It’s all about balance

Posted in: Inside LiU, Learning experience, Student life on 29 November, 2019 by Hela

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“How hard is studying at LiU?”

“Is it possible to study and work at the same time?”

“Is it possible to travel or party often?”


These were some questions that I had before starting to study. Now after been living the real experience, I can tell you, yes it is possible! So before making any anticipated conclusions let me explain first things first. These are some simple recommendations to make the most of your study time at LiU.



If you understand your program structure, then you can plan your hours of study.

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With this mind, I can tell you that the load of work is between 30 to 40 hours every week. But if you are organized and very productive you can make it even faster. The main skills that you need to succeed at LiU is a well developed critical thinking, argumentation, research skills and academic writing. If you master those basic requirements then you can have a lot of fun going deeper into the topics that you like the most in each course. More than grades and examinations periods, I’ve felt that there is a lot of expectation in the analysis and new knowledge that you can create from your studies. It is very inspiring and challenging to analyse and resolve problems in your area of knowledge in a way that is completely original and comes only from you. Of course, the foundation in theories and extended research is a must at all times!



Hard work pays off .

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Now I have finished my first course of 15 credits and I am in the middle of the second course. In the meantime, I have studied Swedish as well and at the moment I have passed successfully all the courses and examinations. So, if you have good time management skills and you like to study, I am sure that you can have very good results in your studies. But remember, more than the grades is about what you learn and how you use that knowledge what really makes a big difference. I should say that spending some time that you enjoy just by taking walks or going for fika is always necessary to free your mind, relax and enjoy your experience.


If you feel that you can do more, go for it. 

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Each person has different priorities but my advice is to do the most of your time while you are studying abroad. I believe that the learning process goes beyond the study program and the classroom. That is why I can tell you from experience that is possible to be part of a student association and meet your fellow classmates from different programs, you can engage with different university activities even local trips and events and if you feel comfortable, you can even apply for a student job or internship.  All the tools and opportunities are out there, so is really a matter of interest and commitment to do what you really want to do while you spend your student years at LiU.



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How does it feel to study at LiU?

Posted in: Inside LiU, Learning experience, Student life on 25 November, 2019 by Hela

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A brief reflection

Now is the third month since I started studying at Linköping University. Was everything that I imagined? Well, I would say that I never could have imagined student life at LiU as it really is. Nevertheless, I could say that I am very happy about deciding to be here for the next 2 years of my life. I would really like to give you all the information and share how it has been at the university, especially if you are planning to come here. So, let’s start to check the essential aspects of the LiU experience.


  • Welcome day and introduction weeks

    It is very important to assist the roll-call of your program. There you are going to receive all the basic information that you need to register at the university. There is a new Student House with an international office front desk that is very helpful to get all the information that you need at any time. From internet access to the student card, accommodation or extra information that you may need.
    The university offers an emergency accommodation solution, a student health department if something happens and English support for your courses. I thought that those services were great because you really feel supported in a foreign country.




  • Accommodation, transportation and understanding where you are

    There are several solutions to get accommodation at LiU. I am currently living in Norrköping (yes, you can live in a nearby city and go to study at Linköping). There is an amazing Campus Bus that transports students for free on the different campuses of the university. So the best recommendation to understand where you are is to download the LiU App, where you can find all the bus schedules and route in real-time, a map of all the campuses, the classrooms numbers and indoors maps and extra information about your courses.


LiU App Android version. Available on Google Play.



  • Understand Swedish culture and organization

    There is one simple and very important rule to follow. Just be on time. It will make everything easier for your teachers and classmates. Besides this, it is important to understand that there are instructions and a process to do your courses in a cloud system. Everything is designed to be simple, clear and online. Therefore, checking how the course works, the general instructions and processes and the final submissions are always online. So my recommendation here is being tech-savvy, and very concrete with your questions and ideas in your work. I have felt that the university wants to make things simpler, so you don’t have to be asking and wondering what to do next.


Photo by Linus Mimietz. Available on Unsplash.



  • Courses and learning experience

    I thought that I had only registered for a Master in Business Administration in the beginning, but now I realized that I registered to learn about life and how organizations work in it. From learning leadership with stories of Don Quixote, Othello, dynamic presentations with acting and a lot of creativity to going on the wild forests of Sweden and learn how to work on teams under extreme and adventures circumstances. I have learned about Sweden, and their collective mindset and how they have organized their own society. And now, I am learning how internationalization and new start-ups have gone global and taken over the world. But especially I have learned from a wonderful team of teachers and researchers that do their best every day to expand our minds and inspire us to go further and create more knowledge. I could not be happier with my learning experience.


Photo by Linus Mimietz. Available on Unsplash.


  • Budget and everyday life

    First, you have to get used to thinking in SEK. With this, you will be able to make a budget that is mainly for your accommodation and food. An average price for renting a student room is 4000 SEK every month. And almost all the students cook home and bring lunch to the university. There are plenty of kitchens where you can heat up your lunch box and prepare a nice lunch! Otherwise, there are other solutions like sandwiches and hot dogs around. Without counting the accommodation payment, you can spend easily 500 SEK every week. In total, you could spend around 6000 SEK per month.



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Hey sunny people! This is how you make it through autumn in Sweden.

Posted in: Learning experience, Living in Sweden on 15 November, 2019 by Hela

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Let’s start with a little more background.

