We are not goodbying

Posted in: Campus Norrköping, Linköping University, Studies on 9 June, 2017 by Alexandra Koptyaeva

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This last (at least for this academic year) post is partly devoted to you, my dear readers. I would like to thank all of you for reading, commenting, and asking questions about your future studies at LiU. I was truly happy to help you deal with your difficulties (and I know, some of you had many), and I hope to see all of you in August! I would be glad to meet you and show everything around in the end of August once I am back to Norrköping (it should happen around 28-30/08). Please, do not hesitate to contact me during the summer in case you have more questions regarding your accommodation, MA programme, live in Norrköping and so on.

I remember myself being at your place a year ago; I was really scared to leave my country and take this opportunity to study abroad. Nevertheless, it has been almost a year since I came to Sweden and, as you can see, I am prospering and am truly grateful that I got a chance to study at LiU. For some of you, it might be the first time when you will be studying abroad for such a long time, while others already have this experience. Anyway, I can assure you that it is worth trying! Now you know (here: MA in Ethnic and Migration Studies students) that you are not the first one accepted to this programme as I was; now you can contact me and my classmates regarding any concerns.

I would like to conclude my post with Terry Pratchett’s quote, who is one of my favorite authors: “It’s not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren’t doing it.” This is something for you to mull over during these two months before our studies 🙂 See you soon guys, and congrats to all of you again for being admitted to LiU! Don’t miss this chance, you won’t regret it! Btw, in case you want to see how the city looks like, this group has daily updates!

summer-tag-copy


 

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Self-promotion

Posted in: Activities, Campus Norrköping, Linköping University, Norrköping, Studies on 8 June, 2017 by Alexandra Koptyaeva

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Some of you might remember how excited I was a couple of months ago when I visited some TEDx events in Norrköping. Well, in January I was honored to receive a message in which its organizers asked me whether I want to participate in it myself, too! Of course, I did! I was so excited about it all the time, so I shamefully almost forgot to prepare the speech. Anyway, before I start to promote myself, you should know that it wasn’t exactly the same the TEDx that I previously described: the scale of this one was much smaller and it was called the TEDx Salon. The principle is exactly the same as with the TEDx, the main difference being that there are multiple participants in TEDx, and each of them has around 20 minutes. In TEDx Salon, there is only one speaker (this time it was me), and he/she has up to two (!!) hours to present the topic. I was planning my presentation for a very long time, imagining in my head how and what I am going to talk about. However, after visiting another Salon that was two weeks before mine, all my fears disappeared: there are fewer people coming to these Salons so it doesn’t look that scary to talk in front of 15-30 people.

So, what my speech was about? In January and March, I was volunteering in the Refugee Accommodation Center City Plaza in Athens and I truly fell in love with this place and its residents and solidarians. Having a sociological background (sometimes it’s super annoying, really), I tend to analyze and question every situation that I have a chance to observe. When I went in this place, I became interested to know how do people on the move (i.e. the refugees) create the feeling of home in a temporal dwelling. To put it simply, what makes these people ‘feel at home’ there? What makes people call squat their ‘home’ and why they don’t want to leave it when they are relocated to another place? I argue that the daily activities of the residents and volunteers and the organization of the space help to construct a positive notion of ‘home’ even despite the attempts of the government to evict such buildings. During my presentation, I kept thinking about people there: how much I miss them and that I want to come there and do as many things as I am able to do to change the situation and make their lives better. The motto of this place inspires me to do it: “We live together. We struggle together. Solidarity will win!”

My TEDx


 

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National day

Posted in: Activities, Norrköping, Sweden on 7 June, 2017 by Alexandra Koptyaeva

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”Ye auld, ye free…” (translation of the national hymn)

Sveriges nationaldag, or the National day of Sweden, is the event that is celebrated here on the 6th of June every year since 2005. I wasn’t in Sweden in that day but I read about it a lot before, so here I want to share my knowledge about it with you – I am sure that many of you will be in Sweden next year (my MA is until the 12th of June this term, for instance) so you might become part of it since it is celebrated in both Norrköping and Linköping. It is the independence day and encourages a national pride in the residents of this beautiful country. Historically, there are two main events happened centuries ago that are still proudly honored by Swedes: (1) Gustav Vasa (also known as ‘the founder of Sweden‘) became a king in 1523 which lead to the country’s independence (he broke the union between Sweden, Denmark, and Norway) and (2) a new constitution was introduced in 1809.

If you are in Stockholm on that day, you might be able to see the King and Queen of Sweden – they are joining this ceremony, which is held at the open-air museum, Skansen. As I read here, some families dress their children in traditional peasant costumes and they welcome the Royal Family with summer flowers in their hands. In Norrköping, it was celebrated in many city parks (e.g. Folkets Park), and everything ended up by the firework.

