On my way to the Business exam…

1. Break a few rules — not just for the sake of it, but when they don’t make sense and they’re impeding progress.
2. Never stop learning.
3. Connect with someone new every day (or at least every week).
4. Develop customer empathy and then work to solve real customer needs.
5. Connect dots between seemingly unrelated things.
6. Stand up for an idea, even when it’s unpopular.
7. Share ideas freely.
8. Listen more than talk.
9. Understand the industry and where it’s headed.
10. Give honest feedback.
11. Encourage others.
12. Celebrate experiments and failures because of the learning they yield.
13. Ask for feedback, and then quickly adapt based on it.
14. Champion good ideas. Abandon bad ones.
15. Leverage strengths and ask for help to manage weaknesses.
16. Don’t be afraid to be wrong.
17. Create a new path when one doesn’t exist.
18. Seek out challenges that don’t have easy answers.
19. Keep moving forward even when things aren’t clear.
20. Refuse to be defined by a functional title.

Thanks, Ulf. Learnt it on your lecture!

And as I am an exchange student and have plenty of free time… I am re-watching Sex and The City all over again (for the third time?) and the older I am, the more things I learn from it.

In the city which moves that fast that they give you a Sunday newspaper on Saturday, how any of us would know how much time we have left? There were so many things I have never done.

Welcome to the age of uninnocence. No one has breakfast at Tiffany’s and no one has affairs to remember. Instead we have breakfast at 7AM and the affairs we are trying to forget.

~Carrie Bradshaw

sex

Eternal gratitude

Time flies, the blog is gaining popularity, as well as followers and readers (did you know that it was visited by people from 32 countries?!). But I am not alone in and with all this! And I don’t know if you are familiar with this feeling, but I feel like I should buy ice cream and lots of Nutella to the whole world!

map

From this place I would like to say THANK YOU to all the people who contributed to this success! I would never believe that so many people will be interested in my voice and that I will get so many positive opinions.

I would like to thank all the JU and TUL students for support and inspiration.

My ex-teachers from ZSPŁ (although for me it is still PLOPŁ!):

mgr Ewa Bojanowska
mgr Izabella Kapłon
mgr Ada Witkowska

PLOPL

My ex- and current professors at International Faculty of Engineering, TUL:

dr John Speller
mgr Lidia Wappa-Ciesielska
mgr Danuta Król-Stogidis
mgr Maria Walenda (I am so sorry for being such a looser in French classes!)
ESN-EYE Lodz – my student organisation (I miss you on Erasmus!) and particularly Jakub and Martyna from the Board

esn

Celebrities of my hometown and around me:

Bartosz Cyrkiel Zarzecki – amazing photographer
Kris Podstawek
Adrian Krajewski – GENIUS photographer living in UK
A friend of mine is travelling to India on her internship. She studies biomedical engineering in Sweden, visited 31 countries, speaks 4 languages and although she’s 15 years younger, it feels like the whole generation. When I was her age mobile phones were becoming mobile enough to carry one and the world felt much smaller in general. Young people have so many opportunities now.
Anna Jurek & Ola Dulas from Spunk & MiastoŁ (who btw raised me – together with my Mom – to be a type of woman I am today!)
Fabian Topel – my guru when it comes to social media
Sabrina Lounis – supervisor of my adventure with design and FashionPhilosophy Fashionweek Poland
Brandon Fong – very ambitious and inspiring young man I met on my exchange!

My Swedish angels:

Fredrik Karlsson
Paola Johansson
Ulf & Mia Linnman

My family and friends!

Mom, Dad, Dorota & Marta, Zuza, Agata, Alex, Tibor, Edyta, Per, Annastasia, Ola, Aga & Szori and the Men, Jula, Paulina, Patrycja, Gabi, Ana & Ana Elisa, Jaimy, … !

