Are you a new master student in Sweden? Do you get a scholarship from Swedish Institute (SI)?
Last year, I got the acceptance to study in Sweden and was awarded for funding from SI. Before I arrived in Sweden, I knew a little bit about the Network for Future Global Leaders (NFGL) from the SI newsletter (regularly sent by SI for its awardees). I was curious about the network but it was difficult to find articles about it unless it came from the SI website. So, I write this article to share my experiences in NFGL and why you should join this network if you are an SI scholarship holder.
First thing first, what is NFGL?
SI Network for Future Global Leaders (NFGL) – a network that aims to build a long lasting relationship between Sweden and Swedish Institute scholarship holders.
All Swedish Institute’s scholarship holders are automatically becoming NFGL members. I am Novita Supardi, a master student in marketing program at Stockholm University took a role in this network as a chairperson for NFGL Stockholm University 2019/2020.
Picture 1: I am in the Kick-Off event for SI Scholarship (2019).
I had 6 people in my team as board members of NFGL SU. All of us got elected by other NFGL members from SU through voting. There will be an announcement about forming a new NFGL in the beginning of fall semester. You can apply for the position when the application is open.
What did we do as board members? We organized three events with major partners, but unfortunately the other three events are cancelled due to covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, taking extra work out of school is supposed to be challenging, especially when living overseas, but I do believe this opportunity will enrich student experience abroad. Thus, I would give the top four reasons why you should join NFGL board member and specifically go for chairperson role.
1. Developing leadership ability with an international team.
Leadership is a long-life journey that you always need to develop. Being part of an international team with a diverse background is truly challenging. For instance, when our team planned the details of our events, we had different perspectives about how the events should be. We had different experiences, education backgrounds, and cultures that also affect our communication style. Thus, I learned how to facilitate my team and how to handle the culture diversity. This is what NFGL aims for. NFGL prepares you to be a future global leader, meaning you must get used to lead different people in different settings.
Picture 2: SI Local NFGL Stockholm University Election Event.
2. Building a network with Swedish companies, institutions, or professionals.
In my experience, my team did partnership with Swish (a top fintech company in Sweden), Kista Science City, Stockholm NGOs, and some prominent professionals. We learned to approach those partners and expand our network outside school. This is one of the privileges for board members to have direct contact with them. We did not only meet them but also we made an event together to promote SDGs 2030 agenda.
“The new form of networking is not about climbing a ladder to success, it is about collaboration, co-creation, partnerships, and long-term values-based relationship.” – Porter Gale.
Picture 3: Company visit to Swish event by Local NFGL Stockholm University (2020).
3. Creating positive impact
As a board member, my team has freedom to make any events that align to SDGs 2030. It is our choice to make what kind of positive impact on our society. One of the examples is we had an event called Realizing the Global Goals: building on a sense of belonging, of which Janice Monteiro is the project leader. We invited 8 NGOs, some university students, representatives from Stockholm Resilience Centre, and The Chairman of agenda 2030 council in the city of Stockholm who is also Swedish former Minister for Education. During the event, we were discussing problems such as equality, safety, and many more in Stockholm and shared our solution ideas. We formulated and proposed the inputs directly to The Chairman of agenda 2030 council in the city of Stockholm during the forum. We hope that he will take into account the participants’ feedback for his institution’s meeting and can make policy to cope with those problems.
This kind of experience taught me that wherever we go, we can make differences as long as you are willing to do it. Being board members facilitate you to be part of the change.
Picture 4: Realizing the global goals: Sense of belonging event by Local NFGL Stockholm University (2020). Credit photo to Reinaldo Ubilla.
4. Self-Leadership Program (SLP)
SLP is a program by SI, in collaboration with Hyper Island to prepare all local network chairpersons for their leadership development. This is one of the benefits as chairperson, I had three modules during 6 months and worked with amazing 24 leaders from different networks. I had a great opportunity since the program provides many teamwork tasks, so I could learn new perspectives and skills from these people. Besides, all chairpersons were gathered in Stockholm and all the accommodation and transportation were provided by SI. So, what’s the reason not to be chairperson in SI NFGL?
Picture 5: SLP Module 2 in Stockholm (2020).
These are based on my experiences as a chairperson of NFGL SU and I would love to recommend all SI scholarship holders to be part of the board members and be brave to take any roles. This is one of the ways to benefit your scholarship from the Swedish Institute.
Master in Marketing
Editor: Darmawan Prasetya