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Published: 2023-10-20

"This programme has been a transformative experience for me"

PROFILE Amy Nwoku from the Nigeria was intrigued by the opportunity concentrate on health economics extensively at Umeå University. She highly appreciates the educational atmosphere where students' unique perspectives are valued, and are empowered to contribute.

Text: David Meyers

Name: Amy Nwoku
Home city and country: Umuahia, Nigeria
Degree programme: Master's in Public Health with a specialization in Health Economics
Favourite quote: “You won’t understand what I mean now, but someday you will: the only trick of friendship, I think, is to find people who are better than you are—not smarter, not cooler, but kinder, and more generous, and more forgiving—and then to appreciate them for what they can teach you, and to try to listen to them when they tell you something about yourself, no matter how bad—or good—it might be, and to trust them, which is the hardest thing of all. But the best, as well.” ― Hanya Yanagihara, from the book, A Little Life
Favourite Swedish word or custom: "Fika" is my favourite Swedish custom. It combines mindful relaxation with social connection. My friends joke that my love for fika and pastries are related. But, it goes beyond eating for me. Fika naturally encourages interaction, it is rarely observed alone. This creates a relaxing atmosphere. So, I always feel refreshed and more focused after a fika break.

What made you interested in applying to this master's degree programme?

I was drawn to apply for the program due to the opportunity to concentrate on Health Economics extensively, while also dedicating a substantial amount of time to fundamental Public Health courses, such as Epidemiology and Health Promotion.

What would you like to have known before you came to Umea?

I believe the guide for international students is thoroughly comprehensive, covering all essential information an international student would want to know before boarding a flight to Umeå.

The department has created an atmosphere where students thrive, fostering a strong community with the faculty and amongst ourselves.

What do you think about the programme and the teaching?

Over the past year, this programme has been a transformative experience for me. Beyond foundational Public Health knowledge, it fosters skills many other programmes assume students have. A year ago, I doubted my ability to use software like R; now, under my teachers' guidance, I handle personal research confidently. My readiness for the professional world has expanded so much.

The Epidemiology and Public Health Department has created an atmosphere where students thrive, fostering a strong community with the faculty and amongst ourselves. Our unique perspectives are valued, and we're empowered to contribute. My collaborations with coursemates on research projects have solidified a lasting network, proving the programme's lasting impact.

What do you like to do in Umea during your free time?

I wish I could fill this section with vivid accounts of all the adventures Umea has to offer, but truthfully, I am quite the homebody. My routine typically revolves around going to school, grocery shopping, the occasional dining out (I have a particular fondness for the Asian buffet at Avion mall), and attending church. That pretty much sums up my life here and I am quite happy with it. However, I must express my deep affection for my church, Church of Hope, where I have forged meaningful connections. I often receive invitations from fellow churchgoers for meals at their homes, and contrary to popular belief, Swedes can be incredibly hospitable and generous, without any expectation of payment.

What are the biggest differences between studying in Sweden and Nigeria?

The most significant difference for me has been the use of alternative teaching methods and strategies in Sweden. Traditional classrooms often revolve around teacher-centered activities, focusing primarily on information delivery, which does not necessarily promote learning engagement. However, the courses I have taken in Sweden adopt a student-centered approach that actively encourages engagement. The multitude of independent and group activities conducted during classes not only foster engagement but also enhance the acquisition of skills and knowledge.

What are your plans after graduation?

My ultimate goal is academia and research. Therefore, I am currently applying for PhD positions. Thankfully, this programme has ensured that I am already well prepared to take on any position in the world.

Internationella studenter studerar i caféet i Lindellhallen
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