From Mexico City to Stockholm University

Fernanda Hernández, 27, came to Sweden in August to study for a Master's in Ecosystems, Governance and Globalisation at the Department of Biology. Originally from Mexico City, Hernández was pleased to discover that Stockholm is a friendly and welcoming city for international students.

“It’s wonderful that there are lots of international students at the university,” says Hernández. “On my course we have students from Sweden, Spain, Mexico, America, Bangladesh to name just a few.”

Hernández was attracted to studying in Stockholm when she discovered she could study in English. Plus, the fact the university doesn’t charge massive tuition fees like some universities.

“I originally thought about going to the US to study but I came to Stockholm when I heard about the course on offer,” explains Hernández, “and the fact that it didn’t cost as much as an American degree.”

Swedish universities currently do not charge tuition fees to international students, although the Swedish government is currently discussing the possibility of introducing fees for non-European students.

The two-year course in in Ecosystems, Governance and Globalisation has a strong international focus with students required to be in Stockholm for the first year. After that, students can spend most of this year abroad doing fieldwork and may have an assistant supervisor at another university.

Hernández says she hasn’t found it difficult adapting to life in northern Europe.

“I’ve taken the Swedish language course offered for foreign students,” says Hernández . “And that’s helped.”

“The biggest shock has been the weather but you get used to the cold when you’re here. And now that spring is here it is wonderful. Swedes rush outside to spend time in the sunshine as soon as they can. Suddenly everyone is really happy and even a little crazy.”

Hernández is also found it easy to make friends here.

“I go swimming with people from my course twice a week,” she says. “Plus you don’t disappear here. The teachers know who you are.”

With just a year of her course left, Hernández is unsure what she wants to do next.

“But with a Masters like this I’ll be able to compete on two continents ! My degree will be very well regarded in Mexico but it will also qualify me for possible further study or work in Sweden. That’s great!”

And Sweden is quickly becoming a very attractive option. Not only because of a Swedish boyfriend!

“It’s beautiful here. Compared to somewhere like Mexico City there are so many green areas,” says Hernández . “Just yesterday I walked for two hours in the forest and didn’t see anyone. And this is a capital city!”

Interview and text: Jon Buscall