“The social welfare system in Sweden is supreme”

Published 2 July 2018 in:

Global Swede Nermina

Get to know the Global Swedes: Nermina Saracevic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Uppsala University

Why did you move to Sweden?
The first reason why I moved to Sweden is that I was looking for a specific Masters programme in renewable energy. I found an interdisciplinary programme at Campus Gotland at Uppsala University that fit my non-technical background well. The second reason is that Uppsala University is a world-famous university with an excellent academic record. Last but not least, there is the fact that Sweden is a very friendly country to Bosnia and Herzegovina and helped us a lot during the Bosnian war, which is very much appreciated.

What is your perception of Sweden?
My understanding of Sweden is certainly better now than before I came here. I am very happy and pleased that I chose Sweden for my studies and Gotland, in particular, which is a very beautiful and special place to be. The conditions for studying here are excellent. It is very relaxed and well organised. I personally experienced Sweden as a ‘stress-free country’, with the perfect balance of leisure time and work. Also, the natural environment is so beautiful and helps create a good balance between my studies and my private time.

What are you studying?
I am studying Wind Power Project Management, a one-year Masters of Science programme at Campus Gotland at Uppsala University. The first wind power in Sweden was actually developed in Gotland, so there was a lot of know-how and practical learning, including field trips during the programme.

What differences and similarities do you see between Sweden and Bosnia and Herzegovina?
In terms of similarities, fika and taking breaks is something we also do a lot in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We like to drink coffee! Also, the natural environment here in Sweden is similar to that back home, where we also have a lot of forests and rivers. In terms of differences, I would say that the social welfare system in Sweden is supreme, it is differently organised and something that other countries can take on board in terms of policy approach. Another difference is that Swedish people can be a bit distant at first, before you get to know them, but I experience the Swedes as very polite and kind. And of course, the weather is a big difference – Bosnia and Herzegovina has sunnier weather. But since Sweden and Bosnia and Herzegovina are both European countries, I could actually find more similarities than differences, which made my time in Sweden an enjoyable experience.

Why do you think you received the Global Swede Award?
I’m not sure really! Maybe because of my background in political science and my previous work as a government official on EU integration affairs, where I was involved in international cooperation. Also, my fascination for renewable energy might have contributed. I really do believe that creating clean and sustainable energy is one of the most pressing challenges of our time, and I want to work on reaching that goal. Another thing that might have contributed is my previous experience of studying abroad. I studied in Egypt and Italy before and speak different languages. Whatever the reason may be, I am very happy and grateful to receive the award and I hope to contribute to our future cooperation.

What are your plans for the future?
I wish to use the knowledge I have gained and work on the development of wind power in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which might also be in cooperation with Swedish companies. But equally, I wish to work with renewable energy in general and anywhere, as I am passionate about that. I also liked the balanced work pace I experienced here in Sweden, and I hope to continue with that wherever I go in the future.