When it comes to substantive value and constant psychological support, I need/must/would love to thank all the Indians around me for their positiveness and answering my endless questions! (Btw: it is hell to spell all your names correctly! :D)

Imran Mohideen !!! (- Quick question, I’m applying for visa. Is it better to be Christian or Atheist?!)
Jonkoping team: Ambu Pradeep, Saravanan Pandurangan, Shakeel Siddique, Shreyas Prakash, Dharice Singarajah, Tejas Naik, Visakh Shaji  – thanks for the Indian Culture Day, your spicy chutney (I DIED) and teaching me this few basic words!
Sasidhar Gorantla & Prithvi Kanth & Hari Prasad – pleasure to work with you! And kisses to whole Apium GmbH (Indmatec always in my heart!)
My CS hosts and friends: Anupam in Helsinki, Ash in Amsterdam, Anmol in Lviv – I learnt so much from you!
IAESTE LC Manipal team: Shubhankar Joshi, Nimita Naik, Manas Dressall – thanks for getting us all together and all the tips and help!
Sebastian Gaur – still remember you out of nowhere (Philipiak love) xD

And thank you EVERYONE arround me for discussing and listening to my monologues about the new ideas.

I think that a sunny Sunday is a perfect day to publish such kind of cheerful post 🙂 And now – leave your computers and smartphones and GO OUT! Live, love, laugh! Enjoy the nature – I wish that it was so amazing everywhere as it is in Sweden.

PS. I am still searching for a person who can spend an hour on teaching me how to use Google Analytics!

Eat, pray, love

The movie Eat, pray, love with Julia Roberts, based on an autobiography of Elizabeth Gilbert, was released in 2010 and I think I have watched it and read a book at that time too, being 15 at that time.

With the help of my friend Amy – crazy gurl from Arizona, whom I met via Female Foodies MeetUp in Jonkoping – I realized that I am actually LIVING my Eat, pray, love right now!

eat
Pinterest, Amniana Moore

Eat is all about pleasure – food, sex, desires, wine, chilling (or chillaxing – as I tend to say), exploring, laughing, breathing deeply, loving tenderly.  Liz experienced that for 4 months in Rome. I experience it for the whole semester in Sweden, and I have realized that but didn’t make a connection until yesterday!

pray
Pinterest, Hiba Naser

Pray is India for Liz and will be India for me. Even if she had more time for herself to live in ashram and truly discover her inner goddess (don’t think of 50 Shades of Gray, pls), I’m gonna try to experience the same things. For sure I want to practice yoga and meditation, visit Taj Mahal and Goa, follow my expectations, maybe even close myself in a silence monastery for a few days?

love
Pinterest, Erica

And then the Love part. I don’t know. Maybe I will know it when I feel it? I have already loved a couple of times… And it is different every time. So what a true love is? Will I ever know it? For the next one year at least, I am still in ME phase – I am the most important for myself, focusing on my goals, well-being and ambition, but maybe when I settle down after graduating and travelling, there will be place in myself for something more?

As it is usually – I loved the book, I hated the movie. My friend Zuza went to the cinema with her Mother and wanted to escape the room after barely one hour, while when she re-watched it at home during one sleepless night, she fell asleep in 5 minutes, so…

I didn’t have much time to read the book again (apart from the Pray = India part), so I decided to bite the bullet and watch it again. Well, I managed. Maybe it gets better when you get older… Or if you watch it in parts (I have been watching it for 4 days between studying, partying and sleeping).

To my surprise – it is one of not many movies, which did not destroy the picture I built in my head while reading the book. Well, I still see Julia Roberts as Liz Gilbert, but… Come on, they look like twins anyway.

lizjul
Pic: The New York Times
If I were going to have such a short visit on earth, I had to do everything possible to experience it now. Hence all the traveling, all the romances, all the ambition, all the pasta. My sister had a friend who used to think that Catherine had two or three younger sisters, because she was always hearing stories about the sister who was in Africa, the sister who was working on a ranch in Wyoming, the sister who was the bartender in New York, the sister who was writing a book, the sister who was getting married—surely this could not all be the same person? Indeed, if I could have split myself into many Liz Gilberts, I would willingly have done so, in order to not miss a moment of life.

