English |  Español |  Français |  Italiano |  Português |  Русский |  Shqip

Erasmus+ Journal (Issue 3) 2014/15

Alexandra Kresser, University of Karlstad, Sweden, Mobility for Study, PHST

Erasmus Sverige, 2015

Contact of the university:

Karlstad University

Universitetsgatan 2

SE-651 88 Karlstad, SWEDEN

Phone: +46-(0)54-700 10 00

Fax: +46-(0)54-700 14 60

E-mail: information@kau.se

Contact of the Erasmus office 

Josefin Rönnqvist or Alicia Berg

Universitetsgatan 2

SE-651 88 Karlstad SWEDEN

E-mail: exchange@kau.se


The university:

Karlstad  University is one of the youngest universities in Sweden and really modern. All the buildings are at one campus and the library is just amazing. Everyone is pleased to help you if you need anything.

Karlstad University offers approximately 40 Bachelor’s degree programmes, 30 Master’s level degree programmes and 900 courses in the humanities and fine arts, social and economic sciences, natural sciences, engineering and technology, health care and teacher training. At present, several master programmes and more than 100 courses are offered in English. 

The sun is the symbol of the University and the city because Karlstad is one of the Swedens cities with the most hours of sunshine.

The whole area around the university is really beautiful. Now that there is spring you can see the big meadow with a lot of cherry trees in front of the main entrance. The cherry trees just look awesome at the moment because they bloom. There is also water and some fontains next to the entrance. You can really enjoy your time at the university laying in the grass or watching the cherry trees.

Website for detailed information: www.kau.se


My chosen courses 

Intercultural Communication, 15 ECTS (https://www3.kau.se/kursplaner/en/IKGA11_20072_en.pdf)

Time: week 04 - week 13

Goals: The student should be able to:

- give an account of some theories on how values and norms are formed in different cultures.

- apply the fundamental concepts and theories of intercultural studies to different cultures.

- analyse the relationship between culture, communication, identity and values. 

Content: The main keypoints of this course are:

- approaches to intercultural studies.

- the basic terminology, concepts, and theories in the field of intercultural studies.

- survey of the development of the field and its relevance to contemporary society.

- the implications of the relation between culture, verbal and non-verbal communication, identity, and values - the students' cultures .

Teaching: Instruction is in the form of lectures and group work in which students are expected to participate actively.

Assessment: Examination is in the form of oral and written assignments. The grade is: passed with distinction (VG), passed (g) or failed (U)

The course varied a lot and it was never boring in the class - the opposite, it was a lot of fun to join the classes. Beside the course we had to do a lot of homework and work with the course literature (two books and one compendium). We had to write three individual assignements, based on the course literature.

Other exercises were the group assignments. Therefor they splitted us in groups of 4 to 5 people - they took care that the members of the groups have different nationalities. The frist group assignment was a discussion or presentation about the different academic cultures we life in. The second group asagnment was a critical film analysis. Every group received a movie and we had to answer the questions about the movie together as a group and present them.

A country presentation was also part of our seminar. I worked together with Sabrina and we presented some of the Austrians customs and how we celebrate our holidays.

At the end of the course we had a written exam about the course literature and the topics we discussed in the lessons.

Most of the time Annika and Andreas combined a lecture first and a seminar afterwards. At the lecture we discussed the topics of the course literature and we got deeper into this literature. Questions have always been requierd.

The seminars were more fun because we got more active. We had to solve some situations as a group and that gave us the chance to understand the others better. Andreas and Annika are experts in their field and their knowledge about international communication is hudge. I really had a lot of fun at that course and I learned a lot about other cultures and international communication. All the stereotypes are unimportant because every person is unique and it is always hard to life or work in a foreign country. 


Intercultural Communication I, Media, Arts and Literature, 7,5 ECTS (https://www3.kau.se/kursplaner/en/IKGAM1_20112_en.pdf)

Time: week 14 - week 23

Goals: The students should be able to:

- give an account of current intercultural theories of literary, artisitc and audiovisual forms of expression.

- apply intercultural models of interpretation to different types of aesthetic works.

- clarify the meaning and significance of an artwork, a literary text or a film by applying intercultural theory.

- give examples of how a fictional narrative can be described as constituting a distinct source of knowledge for illuminating different perspectives on intercultural communication. 

Content: The course is an introduction to intercultural studies of the media, art and literature with a focus on different intercultural perspectives on aesthetic and fictive forms of expression. The course includes examples of film, television, literature and art from Asian, African, Arabic, Latin-American and European cultures. 

Teaching: Instruction is in the form of lectures, seminars and group discussions. 

