9 Reasons Why I Started a School Blog in Sweden
On August 2017 I started the masters program in “Innovation and Design” at Mälardalen University, Sweden. Since then, I grew significantly, on many levels, starting with me as a student, me as a colleague, and continuing with me as an art based person, me as researchers, as an individual and as a part of a community. Because of the experience on multiple levels, I decided to start taking notes and leave them here, in a blog section format. I don’t know yet how often I will write but I hope it will be frequently enough to call it a “school blog”.
For the first article, I will shortly describe the nine reasons that made me write about my new masters student experiences.
1. Amazing Master Program
My master program is amazing! I am so, so glad that I had the chance to discover it, pass the admission requirements (with all the appeals) and go straight to this wonderful Swedish educational system. It may not be the same feeling for everyone, but for me this courses meant continuous revelations, like all my life is starting to finally make sense, after all these educational years of just learning and practicing things. I still have to fight against my old fears and preconceptions about how I suppose to act at school, how relevant are the grades, why the teachers act like they do, without any explanation or why I can’t manage myself to deliver the tasks in proper time. This masters is teaching me how to build something that is more important than a certificate. It makes me feel confident about myself and makes me understand my own way of working.
2. Useful for Documentation
Even if I took only three courses until now, I definitely understand that one of the most important approaches in our projects is to document each step during the journey. This is happening because we are not working with engineering systems (or other domains), where if you, as a student, are not able to make a mechanism work in the end of the course, that means that you are failing the objectives of that moment. But for my innovation and design program the things are a bit different: from each project that we make, we are learning essential key points in managing this kind of situations. So in order to get us graded, the teachers need to have something to take in account, even if the project succeeded or not. This blog section will help me in documenting my journey and keeping track of the information that I consider relevant for some of the courses.
3. High Level of Education
This is not just because I personally am too excited about this program. It is because a bunch of researchers and teachers worked for two years to establish the curriculum for this masters. They gathered the state of the art data from innovation, design and education and created a two years schedule for students that feel the need of taking their education to the next level. They combined very well the theory with practical implication. I write a lot about my purpose in choosing different types of literatures, when I explain my project approaches, and it helps me a lot to give something tangible to the feelings I experimented along the way. The Mälardalen University has also a strong statement in giving students the possibility to collaborate with different types of industries, so we get the chance to have the taste of the real outside world, where things might happen a bit different than we expect. Uncertainty is a part of the education that I learn how to deal with.
4. Practice English in Writing
Since I landed into this university, English is the new black. Thank God that my masters is an international one and that the entire program is build on the world wide language, otherwise, I don’t think I could’ve survived with Swedish lectures, especially on this high level of knowledge. My relationship with English has finally taken shape and I can say that I am much more confident in expressing myself in it, that I have ever been before. It was a long adaptable journey that took me more than 15 years to accept the fact that I can speak, write and understand this language on a normal level, and none of my former teachers could not say the opposite (as they did during my previous education). Thus, this blog is a good way for me to practice it, considering that all my assignments have the requirements of scientific language and most of the time, they are between 4000-6000 words.
5. Compare It with My Previous Education from Romania
There are a lot of feelings involved when it comes to comparing this moment with my previous education in Romania. Sometimes I feel a strong anger in my head because the Rumanian educators couldn’t make me understand the “why” behind their actions, sometimes a satisfaction rises, because of the connection I just made, that explains the anterior “why”, and sometimes, I am so happy to see that I can actually use the artistic methods that framed my profession, into a totally new domain, while understanding that everything is interconnected.
Plus, this is a complete new educational system, that follows other structures that I will really love to show later on here.
6. Shifting from Art to Innovation and Design
In the beginning, I was so scared by this whole new experience. After the first day I came home and told Philippe that all my new colleagues have backgrounds in something that could be related to innovation, design, business and management. For me everything was completely new (or at least at the beginning). I couldn’t relate with the specialized terms that where presented, all the concepts where far away from me and first scientific journals that I had to read took me many hours to actually understand something from them. Soon I discovered that even if we are talking about project management, design thinking, big industry and other business activities, the lessons that I have learned during my art training are so much more connected to innovation and design. And the satisfaction is so great when I succeed in making the link between them.
7. Create a Personal Portfolio
My university is underlining the idea of co-productions: students that work together with different companies to have complete learning outcomes. Usually, we are working with different challenges presented by the companies, and during the course, we create something (it could be physical or virtual prototypes, methods, plans, tools or knowledge). There is a huge amount of time and energy spent with these projects, and a sharable link will make my work worth, even outside the university, where I can actually show my portfolio (this website was built as a portfolio gallery, and now it will have more sections).
8. Insert the Swedish Culture
This is more on the side, but it is still relevant, considering the country of Sweden were all the masters program events are happening. Because when I became a student, I also became an active part of this Swedish society, which means that my contact with local people has increased significantly comparing with the period I wasn’t enrolled in school. I commute every day, I observe people on the street, I insist on practicing my crude Swedish with locals, I experience different cultural activities and all of them, together, will frame this series of articles.
9. It can help others as well
When I decided to apply for this program, even if I read multiple times the description on their website, I couldn’t actually understand anything. My idea was that I really wanted to continue my education and the single name that I found suitable for me at this university (that is in the city that we live in) was “Innovation and Design”. I had more knowledge about design than innovation but the description was too vague for me at that point. Now I see why it is like this, because this domain includes a very broad area, with multidisciplinary activities and world wide applications. By writing my personal experiences here, maybe I can help other people that were in the same situation as me, maybe I will just inspire others to read the literature that gave me big revelations, or maybe the Swedish education, presented from an international perspective, will be a good to know thing for someone else.