LiU goes virtual!

Posted in: Inside LiU, Learning experience, Living in Sweden, Student life on 22 March, 2020 by Hela

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SMIO program adapts to digital channels.


Since last week everything has changed in Sweden. Luckily we are able to keep studying from home or dorm room and carry on with our course. The university has adapted quite fast to the new world health emergency and so far everybody in my program is OK. So this is how classes look now!

New virtual classroom!

I think that the university and all the teachers and coordinators are doing a great job in these complicated times. They managed to restructure the new courses to be able to provide a good educational experience to all students in a new virtual environment and even final exams are online now.

We keep positive and try to do the best of this experience under uncertain circumstances and even by distance, we try to cheer up and have some fun just by making funny faces to the camera. 🙂







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Raising the bar: Feeling comfortable with unrealistic challenges

Posted in: Career boost, Inside LiU, Learning experience, Student life on 28 February, 2020 by Hela

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When things are far from easy, get ready to face uncomfortable and complex tasks.

I started the fourth course of the program by now. Management Control Systems was a topic that I really had no clear knowledge of, but now that it has started I would say that it is very interesting and useful in any organization. I must say that the previous Finance course that I mentioned has been the toughest course that I have ever been to. Almost all my classmates struggled with it and you really need to start looking for answers and knowing how to fix things by yourself, there is not much time to resolve questions before is too late.

Photo by Didier Weemaels on Unsplash

So it seems that we are facing a similar situation in this MCS course. From day one things started to get pretty serious and there is no time to waist or fool around. We have to solve four business cases every week in teams and create presentations and reports, without knowing when or what exactly we are going to present. My classmates are feeling the pressure, and it could create internal tension among teams, that we didn’t choose but were assigned to us. All the settings of this class are made to pressure you and resolve it in uncomfortable circumstances. I think is important to talk about stress while you study and other hard circumstances that you may face when you are abroad. The university has a health division that offers multiple options to help students from stress, depression or just feeling sick. There is also a mindfulness session of meditation and maybe other relaxing activities that I don’t know of yet.

Photo by Michael Odelberth on Unsplash

Nevertheless, from another perspective, I think this experience is closer to a more realistic working experience. Things are fast and impossible tasks must be done when you are part of a company. I like it somehow but I am also aware of the risks that stress can bring to your body and soul, especially during winter times (yes there is snow in March!) and when you are far away from home. So I’ll keep going and share my experience when all of this is over. Cheers!

Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash



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Main Differences: Colombia / Sweden

Posted in: Learning experience, Living in Sweden, Student life on 16 February, 2020 by Hela

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When you travel around the world, you carry your country with you.

Culture, thoughts, habits, and knowledge. This information is unique but is hard to explain to people that have a completely different background. This is the beauty of traveling, but the learning exchange experience really increases when you study full time abroad. So people ask me a lot about Colombia, and then people in Colombia ask me about Sweden.

I have my own version of answers based on my personal experience and what I really like to do, is keep it objective. So what are the main differences in education among these two very distant countries? (South America can apply here too as a general basis). Well, Sweden is more relaxed, in a sense. Sometimes I feel that teachers like to see students suffer in Colombia. There is so much to do all the time, and you feel the pressure of the teachers based on their expectations.

It is not like that in Sweden, just arrive on time, pay attention and do your job. Nobody is going to tell you or pressure you about anything. It is in your hands to take responsibility for your education. You create your own expectations and limits. But more than tasks, education in Sweden asks you to think from your own perspective. Nobody is going to tell you how to do anything. You have to find the solutions by yourself and there are no limits. I think this process creates more imagination and liberty to think about the world as we think it works. Therefore you need to have the arguments and foundation to keep your solutions relevant and credible.

In Sweden, you are the creator of knowledge, not just the receiver. 

Photo by Raphael Andres on Unsplash. “Sweden”.


In Colombia, you have to come up with your own solutions, but I think that we need more validation from the teachers. Like they are always right and they know better. It is different, not better or worse.

Colombia thought me about peace, tolerance, about humanity, colors, creativity, and great joy surrounded me while I was studying back then.

Photo by Flavia Carpio on Unsplash. “Colombia”.

I had peaceful days while the teachers tried to do their best performance in the classroom. People pushed themselves a lot in Colombia. The classes were perfect. A teacher never hesitated, never lost his or her words or changed the schedule of the course. Sweden is more chilled, things can change and teachers are humans that can forget to update their slides from time to time. So I also learned that you can excuse yourself, people understand. We humans are not perfect.





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Welcome to Business Finance!

