When I first arrived in Newcastle in 2003, I had planned to stay for two years. I was going to study English literature and linguistics, and then return to Sweden. In my first year, I fell in love with Creative Writing. The lecturers were excellent, the courses interesting, and I knew I had found my calling. After finishing my BA, I enrolled, with the support and encouragement of my future supervisors, in the Master of Applied Linguistics. I was able to combine my two loves-literature and linguistics-in this degree and got the opportunity to translate poetry and fiction from and into English and French. The ambiance in the School of Humanities and Social Science was fantastic; I was able to thrive in this environment and work with experienced academics who offered wonderful mentorship.
The support I received built my courage and confidence, and I was encouraged to enrol in a PhD of English (Creative Writing), which I did. I graduated in 2008, after three of the most valuable and positive years of my life. As a PhD candidate, I was made part of the School's research culture: I was mentored and supported to attend my first academic conference; I received excellent guidance in developing my academic writing so that I was able to begin publishing; and was able to grow in this climate to become a much more able creative and critical writer.
During my PhD, I gained further experience through the work I did as a casual teacher and research assistant; experience that has equipped me very well for my academic career. I now lecture in the School, and am involved in a range of interesting projects with fascinating people.
The support from my supervisors, lecturers, Heads of School, and colleagues in the School of Humanities and Social Science has been invaluable, and has everything to do with that fact that in 2010, some seven years after my arrival in Australia, I am still here.