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Erasmus+ Journal (Issue 4) 2015/16

Johanna Lienhart, Örebro Universitet, Sweden, Mobility for Study, PHST


Contact of the university

University of Örebro
SE-701 82 Örebro
+46 19 303000

Contact of the Erasmus office/International Coordinator for Austria

If you are admitted as an Exchange student, contact the International Office for questions.

Ida Lindberg 
Responsible Coordinator for: Austria, the Baltic states, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the Nordic countries.

Description of the university

"Örebro University is a modern, broad-based university with internationally prominent research. 17,000 students and 1,200 staff study and work here. We offer some 80 degree programmes at the undergraduate and Master’s levels as well as some 700 separate courses.  Örebro University cooperates with industry and commerce, local and regional governments and other organisations, both nationally and internationally."

 The University of Örebro is separated into different parts, which can also be a bit outside of Örebro. We were at the main campus, where the focus is set on teaching and research facilities. Around the campus you find many cafés, restaurants, a big library, a gym and other opportunities to do any kind of sports.

Arrival days and first weeks in Örebro

On the 15th of January Jakob Stampfer, another guy from my university, a friend of ours and me arrived in the very cold, but beautiful Stockholm. There we spent two days, before we continued to Örebro. Due to the snow, it was a bit difficult to find the way to our accommodation, but we were so excited, that nothing could stop us.
On the first evening we had the Welcome Dinner and it didn´t take long, until we found new friends, with whom we spent the first evening in our corridor.
The following weeks called "orientation programme" were full of sightseeing-tours and many new things. We were seperated into fadder groups with four fadders for each group, which contained around 20 people. Fadders are like buddys, who are normal students at the university, even exchange students from the previous semester, who show you around, plan activities for you and are always there, when you need something. After the introduction weeks we met once per month in our groups to cook together, go bowling or have a barbecue.
From the beginning on I would recommend to buy a bike. We got one for 800 SEK (kronor) – which is about 80 euros - for the semester, but if you return in the end, you get 300 SEK  (30 euros) back. You can buy them directly at the campus, as we did, or in a little bike shop on the way to the city centre. With the bike you are really fast at the next supermarket (2 minutes), in the city centre (10 minutes) and also everything else is really close.

My courses

Teaching and Learning, a Comparative Perspective
Content: The course departures from the assumption that teaching and learning are complex phenomena. What does it mean to learn? How can teaching promote learning? These questions are discussed from a comparative perspective throughout the course. You also examine learning as a literary theme, and discuss the role of literary texts in education.

Special Needs Education
Content: This course focuses on special needs education. The point of departure is different theoretical perspectives on special needs education which are discussed and compared throughout the course. Issues related to special needs education as they are formed in classrooms are highlighted from an individual as well as a societal dimension. One of the central discussions during the course focuses on possible meanings and implications of the concept inclusion.

Diversity in the Classroom - an Intercultural Perspective
Content: This course focuses on diversity as it emerges in school and in teaching methods. This means for instance that you analyze and discuss strategies for, and the consequences of, diversity in the classroom. A recurrent question during the course is how interculturalism takes shape in the encounter between intercultural societies and school. Scientific texts and fiction are used as tools for critical reflection.

Sport Science, Outdoor Education and Recreation
 The course will to a great extent take place in different outdoor environments. Focus is on the important role of the outdoors as a place for learning and outdoor acitvities as a way of improving fitness, well-being, personal growth and enhancing the quality of life. The course will deal with concepts as knowledge, challenge, adventure, close to nature as well as outdoor education and recreation as a method or a value, goal in itself. Experiences of winter-activities in the mountain area in Sweden, ancient cooking, survival techniques, rock climbing, cave creeping, horse back riding are included in the course. Finally the students will plan, arrange and evaluate an outdoor activity for a group of children/young people or another group of people.

In Sweden you have one course for five weeks and within this weeks you also have your examination. After one course ends the next one starts. In general we had four courses - three were from the topic „eduaction“ and one we could choose from the other topics. For each course we got 7,5 ECTS credits.
The task for the education courses was always almost the same: An oral presentation about one specific situation during our internship, two small examinations and role plays, which we prepared for the lessons and an take-home-exam in form of a paper. For the take-home-exams we got the task and after that we had about three days to fulfill it. It was also very important to relay it on the literature, which we had to read during each course.
We also had five days of internship in different schools, which I will describe later at the point „review of the school placement“.
During the sports course, we made different trips, where we went for cross country skiing, rock climbing, cave creeping and horseback riding. During this time we slept in cabins, in a kåta
(the swedish word for tipi) or in a tent.
At the end we planed an outdoor-day with a school class, where we went into a forest and prepared different activities with the kids like games or making a fire. We also had to write a paper about the things that we´ve done during the course and our learning progress. Within this course I learned so much about myself and my limits. It showed me what is possible when people from all over the world come together and interact in different places and situations. Stephan, our teacher, taught us to think about the purpose behind things and what we can learn out of different situations. He guided us through the whole time and gave us an incredible insight „to be outdoors“.
Unfortunately this course is only available in spring semester, but for all the people who are in Örebro during this time, I would hardly recommend to take part of it

                                                                   CC by Johanna Lienhart

Review of the school placement

During our education courses we respectively had five days in different schools. The school placements were always very interesting and I got a good insight in the swedish school system and the differences to Austria. I would say that Sweden is far ahead when it comes to technology and teaching methods. Another impressing point is, that the students always get free lunch at school, so you can be sure, that everyone get something good to to eat every day.
I was also in a school for deaf and hard of hearing students, which was especially interesting for me and motivated me to find out more about that topic and sign language. What many people don´t know, is that each country has it´s own sign language. We also had good discussions with the students, who wanted to know everything about the situation in Austria.



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