Was it more than “fika”?
Our coworker Lotta Ljungren met with Ann-Sophie to to hear all about her experience of having completed an intership in Sweden. This is what they talked about.
What motivates a student from France to travel all the way up north and have an internship in Sweden?
For me it was really all about a personal challenge. To challenge myself. I had lived 4 years in Canada, so after that, Sweden was the perfect country to go to. Similar. Ha, ha, ha, for someone who does not like the heat!
I lived in Montreal, so I didn’t have to speak English, and I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, to speak something other than French, and improve my language skills, in Sweden, where most people speak English, which is very nice.
Tell me about yourself; what are you studying and what were your aspirations before coming to Sweden?
I studied design in France, project design, and validated my Master’s degree in Canada. In Montreal, I studied event design for one year, then for 3 years I worked with event. After that I went back to France and decided that to gain work experience and speak another language, such as English, I better sign up for Erasmus and I chose Sweden.
Did you pick up any Swedish while in Sweden? Or as most Swedes speak English, you didn’t have to.
Ha, ha, ha, yeah, fika *, kanelbullar
*Part of an established Swedish workplace custom, a coffee/tea break with colleagues to socialize, clear the mind and share cinnamon buns and other pastries, cookies.
What do you remember most from your Swedish internship experience?
Hm, yeah, nights are very early and dark (in the winter months), and it was surprising to me, the Christmas period was so beautiful, there were candles in all the windows, everything was illuminated, it was magical, I really liked it!
How did you find the internship? Was it like you expected, matching your aspirations? Any surprises?
It was a most rewarding experience at the company I was placed at. Not so much that I learned skills but I got to see how it is to work in Sweden. It was very interesting to see, as the CEO is a female, to see how she runs a start-up company. And to see the Swedish way to work, the ambience; everything is done to be comfortable. Working there I felt very comfortable, I felt like a real member of the team.
I didn’t expect that, it is completely different from France. Canada was similar to Sweden. In France you feel the pressure all the time, from the boss, there is a lot of stress.
Sweden has a flatter corporate hierarchy, you clearly noticed that.
Yes, it is a more equal workplace, this is a real source of inspiration, men and women are more equal.
I think we can do better in such an environment, we are more productive, work better. It is not like that at all in France.
Do you recommend the experience to other students?
Yes, I really do. Living abroad makes you grow up and it creates confidence in yourself. You also get to practice a completely different language. You not only get to travel but also to work in another country.
Do you feel you were prepared enough before coming to Sweden? Anything you would change?
No, nothing needs to change.
You obviously had a very good experience in your internship, but now tell me, anything you didn’t enjoy, that didn’t meet your expectations?
Covid confused a lot. Copenhagen was closed so we couldn’t visit it, and that was frustrating because I really enjoy culture and I wanted to visit museums, see the architecture. We thought about visiting Stockholm, but it was during the pandemic and we were recommended not to travel there. But I saw Gothenburg, and Helsingborg. And in Lund and in Gothenburg I visited very nice museums. And nature very nice around there. As you can see from my photos, I was able to see a lot of different things.
Any last words for student thinking about this programme?
Yes, it was inspirational experience overall, and at the job, they were really welcoming!
This interview with Ann-Sohie was made by Lotta Ljunggren, a member of our hostig team.