Boldly pursuing her path

For students, mobility has no limits. So much, at least, is true for Julia Jakobsson from Sweden. She is pursuing her Master’s degree in the English-language Media and Convergence Management programme, and her enthusiasm for studying away from home knows no bounds.

“It all started when I began to feel slightly constrained in Sweden”, 29-year-old Julia Jakobsson, a native of Stockholm, tells us. We want to know if it takes courage to study abroad. She believes the answer is simple. She would not necessarily describe herself as a courageous person, but because of her age she can command the necessary willpower to take this step over and again. “Of course, mobility is also a question of cash, “ Jakobsson adds. She is fortunate enough to have access to some seed money, thanks to her previous professional activity. She studied Journalism, Media and Communication at the University of Gothenburg and after graduating she worked as a journalist for various media outlets in Sweden. She also trained as an investigative journalist. “I really liked my job, but I wanted to work in other countries and expand my personal boundaries.” Another factor that rendered the situation in Sweden more complicated, according to Julia Jakobsson, was the great difficulty associated with gaining a foothold in the profession as a young journalist and the lack of opportunities leading to permanent positions.

This tricky situation strengthened her resolve and encouraged her to start something new and to “go beyond the borders of Sweden”. She first went to England and spent seven months in Brighton, working as an online editor for an American news portal. “That was a very enriching experience and an exciting time.” Nonetheless, she was still determined to pursue another goal, to change her life once again and to fulfil a dream, namely: to return to student life.

When asked how she ended up choosing Klagenfurt, she responds: “That’s a great story. I searched the Internet for study opportunities in the field of media management and came across the English-language Master’s degree programme in Media and Convergence Management. It was the only one in the entire German-speaking area.” And thus, she re-started academically. Even though the degree programme is taught in English, she was determined to improve her German skills and to prepare properly for the 2-year study programme. Over a period lasting several months she attended German courses in Stuttgart and worked part-time as a freelance journalist.

Finding a place to live in Klagenfurt turned out to be simple. Through Facebook, she became aware of a group of people looking for a roommate in a flat-share. “It was ideal for me. We conducted an interview via Skype, and then I was accepted into this lovely circle of people. I feel very content here, we are all of a similar age and a very international bunch”, Julia Jakobsson tells us contentedly. The first few months in her “new home” have passed by very quickly. “I am delighted by the beautiful campus and the mountains all around.” At her home university in Sweden, according to Jakobsson, everything was spread far apart and the individual institutes were distributed across the city of Gothenburg. “That’s not the case on the campus of the University of Klagenfurt. Everything is very close and within easy reach.” At first, she had to adjust to longer-lasting lessons. She recounts that it was unthinkable for classes in Sweden to last a whole two hours without interruption. What she particularly appreciates about the degree structure in Austria is that students can decide for themselves which courses to choose and at which point in their programme to complete them.

Finally, we ask about her plans for the future: “First, I hope to complete my Master’s degree. I have many different ideas, as far as my professional career is concerned. But my main goal is a management-level job in a media company. And that’s what I will be working towards.”

for ad astra: Lydia Krömer
translation: Karen Meehan