Meeting alumni in China

November has been a busy month for Swedish alumni around the world! While part of the SI team was holding events in Uganda, two more of us traveled to the other side of the world for several days meeting alumni and prospective students in China. We were blown away by the enthusiasm and engagement of our alumni in Beijing and Shanghai – China is home to our largest known alumni network, with nearly 800 active members.

First days in Beijing

Our first days in China were spent in the capital city attending the China Education Expo with a delegation of Swedish universities. We were supported by the head of the Sweden Alumni Network in China (SANC), Ling Zhang, and a team of eight alumni who spent the weekend answering nonstop questions about studies in Sweden.

Left to right: Douglas Washburn with alumni Ling Zhang, Mälardalens Högskola, Su Wei, Uppsala University, Yao Rui, KTH, Nickey KTH in the Sweden booth

Embassy colleague Mikael Salomonsson is interviewed by Chinese media about studying in Sweden

A few days later, it was time for Sweden Career and Education Day, a joint effort between SI, SANC and the Swedish Embassy in Beijing. Held at Peking University, the event attracted over 350 Chinese students with an interest in studying or working in Sweden. Twelve Swedish universities participated along with eight Swedish companies including IKEA, H&M, Ericsson, and Volvo. Ambassador Lars Fredén welcomed a packed seminar room to the event; further well-attended talks were held by Douglas Washburn from SI and Olof Somell from the Nobel Museum.

Ambassador Fredén gives a welcome speech at Sweden Career and Education Day.

IKEA’s booth was popular amongst attendees.

Straight from the event, our delegation headed to a nearby hotel for an alumni dinner. Over 150 members of SANC joined us for an informal evening kicked off with inspiring talks from Dr. Christer Ljungwall, Head of Growth Analysis at the Swedish Embassy in Beijing, and Olof Somell from the Nobel Museum in Stockholm.

From left to right: Mac Ma, Liu Weichen, Jiayi Liu

Left to right: Ling Zhang, Kaixi Huang, Rachel Weiner, Yuchen Wu, Olof Somell, Douglas Washburn, Mikael Salomonsson, Eric Liu

Swedes in Shanghai

A few days later, it was time for our next alumni event, this time in Shanghai. The Nordic Consulate Generals in Shanghai arranged an exciting evening for alumni of universities in all five Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland) as a part of Nordic Design and Innovation Week Shanghai. Swedish alumni joined in force, with 80 of 200 attendees coming from Swedish universities.

Jonna Wibelius and Aron Johansson welcome attendees to the Nordic Alumni Reception.

The reception was held in Nordic Design and Innovation Week’s exhibition space, giving visitors the chance to check out projects from four of the Nordic countries’ top design schools whilst catching up with classmates.  The highlight of the evening was a spirited Nordic trivia quiz – the Swedish alumni were sadly vanquished by our neighbors to the south, Denmark!

To round off our time in China, our last weekend was spent at the China Education Expo’s Shanghai stop. As in Beijing, we were supported by a fantastic team of alumni, eager to answer the many questions we received about studies in Sweden.


Rachel Weiner, Douglas Washburn and SI alumni team!