Reflections from the NFGL Local Network Jönköping board

As the academic year comes to a close, four members of NFGL Local Network Jönköping reflect on what they've learned and share advice for future SI scholars.

Reflections from the NFGL Local Network Jönköping board
Photo: NFGL Local Network Jönköping

Every start has an end and so our study period has come to an end; in less than three weeks we will all graduate. Looking back at our activities, achievements, and experiences, we, the board of NFGL Local Network Jönköping, thought to reflect on this amazing platform of SI News.

We take this as an opportunity to share our learnings both with our fellow students and the upcoming batch of scholarship holders. Three members of our board, namely, Anup Banerjee (Bangladesh), Kapil Koirala (Nepal) and Anna Kabysh-Rybalka (Ukraine) have contributed in developing this reflection. We asked the board members four questions and divided the reflection accordingly.  

Why have you joined SI NFGL Board?

Anup: I came to know about SI NFGL and its activities during the Swedish Institute kick-off in 2016. During the event, there was a slot when chairpeople from different NFGL networks were presenting their activities and achievements during the year and how it impacted the holistic learning of the students.

I could relate all of these to my prior experience of working with numerous student activities while studying at home. So I talked to my fellow scholarship holders at Jönköping University and took the initiative to apply for the Local Network at Jönköping for 2016. That's how it all started with me and I continued as the Chairperson of the board for two successive years.

Kapil: Being one of the SI scholarship holders, I got chance to be a member of NFGL Jonkoping. However, to get more exposure and experiences besides the academic journey, I joined the NFGL Jonkoping board.

Anna: As an active member of my local community, I have been involved in numerous social and educational activities. So, when I met the outgoing board members of NFGL Jönköping and learned from them about the opportunities and events, I got inspired to join and contribute to the growth of our network.

What have you done during your involvement with the board?

Anup: This year we organized a couple of interesting events ranging from a panel discussion at the university on “Responsible Consumption” to arranging a study trip to Volvo Cars in Gothenburg.

Compared with my involvement in 2016, this year, we made two major achievements: one, we made a strong network and relationship with the local stakeholders, for instance, faculties, student associations at the university; and two, we designed and organized events collaborating with other NFGL networks. These have broadened our spectrum of activities and helped to reach more students. We feel profoundly honoured to contribute to the learning journey of the students.

I had an amazing board with highly active and passionate members. For each event, we used to divide our tasks among us and take the responsibility of each task. So, the execution of the events was always quite organized and smooth. There were challenges but, thanks to our teamwork and incredible understanding, we overcame all those challenges successfully.

Kapil: Over the last year, we organized five events, both in and outside of the university. I actively participated in making those events successful. As a board member, I contributed to a diverse set of activities like planning the budget and activities for events, marketing the events, managing the human resources and arranging other necessities, to name some of them.  

Anna: I was mainly associated with the promotional sides of our events around the year. So, to speak, my main task was to manage the social media page of the network, to keep people updated about our events, registration and so forth. It was really an enjoyable task, as I was interacting with a lot of people through this role.

What are your learning and key takeaways for the future?

Anup: Three key things that I have learned during my involvement would be diversity, compassion, and leadership. The opportunity to work together with people from all over the world made me aware of cultural diversities surrounding us. It made me more compassionate than ever before and contributed to refining my way of thinking and approaching different issues. I feel more confident about leading diverse groups, and certainly, I feel more connected to one global world.

Kapil: This platform has provided me with ample opportunities to develop myself. I got the chance to practice and hone different skills like communication and leadership. It further helped me expand my network beyond the university, and with people from different walk of life. Besides, I also got the first-hand experience of organizing the events. These experience and opportunities would be impossible if I had not joined this board.

Anna: As we said, this year we have organized several local events, and participated in educational trips collaborating with other NFGL networks. That was a great chance to get together, to work together and co-create the value. Furthermore, we shared our cultures and international experiences, shared challenges together in the board, and contributed to developing long-term solutions.

The participation in the SI NFGL Board gave us an opportunity to create value for other students by providing them with opportunities to share knowledge and experiences among themselves so that they emerge as leaders and agents of change for the future.

What would you suggest for the NFGL boards in future?

Anup: My first and foremost piece of advice is, “don’t hesitate to take the challenge”. I assure you, Swedish Institute is one of the most amazing scholarship providers that not only cares for your experience as a student at your academic program but also provides you with ample opportunities to explore yourself in a broader global setting.

Seize the opportunity, summon the courage and think how you can contribute to the development of your surrounding environment. Always keep a good relationship with the faculties and other student associations at your school. Be bold and passionate. You will learn a lot of things, trust me!

Kapil: Since this platform has ample opportunities for aspiring people, I strongly suggest new SI scholarship holders be a part of the board and participate actively in the activities. I recommend the upcoming board to organize events both in and outside of the university.

Anna: I would suggest to future participants to make the most of it, to bring your inspiration and ideas, to open up the discussions, dare to create value for others, share multicultural perspectives and combine both social and personal sides to create a stronger Network of Future Global Leaders.

And we are always here to support you if needed.



Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

Ronoh Philip, who is studying for his masters degree in Infectious Disease Control at Södertörn University, explains why he thinks the Swedish concept of 'lagom' is the best way to achieve good social health.

Lagom: The best way to achieve social health?

During my one week orientation program on August 2019 at Södertörn University, we were presented with many aspects of Swedish culture and practices. One of the new aspects that I learnt was the “lagom culture”, As I quote one of the presenters about applying lagom to our studies, he said: ”Lagom will reduce your stressful burdens of hectic lecture schedules and ensure that you spend equal time of working and socializing in the university.”

So being a student with a background in public health and society, I got interested and searched for the deeper meaning of lagom, and how it can  apply to society and health. I found out that it is a Swedish way of life, it is a concept which means not too much and not too little, just enough. I learnt that it came from a Viking tradition laget om which means 'around the group' and was allegedly used to describe just how much mead or soup one should drink when passing the bowl around in the group.

If this concept is applied to achieve social health goals, it would really fit well. So, what is social health at first? Social health is how you interact with other people and adapt in different situations, it deals with how people in society deal with each other. It is important to note that there is a close link between good social health and improvement of the other aspects of human health, this can lead to the achievement of SDG goal of good health and wellbeing. It also leads to self-satisfaction and happiness; no wonder Sweden is ranked as one the happiest countries in the world. It is ranked 7th in 2019, according to world happiness report. I believe lagom has a big role in this achievement.

In the country where I come from, Kenya, one of the greatest challenges we face in our society, is the ability for people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds to interact and form positive and cohesive relationships with each other. From my perspective, when I finish my studies and return, lagom will be worth implementing in the workplace, the place where I live and the society as whole, as it is the best way of finding simple, attainable solutions to our everyday worries like stress, eating better, having downtime and achieving happiness. It’s a balance of work and life, so everything is in sustainable existence with each other.

My goal during my entire university studies at Södertörn, will be to learn more about the lagom principle and also be able to apply it on our SI NFGL Local Network platform, because it is surely one of the best ways to achieve a good  work-life balance, reaching consensus with my colleagues and adapting a team minded approach in dealing with issues in an organization and the society.