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Erasmus+ Journal (Issue 4) 2015/16

Tineke Eeuwema & Fenny Ekelmans, University of Linkoping, 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

Introduction to Special Education in a Swedish Context - 7,5 EC
The course takes its departure in a description of the Swedish school system and the political decisions that it is built on. The main points of the National Curricula for both elementary and secondary education are looked into, as well as policy documents that constitute the base for special education.

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.

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.

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.

Detailed description of the registration process at the host organisation

We signed in before the deadline with the applicationform from the university and we collected all the signs we needed. 
Afterwards, we received an e-mail with the confirm that the university received our applicationforms.
After 2 months we finally received the confirmation we where allowed to study at Linköping University.

Chapter 2 - Part Fenny Ekelmans

Review of your stay abroad in academic terms
This semester I followed different courses. 
In the first part of the semester I had the course Introduction to special education in a swedish context, I liked this course very much. Because there where a lot of schoolvisits and lectures. I visited many different types of schools, like an international school and a montesorri school. The teachers asked us what we wanted to see/hear and tried to arrange this for us. That was really nice, the teacher was very concerned about what we wanted to know and tried to arrange this for us! 

The course Nordic culture was very wide spread. There was a lot of diversity in the course. We had live in seminars, for a couple of days or live in seminars for just one day. The lectures were about very different topics. I learned a lot about the culture in the nordic countries of many area's. 
The teacher had a big passion for his course and that was good to see because he was so passioned about it it made myself also enthousiastic and curious.

Swedish for exchange students was oke. It was good to learn the language and it made life easier, it was useful. During this course we had different teachers. It was interesting to see how every teacher teached, the difference were big. I think this is something which the university can improve. Compare you're teacher's, the way they teach and what their focus is in the lessons with each other. 

Outdoor Education and Outdoor Didactics, was a good course. The lectures were quit boring, we had to read the articles and discuss about it with eachother. The teacher was just standing in the corner and watched us. She didn't tell us anything about here experiences or searched her knowledge/opinion with us.
The visit we had to different school's or organisations who worked with outdoor education were very nice. They used us how they teached according to the theory of outdoor education. It was interesting to see how, what we learned/read in theory, worked in the class. 

Review of the stay abroad in cultural/social terms

In my stay abroad I have learned a lot, for example: fika. Fika is a big and important thing here in Sweden. It actually is just a coffeebreak but it has a big value, because, how the Swedish's say it: it is a social thing as well. 

The culture in Sweden is not very different from the culture of my home country, the Netherlands. I think that this is because we're both western countries and aren't not so far from each other. 
What I noticed is that the Swedish are more quiet, for example in the shopping center you will not hear any children screeming or in the buss you will not hear people talk very loudly.
It was nice to get in touch with a new culture, it made myself aware of my own culture and the 'strange' things we have and do.
I take the good things back home (being quiet, patient and relaxed). 

Review of the stay abroad in social terms 

I have been on a lot of trips here in Sweden. During this trips I got to know people which I also met back in town. That was nice, when you go on a trip you will meet new people (from different cultures).

I also had to work in groups during this semester. The groups were mixed there were people from Singapora,, China USA, France, Belgium or Germany.  When I had to work in groups I get in touch with different cultures and you had to adapt your behaviour and your way of working, this was good. You also get to know people and you're going to do nice things together! (:

Chapter 2 - part Tineke Eeuwema

Review of your stay abroad in academic terms

Focusing on the quality of the lectures and courses we had in Sweden, I found out that it’s quit the same as in the Netherlands. Although teachers have different personalities, teachers also give there lectures or they use different working methods like discussing or working in groups. I’m not sure if it was because of the Erasmus program, but we only had one lesson each course a week, which made me feel bored sometimes. Furthermore, some courses just took some weeks until they ended, so at the and we had one lecture each week. For students who want to travel it’s a great opportunity to spend their time abroad but for us as ‘European’ students it was quit boring. So be careful with choosing your courses and try to fill as much time as you can.

Something I really liked about the courses we did was the fact we went outside many times, had many trips and this makes you getting to know the culture well. For example, with special education we went to many schools in the area, where we could take a look at the school but also at the lessons. With outdoor education we went to many places in the area, like caves and we even went searching for gold. I advise students to take those courses where you visit the area, so you can enjoy the beautiful nature of Sweden. With Nordic Culture we went on two trips, one to the North of Sweden and at the end of the semester to Västervik, where we did some fishing and where we enjoyed the seaside of Sweden.

Summarized I enjoyed all the courses with all the different students, where you make new friends, get to know different ways of teaching and experience the nature.

Review of your stay abroad in cultural/social terms

There are many things I’ve learned from studying abroad, focusing on the academic part of my stay. At first you have to deal with the culture, as teachers are mainly quiet, taking less initiative comparing to the Netherlands and having many Fika’s, which means we had many breaks throughout the lessons. I found it interesting to work together with students from different countries, as we all have our cultural backgrounds and in this way we also behave. Once, I also went to a lecture with Swedish students, which I found interesting too, because in fact, it was quit the same as lectures I’m used to. We had to discuss about the fact education is changing, as we have to include many children nowadays in our primary schools. Comparing those students to students from Asia, I could see a huge difference, as Dutch people and even European people are loud, willing to work and strong individuals. In Asia all students have to be the same, give the right answers if they could actually talk during lectures and this taking to lectures in Sweden with all those mixed people made me realize that we really have different cultures all around the world. It took a while before they took initiative and mostly you just had to give them some tasks which they had to fulfill otherwise they would not even speak at all.

Useful tips

- Register as soon as possible at Studentbostader to get a room, otherwise you will be in trouble!! 

- Buy a bike at the bikeshop where you can hand in the bike after the semester (and get some money

- Go to second hand shops, there are many of them

- Choose course which takes a lot of time so you don't get bored

- Go to the liberary, it is free to register and a nice place to study/work

- Go in the nature, it is beautifull! 

- If you will attend the Swedish language course buy your books in advance (cheaper!!)

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