Ankie Brundin, systems administrator for the HR Department at University Administration (GVS) and Mo Chen, postdoc at the School of Industrial Technology and Management (ITM). Photo: Marianne Norén

The lunch meetings became the beginning of a new friendship

Published Aug 19, 2019

“Being a Study Buddy energises me as I get a unique chance to get to know someone that I would otherwise never have met. It’s such an exciting and great way to make new friends,” says Ankie Brundin who has supported KTH researcher, Mo Chen with learning Swedish and learning more about Sweden.

We go to a cafe not far from the KTH Campus in the middle of the lunch rush. Mo Chen came to KTH from Shanghai around a year ago to conduct research on industrial production at the School of Industrial Technology and Management (ITM). At the time, he knew no Swedish at all. His language skills are now amazingly good and his curiosity captures new Swedish expressions during conversations. The atmosphere is jovial and relaxed.

When you are a Study Buddy, you eat lunch once a week with a foreign colleague from KTH who is assigned to you for a defined period of time. The purpose of these lunch meetings is for the foreign colleague to have the opportunity to practice their spoken Swedish and get a deeper insight into Swedish culture and daily life at the same time. Ankie and Mo enjoy each other’s company so much that they have continued to meet up on a regular basis and stay in touch via email and the WhatsApp app.

Ankie on being Mo’s Study Buddy:

“Our lunches are educational for both of us and for example, they have given me fantastic insight into the culture of a foreign country and the age difference is not a problem at all in this context.”

They talk about anything and everything when they meet up, for example how things in Sweden compare to things in China, about work, holidays and food. Ankie Brundin emphasises that their meetings are not like a school in the ordinary sense but on the contrary, are very undemanding. Of course, there is no homework or tests.

“You need to eat lunch every day and as a Study Buddy, you get the whole package at the same time,” says Ankie Brundin and continues to say:

Coffee and cake at home with Ankie Brundin one summer day at the end of June. Photo: Ankie Brundin

“It doesn’t feel like any kind of sacrifice to me at all.” To become a Study Buddy, you only need to enjoy spending time with other people, be open and caring and want to guide a person through the Swedish culture.

Mo on the best about Ankie:  

“Ankie is patient and good at listening to my Swedish. She has given me good advice about how I can learn the language better and how to write sentences in Swedish. Through her, I have gained insight into the Swedish culture and how I am to express myself without offending anyone.

Mo Chen notes that you don’t have as many coffee breaks in China as here and that in Sweden, you often greet each other with a hug.

Despite the fact that he has lived in Sweden for about a year, Mo Chen has never been into a Swedish home but has now received an invitation from Ankie Brundin. The visit will happen tomorrow and is something that he is looking forward to.

Text: Marianne Norén

How to become a Study Buddy

If you are employed at KTH you will have the opportunity in autumn to become a Study Buddy to a foreign colleague. Register your interest to Lotta Rosenfeldt at KTH relocation by sending an email to

Swedish and Swedish (work) culture

The lunch meetings with a Study Buddy are sub-activities that are included in the eight week long training programme “Swedish and Swedish (work) culture”.

Tre training programme is targeted at employees of KTH who come from other countries and lack knowledge of the Swedish language and Swedish society in general. The President, Head of Human Resources and KTH management are responsible for the training programme.

The respective Heads of School nominate an employee for the course. Speak to your Head of School if you know any suitable colleagues or if you want to attend yourself in order to improve your Swedish. The course is not available in the regular range of courses offered at KTH but there is one course offering provided per semester and the course is financed by central funds.

The purpose of the lunch meetings is a mutual awareness of intercultural communication, integration and new people at KTH.

The lunch meetings take place at Restaurant Q, which is on the KTH Campus. As the lunches are part of the training programme they are free of charge for both the Study Buddy and the programme participant.

Belongs to: Current
Last changed: Aug 19, 2019