‘I never thought I would have the chance to witness such a prestigious event’

This week, Rayhana Khaireddine, SI scholarship holder from Tunisia who is currently studying Bioentrepreneurship at Karolinska Institute, shares her experiences at a reception at Stockholm City Hall.

'I never thought I would have the chance to witness such a prestigious event'

Around this time of the year, the entire city of Stockholm is buzzing with the announcement of the Nobel prize winners and all the events and lectures that happen around it. The city of Stockholm seems to be very proud of this tradition which is certainly not new to the Swedish people, but definitely new to me, a first-year student here.

I had mixed feeling of excitement and pride when the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology was announced in the building next to me at Karolinska Institute. I never thought I would have the chance to witness such a prestigious event in my life.

Along with the same theme, the city of Stockholm hosts a welcoming reception every year for its new international students, in the famous City Hall. This place is one of the most important monuments of the Swedish capital and it is where the Nobel prize banquet takes place every year with thousands of politicians, scientists and the Swedish royal family members.

We were welcomed in the blue hall (which is not so blue by the way!) and the ceremony started with the opening speech of the vice president of the Stockholm city council and continued with a brief introduction of the city of Stockholm and its famous city hall from a student's perspective. After that, we headed to the golden hall upstairs to enjoy the inevitable tradition FIKA! We had plenty of time to mingle, meet new people and SI scholarship holders from other institutions and, of course, to take plenty of photos for memories! 

Two hours later we went all together to the Nobel Museum in the old town of Gamla stan. We were welcomed with good music, tasty vegetarian pizza and guided tours to take us through the history of this prize. We also had the chance to hear more about this year's winners and how they got nominated and based on which criteria they were selected. At the end of this amazing evening, each one of us got a chocolate Nobel medal as a souvenir. I will make sure to keep mine in a safe place, awaiting for the real one!


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.