Jeanette Danielson

My best friends are all from my time at SSHL

Meet our former SSHL student Jeanette Danielson, who joined SSHL at the age of 14 and graduated from the high school in 1988. Jeanette now works at Swedish Match and she took the time to talk to SSHL in their beautiful boardroom next to Kungsträdgården in Stockholm.

What are you doing now?

I am the Cultural Affairs Manager at Swedish Match, which means that I am responsible for cultural affairs at the company, and I’m the director of The Tobacco & Match Museum located at Skansen. The working days differ greatly but include a lot of meetings, a lot of administration and a lot of research tasks. The company has brands that date from the early 1800s and onwards so I work closely with the marketing department, sales department and communications department. Before that I was the museum director of two museums in Östergötland, a province in the south of Sweden.

When did you attend SSHL, and why did you and your parents choose the school?
I was a boarding student. I lived at the Backa dormitory and graduated in 1988. I started in the 8th grade and continued until the 3rd ring, during high school I majored in economics.

My parents chose SSHL because my father got a job in France and my parents moved there. They already knew about the school through friends and relatives who themselves had been there or had children who had been there. My parents thought it was important that it was close to the airport.

What was your experience of SSHL?

My time at SSHL has left a strong impression. My best friends are all from that time, I still spend time with my House Mother and it has turned into a lifelong commitment. When I started as a fourteen year old, it always felt like you were at camp with your friends. You were like siblings, and relationships became very close.

And then there’s how you function in groups, which becomes very obvious at a boarding school, where you have a “family” of almost 30 people. One of the most important lessons you learn is to take responsibility for the group, that is as a whole, a community that takes care of each other and takes each other into consideration. This is a good lesson for the future, and an experience that I, as a manager, was able to draw on very early.

I received a good, thorough education and had good, dedicated teachers. The language teaching was very good. You also learn to grow up in a different way than when you live at home. You take responsibility, even though the school is there. You become more independent, in a positive way. For parents, this leads to children being less self-centred and gaining a wider perspective, and in Sigtuna you also get a global perspective with children from many different countries coming together.

What message do you want to share with those who attend SSHL today?

Be sure to make as much of the studies as possible. Be devoted to your studies, take advantage of the opportunities. You should also remember that these days it is also easy to change orientation, do not think that it you are stuck in a category just because you attended a certain programme.

And to those who are considering choosing SSHL?

It will give them a lifelong positive experience that will make them grow and develop as human beings. The quality of the education is so good, and the special dynamic that you get together with the other students is important. I definitely think they should try boarding at SSHL. It’s great to be able to have that opportunity.