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Holden left New York to pursue a master's degree in Gothenburg

After graduating from Fordham University with a bachelor's degree in business administration concentrating in marketing and communication, K. Holden Rumph worked within various branding agencies for 13 years. With a passion for social justice and community health, the Swedish welfare system was always a bit fascinating. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Holden decided that it was time to take the next step in her life and pursue a master's degree within her passion, Global Health.  Further on this page you can read Holden's student testimonial and find inspirational content.

Why did you choose to come to Sweden and the University of Gothenburg?

I began to do research on going back to school to obtain a master’s degree in Global Health. While I looked at universities in the United States, I also felt it would be beneficially to study outside of my home country in an international setting. I had spent time in Scandinavia, including Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, during the summer of 2019 and always felt an affinity for these countries. Coming from a marketing and communications background, I was always drawn to the simple, direct way that things are communicated – both in language and design. I also knew that the health care system in Sweden is vastly different from the privatized healthcare system in the United States, so it felt like an interesting contrast to what I’ve known and therefore a great place to study health.

As a part of my passion for Global Health, a sustainable city with clean air was on the top of my list. When I saw that Gothenburg was the leading city of the Global Destination Sustainability Index I became even more convinced that Gothenburg was the study destination for me. 

Navigate to video: Gothenburg, Sweden: Best in Travel 2021 Sustainable City Stay
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Gothenburg, Sweden: Best in Travel 2021 Sustainable City Stay

Did you have any fears about leaving behind your life in New York?

Though applying and subsequently being admitted to the Global Health Masters programme at University of Gothenburg was exciting, leaving my career and family was a scary and daunting thought. I had travelled in Europe and Asia before but had never lived outside of the east coast of the U.S. I also had built my identity around my career for the past 13 years, so there was some hesitation in giving all that up. But I also knew that I could always go home if I felt like I couldn’t handle Sweden or the programme.  I was also aware that I was potentially going to be older than most students, applying to be a student again at 35! However, I tried to remember that my professional experience could be a strength and I could use it as an asset. I had experience working against deadlines and working with colleagues from different backgrounds.

What has been the most surprising thing that’s been easier for you than you would’ve thought coming back to university or moving to Sweden? And what has been the hardest?

Coming back to school has been a rewarding experience this far. My fears of being older or not coming directly from a bachelors in a related field were quickly erased. It was so easy to be a part of the classroom, I think because the University is international it attracts people from all countries and backgrounds. My fellow students are from so many previous studies and careers including, business, medical fields, social sciences, and others. I think the hardest part has been adapting to the Swedish pedological methods. There isn't that much hierarchy in the classroom – teachers are just as excited to learn from students as students are from teachers. They encourage dialogue and questioning learnings. Lectures feel less like presentations and more like discussions.

However, I must say that I miss New York bagels terribly, but I have found comfort in meeting new people and having fika.

Do you have any advice for prospective students?

First, I'd say that you should take the opportunity and attend to as many webinars as possible. You will get answers to questions you didn't even know that you had. 

My second advice to prospective students I would say, just put yourself out there. Both when you are thinking of applying and when and if you move to Sweden.  I had my own fears about applying for a master’s programme after not having been a student in quite some time, but if you are passionate about a subject, pursue it! Moving to Sweden was a big change for me. New Yorkers are loud by nature, whiles Swedes would rather keep to themselves but that doesn’t mean they are unfriendly or do not want to get to know people. Sometimes you just must put yourself out there and they will happily chat with you or are always open to getting fika.