My master’s programme exploring the Swedish wilderness

SI scholar Musa Baldeh at Linköping University talks about his exceptionally outdoorsy master's programme.

My master's programme exploring the Swedish wilderness
My name is Musa Baldeh and I am a teacher from the Gambia in West Africa. I am currently studying for a Master’s in Outdoor and Sustainability Education at Linköping University. This one year program is designed to equip educators and teachers with knowledge and skills about how to use the outdoors for teaching. Most of our lectures take place in the outdoors, and I believe that we can learn everything outdoors because the natural environment is full of concrete examples that are relevant to many areas of study.
One of the places where we have had most of our lessons is the Valla Wood near Linköping University. In this forest, we have had a lot of activities, ranging from biology lessons, history lessons, geography lessons. During our lessons, I am always fascinated by the plants and animals we come across. We usually discuss them daily, and one of these lessons made my day when I got to meet my favorite animals: the cows.
Another memorable outdoor activity was our visit to Omberg Nature Reserve. This field trip offered us the opportunity to see the lakes, the hilly areas surrounding the lake as well as some ancient historical sites in Sweden. Indeed, in this course, we learn by doing.
Some of Musa Baldeh's friends at Linköping University.
In a bid to see how other students are finding their time Linköping, our chairperson Samia Butt and I spoke with some international students on campus.

Here is what they said:

Dara, a Physician from Iraq, is in Sweden studying a qualifying course in Swedish Language. So far Dara is enjoying the house and upon completion he is planning to further his education in Sweden. Dara further said that he finds Swedish people welcoming, albeit a bit shy, and always ready to help when approached.

Another student who is studying here in Linköping is Shurias from India. Shurias is currently in his second year of Linköping University’s master’s program in Aeronautical Engineering. Overall, Shurias is enjoying his studies and experiences in in Sweden and believes that the Swedish education system has high standards.


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.