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Noor: Businesswoman and scholar

Being a student, finding your long-term goal isn’t the easiest task. Having doubts or an unclear perception about what the future holds are normal phases for the generic student. But there’s always exceptions. Meet Noor, one of GU’s students whom has it all figured out.

“I always wanted to become a businesswoman. And a lecturer too! At the same time!” Noor Fatima Ali was born in Gujrat, a smaller town in Pakistan. Growing up as a child she remembered her family’s wish for her to become a doctor, but business had always been on her mind. Her father got a job in Milan and the family moved to Italy. In Milan she started to purse her dream by studying a bachelor in Business Administration. “During the first years in Italy I had a very hard time adopting to the social aspects, with all the friendliness from the Italians. Many of my parents friends said that I was very rude, being so asocial, but over time I opened up. So when I moved to Sweden it’s me who thinks swedes are rude for not being as social as I’m used to! Every time I smile to a stranger they probably think that I’m a weirdo!”

Becoming a Gothenburger

About two years ago her father got a new job in Sweden of all places and Noor came along. “I thought this would be a good time to continue my studies on a master’s level. I had no real opinion of Sweden on beforehand and I didn’t know what to expect so it felt almost like an adventure. And I started to like Gothenburg almost immediately!”

Noor had no problem with homesickness and felt welcomed right away. “Gothenburg has such an international feeling, with a lot of international people and students from all over the world. But in the end it feels like we all unite around the fact that we are Gothenburgers. I speak very little Swedish and when I was in Malmö a couple of weeks ago some Swedish words slipped out of me and people were like “You didn’t say you were from Gothenburg!”, which made me feel very happy. I feel like I belong to some kind of cool gang, being a Gothenburger”. Although, she wouldn’t mind learning more Swedish as she believes that swedes tend to enjoy speaking English a bit too much. “One thing that is both a pro and a con when it comes to live in Sweden as a foreigner is that everybody speaks English so well. It’s harder to learn Swedish because you can get around with English wherever you go, even handling government services works perfectly with English. But on the other hand you feel more welcome here because of that, everybody understands you and can communicate with you”.

Respecting your teachers (and your coffee)

When asked about what the main academic differences are with Sweden compared to Italy and Pakistan, Noor doesn’t hesitate with her answer. “The relationship between students and the lecturer! Here, you can address them with their name and ask questions and you feel like they really want to help you understand. Back in Italy when I called one of my professors by her first name she replied with “You’re not my youngest sister, you’re not allow to call me by my given name!” This barrier between students and professors doesn’t exist in the same way in Sweden, and I think it’s easier to learn and understand because of that. I actually feel more respect to my teachers here in Sweden because I know that they’re here for me and not just for their own amusement”.

But it isn’t only the academic differences that surprised her – the cultural differences was a bit of a shock too. “One thing that surprised me was how much swedes love fika! I mean, you look at the time and think “Oh time for fika!” How can you people ever manage to work or study with all these fika breaks? And the way that you drink your coffee – having an espresso in the morning and a cappuccino after lunch! It’s supposed to be the exact opposite, an Italian would have scolded you for ordering a cappuccino any time of the day that isn’t in the morning!”

In the end, Noor is very clear about her future dreams. “Right now my goal is to write a very good master’s thesis so I can get a PhD placement at the School of Business, Economics and Law in Gothenburg. My long term plan is to run my own business and at the same time be a professor in my field of study, preferably at the University of Gothenburg!”

Noor Fatima Ali

About Noor Fatima Ali

  • Born in Gujrat, Pakistan
  • Lived in Milan, Italy for 13 years
  • Studied a bachelor in Business Administration in Italy
  • Loves photography and is one of the founders of the facebook page "Humans of Gothenburg"
Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 12/22/2016

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