“This scholarship is not only about an opportunity for academic studies, but it also enhances my professional and leadership skills.”

Sophornna Chea from Cambodia is currently studying in a master’s programme in Media and Communication at Lund University. This is her story.
SI scholarship holder Sophornna Chea in Stockholm

Before coming to Sweden I was a Communication Consultant for the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in Cambodia. My role was coordinating all aspects of communications in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) programme, towards government counterparts, private sector and target beneficiaries.

Having worked closely with the SMEs in Cambodia, I have observed that local entrepreneurs remain limited in their capacity to expand sustainable business operations, and they urge for communications technical supports. I believed that advanced courses in media and communications studies could build my analytical skills and knowledge in effective communications, particularly in the field of industrial development.

I applied for SI scholarship because it is not only a scholarship providing financial support, but also a personal and professional development. Initially, a friend of mine encouraged me to apply for education in Sweden because it is a country where creativity and innovation is vital in all sectors. Sweden provides a competitive study programme which will develop my knowledge, and the programme also offers the opportunity to integrate theoretical studies into practical skills through delivering a final independent project. The project will prepare me well for my future career in my home country.

From my point of view, my relevant professional experience in the development sector, my academic background and study commitment has been essential in receiving this scholarship. In my professional experience, I have been working very closely in the development of SMEs, which are relevant to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I demonstrated commitment and a precise plan for how to use the knowledge gained to contribute to a significant change in my home country. Additionally, the application procedure of the scholarship is clearly and precisely presented on the website.

Now I have been in Sweden for a year. The scholarship is an eye-opening opportunity for all the scholarship holders. So far, I have met talented people from a wide range of backgrounds through SI’s events, my department’s symposium events as well as the university’s volunteer programme. These opportunities have enriched and further extended my knowledge. Besides, I am not only exposed to Swedish culture and language but also cultures from my classmates who are coming from diverse backgrounds across the globe.

This scholarship is not only about an opportunity for academic studies, it also enhances my professional and leadership skills. I’ve become an independent person who can take initiatives and see the world from a broader perspective. I feel competent in public speaking, forming groups, conducting research on various topics and delivering presentations. I‘ve been involved in networking events and have connected with open-minded people with different expertise in the development sector. For these reasons, I feel confident that I will be one of the agents of change in the future because of what I am gaining from the SI scholarship today.

My career aspiration is to be a prominent Communications Specialist in Cambodia, particularly in the field of industrial development. This role can help address challenges and deliver ground-breaking solutions for inclusive and sustainable SMEs development.

To summarise, if you are ambitious and want to be a change maker, this scholarship is definitely for you. It will open your mind to the global perspective, enhance your leadership skills to be the world’s successful agents of change, and progress your academic life in an inclusive development country. Come and experience the independent and intensive study programme while enhancing leadership skills through networking events, which are organised by both the SI network and university faculty all year round.

Find out more about the SI scholarships.