Asman Ahmad, studying for a master’s in information engineering and management at Jonkoping University, in the southern Swedish city of Jonkoping, came to this country after graduation from Lucknow, India, because it’s the home of Skype (Two Scandinavian technology entrepreneurs, Niklas Zennstroem of Sweden and Janus Friis of Denmark, launched the networking marvel exactly 10 years ago).
Ahmad aims to build specialist competence in the software area in the university’s School of Engineering.
In fact, the entrepreneurial spirit is what this institute wants to strongly inculcate in students, says university president Anita Hansbo. “We at Jonkoping University have highly qualified, inventive, entrepreneurial people from all around the world,” she says.
The institute encourages its students and staff to work on new ideas for businesses and financially supports a Science Park in the City set up for new ideas and start-ups. About 60 business have been started by the university’s students.
Apart from the engineering school, there’s an International Business School, School of Education and Communication, and School of Health Sciences. About 10,000 students study here, including 1500 international students from 70 countries.
Among the Indians, Mohammed Fazzad, originally from Kerala and settled in Dubai, is pursuing a course in international logistics and supply chain management. He hopes the programme will help him manage the family business. Exchange students from IIM Kozhikode, Manish Chandra, Umesh Kumar and Veeranja Neyulu, say the are enjoying their stint here. Zaheer Ahmed, studying industrial design and Manoj Janendra, who has just joined the institute, like the programme. “I could have opted for a course in the US,” says Ahmed, “I chose Sweden as I feel the Europeans are more emotional about design - look at the BMW.”
Face to face
‘We control things here’
Student’s unions are important bodies in Swedish universities. Jonkoping University is unusual in the sense that it makes membership mandatory for all students. Jonathan Frylen, head of the union, who has taken a year’s break from studies to manage the union’s affairs, says, “We change how things work on campus. We control the university at all levels, are present in all board meetings, and ensure that quality of education is kept high.” Induction programmes, cultural activities, the university’s nightclub, visits to Swedish homes by international students to familiarise themselves with the local culture, are organised by the union.
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