How sports helped me settle into life in Umeå

How sports helped me settle into life in Umeå
Photo: Abubacarr Sidy Nyassi
SI scholar Abubacarr Sidy Nyassi is currently completing his master's degree in Accounting at Umeå University. Here he shares his reaction to finding out he had been awarded the scholarship and how sports has helped him to settle into student life in northern Sweden.

One Friday while in my home village having a beautiful conversation with my mum, I received a message from the Swedish Institute Scholarships for Global Professionals SISGP. At first, I thought I was in a dream; before I realised it wasn’t a dream, my eyes were already filled with water. Yes, tears! Suddenly my mum asked 'Son, why are you crying?' I replied, 'Mum, I just received a message from the Swedish Institute that I have been awarded a scholarship to study a two-year master’s program in Sweden!' My mum too couldn’t believe the news. It was indeed some mixed feelings as we cried and laughed together. Those tears were not tears of sorrow, they where tears of joy! It all happened on that faithful day on a Friday evening under an orange tree. Indeed, 26th April was a day I will always remember.

As a first-time traveler, the wait was too long before the Swedish Migration Agency finished processing my Residence Permit. From the day I applied for the permit, it took close to about two months before I finally lay my hands on the vital Residence Permit. Then comes August 26th – the D-day for me to say good bye to my peace-loving family. My flight was expected take off from Banjul International Airport at 20:00hrs. Despite the heavy rain, my grandpa Saikou accompanied me to the airport and gave me a towering hug. To be seen off by one's grandfather wasn’t common in The Gambia, if it happens then surely count it as the lucky one. I am the lucky one! 

With my grandpa at the airport

My journey wasn’t the best journey for a first traveler, having to connect with different airlines and check-in in different airports (Leipzig, Stuttgart and Stockholm). However, I couldn’t focus much on the scenes along the journey as I was curious about my destination country. After a long and hectic journey, I finally arrived in Stockholm Arlanda Airport in August 27th around 3pm. I quickly connected the train to my final destination Umeå city. The train took about 5 hours to arrive in Umeå. I was welcome by the cold weather and strong wind as I left the train station for my corridor. Two days later I met a girl at the kitchen, she introduced herself to me as Janja from Slovenia. She’s also an international student eager to make new friends. Janja helped me to settle quickly and we became friends since then.

My friend Jania from Slovenia

Coming from a country where sports is keenly followed by young people, the first thing I wanted to do in my first month in Sweden was to join a gym. I felt in love with IKSU Sports when it was introduced to the students at the Orientation ceremony. The cold weather made me not waste any time to register at the multi-purpose IKSU Sports. I needed to connect with something that can help me settle in quickly. Thus, I capitalize on the massive student discount available for Umeå University students at IKSU. IKSU Sports is one of the biggest sports centres in Europe and it has almost everything an athlete may need (e.g. volleyball, basketball, football, swimming, climbing, regular gym and many more facilities). However, my favorite sports classes at IKSU are Body pump, Indoor Walking and Total Training. In addition, IKSU Sports was the perfect place for me; In as much as I care about my transcript grades, I also care about health. Thus, IKSU Sports gives me the perfect combination of health and education. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Umeå visitors to try IKSU Sports, it will surely give them a life time experience. 


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