Rasha and Sanaz in Sweden
Rasha and Sanaz in Sweden

Reflections from a Tandem Placement: Sanaz and Rasha’s story

Rasha Shaaban (National Museum of World Culture, Göteborg) shares insights and what she learned from the first placement of her Tandem Europe partner Sanaz Amidi (Rosetta Arts Centre, London). Looks like this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

The journey started back in October 2017 when I went to take part in the Tandem Europe partnership forum. I heard a lot about Tandem from my friends who took part in the programme. I arrived in Sofia (Bulgaria) full of expectations and to be matched with a partner was not one of them. I was not aware of the Tandem matching process. Those five days in Bulgaria were the most intensive and mind exhausting yet fulfilling experiences in my professional career. I remember getting tips from Sophia to look for people that I have chemistry with. Ideas come and go. But, the most important thing is to find chemistry with your future Tandem partner because you will have to host him/her for about 2 weeks and the other way round. But, on the third day, I was confident that I found my Tandem partner. I even “proposed” to her with a balloon and she said YES :))

Since then, the journey of our Mind the Gap project started. From 12 to 17 March, I had the privilege to host my Tandem partner, Sanaz in Gothenburg and Malmö. It was one week of fun and non-stop learning and reflection. I learned a lot from Sanaz during this first placement in Sweden. To name a few, I was reminded of my first impressions when I moved to Sweden in 2016. I learned that I have become part of the system which I would like to challenge, especially some of its rigid and too much perfectionist nature. I learned that we should take a pause in our daily lives and try to reflect on what and how we are doing. Are we doing well? Really? I learned what mindfulness is and how we can be more present through arts. I got some new insights about Iranian traditions, especially that we celebrated Norouz (Persian new year) together in Gothenburg. I learned that my level of English was quite “mediocre” despite my degree in English which I am very proud of. But, again who said that British people speak good English? How am I supposed to know that the word “caveat” /kavɪat/ means “warning”?

Jokes aside, I really learned a lot from having Sanaz in Sweden for one week. I was very lucky to have a daily mindfulness session on how to be more present. It helps me a lot now with my work and daily life. I cannot wait for Sanaz’s next placement visit when it gets warmer in Sweden – though I cannot guarantee that.

Dearest Sanaz,
I am grateful that our paths met in this life. Can’t wait to visit you and meet the legendary Channel soon.
Your friend,
Rasha aka little flower