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From Dubai to Skövde as an international student

Annika Taylor, 20 moved to Skövde as an international student in August this year. She is from Dubai and grew up in a small, conservative town with many traditional customs and values. She lived in Dubai for 17 years, until she moved to Tallinn during the pandemic in 2020 with her family to finish high school.

– Moving to Tallinn was very dauting at first as the culture was very open and free; people were allowed to express themselves. It was a big shift.

Applying for Universities

After graduating high school, Annika worked with kids while applying to universities. She has always had an interest in the biology/chemistry field, and she found two programs that she applied to – one in Skövde and one in Ireland.

She was accepted into University of Ireland in Donegal, to the pharmaceutical medical science program. She studied in Ireland for one year but felt dissatisfied with the school and the culture.

– I didn’t feel a sense of belonging and could not relate to the culture and people.

She reapplied to University of Skövde and got accepted into the program. Once again, she moved countries, and this time she hoped she would feel at home. Annika arrived in Skövde in August, where she attended an introduction week. This week really helped her settle in and where the new students got to meet their new classmates, the instructors, and explore the town. She said she found friends during the introduction week; the first week made her feel very welcomed to Skövde.

Annika is currently studying a three-year program with a focus in Molecular Bio design, taught in English. She is also taking a basic Swedish class to learn the language. She chose this program for the possibilities to better understand disease, and to discover and develop medications for various diseases.

– My dream is to help create a better and healthier future for people and I believe that the program here in Skövde will be able to help me get a head start to fulfill that dream.

Sweden and Skövde

Before moving to Sweden, she did not know much more about the country than that ABBA and IKEA are from here. After living in Skövde for about a month, she got a different perspective of what the country, and Skövde, has to offer and how people live their lives.

– People in Sweden enjoy socializing, have fika and like to be physically active. Skövde is a very walkable city with many bike paths, shops and cafes and the public transportation is great with buses that goes all around town.

She has recently learned what the word ‘lagom’ means, which she thinks describes Skövde very well. Skövde is a very ‘lagom’ city – calm but not too quiet. It’s not too big, and not too small.

What's next?

When Annika finishes the program, she’s not sure what she wants to do next. She might consider doing a master’s program, but now she’s focused on living in the moment and hope to get inspired during her three years in Skövde.

– I’ve only lived here for a couple of months, and I feel very happy with the school, the city, and the people here. I was shocked at first of how much diversity Skövde has to offer in a small area, I’ve met people from Germany, Greece and Singapore and more. I will say that from my experience, it is important to keep an open mind about different cultures and people to be able to fully experience and get immersed into a new culture.

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