quickly and it also makes recycling efficient.
  • Reusing before recycling: Recycling costs a tremendous amount of time, money and energy along with that, it also generates carbon dioxide. Whenever possible, reuse anything that can be reused before considering recycle. You can use those cute soda bottles as a water bottle, and you can also use the glass jar marmalade and jam as a container in your kitchen. Along with that, you can use the plastic bags as bin bags for your dry paper wastes and cardboard boxes to store dry items.
  • Saying no to Littering:  Another step that you can take is by making sure you are not littering. Always make habit of disposing of waste that you make in a proper place and keep your surroundings clean. If you are not able to find a place to throw away waste, bring it home and dispose of it in your bin.

Pro Tip: In Sweden, you can make money if you collect soda bottles and beer cans. Look for the “pant recycle” logo on the can or bottle. One bottle or can returns 1 or 2 SEK. 

Meet Tapiwa…

Hej! My name is Tapiwa Bokosi from the Warm Heart of Africa Lilongwe, Malawi. Besides being a place with warm and welcoming people, is it also known for its beautiful Lake of Malawi.

I’m studying a one-year master’s in Leadership for Sustainability here at Malmö University. Prior to starting school, I worked as the PR and Communications Manager at Malawi’s first technology and innovation hub. I worked on projects that were designed to equip youth and entrepreneurs with resources to create solutions to some of the country’s social, environmental and economic issues such as youth unemployment, waste management, and human rights violations, to name a few. That’s where my passion for sustainable development grew and opened up my world to how the private sector can tackle global challenges and create solutions.

What made a girl from Malawi choose to study in Malmö, Sweden, you ask? Here are my top three reasons why!

  1. Sweden is in the top five of the most sustainable countries. Sweden has great recycling systems (we’ll talk more about that in a later blog) and encourages a green way of life. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to learn more about sustainability!
  2. Malmö has inhabitants from 170 countries. I love diversity and there’s nothing that makes me more excited than making friends from different parts of the world! You can read more on diversity in Malmö here: https://malmo.se/Nice-to-know-about-Malmo/The-young-and-global-city-.html
  3. Malmö University offers English-taught and multidisciplinary degree programmes. Need I say more? The programme I chose demonstrated a good fit that aligned with my leadership experience, social impact ambitions and ignited my passion for sustainability.

In my leisure time…

In between studying and assignments, I like to hang out and cook with friends, go bowling, binge on my favorite shows on Netflix, attend church service and other events at Hillsong Malmö, and explore the city! I also work as a Student Assistant for the Marketing and Recruitment office at Malmö University. To give back to the community, I became a mentor at Malmö University’s Näktergalen Mentorship programme.

Over the next few months…

I will be sharing with you about my experiences here in Malmö! The purpose of this blog is to help you prepare for your move to Malmö and starting your academic journey at Malmö University. During these next few months, I’ll be giving you tips on completing your application, getting a residence permit, how to prepare for your stay in Malmö, the cost of living, and more!

Ashish.

Namaste!

My name is Ashish Aryal and I’m from Chitwan, a beautiful place in the middle part of Nepal surrounded by forests and big rivers.

I’m studying International Migration and Ethnic Relations three-year bachelor program in the Malmö University. Currently, I am staying in the Rönnen International student Housing. I decided to study in the Malmö University because of how multi-cultural the city of Malmö is. I have always enjoyed getting involved with people from different backgrounds. The student housing also provides a great opportunity to mingle with students from all walks of life from five continents. This has provided me an immersive and practical way to learn more about different culture.

Except for studying and hanging out with my floor mates, I am very interested on Photography, although I am not very good. I love to explore new places and I absolutely love hiking. On the lecture day, I usually hangout in the Orkanen library to prepare myself.

Besides these, I am also RA (Resident Assistant) for Rönnen International Student Housing. This requires me to assist the tenants with anything necessary. I and other fellow RAs also organise various activities for tenants at the Rönnen and help them settle in. As RA, I work with the University closely to make life for students comfortable and easy.

One of the main purposes of writing this blog is to give the upcoming batch of students a first-hand idea of how the life in Malmo and Student Housing is. Along with this, this blog will also guide the accepted students on how to get ready before your arrival. Moreover, I will also write about the process of admission to the University and the process of applying for resident permit. All in all, this blog will help everyone who is planning to study in Malmo University with topics on application process, resident permit process, housing and lifestyle.