Assessment: Examination is based on individual analysis assignment, seminar contributions and a written independent project. The grade is: passed with distinction (VG), passed (G) or failed (U)

In the course we had to do written assignments and the final paper was a take home assignment based on the course literature. 

Swedish as a foreign language I, 7,5 ECTS (https://www3.kau.se/kursplaner/en/SFBX01_20142_en.pdf)

Time: week 04 - week 13

Goals: The students should be able to:

- understand common words and simple phrases if the interlocutor is speaking slowly and clearly.

- understand and find specific information in very simple texts with common words occuring frequently.

- converse in a simple manner provided that the interlocutor is prepared to speak slowly and repeat what has been said.

- ask and answer simple questions on familiar topics.

- write short, simple texts and fill in personal details in a form.

- give an account of basic parts of Swedish syntax and the Swedish sound system. 

Content: The course includes instruction and practical exercises in Swedish language proficiency, communicative skills, basic grammar and the Swedish sound system. The student is expected to acquire basic vocabulary and simple phrases.

Teaching: The course includes exercises in reading comprehension, written communication and listening comprehension. 

Assessment: Examination is based on one listening comprehension test, one oral exam and a written exam. The grade is: passed with distinction (VG), passed (g) or failed (U)

First I had troubles to come along with the teching methods of our teacher Roland because he is used to digress a little bit. He tried to make the language easier for us and splitted the words up. For me that was not really helpful but the longer I have been in his class the more I was able to understand his thinking. He is Swedish and symbolizes for me the typical Swede. His knowledge is amazing and he is also able to speak German - he could connect German similiarities with the Swedish langugae really good. We never did grammar work in the class - it was our responisbility to learn the grammar on our own. This was hard work but we could always ask Roland if we had any questions. He was really pleased to help us. When I learned all the grammar for our written exam in the end I really got into the language and it was fun for me because I was successful in understanding and learning the Swedish language. 

It was a big advantage for me that I already had the Swedish course in Austria - especially at the beginning.


Host organisation

As an exchange student you get some hosts, who take care of you and help you. They also offer to pick up your keys for your room if you arrive on the weekend or at night. One host has about 10 exchange students. The hosts also study in Karlstad and they show you everything you need. Our hosts also organized a commun dinner with all people of our group. We cooked together and spent a lovely evening on talking and having fun. 

Especially in the first weeks they organize a lot of parties and events. This makes it a lot easier to get to know all the other exchange students und you feel integrated very soon.


Intrudoction Week and University

One week before the official start of the university we had our introduction week. This was really good organized and we received a lot of information there. A lot of different people talked to us and explained us everything: What is important at the university; how to sign up for exams, the opening hours of the library; a short interview with the student union;.... It was always possible to ask something or to talk to them later on.

On Friday they organized a city tour and we could learn a little bit more about the history of this city. We were splitted up in our host groups so that there are only little people in a group. The guides were citizens from Karlstad and they really tried to give us an overview of the city and showed us some really lovely places.

On Sunday they organized a trip to Bodaborg - this is a Activityhouse where you have to make different exercices as a group. It was a really good experience and another good option to get to know the others.



The teachers in general are really friendly and you can call all of them by their first name. They always try to help you, if you have any problem. You don't have that much lessons at the university but they expect you to work on your own at home. Therefore every course has a lot of course literatur you have to read. During the lectures you talk about these topics and articles. The seminars are mandatory but the lectures are not. The first courses take place from week 3 to week 13 and the second courses take place from week 14 to week 23. There can be a written exam or a take home assignment at the end of the courses.

The courses are very diverse. In Intercultural Communication for example, I have to write individual assignments, group assignments, make presentations and write a final exam in week 13. In Swedish as a foreign language there is an oral exam, a listening and a written exam. In Intercultural Communication I, I have to write three individual assignments, one group discussion and a final paper.

The classes are really small, aproximatly 25 people per class and also the classrooms are small. It feels like you are back at midle school or high school. I really like this, because the atmosphere is more relaxed and personal.

Since the university is very modern you have to sign up for your courses and exmas online. You create an account on "MyPage" on the official website of the university (https://cas.kau.se/login?service=https%3A%2F%2Fwww3.kau.se%2Fminsida%2F). MyPage is really simple and you can find everything easily. The website is in Swedish or English availible, so that exchange students have no problems to find what they are looking for.

On MyPage you have to register for your courses. There is a detailed syllabus and a list for the course literature for every course. As soonas you are accepted for the course, you receive an email.

