“Everyone was 100 % committed to the course and willing to go that extra mile to help out or answer questions”

For Angelika Lebedev, the learning never stops, and the Swedish Institute Academy for Young Professionals (SAYP) gave her both excellent learning opportunities and more of that Nordic feel.
A photo of a woman with long dark hair, smiling.

Angelika’s academic background includes a bachelor’s in Public Affairs, master’s in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, as well as a degree from the School of Diplomacy. But communication is her main interest, and also what she does at work, currently at the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Estonia. She prefers working in the public sector and has experience from Estonia’s Ministry for Rural Affairs and Ministry for Defence.

A big fan of learning, she didn’t hesitate when she saw the announcement for the Swedish Institute Academy for Young Professionals (SAYP). Both for the sake of learning new work skills, and to learn more about the Nordic way of life.

-It seemed like a great opportunity to get more of that Nordic feeling. And also learn more about the subject I chose, Sustainable Public Management. For me, it was a perfect match of culture and topic. It was also beneficial for my job at the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office.’

Dedicated teachers are important to Angelika, who thought SAYP was well organised with highly professional lecturers. Somewhat surprisingly, it turned out to also be a social experience.

-Everyone was 100 per cent committed to the course and willing to go that extra mile to help out or answer questions from us. They really tried to bring us closer together as a group and managed to arrange some social events even though we were all online. Besides lectures we had online gatherings for chats and having drinks. They really made the best possible out of the situation. It was professional yet they managed to make it comfortable, even online.‘

Being used to technology and being online, the only things she had been concerned about was missing that social aspect. She thought they did it well, but admits that even with all the available tools, it’s not the same when you are online as when you meet in person.

-I would have preferred meeting in person, but thought they handled the online tools very well. Other online courses I have taken have been through videos and home assignments. SAYP was much better since we met our classmates and interacted with them and got to know them. In the end I felt I was part of a group. The interactive aspect really added something.’

Since the programme, Angelika thinks more about how her decisions influence the wider community and the environment, and how her work influences the public sector.

-After the programme, I try to keep the concept in mind how we could work with innovation more in the public sector. Maybe my office can set an example. The programme gave me inspiration and also motivation to think more about these things. But also, a broader knowledge about what sustainability actually is and how I can be a part of it. It is more than green thinking.

In the future Angelika would like to work in diplomacy, and someday to pursue a PhD. She sees herself working as a diplomat.

-I think I could benefit my country best that way. I have an ability to be able to bring people together.

Applications for SAYP 2021 opens mid February. To find out more about SAYP and how to apply.