This describes me perfectly, too. I try to experience life in 200%, try everything I can (but I will always say no to hard drugs), be everywhere, talk to everyone, see everything.

Reading the book again (in Polish – again) I was mainly interested in what Liz discovered during her stay in India and how I could achieve it myself, how did she plan it, what are the possibilities etc. I was screenshooting (Millenials = reading in iBooks) so many appealing quotes from this book!

The classical Indian sages wrote that there are three factors which indicate whether a soul has been blessed with the highest and most auspicious luck in the universe: 1. To have been born a human being, capable of conscious inquiry. 2. To have been born with—or to have developed—a yearning to understand the nature of the universe. 3. To have found a living spiritual master. There is a theory that if you yearn sincerely enough for a Guru, you will find one. The universe will shift, destiny’s molecules will get themselves organized and your path will soon intersect with the path of the master you need.

Now I know – check-list no. 1 – find a guru. Or at least good yoga teacher and calm place to be by yourself (with no insects, no snakes and no strangers).

Meditation is both the anchor and the wings of Yoga. Meditation is the way. There’s a difference between meditation and prayer, though both practices seek communion with the divine. I’ve heard it said that prayer is the act of talking to God, while meditation is the act of listening. Take a wild guess as to which comes easier for me.

Well – I guess it applies to me exactly the same way. ‘Patient’ is the last thing anyone would ever say about me. For real. That is why I need India, yoga, meditation, calmness, concentration and some peace in my life… I need both for my soul and body.

Since the beginning of this week, every morning I wake up as if I has been fighting dragons for the whole night, and need to take painkillers to survive the day and get out of bed. My friend Amy – physiotherapist, was trying to find a reason for that in my shrill fear of coming back to Poland. As since the few weeks I also wake up every night around 4AM because of terrible nightmares of all the bad things can happen to people I love, I think that can be true. And I hate myself for being that neurotic. And here you are with my first mistake – I should have never said that I hate myself. It’s a part of me, I need to learn to live with it, accept it, love it and let it go. Or at least that’s how I imagine this whole purification…

The other problem with all this swinging through the vines of thought is that you are never where you are. You are always digging in the past or poking at the future, but rarely do you rest in this moment. It’s something like the habit of my dear friend Susan, who—whenever she sees a beautiful place—exclaims in near panic, “It’s so beautiful here! I want to come back here someday!” and it takes all of my persuasive powers to try to convince her that she is already here. If you’re looking for union with the divine, this kind of forward/backward whirling is a problem. There’s a reason they call God a presence—because God is right here, right now. In the present is the only place to find Him, and now is the only time.

That’s the thing. Usually I am able to enjoy moment right-here-right-now and take most of them on the spot. But what about God, or god? Although growing up in super-conservative-catholic country, with quite religious Grandparents (and atheist Mother and pretty indifferent Father) I was never religious, never going to the church on Sundays. I quitted religion classes (of course CATHOLIC religion in Poland, no alternative) in the age of 10 and never came back. I considered doing other sacraments once, when I was asked to be a Godmother to my nephew (my cousin’s child, lovely Albert), but then realized – why does it have to be a GOD mother? I am the last person who should raise him as a proper catholic. I can be an amazing, crazy auntie, buying him alcohol behind his parents’ backs, or giving lectures about safe sex, but why should it be anyhow connected to religion? My Godparents are amazing but they never contributed to my religious life (well, maybe they tried…) – they are just my Aunt and Uncle who always help me when I need to catch the flight or fix some businesses in Warsaw…

_DSC0269
#AE

I am not religious AT ALL. But since my relationship with a very strongly Muslim guy… I feel kind of jealous of people who believe in SOMETHING. Life is so much easier, you ger so many answers. Maybe it’s just an easy-ride in life, but… Isn’t that pleasant sometimes? And maybe I need God to really meditate and jump to some higher energy states (like an electron in quantum physics <3)?

