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Erasmus+ Journal (Issue 4) 2015/16

Judith Schwieters, Linköping University, Sweden, Mobility for Study, KPZ

Chapter 1 - General information

Study at:
Linköping University
SE-581 84 Linköping

Contact Erasmus office
Kerstin Karlsson

Description of the university
Linköping University (LiU) is one of Sweden’s larger academic institutions and among those that offer the largest number of professional degree programmes, in fields such as medicine, education, business, economics and engineering. Research is conducted within a variety of disciplines, with strong internationally recognised research environments, e.g. materials science, information technology and disability studies.

Since gaining university status in 1975 (and before that, too), LiU has worked with innovation in education and research. For example we were first in Sweden to introduce interdisciplinary thematic research, problem-based learning (PBL), graduate schools and several innovative study programmes.

There are four campuses in three cities: Campus Valla and Campus US (both in Linköping), Campus Norrköping (Norrköping) and Campus Lidingö – Carl Malmsten Furniture Studies (Stockholm).

Description of chosen courses

Outdoor Education and Outdoor Didactics - 15 EC
This course will give you insight into Outdoor Education in relation to different school subjects, subject areas and themes. You will also learn how to use outdoor skills as a tool for teaching. There will be lectures, seminars and excursions both out of doors and at the university.

Nordic Culture - Area of emphasis: Educational Science - 15 EC
The course give insights into Nordic cultural life, Culture is known as the system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviours, and artefacts. From an educational point of view we explore and discuss culture, identity and citizenship. We study esthetical expressions in for example literature, fine art, craft, film and music for children and youth. Students will visit and experience both urban and rural surroundings. The course will also give the participants the possibility to take part in Nordic natural outdoor activities as part of their experience and learning. The course include two compulsory seminars with a cost for the student.

Teaching Practice-  8 EC
The course consists of teaching practice for exchange students with previous experience of teaching practice. Students observe lessons, teach and participate in different activities in a school. The course is planned individually to suit the exchange student. Students who apply for this course need to indicate what subject area, grade (age of children) and particular interests they have. An excerpt from the Criminal Records in English is required.

Beginner's Course in Swedish for Exchange Students, level A1 - 7,5 EC
This course is intended for exchange students with no previous knowledge of Swedish and has the same content as the A1-course above. The aim of the course is to give students a basic knowledge of Swedish with an emphasis on oral skills. The course includes pronunciation exercises, oral training, basic Swedish grammar and short, writing exercises.

Detailed description of the registration process at the host organisation

I applied for this mobility in October. I was debating between Linköping University and Falun, Dalarna. After a lot of meetings, I finally decided for Linköping. I was just on time for the deadline and applied for 4 different courses, as you can see earlier. After about two weeks I got an e-mail saying that I was accepted and that I needed to start searching for a room in the city. The University couldn’t provide me a room so I had to search it myself. This went really bad, but eventually I got an email I did get a room from the university. The registration process was really easy; once you figured it out it was all easy to fill in the application forms.

Chapter 2

Review of your stay abroad in academic terms
I will go through all of my courses one by one.

I really loved the Outdoor Education course. Most of the student in that class were taking the course for the whole year, so at the end of the year, they had to write a master’s Thesis as well. We had two lessons a week; one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday. The lesson on Tuesday was mostly filled with theory and literature, we had to read a lot of articles. The lesson on Wednesday was mostly outside, because we were going to bring the theory to practice. It was so helpful to see and do the things we learned about. The teachers were enthusiastic and they always wanted to help you. I would really recommend this course!

Nordic culture was really nice as well. The lectures were somewhat boring and long, but the teacher was the nicest man ever. He had heart for his job and always talked full of passion about the Nordic culture. The best side of this course are the live-seminars. These are trips to special places inside Sweden where you will visit and meet people. The group will really form itself during the first trip, which is at the beginning of your semester. The information is not that interesting, but the way it’s presented is really nice, so I would definitely recommend this course!

