How a study circle helps new students integrate in Sweden

Author: Muhammad Imran Malik

This article is part of Changing the Narrative. Articles in this series are written by student or early career journalists who took part in The Local’s training course on solutions-focused migration reporting. Find out more about the project here.

International students face many challenges during their stay in Sweden, ranging from classes in English to emotional and social setbacks. The key to the Swedish society and labour market is found in the Swedish language, which can become a barrier to students’ ability to socialise. But in the town of Växjö in southern Sweden, students have formed a study circle to help each other.

Almost every year, more than 20,000 international students arrive in Sweden to pursue their higher education studies – many from non-EU countries in Asia and Africa.

To manage to learn the language is often an uphill task for foreign students whose full-time studies take up most of their time. Additionally, the harsh Nordic weather and cultural clashes create problems for many students such as loneliness, depression and economic hard times, which have been amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic, as most of the Swedish universities shifted to distance education.

But where there’s a will, there’s a way. At Linnaeus University in southern Sweden, international students are helping their fellow newcomers navigate Swedish society, by using resources provided by NBV, a study organisation that helps volunteers start their own study circles.

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