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Morrisville State College Student From Sweden Pursues Education, Love of Hockey

MORRISVILLE, N.Y.—As he skates across the ice joking with fellow members of the Morrisville State College Mustangs Hockey Team after practice, Joakim Cedin appears completely at home.

But the 21-year-old Morrisville State College student is far from there—he’s approximately 4,000 miles and an ocean away from his home in Spanga, Sweden, just outside of Stockholm.

Cedin is in the United States pursuing two driving goals in his life—getting an education and playing hockey.

A first-year student in Morrisville State College’s information technology: technology management, bachelor of business administration program, and a forward on the college’s ice hockey team, Cedin is quickly adapting to American life.

He likes the music, shopping and technology, namely the laptop computer that came with the program he’s enrolled in, and the cell phone given to resident students.

His new life has taken some getting used to, learning the latest college “lingo” and adjusting to American culture and customs, but he’s eager to reap the most out of his experience.

“I want to learn as much as possible during my stay in the United States,” he said.

Cedin faced his first challenge in a foreign country when he arrived on campus last semester. Not only did he have to navigate a new campus, but he also had to adjust to an entirely different lifestyle.

One of the toughest challenges he faced was getting used to the food.

“I don’t think people eat very healthy in the United States,” he said, “and I don’t care much for the food.”

His culture shock stretches beyond culinary measures. Cedin is amazed by America’s obsession with and the appeal of television. There is no television in his residence hall room.

Coming to the United States was an easy decision for Cedin because he could earn a college education while following his passion for hockey, a sport he’s played his whole life.

“If I would have stayed in Sweden, I would have to choose between playing minor pro, or studying because we do not have college sports in Sweden,” Cedin said.

Cedin had been in the United States once before, playing junior hockey for the Puget Sound Tomahawks in Washington State before deciding to go to college.

“Like every other hockey player, I want to live the dream and go as far as possible with hockey, but I realize I need to have realistic goals, too, like getting an education,” Cedin said. “I wanted to get a four-year degree, but I could never imagine my life without hockey so I looked for a place where I could do both.”

Morrisville State College had quality computer programs, a strong hockey team, and financial aid.

Cedin’s positive correspondence with Morrisville State College hockey coach Earl Utter, who recruited him, also helped with his decision to go to Morrisville.

Utter has served as coach and mentor to Cedin, easing his transition both on and off the ice where he also had to make some minor adjustments.

“I was taught certain things (in Sweden) and when I came to the United States, I had to relearn and this has been very confusing,” Cedin said. “There were new ways of looking at the game. Coach Utter and American coaches in general teach a different game than coaches in Sweden or Europe do.”

He also had to adapt to the difference in the ice surface, which is smaller than what he was used to in Sweden.

While it is not easy to be an international student-athlete, considering the difficulty of adjusting to the American culture and being far from home, Cedin’s experience has been positive.

He’s grown personally, intellectually, and even on the ice where he’s blended with teammates who have nicknamed him, “Swede.”

“Joakim is someone who truly exemplifies the phrase “student–athlete,” Utter said. “He is very conscientious about his academic performance, his athletic performance and the image he presents on the ice and in the campus community.”

His positive attitude, respect, and mental discipline also make him stand out.

“He is a refreshing athlete to deal with because of his personality, discipline and focus,” Utter said. “Some of his teammates have adopted the discipline and focus he brings to his life. As a coach, that is personally rewarding to see.”

Cedin also stands out in the classroom where he excels academically, having been named to the Dean’s List.

A busy schedule packed with 19 credit hours, plus hockey practice and school work, leaves Cedin little time to miss home. He stays in touch with his mother on a daily basis via e-mail and talks to her frequently by phone.

When it comes down to it, Cedin’s journey to America is all about growing and experiencing new things.

“Each day I experience something new,” he said. “I want to feel always that I have evolved and that I have done my best. That is what is most important to me.”

This translates into other areas of his life. Cedin likes to travel to learn about other countries and broaden his horizons. He’s already been to China and will be following a teammate home to Texas during the next college break.

Morrisville State College offers 14 bachelor degrees and a wide variety of associate degrees and options. Considered to be one of the most technologically advanced colleges in the nation for its ThinkPad University program and wireless technology initiative, the college recently became the first in the nation to comprehensively replace landlines in residence halls with individual cellular phones. Morrisville State College was also chosen as one of the top five colleges in the nation for campus activities by Campus Activities magazine.

The Morrisville State College Norwich Campus offers programs in business, computer technology, office administration, liberal arts/education transfer, nursing and early childhood to Chenango County area residents and employers. Students may also apply coursework to other associate or bachelor degrees at the main campus.