This isn’t really about the Sustainable Development Goals!

Like many prospective student who finally gets a chance to be admitted into a reputable institution of learning amidst the competition for the available spaces and uncompromising admission criteria, I was overjoyed by that realization and was looking forward to finally studying in Sweden in the autumn of 2021, precisely at the oldest university in all of Sweden. The Uppsala University asides other interest is known for its rich cultural background, stimulating research environment and participatory student involvement. But sometimes, the route to a desired destination is not always a straight and easy one, and this applied to me in this context.

You might be tempted to ask if I got admitted to study my course of choice, Oh! Yes I did. Did I also travel to Sweden to study? Not yet as I am currently still in my home country Nigeria awaiting a decision from the Migration agency as regards processing of my study permit. I am very hopeful and still keeping my fingers crossed for a positive response. This delay was partly due to the late approval for my proposed study leave at my previous place of employment and challenges with study permit and visa application payment done online. Hence, I was caught in the web of study permit processing time as detailed by the migration office.

I was fortunate to have my first module starting via zoom. This was scheduled for about 2 months beginning in August, so this gave me ample time to familiarize with my course mates. This interaction was not only pertaining to course work but also getting to know most of them on a personal level including their families. As scheduled, physical classes were expected to commence in the last week of October and to my dismay I still wasn’t ready to leave for Sweden. I was torn in between taking a decision to defer the programme or just totally opting out of it completely, but as a fee-paying international student the second option was not an agreeable one. Though not currently out of the woods yet as I write, but I have come to realize that anything is possible if only you put your mind to it.

Before the face to face classes commenced, I had notified every concerned personnel about my predicament and course mates alike, so everyone was in the know to an extent. I wrote personally to all the class teachers for the next module, informing them officially about my absence from the classes with recommendations on possible ways to go about the compulsory lectures, group work, presentations and seminars knowing fully well that attendance and participation was an important part of the grading system at the university. The teachers were very supportive and proffered flexible ways of ensuring that I continued in my studies. This was majorly because it was observed that I was making some efforts too to remain afloat. Hence, lecture slides were uploaded timely on the learning platform so I could access them sometimes before the lecture date, explanations on study materials were summarized by close course mates via remote calls, zoom and other agreeable social media platform. Group members made group meetings very flexible so that I could be a part of it and interestingly, I am ‘zoomed’ into real time class activities and group presentation so that I can also get a ‘feel’ of what transpired during compulsory sessions.

There are really wonderful people in Uppsala University and I am glad to be associated with it. Hopefully, when I am set to travel to Sweden, I shall take my turn in the “taggedforuppsala” intagram takeover for the week and share more experiences. Till then, keep networking!!!