Interview series with alumni of the Swedish Institute: Oleg Shimanskyi
The Swedish Institute (SI) is a public agency aimed at developing lasting relationships with people and institutions in other countries. One of SI’s activities is to provide scholarships and grants to Ukrainians wanting to study in Sweden. The Embassy wanted to hear about the experiences of a handful of SI alumni. This article is the second in a series of profiles published during October.
Oleg Shymanskyi, born and raised in Kyiv, is currently working as a strategic communications consultant at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center. After earning a Bachelor of Laws he moved to the Netherlands to study European Public Affairs at Maastricht University – a seemingly natural path for Oleg, who had been involved in the European Youth Parliament during most of his studies.
In 2013, Oleg received a grant from the Swedish Institute (SI) to study entrepreneurship at Lund University for a year. Apart from continuing to gain experience abroad, his venture into business studies also reflected a social enterprise trend in Ukraine at the time. “I wanted to get a grip on how to start a social enterprise”, Oleg recalls. “I decided that the way to change society would be through the private sector”.
Oleg enjoyed the hands-on, interactive way of learning at Lund University. “At the very first lecture we were split into small groups and each of them was given 100 kronor to invest in whatever we wanted to” he says, “and the group that had made the most profit a week later became the winner”. Oleg was also in awe of Sweden’s nature and would explore the vicinities
with his local friend, who he was lucky enough to know from before. “He always used to drive with a fishing rod in a trunk of his car”, Oleg recalls with a smile.
Oleg has been an active participant in the SI alumni network since returning to Ukraine. To name just one of his activities, he spoke at events where he informed Ukrainian students about the opportunities to study in Sweden, while at the same time he attempted at activating the local
alumni community together with the other recent graduates Sparked with interest in Swedish culture and language, some of his friends decided to study in Sweden themselves and have fallen in love with the country.
As closing remarks, Oleg says: “Ukrainians who want to gain experience in Scandinavia can afford to do that thanks to the Swedish Institute’s funding. It is a great opportunity to obtain top-quality education and discover one of the most interesting cultures in Europe".
You can find out more about SI and the different scholarships available at https://eng.si.se/areas-of-operation/scholarships-and-grants/ and on their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/swedishinstitutescholarships.
For general information about studying abroad in Sweden, please visit www.studyinsweden.se. The applications for studying in Sweden open on the 17th of