For some of you it seems that this day is still very far from coming and for some others it will arrive very soon! But one thing is certain, that graduation day will come for all students sooner or later! Since I recently had my graduation ceremony for the master program I was studying in Gothenburg University, I thought that it is a good idea to write something about it.
So, the first thing I want to say about Swedish graduation is that it is completely different from what I had in mind. I come from Greece and the graduation I had for my bachelor was more like a typical procedure that we had to undergo, with typical speeches and some teachers handing out our degrees. But my recent experience from the Swedish graduation was way more than that!
It took place in the amphitheatre room of the Haga campus of the Gothenburg University. There were a lot of people attending the event. The coordinators of the master program, some of the teachers, the graduating students and some friends and family members. The ceremony started with some very nice music which some of the teachers played in the guitar and a former student of the program singing. After that some speeches from the coordinators and the teachers followed. Those speeches though did not felt like a typical process but more like some personal output and some warm words to congratulate the graduates. One of the most touching part of the ceremony was when some of our classmates took the floor and talked about our two years experience of studying in the University of Gothenburg and living in Sweden. It was nice to remind us all these moments that we went through, with lot of curiosity, happiness, stress and finally feeling of achievement that we experienced through this journey!
Then, it was the time for the degree conferment. Since we are a small group of classmates that process also felt more than typical, since the teacher handing out the diplomas knew personally each one of us and the fellow classmates were cheering and made it a really special time! The ceremony ended with one of the teachers leading a karaoke and us singing a version of the famous song “We are the world” recorded in 1985 written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, but slightly changed so it suit with our graduation day!
What is more to tell is that this graduation ceremony happened to take place at the same time when the coordinator of our master program was retiring. So that made it even more emotional for the teachers but also for many of the students. After the ceremony finished we continue with a fest at one of the rooms of the university with some farewell speeches form coworkers and students.
After that we had organized with the classmates to go for our own party in a nice place in town. The weather was on our side that day, so we were able to sit in a beautiful garden of a bar somewhere in the area of Majorna. The evening ended with us climbing in the hill at Masthuggstorget and enjoying the nice view of the lovely Gothenburg in sunset!
It was maybe the last time that we were sitting all together and chatting about previous experiences and future plans. Many of us will go back to their home-countries, some will stay here in Sweden and some will continue their travel in new destinations. But one thing is for sure, that we will always remember this experience! During this year we all learned a lot of things from each other and saw how much we all come from so different parts of the world but how similar we all are deeply! We shared some parts of ourselves with the others and took some valuable lessons that will follow us for the rest of our lives!
And I think that beyond any academic knowledge we gained, that’s the most important qualification we got by studying abroad!