Valentin studies both biomaterials and Swedish

Why did you choose to study in the Resource Recovery programme?

"I am here because at my university in France, the Polytech Clermont-Ferrand, a new specialisation was proposed for the last year students: Biomaterials and Sustainable Development. There, we focused on biobased materials in construction, in health, and in the industry. I always wanted to become an actor for the environment, and that specialisation was, for me, an opportunity to do something other than biology. Here, it is the science of materials. It raises very interesting questions about the resources we use (wood, animal products, algae ...), the ways of treating them (raw, fermentation, enzymatic reactions ...), and the interactions we have with them (buildings, food, filtration, prosthesis ...).

That is why I wanted to pursue this path. Fortunately, I was expected to have an experience abroad, and Polytech was in touch with the University of Borås. No hesitation, I came as soon as possible to Sweden, a country that has a great environmental and social reputation."

Why did you choose to study in Sweden?

"This country seems to be advanced in the social and environmental fields, most of the people speak good English, and my university offered me the occasion to do something different in my studies."

You are also studying Swedish; what is that like?

"I try to! Why is the language so hard? I mean, the Swedish spelling does not fit with the pronunciation (okay, French is the same), like how do you pronounce ''y''? Some words are one kilometre long and the ends of the words are very confusing. However, the language sounds smooth and the tense system is comfortable."

What do you think about studying at the University of Borås?

"There is a huge library, very good labs, a restaurant inside the university (I recommend it! Good and cheap), students associations etc... But, to tell the truth, with the current crisis we can't enjoy the student life at 100%, meet Swedish student buddies, and our classmates... Fortunately, the international students have a WhatsApp group where we can discuss and plan activities! Borås is a nice city surrounded by a very nice landscape, forests, lakes etc... The perfect place to be either in town or in nature."

What would you like to do after your graduation?

"It is still unclear. Applying for a doctoral programme could be great (autonomous working, fundamental research, trying hypotheses etc...) or working in the industry (fermentation, biochemistry, lab tools), but I don't know."

Do you have any advice for future students who are thinking about studying in Borås?

"First, learn Swedish words, especially about politeness, numbers, and food.

Second, perfect your English and try to meet other students through social media or in associations. In the beginning, you can feel uncomfortable with this language, but with time you are going to progress! Do not always spend time with the people you already know.

Third, life in Sweden can be expensive and the currency is not the euro. So beware of your bank's extra taxes, try to apply for grants, and go to secondhand shops: there you can find anything, in good quality, and at a very low price.

Fourth, travel! See a lot of the country if you can. Discover the regions, Gothenburg, the south and north, even for a short period."

Text: Lydia Andersson
Photo: Private photo

Published: 2021-05-04