Team work ‘needs to be embraced’ in Sweden

Katongo Seyuba, chairperson of NFGL Lund's equality and development board, reflects on his first few months in Sweden.

Team work 'needs to be embraced' in Sweden

It has been an amazing first few months in Sverige, busy, exciting and sometimes dull and dark (mainly due to the weather!). Aside the weather, there are things I have visibly noticed that have stood out, which I would love to reflect on. Top on the agenda is teamwork – or group work as others might call it. 

I have had previous experience working in groups back home in Zambia, but the emphasis in Sweden is huge and it is something that needs to be embraced. Working in teams/groups has its ups and downs. There are a lot of struggles that come with teamwork, it is not entirely beautiful and all rosy, sometimes you experience creative differences based on preferences, you might not have the same energy, and this can get stressful. 

On the bright side, group work has its positives and my experience has been amazing so far. I have got to work with people from different backgrounds bringing in huge experience and expertise. In academia, we have engaged in meaningful discussions to provide solutions for assignments and tasks. I have learnt new communication and collective writing strategies and peer reviewing among others, above all learning from each other’s background and experience has been valuable.

Additionally, as a member of the NFGL Lund board, I am privileged to be working with a vibrant, enthusiastic and positive team of future global leaders. The network has afforded me a platform to enhance leadership, planning, public speaking and event organization skills, among others. In four months, we have created great relationships with each other, supporting a common goal to make a positive difference in our society. The past activities that we have successfully achieved have gone through a lot of background planning, digital communication strategies, marketing and event organization. This has been a product of teamwork and support from the entire NFGL Lund team. 

My experiences so far have been nothing short of amazing. Working in teams has helped me build relations with a lot of people which significantly helped me to settle in quickly. Teamwork is something that I have learnt to value and there is no better feeling than executing a collectively planned task. 

I look forward to an amazing 2020 with the NFGL family, university colleagues and the football Fridays team at Lerback. 

Happy holidays from Lund!



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.