I’ve lived all my life around the tropical area of the world, near the equatorial line. So all I knew about autumn and winter was based on things that I could read or saw on TV and the internet. I also heard comments before about how life in Nordic countries is, but believe me, one thing is trying to understand how it feels like and other living the real experience. This blog post is an advice that I would have liked to receive to get ready for the autumn season. Especially from people that are used to live with sunlight and green trees all year around.

This is Bogota my hometown and it has around 8 million people. Imagine that feels like spring/ summer season all the time. So, living surrounded by people being busy and having a lot of activities until late hours is very natural for me.


Photo by Jorge Gardner on Unsplash. Available on:

Now, let’s take a closer look at Sweden.

It is important to understand how Sweden works. First, consider that the scale of population and size of the cities is much smaller. Here is a really nice illustration that explains how the country is distributed in cities and population. It is possible to see that most of the cities in the country have from 10.000 to 100.000 inhabitants. So yes, you are not going to see a lot of people walking down the street especially if you stay in Linköping all the time. The university city has around 100.000 inhabitants.


Image by worldpopulationreview, 2019. Available on:


Secondly, imagine that in Sweden is very natural to live indoors and most of the stores and locals close around 5:00 pm every day. Only bars and certain restaurants open until 9:00 or 10:00 pm. So, everybody goes home very early during the day. (Don’t feel scared if you see everything closed after 5:00 pm sharp. People are at home probably having some fika.) With this perspective in mind, now we can start reviewing the weather.


What really happens in autumn

Based on my experience I can tell you that I had a great time in summer. The weather is beautiful, pretty much like Bogota on a nice day, and you can feel a sense of happiness all over the place. Suddenly the sun starts to disappear bit by bit. The temperature is not a big deal, you can get used to living normally at 5° C very fast. The main problem is the lack of sunlight, the sunset is at 3:30 pm around this season. So it is very normal to feel tired all the time, and also wanting to eat a lot of candies, coffee and burgers (yes, that’s me!). The body needs to replace the energy very quickly and try to beat the darkness and the cold weather. It is very normal to have a cold for at least a week. So it is vital to start having some supplements with vitamins, especially vitamin D.


Autumn in Campus Valla in Linköping.


How to make the best of this season?

  1. Eat and exercise very well. You could work out in the gym or at your place/room. By keeping yourself active you don’t have really time to think about the weather or tiredness. And believe me, you do feel better.
  2. Find an excuse to hang out! Join groups and activities where you can meet people and just try to do new things. For example, you could make your cinnamon rolls with some buddies on the weekends.
  3. Enjoy being in a new situation. Sometimes living abroad feels more like going to a whole new planet than a new country. So just relax and enjoy the journey.
  4. Check the university program and services. Usually, several interesting meeting and events are going on during the semester.
  5. But the best of all is that you can get cosy at home and have a perfect excuse to get a bit lazy. In the end, the cold and darkness will go away and the next thing you know is that summer is just around the corner.


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Diversity rules!

Posted in: Learning experience, Student life on 8 November, 2019 by Hela

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One of the most amazing experiences that I’ve had so far is meeting people from all over the world. In the SMIO program, a friendly term to say Business Administration – Strategy and Management in International Organizations, one of the most important goals is to integrate and welcome people from diverse backgrounds. This is why from day 1 we are encouraged to meet students that have a very different vision of the world and experience from our own.


Some SMIO students from 1st and 2nd year.


Today I can understand better the culture of my classmates. They come from different countries in Africa, Asia, South America, and Europe. The opportunity to talk and share different world visions is another way of learning about organizations and life itself. Teamwork is encouraged and especially good communication and collaboration are a must at all times! This process helps you to develop new skills in an international background where you can develop your academic projects and have fun at the same time.


Here we are working in a business case analysis and the future of retail.


Just in one picture, we can get together students from all over the world. Germany, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Colombia working to shape the future!

Another amazing thing about LiU is that you can book rooms to study at all times. You have like a mini-office with everything that you need to work in your projects at any moment, even at the weekends if you don’t want to study at home/room or at the library. So if you are like me, a person that needs a big whiteboard and a second big-screen while working on a laptop to organize all the ideas, then yes, you are going to love the individual study rooms.




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More than a program, a student community.

Posted in: Career boost, Student life on 25 October, 2019 by Hela

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There is one thing that you can take for granted as soon as you get accepted to LiU, and that is feeling welcome to a beautiful student community. Every program is part of a student association that welcomes each student and integrates everybody in different activities as soon as the year begins. You can take part in parties, language cafes, games, trips and anything that the students want to do and are willing to create. Making friends is a natural process and is one of the most important tasks in the first couple of weeks!


Student association building in Linköping University

Home of all the student associations in LiU


The types of associations can vary a lot so you can be part of many if you would like to. Currently, I am part of ELIN, a student association that started in 1971. Their main purpose is to incentive the education, training, and social studies of the students related to MBA programs. They also work as a link between the students and the companies that may be interested in creating recruitment programs. Therefore, it is an amazing opportunity to gain skills and be part of a supportive community that helps you train to get your dream job!


Stundent Associations in Linköping University

Inside Kårallen where each student association have their own office.


Besides this, each student can become a board member. So if you would like to have some experience by taking charge of one of the main areas of the association, you just have to run for one of the available positions. This process helps to learn how to promote yourself, how to learn to support and get support from other members and start creating your own experience.

If you would like to know more about all the student associations you can see the full list here. Or if you would like to learn more from ELIN, you can visit their website here.



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Hela Galvis

Hello guys! My name is Hela and I come from the tropical paradise of Colombia.
I want to share with you my stories and experience of studying Business Administration for International Organizations at Linköping University and show you all the beauty of Sweden.
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