How Swede it was

Rhiannon and Ian Bristow-Stagg and their children Oliver and Adam hold the snowsuits they wore in Sweden.
Rhiannon and Ian Bristow-Stagg and their children Oliver and Adam hold the snowsuits they wore in Sweden.

The family of four lived in Linkoping, a city of about 100,000 in southern Sweden, for five months as mother Rhiannon Bristow-Stagg took part in a university exchange.

Ms Bristow-Stagg, who is studying sustainable development and environmental management at Murdoch University, attended Linkoping Uni- versity and received a Federal Government scholarship towards the cost of the flights.

‘It’s rare for someone with a young family to apply and I was definitely the only student at Linkoping to come all the way from Australia with kids,’ Ms Bristow-Stagg said.

The family left Northam in January on a sweltering 43C day and arrived to freezing cold with driving snow before cramming husband Ian, two children and three suitcases into a tiny student apartment.

‘I was keen to see bio-gas in use and Linkoping is at the forefront with this technology, capturing methane from waste to run the bus fleet,’ Ms Bristow-Stagg said.

‘Another highlight was the Earth Hour city challenge in Malmo. The opening address was by the UNFCCC and I got to hear the world’s leading local governments present their cases on how they are becoming sustainable, liveable cities.

‘I’ve certainly brought home a lot of ideas.’

Ms Bristow-Stagg also completed a sustainable city plan for the neighbourhood in which they lived and received a high distinction.

‘I hope to inspire other young women to reach for their dreams. There may be challenges, for example if you live in a regional area, have limited finances and family commitments, but if you think creatively you will find a way to make it happen,’ she said.