Toheeb Adigun, USA
“Everything is clean and neat,” says Toheeb. “People care about where they live and about the environment. Nature is so important here.” Photo: Sarah Hollister.

With his first course recently completed, four weeks of Biophysics, Toheeb Adigun, a Master’s student from Chicago, compares it to the standard course length at an American university which is four months. “Here there’s a lot more information to learn here in a short period of time,” he adds. “On the other hand it’s the only course, so it’s easier to focus. The key is personal responsibility and discipline.”

Molecular Biology Sciences is Toheeb’s study focus. “I worked as a lab assistant after graduating from college in Illinois, so I’d already had some exposure to science,” Toheeb explains. “I can’t say exactly what I’ll do when I complete the program here but I know I want to work with chemistry.”

Toheeb is pleased with the centrally located flat he found on the Student Board. “It’s small, what they call a one room,” he says, “but I’ve got my own kitchen and bathroom.” Like many international students, Toheeb uses Skype to stay in touch with his parents back in Illinois. “We talk once or twice a week,” he explains.

The international atmosphere at the University appeals to Toheeb. “I like interacting with different cultures,” he says. Although English is the language used by international students, Toheeb has started a beginner’s course in Swedish. “I understand key words as long as they speak slowly.”

Before committing to the Master’s program at Stockholm University, Toheeb decided to visit Sweden. “I came here last summer and looked around Stockholm, just to see if I could study and live here for two years,” says Toheeb. He explored the city and liked what he saw. “Everything is clean and neat,” he says. “People care about where they live and about the environment. Nature is so important here.”

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“I came here last summer and looked around Stockholm, just to see if I could study and live here for two years,” says Toheeb. He explored the city and liked what he saw. “Everything is clean and neat,” he says. “People care about where they live and about the environment. Nature is so important here.”
“I came here last summer and looked around Stockholm, just to see if I could study and live here for two years,” says Toheeb. He explored the city and liked what he saw. “Everything is clean and neat,” he says. “People care about where they live and about the environment. Nature is so important here.”
 

Having supportive classmates has helped a great deal with Toheeb Adigun’s transition. “We share similar interests and goals,” he explains. “When it comes to academics, we’re all disciplined. We meet every day, have lunch together,” Toheeb adds.

Last fall when we spoke to Chicagoan Toheeb Adigun, he was a newly arrived Master's student, still a bit unsure about the Swedish system of education. "I'm fully adjusted now," says Toheeb three months later. "I feel comfortable with life here."

Having supportive classmates has helped a great deal with Toheeb’s transition. "There are nine of us altogether in class working in groups of three and four students.  We're from diverse backgrounds, Switzerland, Japan, China, Sweden,” he says. “But we share similar interests and goals,” Toheeb explains.

When it comes to academics, Toheeb’s classmates are all disciplined. “We meet every day in the Biology building, have lunch together, read, discuss what's going on in the classroom. We’re a tight group,” he says.

“Socially, it has been an interesting experience,” Toheeb says. "My group goes out on the town together. Nothing organized, just spontaneous.  We go to the pub, have a couple of drinks. I can joke around with them without offending anyone. People are more open minded and liberal than in America. We talk about everything from our personal lives to assignments. I like that." he says.    

Toheeb’s professors have also helped smooth out the transition period. "They go the extra mile to make you feel comfortable," says Toheeb. When his second course finished, his professors threw a party for the students. "It was great!" he says.

A science major, Toheeb's next course during Spring term is molecular genetics. "That's gene interaction on a molecular level," he explains.

Before coming to Sweden, Toheeb worked in a lab in Chicago. Next summer, rather than going back to Chicago, he is considering staying in Sweden as a summer intern, possibly working in a lab here. "I may look into Astra Zeneca," explains Toheeb. 

Coming from the mid-western part of the U.S., Toheeb is used to the snow and cold. "Swedes are always saying that the snow makes everything lighter which is true I suppose. But I'm looking forward to eighteen hours of sunlight a day," Toheeb says. "I can't wait!" 

Text and interview: Sarah Hollister