The course teaching practice was a good course, partly. I had to do 20 days of internship at a primary school in Linköping. I was matched with an English teacher who taught in the fourth and fifth grade. I only saw English lessons and I could help the students with questions they had. These 20 days were enough to see the benefits of the Swedish school system and the single subject teachers. You also have 5 lectures / work seminars. These are weird. You learn almost nothing and the ‘discussion’ never starts or it dies really fast. You have to read a few articles, which are quite interesting, but they ‘add’ nothing to your experience. I really like my internship so, yet again, I would recommend this course.

Swedish for exchange students is a really nice course as well. You learn the basics and get to practice a lot. In the end, you have to make a test to show that you learn enough to pass the course. You also have to do an oral exam. That is really fun because, if you attended all the lessons, you’re able to have a good conversation which is a real boost of your self-confidence. The lessons are quite easy and really practical; a real recommendation!

Review of the stay abroad in cultural/social terms

I learned so much about culture, people and myself. I learned I can adjust really well, as long as I can keep some things of my own culture as well. I loved living in my own dorm room, but once I got a big flag of the Netherlands, my room felt more like my own room. This was the same when I put up pictures and cards of people at home. These things can make me feel at home, wherever I am.

I learned I could definitely live in the Swedish culture. I needed to adjust for some time in the beginning but afterwards, I really loved the culture. The way people act, the way they handle things, the way they talk to each other; I could see myself living here. Swedish people are so much more calm than Dutch people. They take their time and really pay attention to you. It may take longer (that’s why they queue so much, I guess), but it’s so much more personal. Even in traffic, you can notice a big difference in culture. Swedish people are safer and not that rushed, they stop for pedestrians even though they don’t even want to cross the street (This happened to me once, it was hilarious)!

What I also notices during my stay in Sweden, is that I can’t cooperate with Asian people that well. I don’t really know why this is, but I just get annoyed. They (and now I’m talking about (probably) a minority of the Asian people, and just about the few I saw in Sweden) don’t introduce their own ideas, they’re always talking when they’re not allowed and they don’t want to talk when they’re asked. They wait until somebody else starts and takes the initiative. I, as a Dutch person (straight-forward, loud, enthusiastic), am the complete opposite. I always take the lead and they would get annoyed  (or they would act annoyed) if I did. I’m happy I did my studies in Sweden instead of any Asian country…

Review of the stay abroad in social terms 

 I really loved the social part of my Erasmus period. I loved hanging out with people from different countries and finding out the differences and similarities. I discovered German and Dutch are so similar, if you talk really slowly to each other, you both can understand each other.

A ‘big’ part of the social part were the parties. I applied for a peerstudent very early, and I was lucky to get the nicest student ever. She was, of course, Swedish and she was in a ‘festerit’, which is a party committee. They organise the parties of one section of the university. She would take me to all kinds of parties and preparties. She would introduce me to everyone and all of a sudden, I had a lot of Swedish friends as well. It was amazing and I would love to go back to visit them all again.

I lived in a corridor, this is a hallway with 8 separate rooms and a kitchen + common room. I wasn’t the only international student in my corridor, there were 2 others as well. The other people were Swedish. I never hung out with them, until one point. From that moment on, we were practically inseparable and we did everything together. I learned a big part of the Swedish culture through them.

Useful tips

-       Apply at Studentbostäder as soon as possible to collect points!

-       Arrange a room for the first weeks if the university doesn’t provide you a room, this way you’ll be able to find something else while you’re there

-       Apply for a peerstudent (ESN Linköping)

-       Make small trips by yourself. Go to Stockholm for the weekend or take a cruise to Helsinki/Riga/Tallin. You’ll find out things about yourself you would never find out while you’re travelling with other people

-       Make trips by car, rent a car and just drive around. The landscape is so much prettier just outside the town

-       Take the campusbus to Norrköping. This city is close and beautiful

-       Don’t buy your bike on Facebook. Buy it at a bike shop and sell it back at the end of your semester for half the price.

-       If your family is visiting, rent a guestroom from Studentbostäder (or use it for the first weeks!). This is cheap and really convenient.


If you want to see pictures or read more about my time, you can visit my blog: www.judithinzweden.waarbenjij.nu or email me at j.schwieters@kpz.nl

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