Olof Stando.
Olof Stando.

Please tell us a bit about you and your background?

- I’m from Scotland, where I’ve lived for most of my life. I study Politics and Economics at the University of Aberdeen – the third oldest university in the English-speaking world. My biggest passions are photography, music and current affairs.

Why did you choose to study political science here in Sweden?

- I’ve always been fascinated with Sweden; I love the nature with the lakes and forests and I wanted to learn more about the culture, food and people here. Since I’ve never been to Scandinavia I thought Stockholm, as the capital of Scandinavia, was a good place to start.

What are your thoughts on the studies and Stockholm?

- The studies are very different from my home university. Here I do one course a month instead of doing four courses simultaneously as we do in Aberdeen. Here we also get to study more independently because we don’t have as many seminars. I have to say that the grading is somewhat harsher and the teachers are stricter in their assessment – but I actually find it very motivating.

Stockholm really has everything; you can enjoy beautiful nature nearby, watch great architecture in the city and there is good shopping. My favourite area has got to be Södermalm, which has been recently voted in as the “coolest” neighbourhood in Europe – it’s eclectic, vibrant and never fails to surprise! I also really like the weather here because to my surprise, it doesn’t rain as much as it does in Scotland.

What is the best thing about studies abroad?

- Making friends and meeting so many people from different nationalities – you learn about the world by meeting people and discovering their cultures.

What do you want to work with when you finished your education?

- I’ve known what I wanted to do since I was around 16 years old. I want to work within the UN, especially UNHCR. I’ve been to Geneva a couple of times and done some work experience within the UN. Last year I went to Geneva with the European Union of Jewish Students and we held a speech in the UN Human Rights Council, which was an amazing experience.

Finally, do you have any advice to give to international students who are thinking about studies at Stockholm University?

- Just embrace the change. The first weeks will be hard because you don’t know anyone, everything seems new and different, and that can be somewhat overwhelming. But this will get better soon. And don’t be afraid to say yes to things!

Name: Olaf Stando                  
Age: 20 years old
From: Scotland, University of Aberdeen