I like it when science and devotion find places of intersection. I found an article in The New York Times recently about a team of neurologists who had wired up a volunteer Tibetan monk for experimental brain-scanning. They wanted to see what happens to a transcendent mind, scientifically speaking, during moments of enlightenment. In the mind of a normal thinking person, an electrical storm of thoughts and impulses whirls constantly, registering on a brain scan as yellow and red flashes. The more angry or impassioned the subject becomes, the hotter and deeper those red flashes burn. But mystics across time and cultures have all described a stilling of the brain during meditation, and say that the ultimate union with God is a blue light which they can feel radiating from the center of their skulls. In Yogic tradition, this is called “the blue pearl,” and it is the goal of every seeker to find it. Sure enough, this Tibetan monk, monitored during meditation, was able to quiet his mind so completely that no red or yellow flashes could be seen. In fact, all the neurological energy of this gentleman pooled and collected at last into the center of his brain—you could see it happening right there on the monitor—into a small, cool, blue pearl of light. Just like the Yogis have always described.

And that is just pure beauty of Biomedical Engineering.

A nice playlist from a movie to end with:

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/38MdIy5KU171YIy0NQ5ga1

Copyrights: All the quotations come from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, pray, love, published by the Penguin Group, 2006 – and now Paola will criticize me for inappropriate usage and references of literature xD

My flights

When it comes to my flights from Warsaw, Poland to Mangalore, India – it will be the longest, most troublesome and most expensive journey of my life!

Well, yes, I could have made it 150-200 EUR cheaper if I haven’t decided to go to Istanbul on my way back for a one-week holiday to visit my dream city and lovely friends I met in Lodz, Karlsruhe and Jonkoping, and they all come from kebab-raki-muahmuah country 🙂

I usually look for flights on Skyscanner.net, but this time got automatically directed to Kiwi.com, which turned out to be even more convenient. Language and currency are automatically being adjusted to the place from which you browse the websites, which makes it sometimes quite confusing (Polish language, Swedish money, flying from Europe to Asia with Arabic airlines? No, thanks for asking.) I also checked the Google Flights, but it all seems too raw for my taste.

Finally – I ended up with almost a 1000 EUR flight, terribly long, with transfer in MANY exotic places, starting on the 01/07. Welcome, adventure! I just need to remember (and figure out how…) to get myself a visa and finish the vaccinations.

That is how my journey will look like… Sorry for the Polish screenshots.

lot1lot2lot3lot4lot5

Well, at least I will step my feet on the grounds of Munich, Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Dubai, Bahrain and even Bucharest (Denisa welcome to).

I just hope that I will be able to obtain a multiple-entrance visa and travel as much as possible around Asia, as I will already be there for this terrible money. I am dreaming so much about Thailand, Indonesia (Poppy!), Vietnam (Tibor!), Laos and Nepal…

People who inspire me

For the most of my life I did not appreciate the person I was and did not have much self-confidence, apart from constant striving to be as original and unique as possible.

I truly found out how valuable I am when (after the complete break-down) after splitting up with my second boyfriend (we thrown each others out from our lives, and only for my good). I realized that I am the most important human being for myself and no one should ever love me more than I love myself (Elizabeth Gilbert, thank you for this sentence).

I also realized how many people I have around myself and how good is the aura they surround me with.

First of all, one and only, the greatest writing (and living?) inspiration on this planet – Paola. She could be my Mom (thanks to couch surfing I make so many friends in the age of my parents!), she even behaves like her. And I need it SO SO SO much. Never have I ever received so much psychological and moral support from someone I have known just for a couple of months. Paola is a miracle in a human skin, and that can be seen in my head and mouth right now – I quote her in almost every post! After all the advices she gave me, I feel richer – in some kind of maturity and an amazing friend, too. Sometimes I deserve a strong slap on my face, which I won’t probably ever get from her.

And of course, no matter how crazy I wanna get, enjoy life and be a free, wild fox, deep inside me I know that PAOLA IS ALWAYS RIGHT.

