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‘I knew that I would be fighting to come back to Sweden’

'I knew that I would be fighting to come back to Sweden'
Photo: Michał Zawadzki
SI scholar Michał Zawadzki spent six months in Gothenburg in 2015 before returning to his native Poland. It didn't take long, however, until he found himself longing to return to the Nordics. Here, he tells his story and explains how Sweden stole his heart.

I was given a grant by the Swedish Institute through the Visby Programme scholarship and spent six months in 2015 in Gothenburg Research Institute working as a postdoctoral researcher.

Looking back, I see that time as an extremely important for my academic career development. I experienced democratic academic culture created by the fantastic scholars who gave me the possibility to express myself and who were truly curious about my research on workplace dignity in academia. I was really engaged in lunches and fika with my colleagues: events that made my personal connections with other academics stronger.

Photo: Michał Zawadzki with his daughter in Stockholm

I also enjoyed Swedish culture and society: people taking care of each other, ready to help out not only with issues connected with the academic job, but also with private ones. I remember exciting meetings in Professor Barbara Czarniawska's apartment, with a lot of fascinating discussions with people from all over the world. I remember the day we were celebrating Chalmers Cortége, observing fantastic machines built by the students, from the balcony.

When I came back to Poland after the scholarship had finished, I knew that I would be fighting to come back to Sweden. And here I am: after two and a half years of sending applications to Swedish universities and working hard to develop my academic CV, from January 2018 I started a job as a lecturer in Stockholm Business School. I treat it as the most important achievement in my career, but it wouldn’t be possible without my Gothenburg experience.  

I am lecturing on management and organisation studies courses, trying to use the teaching ideas I observed in GRI. The workplace environment here is amazing, including many established academics with international reputation. The most important thing is their friendly attitude and readiness to help me in adaptation to a new environment.

I was invited to take part in the celebration of the new academic year in Svartsjö – a beautiful, small city close to Stockholm – where I spent a lot of time in the sauna, talking about life with the other academics.

Photo: Michał with his band, New Public Cynics

What is also important for me, I have been invited – as a drummer – by Professor Tommy Jensen to start a new rock band: we are New Public Cynics, fresh and critical perspective on the contemporary society.

Moving from Krakow to Stockholm was an exciting journey not only for me, but also for my family: my wife and three-year-old daughter, who found Swedish society as a great place to live. My daughter attends kindergarten and she speaks better Swedish than I do! My wife is currently attending an intensive SFI course and looking for a job as a graphic designer.

Well, it seems that this time we will stay in Sweden for a little bit longer!