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Halmstad University's popularity abroad is growing. This year, many international students have been awarded a scholarship from the Swedish Institute in order to start studying at the University this autumn.
– It does a lot for diversity. Thanks to the scholarships, we get applicants from countries that we otherwise would not get students from, says Mirella Radak, education administrator at the University.
The number of applications from Swedish students is decreasing, but among students outside Sweden's borders, the interest in Halmstad University is growing. Compared to the previous year, the University almost doubled the number of applications from international students to a total of 3,000 this year.
– We are working hard to promote our programmes around the world and in Sweden through various collaborations, including through the Swedish Institute (SI). Sweden as a country and Halmstad as a place of education has a good reputation abroad thanks to previous students recommending us, says Stig Perttu, education administrator at the University.
This year, many more of the University's international applicants than in previous years have been awarded a scholarship from the Swedish Institute. The SI scholarships are for people who want to study in another country, but may not be able to do so without the scholarship, which covers both tuition and living expenses.
– It is important for us to increase the diversity in our programmes and at the same time contribute to the development of these countries. Many of the students who have been awarded a scholarship have been successful in other countries, and some of them return to their home country to start a project or business after their education, says Stig Perttu.
Since 2011, Halmstad University has had an average of 3 students with SI scholarships per year. But when the autumn semester starts, 14 SI scholarship recipients start studying at the University. The new students come from 12 different countries: Armenia, Indonesia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Eritrea, South Africa, Tanzania, Palestine, Iran, Kenya and Syria, which has three recipients.
– Thanks to the SI scholarships, we get applicants from countries that we otherwise would not get students from. Without SI, we would not have any students from Africa for example. This year we will also have our first South African student, which is very pleasing, says Mirella Radak.
The Swedish Institute is a Swedish authority that works with assistance efforts and aims to increase mobility for students and researchers together with universities and colleges. In connection with the 2011 tuition fee reform, Sweden transformed aid projects into a scholarship programme through the Swedish Institute. These funds are directed to selected countries and in order to receive a scholarship, applicants must, in addition to being eligible for the education they have applied, also meet SI requirements.
– The scholarship recipients are usually very talented and ambitious. To meet SI's requirements, applicants must write motivation letters, have some work experience and have worked as volunteers. The experience in itself shows that the person has a certain commitment, which is something that SI requests, says Stig Perttu.
Among the former SI scholarship recipients who have studied at Halmstad University we have Lena Idris, who heads the Empowering Women in Media project in her home country Sudan, Tewadros Sissay Girma from Ethiopia, who moved to Texas in the United States with his whole family and Tatsiana Bandaruk from Belarus who graduated in Applied Environmental Science at Halmstad University in 2013.
Tatsiana Bandaruk has worked as an environmental consultant in United Arab Emirates with projects linked to various countries in the Middle East and South Asia, minimising project damage to the environment. Today she is an environmental scientist in Australia.
– I feel that my job has a positive impact on the environment, and every day I spend at my job gives me satisfaction. I am very grateful to SI for the opportunity to get a Master's degree in Sweden, says Tatsiana Bandaruk.
Text: EMELY NIEMI JONSSON
2017: 14 (Armenia, Indonesia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Syria, South Afrika, Tanzania, Palestine, Iran and Kenya).
2016: 5 (Uganda, Cambodia and Tanzania).
2014: 6 (Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda, Indonesia and Syria).
2013: 2 (Jordan and India).
2012: 3 (Belarus and Ethiopia).
2011: 2 (Ethiopia and Uganda).
Tatsiana Bandaruk, former scholarship recipient at Halmstad University