Number two in Sweden – Ulf Linnman – my Entrepreneurship free-lance teacher – and his beautiful wife Mia (who I have never met!). I met him at the university in Sweden and strongly disliked him at first, due to how disorganized and pseudo-profound his lectures were. Nevertheless, after some individual tasks and conversations face-to-face, when Ulf already was able connected my surname to my face, I started to really appreciate him as a teacher and a human. I am still waiting for his response considering the blog, but my 2500 words essay on the case study (his art gallery, which collapsed as a venture and the students were to analyze it) met his strong approval and appreciation even from Mia! Coming to her – I wish I will be able to meet up with her in the nearest future due to her amazing sense of style and esthetics (although my own Mom is still the highest for me in this ranking).

momsflat
I just love my mother’s apartment in the city centre of Lodz, Poland.

Writing my essay I felt like the biggest stalker ever (how did I end up browsing my teacher’s private accounts?!) but it was totally worth it – just take a look at Mia’s website, blog, Instagram and Pinterest. And on how beautiful she is (I’m so jealous about the Swedish, middle-age women looks!).

mia

Another Swedish super-woman: Margareta. We have met through the contact family programme at uni and I wish I could adopt her as my grandmother. With her age – more than 3 times older than me! – she is the brightest, smartest and most talkative person I’ve ever met. She still studies International Communication at the university (with all the young people in the same class!), speaks fluently 5 languages (including French – my personal trauma) and goes to the gym 3 times per week. I wish I will be like her at that age! Unfortunately – looking at my own biological grandma – I don’t think so. Nevertheless, I really appreciate having Margareta here in Sweden and being able to talk to her any time, especially that she is very open-minded and not conservative at all (comparing to all the Polish ‘mohery’!).

margareta

Than – coming back to Poland (I still have my roots and most of my friends there!) – my besties, BFFs, gang, squad or simply, in my old-fashioned language – best friends. Szczepan and Dil (yes, this are female nicknames xD). Together ever since 13 and 7, always there for me. I simply love them with the most pure, child, sister and mother love and cannot imagine my life without them. From playing W.i.t.c.h. in primary school, trying things in the secondary (I was ALWAYS the initiator), until the late-summer week in Hel(l) – Polish Hawaii, just before high school, where we all went crazy (of course – me the most). That’s the summer I lost my virginity, tho. Unfortunately we do not have much time for holidays nowadays, but we still find time for coffee, brunch, movie or even a crazy 5-days-5-cities couch surfing, budget trips. And I love it. And I always will stick to them like an ivy. But more about them than me: Agata is the smartest person (lawyer-to-be) and most mature 22yo I have ever met, and I bet that it comes out of an amazing family she has. Always there to pet me or punch me and she ALWAYS feels what I need at the moment. Zuza – the cutest one, with lovely curls, amazing sence of humor and a talent (she sucked being an architect with the mother’s milk), always there to listen my crazy stories and tell me that I am not that f*cked up as I think = just 11/10. Eternal love, gratitude and promise to be there any time they need me.

Coming back to Sweden… Tomas is born Swedish-American or American-Swedish, his father is from US and mother from Sweden, and for first 6 or 10 years of his life he was moving back and forth between America and Sweden. And he was every time ending up in a different school! It must have been difficult, but now he is doing pretty well. So that’s super cool, cause meeting new friends every 6 months, he just HAD TO become such an open and cheerful person towards people, as he is now. And now he is dating my amazing Henriette and I hope he will protect her well when I go.

Henriette… That’s my absolute number 1 when it comes to inspiration and striving for such a great strength in life. I do not wanna say more, that would be disrespectful to the honesty and trust she dedicated to me. I just can surely claim that – although my age – she is the strongest woman I have ever met (for Polish speakers – to nie jest kobieta, to jest KOBITA!). And she is amazing and I always want to stay in touch with her.

And finally – Imran – person quoted on the blog almost as often as Paola. My Indian, psychologist, brother, father, fan, supporter and party maker. I really appreciate meeting him barely a few months ago. And I am not the only one with such a good opinion about his social skills and positiveness… Imran, come back here, go with me to the last Aka and let’s get crazy one last time (until Istanbul, hopefully!).