Posted in: Career boost, Learning experience on 2 February, 2020 by Hela

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It’s being a hectic beginning of the year catching up with the first class of 2020: Business Finance.

So after being through a lot of inspiring literature such as Don Quijote and deep research articles about business and organization management now, I face a new challenge. Firstly, key ratios and financial statement analysis from Swedish companies and then finance modeling and forecast.

So math is back in class and I am just getting familiar with all this new finance mindset to understand deeply the current financial statement of a Swedish company that I could pick from a specific list.

Full attention here!

So, I would say that the literature and guidance of the course has been ok so far, nevertheless is a very short course so you have to start making it work quite fast.


Pros: Understand where the companies’ money goes and how is managed. This is the most interesting part. You can truly have a panorama of how a company is working based on their financial statement. Nice! Therefore it will be more interesting to come up with ideas on how to optimize and make recommendations to improve their financial statement.

Cons: Math! I have to say it is not my favorite topic but the formulas seem to be quite doable, no problem. I have found that the main challenge is to interpret the data. Thre is a lot of assumptions from the companies and from the finances teams regarding this “statement” that tries to portray reality. So I would say that this is the main challenge of all finance tasks, keep it real and logic.


Some cash flow formulas here!

So let’s get started with my first financial company analysis! Hopefully, I could make a good evaluation and relevant conclusions to optimize their finances statement. 😛 Who says “ambitious”? let’s see then what happens.




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Du kan Svenska!

Posted in: Learning experience, Living in Sweden, Student life on 10 January, 2020 by Hela

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Hej hej allihopa!

I started my classes this year with a new Swedish course. For those who are interested in learning Swedish quickly, I have a couple tips and experiences to share so you can make the most of your time while you study.

There are different options to study Swedish but most of the effort is on your own.

These are the most popular options to study Swedish:

1. SFI

This is the Swedish course for immigrants and most of the people that come to Sweden with a long-time residency can take it. I studied there for 5 months but I must say that it wasn’t the best experience. If you are good at studying by yourself and have a good grammatical and linguistic foundation, you could go through the SFI at a fast pace. Nevertheless, this is only the A level so it is faster to go through the A1 and A2 to courses in other institutions and most students can take over a year to finish it.

2. Folkuniversitet

There is a paying-fee to study at this school. There are several options to study at all the Swedish levels until C1 and C2. I studied there for a month and I could say that it is a good option if you are studying a full-time program or working. Nevertheless, if you want to learn faster is better to consider an intense course that allows you to practice every day.

3. Private courses online

There are several institutions public and private that offer distance courses. My recommendation here is to double-check the prices and try to verify the quality of the education and the final results after taking the course. However, this could be a good option to start learning Swedish before arriving in Sweden.

4. University courses online

LiU has online Swedish courses for beginners. I took the A1 and A2 courses and I can say that I am very satisfied. The instructions are very easy to follow and I feel that I could really understand the language and start speaking after taking the first course. I really made a huge improvement and really like how the course is structured and all the extra resources that they give you to practice. All the material is online and used to study 3 or 4 hours per week. These courses are 25% percent of the time, so it is a bit slow to finish the A level but I think is worth it.

5. Qualifying course in Swedish for one year LiU

This is the course that I started and I can tell you most of my fellow students recommend it. It is a one year course that teaches all the language. So you don’t have to register for new courses!

From the A to the C level all in one year. It is an intensive course so you study every day for at least 2 – 3 hours and you talk a lot which is a perfect opportunity to work on the fluency and spoken language.

I really have high expectations for this course that I just started and for the first week, I could say that so far has been very good.

The books you need in most of the courses

From the SFI, Folkuniversitet, distance courses and the Qualifying course in LiU you are going to need these books.


Rivstart A1 + A2 (2nd edition)

Books to study Swedish

Online training:

There is also an extra material option to train what you have learned online on Just create an account, order the books and start training and keeping track of your advancement.

My new class!

New classmates

It is nice to be able to meet new people and train with them. Learning a new language at a proficient level in the short term requires good motivation and company. So it great to be able to share this new endeavor with my new classmates.  Plus the course is fast but quite friendly, so it is a joy to go daily.

Final recommendations

  • Try to practice every day listening to the radio or watching TV.
  • Practice at the café, restaurant or any place that you can have small interactions every day.
  • If you feel that you are getting tired, rest. It is very easy to feel overwhelmed while you learn the language. So I had a couple breaks because it can be become very frustrating not to understand the language at 100% while you live in Sweden.
  • It is necessary to learn Swedish. So yes, you could have a normal life just with English, but if you really want to integrate into Swedish society and understand the culture and be updated with what happens around you, it is vital to learn Swedish or at least give it a try.


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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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