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Close portrait of Maryam

Before coming to Sweden Maryam has worked for many years in industry, in different positions.

“I used to be a data analyst manager before coming to Sweden” Maryam explains. “So I'm very aware that day by day technology develops. And if you're going to be a good leader you have to know about digitalization and digital organizations.”

Maryam notes that due to the COVID-19 pandemic people now better understand the importance of digitalization. This has also had an impact on how we view good leadership.

“When you don't know a company - you cannot rule it and you cannot help it” Maryam says. “In my experience, it's very important for a company to have good leaders to survive.”

Everyone knows about Sweden

Even before applying to come study in Sweden Maryam knew quite a lot about the country.

“I actually believe that there is almost no one that doesn’t know about Sweden” she says. “Anyone who is into science, knows Sweden for the Nobel Prize. Anyone who is in music knows ABBA. And if you're into cars, you know Volvo.”

And for Maryam, who’s very interested in education, it was the renowned higher education system that drew her to Sweden. Having studied for almost one whole semester Maryam has quickly noticed the differences between the Swedish and Iranian way of educating. One difference being the frequent and engaging group work assignments, another being the relationship between student and teachers.

“I don't look at the teachers here only as teachers, I think they are leaders” she explains. “And this is the difference between managers and leaders - leaders are more friendly, and make you feel that you are all a part of a team. This is what I feel in the classrooms.”  

Maryam describes the teachers as knowledgeable, humble, and very friendly. Her experience is also that the teachers are quick to help, regardless of the issue.

“It feels like they really want to help you” she says. “So, when I study, I don’t feel that my teachers are my enemies. Instead, I feel that they really want me to learn. So, I study with my whole heart.”

Experiencing Sweden  

Sweden is a small country compared to Iran. In the town where Maryam grew up, about 9 million people live. Almost as many as in the whole of Sweden.

“So Trollhattän, for me, is very quiet. Peaceful, actually” she explains. “I really like it here.”

Although Trollhättan is a relatively small city in Sweden – it doesn’t compare to small cities in Iran.

“In Iran, then you're talking about the small cities. They are way smaller than in Sweden. So, to me Trollhättan is quite big.”

What is small in Trollhättan though is the population. Maryam describes the many trees and green areas in and around the city as an aspect of Trollhättan she really likes.

When Maryam isn’t studying she is learning the Swedish language. Not only because it comes in handy when applying for jobs, but also because language is so closely connected to culture.

“I love learning new languages. I find Swedish very interesting. Challenging, yet interesting” Maryam says. “You don’t only learn the language, but you also learn so much about a new country.”

Other than language studies Maryam enjoys reading papers and hanging out with the new friends she has met during her time in Sweden, so far.

The future

Maryam, having only studied one semester so far, yet has time to decide what she wants to do in the future. Having many years of experience in working in industry, Maryam is not foreign to the possibility of pursuing a career in industry after her master studies. But she is also quite curious about continuing her journey in the education and research field.

“Now, I'm thinking about how about being a researcher” Maryam says. “I have some experience in teaching. I started teaching English when I was 17. As a second job. So I'm familiar with education, and I'm familiar with the psychology of teaching. And University West and this program has given me a second thought... ‘How about following your dream? You can do research as you like, you can interact with people, students, and you can train good leaders’.”