Interview with Swedish Institute alumnus: Oleg Shimanskyi

Photo: Oleg Shimanskyi

The Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine has interviewed three Swedish Institute alumni. This article is the first in a series of profiles published by the Embassy of Sweden during October.

Oleg Shymanskyi, born and raised in Kyiv, is currently working as a strategic communications consultant at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center. After earning a Bachelor of Laws he moved to the Netherlands to study European Public Affairs at Maastricht University – a seemingly natural path for Oleg, who had been involved in the European Youth Parliament during most of his studies.

In 2013, Oleg received a grant from the Swedish Institute (SI) to study entrepreneurship at Lund University for a year. Apart from continuing to gain experience abroad, his venture into business studies also reflected a social enterprise trend in Ukraine at the time. “I wanted to get a grip on how to start a social enterprise”, Oleg recalls. “I decided that the way to change society would be through the private sector”.

Oleg enjoyed the hands-on, interactive way of learning at Lund University. “At the very first lecture we were split into small groups and each of them was given 100 kronor to invest in whatever we wanted to” he says, “and the group that had made the most profit a week later became the winner”. Oleg was also in awe of Sweden’s nature and would explore the vicinities with his local friend, who he was lucky enough to know from before. “He always used to drive with a fishing rod in a trunk of his car”, Oleg recalls with a smile.

Oleg has been an active participant in the SI alumni network since returning to Ukraine. To name just one of his activities, he spoke at events where he informed Ukrainian students about the opportunities to study in Sweden, while at the same time he attempted at activating the local alumni community together with the other recent graduates Sparked with interest in Swedish culture and language, some of his friends decided to study in Sweden themselves and have fallen in love with the country.

As closing remarks, Oleg says: “Ukrainians who want to gain experience in Scandinavia can afford to do that thanks to the Swedish Institute’s funding. It is a great opportunity to obtain top-quality education and discover one of the most interesting cultures in Europe”.

The interview was published at the Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine website. You can read the original article here