Paying it forward: How the Linköping Network is changing the world

Paying it forward: How the Linköping Network is changing the world
Photo: Peter Karlsson/Linköping University press
You don't have to do something massive to make the world a better place. You can start small. NFGL members in Linköping share their projects, and advice for future potential NFGL scholarship students.

Inspired by the well-known movie called Pay It Forward starring Kevin Spacey and Haley Joel Osment, some members of Linköping Network want to share how they are contributing to change our society for the better through different actions and inspirational activities.

Even with all demanding university assignments and living in a new country, these students at Linköping University (LiU) have the desire to leave this world better than how they found it.

Alexandra Koptyaeva is from Russia and is doing her Master’s in Ethnic and Migration Studies.

In August 2016 she applied for the position to be a LiU Ambassador, which involves blogging, making phone calls, taking photos, and, in general, helping to spread information about the student life at LiU.

In December and January, when the webinars for prospective students started, there was a new campaign suggested by the LiU: those who watched the webinar may have a lot of questions left, and as ambassadors, she and her colleagues took on the responsibility to call the participants and conduct the follow-up survey.

Alexandra says it resulted in calls to more than 300 people all over the world:

“I talked to applicants from Africa, India, Europe, Russia, and Ukraine! Besides calling and asking formal questions I also wanted to know if I could help with anything else.”

To follow-up she got in contact with some perspective students via email, since it could be hard for the potential students to immediately remember all the questions during a phone call. As a result, she estimates that at least 70% of them not only applied to LiU but also made it their priority choice for studies.

Moreover, she has her own blog on the university webpage, which resulted in some questions and comments from those who are interested in studying Ethnic and Migration Studies.

“Before the application deadline in January, I received around 20 messages on Facebook from people who asked me about the programme content, courses, teaching staff, and career opportunities. I tried to answer these questions in details – it is always great to feel that your help is needed, especially when someone is highly interested in the field of study that you like the most.”

In a nutshell, Alexandra’s Visby Scholarship from SI has given her the great opportunity to study in Sweden and help people around the globe to come to study there:

“SI helped me, and now I am helping other people to get this honorable chance and come to Sweden.”

Marcela Francisco, who comes from Brazil and is studying her Master’s in Science for Sustainable Development, has a channel on YouTube called Nerd Drops.

The idea behind the channel is to share study tips, and explain simple environmental concepts such as ‘what are natural resources?’ And after she got accepted and was given an SI Study Scholarship, she also started to share tips about studying abroad, the process of applying to universities in Sweden, and the scholarship opportunities provided by the Swedish Institute.

“I created the channel because I wanted to help all kind of Brazilian students by improving their performance at school and university,” she says.

After she started to talk about SI scholarships and the application process, Marcela says she has received many messages from all around Brazil where students ask more about her personal experiences on studies abroad.

“I already could help many people. As in Brazil the application for university is different from what is required to study abroad, the students are not familiar with writing motivation letters and getting in contact with professors or former co-workers to ask for recommendation letters. I have been talking with three students who were successful candidates from the first round of the SI Study Scholarship and I am hoping that they will be approved. I would be really happy to know that they can have the same opportunity that I am having now by studying in Sweden.”

Her goal is to reach more people with her channel and continue helping people.     

Edward Nsolo from Tanzania is studying a Master in Computer Science. Here are his own tips for those who want to apply for SI scholarships:

  • Make sure you have an international passport. (This tip is mostly applicable for African countries because people there might not be used to travelling abroad as much.)
     
  • Scholarship policies, application instructions, document templates, terms and conditions change every year. So, make sure you get the most recent information. It is okay to get advice from a friend or someone who has already received the same scholarship you are seeking.
     
  • Applying for many scholarships requires the skills to manage your documents and to keep track of key dates and deadlines. Some scholarships such as those provided by the Swedish Institute involve more than one stakeholder: universities, he central admission system, and the Swedish Institute itself. They tend to have different requirements, so as an applicant you need to read very careful and create an integrated timeline for all of them.
     
  • Once you receive a scholarship, be proactive by finishing all tasks and requirements. For instance, applying for the visa, getting the necessary vaccines, and getting a medical checkup.
     
  • Finally, do not get discouraged if you get emails like “We regret to let you know that your application was not successful”. Most people who were or are scholarship holders have also once been rejected, but they never gave up on their dreams!

We from the Linköping Network hope that after reading this article you will feel more inspired to help others in need, or to continue doing good things if you already do! We are the Future Global Leaders and we need to make a difference!

Authors: Marcela Miranda Francisco in collaboration with Alexandra Koptyaeva and Edward Nsolo