If you have to sign up for exmas you have to check that you don't sign up too late. Usually they open the registration one month befor the exam and they close it about one or two weeks before the exam. You have to register also via MyPage. If you have missed the registration time you can still try to go to the exam - if they still have free seats in the room, they let you write it. It can take three weeks until you know the result of your exam. They upload the exam on MyPage so you can look at it. The grades can be passed with distinction (VG), passed (g) or failed (U). If you have passed your course you can imideatly see the course and the credits on MyPage.

Most of the teachers also work with "its learning" in their seminars (https://kau.itslearning.com/DashboardMenu.aspx?LocationType=Hierarchy). It works like our "moodle"-courses. The students can see changes of rooms and information for the seminars there and we have to upload our assignments on itslearning.


Fieldwork at primaryschool

Internationella Engelska Skolan Karlstad

Gruvgången 4

653 43 Karlstad

Senior School: +46(0)54 771 91 10
Junior School: +46(0)54 771 91 14 


Contact Person: Christoffer Hook - Head of Department 


The school where I had to do my fieldwork is located in the citycentre of Karlstad. The focus of this school is in English and half of the subjects are thaught in English too. This school focuses really on a good teacher - student relation. The have so calles "Mentor-Classes". Every teacher is a mentor in this school and has his own "Mentor-Class" with about 10 to 15 children. In this classes are only boys or only girls. The boys most of the time have a male mentor and the girls have a female mentor. The mentors use this lessons to talk about problems, troubles, manners or behaviour. It should be a possibility for the children to talk about the things they bother them. Everyone should feel comfortable in the classroom and the school. I think this is really a good way to get a relationship to the students. It is important that the children know that they can trust their teacher and that problems are solved together.

The school is really hudge and offers a lot of opportunities for the children. There is a really big playground and the children play outside every day, no matter how bad the weather conditions are.

There is also a cantine where all the children can eat. The school is free and the parents also havent got to pay for the meal at the cantine. The small children have also got class teachers (like we have got it in Austria) and their own classroom. The older kids have an own locker and the teachers have classrooms. That means that the children have to change rooms.

Visitors have to register at the secretary office.

At they school are also some rooms especially for the children where they can hang out and play tablesoccer or pool. A teacher has to supervise the room otherwise it is closed. 

The classrooms are really comfortable and in every classroom is a sink and a big cupboard. The walls are decorated and they have a lot of windows in the rooms. They also have "lap-top-classes" and it is common to work with ipads. Mobilephones are strictly forbidden. The children have to put them into a box in the morning and they get them back after the last lesson. Every box has the name of the student on it and is locked into a cupboard in the classroom during the day. 

Every child has its own table and the books are in this table. It is possible to change the hight of the tables easily.

I had to make 16 hours of fieldwork in the primary school. I spent five ours in sports and eleven hours in other lessons (English, Maths, Swedish and Physics). Before we went into the classroom, we met the children outside and let them make a cue. We entered the school together and the kids had to put their valuables into their box.

At the first two days I accompanied Ms Reed and I saw some English classes. Ms. Reed is from Canada but she is in Sweden since 5 years. This is one reason why the kids know, that they have to talk in English to her. It was really a lot of fun and it was easy for me to follow the lesson. The children work really independent and I was surprised about their good English knowledge. The level is really high and they have 3 to 4 English lessons per week. Every class has 30 to 32 children but although the classes are hudge it works really well. There are seperate teachers for the children with special needs in the classroom.

The teacher wrote a "to-do list" for the children on the board. At the beginning of the lesson the children had to write a journal in their journalbook. The question was: "What is the best part of working in a group and what is the worst part of working in a group? Why?" Every child had to answer these questions and some children had to hand in their journalbooks afterwards. 

First priority of this lesson was to finish the letter from the last lesson if it was not ready yet - the names of the children were written on the board. The others could start immediatly and rewrite their scripts of their dramas. They are working in groups of 3 or 4 people. If the script was already finished they could start to practise it or to make requisites for the play. Everyone should have at least three lines in the drama. Ms. Reed copies the scripts today so that the children can learn their texts in the sports week.

In another lesson, we startet with a dictation. The children had to write three English sentences (25 words) and the teacher read really slowly. The sentences were repeated eight times. Then the teacher wrote the sentences on the board and the children had to correct themselves. It was important that they corrected their sentences with a colour and that they crossed the wrong words out (and not erased them).

Ms. Reed is working a lot with positive pushing and compliments and she is motivating the kids a lot. I also really liked her way how she made the children listen to her. She stood in the middle of the class and starts clapping her hands. "Clap once if you can hear me. Clap twice if you can hear me. Clap three times, if you can hear me.... until everyone is listening and focusing her.