Last but not least – my parents. Rather Mom and Dad than Parents, but still. I love them separately, I appreciate them individually and although they were not able to build be a happy family together, now they both try hard, with all their means and abilities, to build two happy homes for my to fly out of.

My Mom is a doctor and a really strong, hard-working and independent woman. Sometimes indecisive, sometimes too clingy, but the best in the world. Since we are not living together (2 years) and we meet twice a week and sometimes talk on the phone, we finally have a quality time and deep conversations about all you ever wanted to ask your mother but were too afraid. I am not anymore, she is there any time. I just hope that I can meet her side of the family, cause it’s something I really miss to see myself as a full.

My Dad – an engineer (wonder why I study Biomedical Engineering with this parents!) – very strange, very anti-social person, but an amazing father. And although he let me down severely a couple of times (probably he will always do it – human thing), he always tries to keep my around the cultural, intellectual values of classical music, art and history. He was also the person who started the traveller soul in me! We went camping through Norway, Iceland, Scotland and Spitsbergen for a couple of times and that was adventures of my life. Have you ever slept on the fresh, still warm volcano ashes just after the eruption in Iceland in 2011 which blocked the whole air traffic in Europe for a week? I HAD! Thanks, Dad!

Inifinite love to all of you for being there and teaching me how to live, love and long properly.

Öland – the male pre-weekend

For slightly more than 21 years of my life – trip to St Petersburg, Russia was by far the best one I took part in. All the nights in the ferries, 72 hours visa-free stay in Russia, atmosphere and amazing people made it absolutely perfect and special.

When it comes to my stay in Sweden, the trip I organized last week was my personal achievement and number two!

At first we were just planning to go to Kalmar – one of the most pretty summer cities in south-east Sweden. After some research we figured out that we can as well go to Öland – quite a big island just nearby, connected by the bridge with the continental Sweden. And that was absolutely the best choice we could have done!

The four of us – Roel the driver, Tomas the bartender and entertainer, Per the cook and Swedish guide, and me – the main manager, took off from Jonkoping on Thursday morning (just half an hour late! I didn’t have to party that hard the night before…) and arrived to Öland around lunchtime.

We decided to drive to the north of the island first – visiting the castle first, and trying to pet cows. I am such a city person! All my family lives in Lodz, some of them in Warsaw and I have absolutely NO relatives living in the countryside. That is why I have never touch the cow, pick potatoes or play in the hay (probably I would be allergic to that). I was so excited to attempt to pet the cows we met on the side of the road! Unfortunately, they were not that excited to meet me and Roel (our royal farmer and a fisherman) told me that his car is not an ambulance if anything happens to me… so I stopped approaching cows till the end of our stay 😦 . But I almost needed an ambulance anyway, the next morning when I – completely sober – fell down from the swing and rolled on my head from 4 big steps down the front yard of the house. Well, I survived! I just cannot move my left elbow ever since…

Anyway – in the afternoon we decided to stop by the beach and it was just perfect. We were the only people in like 10km radius. We were drinking wine, eating cheese (so girly of us! Thank you for that, boys!) and chatting. I even decided to swim topless in a freezing Baltic Sea from a different side than usually. It was an adventure!

In the evening we arrived to the beautiful cottage (actually the old village school!) I have found on Airbnb. It was dirt cheap and absolutely unique! We had the whole house for ourselves, made a barbecue with lots of sausages and cheese, and drunk almost two bottles of wine each 😂

I was slightly afraid of ghosts of the children murdered by the old, strict, grey-hair librarian (my imagination can go far!) and boys didn’t make it softer for me!!!

We also had an amazing bath in the bathtub (I never had one at home!) and lovely breakfast in the silence of only birds singing.

I had an ambitious plan to wake up at 3:30AM to see the sunrise in the east of the island, but after the whole day in the car I don’t even remember turning of the alarm.

Since I live in Sweden, I realized even more what a city person I used to be! Just now I learned how is it to be in complete silence – sit down in the grass and listen to the sounds surrounding you – when you can count the types of noises around. Just you & birds, wind, grass, trees and water or sand. I just regret that we were to loud in Lapland, as some people claim that you can actually HEAR Northern Lights.

Northern Lights in Lapland is actually another funny story. I was coming back to my cabin with two other girls after drinking an insane amount of Jagermeister and we have suddenly seen them! We have spent at least 10 mins on the conversation like ‘- Is it really it? No. It’s a cloud. It must be a cloud. We are drunk and tired. Is it Jagermeister or is it northern lights? Let’s ask Oscar!’. When Oscar – our Mexican authority – confirmed, we woke up everyone else and enjoyed the view standing in the middle of the frozen lake. And it was amazing, unforgettable, bucket-listish experience!

16807110_391260824566213_4578486076092691552_n

Coming back to Öland – the greatest surprise about the island was that it is so diversified! In 100km drive along the island we felt like in Greece, Croatia, Great Britain, Italy and Germany! We have seen cows, sheep, goats, cranes, ducks, savanna-like landscape and deep forest full of moose!

And before I ran out of 3G on my iPhone, I received the most beautiful message from Paola. I wish I could read her writing in original! And if I ever pursue with learning Swedish, it will be just for her. Anyway, I adore this woman. She is the only one who teaches me that writing (and living?) is just about making wise choices. And how to express myself in the best way, never settle for less – just enough. Lagom. Dare to let go.

And I guess that’s the best she could have told me and a perfect ending for this post. See you later, I am coming back to all the other stuff (I promised so many people to do SOOO much this weekend! From finding tickets to Mexico City, to writing an essay on history of art…).

When it comes to Sweden

I arrived to Sweden as an Erasmus student on 06/01/2017 and immediatly fell in love with the country and people I met here.

I was supposed to choose the destination of my Mobility Semester almost one year earlier and this choice costed me a lot of trouble. I was hovering between the Netherlands (due to the level of education and many friends going there), Spain – as I speak Spanish and could improve it a lot there, and finally – all the Nordic countries (or Scandinavia, cause yes! – it makes a difference which word you use).

Sweden, and to be precise – School of Engineering at Jonkoping University, situated near the beautiful lake Vattern, was quite a random choice. First of all – my field of studies does not really correspond to what I am doing here. Back at home I study Biomedical Engineering, while here the courses focus mainly on mechanical, industrial, production engineering and business issues in general. Neverthless, I decided to try something new and broaden my horizons. It turned out that it was not a bad idea. I really developed in the fields which I had no idea about before and met really inspiring teachers with real-life experience, not the ones who have spent the whole life at uni and know nothing of industrial environment (what concerns the majority of my proffessors in Poland).

However the Swedish education system was a big surprise for me. In short – I almost don’t go to school 😀 I do not have many obligatory classes and hours, and during the whole semester I realize just 5 courses (6 or 7.5 credits or ECTS points each). When it comes to my courses: I picked Surface Design (Autodesk Alias), CAD Solid Modelling (which I’ve already done back in Poland in PTC Creo, but here wanted to learn SolidWorks), Business Planning and Entrepreneurship, Sustainability in Product Development (very complex, I learnt a lot!) and Swedish Language, Culture and Society, which has been a lot of fun :). Mycket bra (Very good) that I even managed to score the grade A for both language and culture part (I wrote comparison of gender and religion issues between Poland and Sweden, maybe will publish it here one day).

But as a typical exchange student I have plenty of time for travelling (Russia, Finland, Estonia, Swedish cities, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium…), partying like an animal (I finally had a chance to live in the dormitory!) and meeting people.

When it comes to people – I guess that’s the factor which makes your exchange the most unforgettable. And I was very very lucky.

Before coming to Sweden I had met just one Swedish person (really spontaneous and inspiring middle-aged man I’ve met in Germany) and was affraid of those legendary, cold and closed people. To my surprise, Swedes are the most lovely human beings I have ever met!

On my first day in Jonkoping my student accommodation was not available yet, so I decided to couchsurf (as always) with Paola – the role model host for parents who do not want their only daughters to sleep at strangers’ place. Since the beginning she treated me like my own mother and remained my great friend and support until the end of semester (and hopefully always will be there, as I am for her!).