She also uses the method of counting down (also shows her fingers in the air) to make everyone silent.

At the end of the lesson Ms. Reed made a game with the kids. Everyone should close their eyes and they should guess when 1 minute is over and open their eyes then. After one minute Ms. Reed started to speak again and sayed good bye to the kids.

Another end of the lesson was a pantomime game. The person in the middle starts with an pantomime action. A child from the class is asking: " What are you doing?" The child in the middle is answering with a new action. Now the child who has asking is in the middle, doing the given action. The children can choose theirselves if they want to answer the question and go in the middle of the class or not. It is not mandatory to play.

The childre have to go out of the classroom in the breaks and the classrooms are locked meanwhile.

At the second day I also saw some Science classes. One lesson was about recyling. It was homework for the children to prepair the different materials and their receycling process of glass, paper, metal, plastic, electronics and textiles. Every child had one material and they could choose on their own what material they take. They had to answer the following questions:

How is this material produced?

How will you recycle this material? (process)

Where can you recycle it?

The teacher mixed the people with the different materials - in every group should be one person (expert) of each material. They had to inform each other about the prepared recycling material and the other children in the group toke notes. 

After this group actvity, they watched a film about recycling and they were suposed to take notes to complete their records.

In another science lesson we have been in a labor because the children made an experiment. In the previous lesson the kids had to make a work plan for boiling water. On this plan was the amount of water, and a register for:

the temperature of the water at the beginning

While heating:

the temperature after one minute on the burner

the temperature after two minutes on the burner

the temperature after three minutes on the burner

the temperature after four minutes on the burner

the temperature after five minutes on the burner

While cooling down:

the temperature after one minute 

the temperature after two minutes 

the temperature after three minutes 

the temperature after four minutes 

the temperature after five minutes 


The children had to work together in groups of 3 or 4 people. Before they could start to work, every child received an apron and safety goggles. Every group had one burner, one burette, one thermometer, one stop watch and a pair of tongs for holding the glass. 

The teacher remembered the children about the behaviour in a labor and that they should take care of the instruments they use. Before they started to work, they discussed the experiment and the teacher gave some hints for the handling of the instruments. I helped the kids with their exercise and gave them the instruments.

The children behaved really well, it was absolutely silent in the labor and the children worked hard to get everything done.

 In another lesson I was able to hear the headmaster talking to the students about the correct behaviour in the school. How important respect and interpersonal dealings are. It was a stunning conversation and I was amazed about the atmosphere in the class. The headmaster treated the children like equals and talked to them in a really friendly way. The children haven´t been afraid to ask questions and give coments. Really an awesome wxperience for me.

One day we had a "Sports - day" and Sabrina and I had to teach sports lessons. The main topic of the lesson was dance and therefor we created a choreography. Each Sport-lesson lasts 90 minutes, so we had enough time to make a good warm-up and a stretching in the end. We could finish the whole choreography with each class and this was a good feedback for us. The teacher Mr. Thelning always filmed some parts of the lesson and you could clearly see the improvement of the steps. It was a lot of fun for us to prepare the lesson and to watch the children.




After finishing the application procedure at the University of Karlstad, I received a mail from KBAB for the housing at the campus. They offer three different types of accomodations (16 m2, 23 m2, or 26 m2). You can choose one of them as your preference - but it is not sure if you receive this size of the room. 

When you arrive at Campus, you receive your keys and you have to sign the contract for the housing. The contract is limited for one semester. You can pay the rent with electronic banking in Euro - but you have to make sure, that it is enough! In June and July you can life for free in the room - you pay rent from January to May.

Each floor has about 10 rooms and one shared kitchen with three (or more) big fridges (including freezer), two ovens, a big table with some chairs and two couches. From the kitchen you have access to a balcony or a terrace, depends on the floor you are living in. The students have to organize a cleaning plan for the kitchen (vacuum and mop the floor and take out the garbage).

In the ground floor is also a room where you can make your laundry. In this room are two washing mashines and one laundry dryer. You can use it for free but you have to reservate a washing time.

Every room has its own bathroom. The rooms are equipped with two cupboards, one small bed, one shelf, one desk and one chair. Their are no pillows or blankets - bring your own or buy some at IKEA.

The appartments of the Campus are about two kilometers away from the university. It takes you 15 minutes to walk there or 5 minutes when you take the bus. The bus system in Karlstad is really good, so you should not have any problems to go to the citycenter.

There is a big soccer field next to the Campus and a 2.5 kilometer walking path in the close forest. The lake "Alstern" is also in walking distance (about 20 minutes).

There has been error in communication with Booktype server. Not sure right now where is the problem.

You should refresh this page.