The next, and hugest, group of people I met here and will always remember of are all the other exchange students! The Dutch, Mexicans, French, Germans, Austrians, Americans, Aussies, Canadians, Danish, Czech… All of you will always remain in my heart and I am so happy to have such wonderful friends in all corners of the world! And special thanks to our Polish mafia – Ola who came with me from Lodz, Damian & Ania from Poznan and other Poles we met here. The Polish barbecue was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

Biking trip in Vattern
Tandem riding in a little island in the middle of the lake

I also met many valuable people due to my eagerness to join all the social activities organized by the university! I applied for the Buddy Programme and Contact Family Programme and thanks to that I had a chance to met Josef – my Czech mate, perfect Valentine and very extrovert freak I really enjoyed spending time (and eating burgers!) with. When it comes to the Family – that was the biggest surprise for me! My match was lovely Margareta – single woman who could be my grandma and who definitely is my inspiration for the time when I reach her age! Margareta goes to the gym 3 times a week, still studies some courses at uni and speaks fluently at least 5 languages! I wish I was that bright now, not to mention in her age! Thanks to her, I also met Sam from Iran and had a chance to cook a traditional Polish dinner for them (barszcz & pierogi 4ever), as well as do many day trips and joyful meetings.

When it comes to school – the biggest surprise for me was that in Sweden everyone calls teachers by their first name. Come on, I come from the conservative country, it felt so unnatural for me! It is supposed to cut the distance between students and professors, but I felt it more like a lack of respect… I mean – I still respect my teachers, but more like other human beings, not educational authorities who they were supposed to be.

Swedish universities put a lot of stress on team work, as a preparation for real professional life after graduation. Thanks to that I had a chance to do project works with the groups of Swedes. At first – very shy and professional, later really nice and helpful, with a lot of respect and admiration for hard work (I heard ‘Got job!’ after each written sentence of the report!).

Another typically Swedish thing is the famous fika culture. Fika – coffe break, with something sweet to eat (preferably kanelbulle – cinamon rolls you can get in IKEA worldwide), spent with your friends or collegues. Swedes do it ALL THE TIME. No kidding. You never say no to fika. That can be a reason why I leave Sweden with a few extra kilograms…

18427027_10208998464947987_15106739_o

If you tell the Swede that you don’t like nature, you can equally say that you enjoy murdering kittens or burning neighbours’ cars (which, btw, happened here twice already, as I live in the place where many refugees were settled). Swedish nature, landscape, forests and lakes are just amazing. And they become even better in May, when day is becoming sooo long (you go out to the party in plain sunshine!).

Thanks to the Student Union I also had a chance to go for the best trip I have ever been to (and as you know – I’ve already travelled a lot for my young age!). During the Easter time we went for 8 days to St Petersburg, Russia, travelling by ferries through Helsinki and Talinn. It is hard (and inappropriate) how crazy amazing this holiday was! Although St Petersburg welcomed us with -8 Celsius degrees and snow.

stasia
Here you can see the beautiful Russian weather and the best roommate ever – Annastasia! To my surprise – we both have some Russian roots.

I could write about Sweden infinitely. Erasmus was such a big moment in my life! And I know I was waiting for it for the previous 2.5 years of my studies. It is simply not possible to describe how much I learnt and experienced. I guess that’s what EU pays as for (btw – my Erasmus+ grant finished after 2 moths. Don’t hope it will be different if you want to eat, party and travel!). I just cannot imagine leaving all this behing and coming back to Poland.

27 days before my flight back to Poland (which is on 07/06 by the way) I wrote down a very long, diversified bucket list and has been busy with completing all the points ever since. EVERYTHING is there – from swimming in the lake Vattern, to going for a blind date.

I infinitely looove Sweden and could write about it forever. And I will definitely be back. I am leaving a part of my heart here in Jonkoping and although most of my friends won’t be here anymore in a year or two, I definitely wanna pay JKPG a visit some time after I graduate. It’s just to important for me not to do it!