National day


 

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Useful MOOC before the MA

Posted in: Linköping University, Studies on 7 June, 2017 by Alexandra Koptyaeva

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Hey, guys! This post will be mostly for those who is admitted to the MA in Ethnic and Migration Studies. If you checked the description of the courses that you will have during the first year, you might probably have noticed that some of them will be devoted to the EU migration policies, which also includes the forced migration‘ aspect. Don’t worry if this topic is completely new for you, you will learn a lot of information anyway. However, if you are one of those passionate students who is eager to gain extra knowledge before the start of the program, then you definitely should check a new online course on the edX platform! What is this course about?

The course is called Human Rights: The Rights of Refugees and is organized by Amnesty International. I need to warn those of you who already has any knowledge in this sphere: this is an introductory course so many things are super basic. Anyway, after completing the course, you will know the difference between a migrant and a refugee, learn more about the 1951 Geneva Convention, the situation with the forced migrants and asylum procedures in different countries around the globe. The course is mainly based on discussions and peer reviews so after learning any information, the participants should discuss it with each other and compare how the situation looks like in their countries of origin. Honestly speaking, I cannot say that I learned anything useful since I am familiar with this topic. However, the discussions helped me to gain a lot of useful things: the information that might take days for one to read was briefly summarized by other participants. So, if you want to be better prepared for the MA, check out this course! By the way, you can enroll for free or pay 49$ if you want to get a certificate 🙂

edx


 

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Study trip to Cph

Posted in: Activities, Studies on 26 May, 2017 by Alexandra Koptyaeva

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It has been only four days since I came back from the wonderful trip to Copenhagen, where I went together with my classmates. You might be surprised why do I call this journey a study trip? We went there not for vacation (well, not only for it, let’s be honest) but for lectures that my classmate Asbjørn helped to organize for us. Probably you remember my description of the study trip that we had in March and of the course about Migration in Arts that we had in that period? Well, this trip was partly a continuation of that course: one day, we had a workshop by the artist that works in the Trampoline House in Copenhagen; she invited us for a visit there. After long discussions and travel arrangements, we finally chose the middle of May as the best time to pay a visit. In this post, I want to describe the lectures that we had and who knows, maybe you, future students of Ethnic and Migration Studies programme, will be inspired to organize the same trip! Of course, I had enough free time to walk around the city (it was my first time there and in Denmark in general) but I think that you might be more interested in the study part.

Alright, let’s start with the first place that we visited: Trampoline House. It is an independent project run by artists; refugees and asylum seekers can get support from volunteers and activists there who organize some activities for them. Being currently unable to work (because they are waiting for the work permit), people can sign up as volunteers and join such activities as language classes, cooking, cleaning, and some workshops through which they can gain new skills or teach others something new on the daily basis. Leaving in camps or squats, people commute there a couple of times per week to take part in these events; thus, it helps them to find new friends and also be involved in the community life. The emotional support that the members can get there, in my opinion, is the key factor in the success of this project: being exhausted of the long waiting process, people are in a depression and such projects as this one can give them a strength to keep waiting for the slow burocratic processes instead of giving up and voluntary deporting themselves.

Another lecture was by the activist of the Black Lives Matters Copenhagen: in her inspiring speech, the woman told us about her experience and help that she provides to the refugees and asylum seekers whose rights are deprived. The stories that she told us about the meetings and debates organized by her, and the successful outcome of some demonstrations made me really excited: I have an experience of being a volunteer but I have never participated in the political debates before; now, I am thinking to start doing it this summer. One more lecture that we had was by Asylret – a group of people working with the rejected asylum seekers who have to live underground because of their precarious situation. Two activists told us how they deal with rejected cases that are often sent to them by lawyers: they are trying to find any catch that can help with the case. Fortunately, they are quite successful in it: they helped many people to get a citizenship and saved them from the deportation!

Cph

What is left to say.. I am (still) very inspired by these lectures, and I am truly grateful to Asbjørn for the organization and to the generous support by REMESO! Hopefully, this summer I will be able to help people, too!


 

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Alexandra Koptyaeva

Alexandra Koptyaeva
My name is Alexandra, and I am from the cultural capital of Russia St. Petersburg.
I am a first-year Master student on a new program called Ethnic and Migration Studies, which is located in Campus Norrköping. I am studying sociology of migration for almost four years, and during this MA program I hope to deepen my knowledge in this sphere and gain new experience.
I have never lived in Europe for such a long period before, and I am so excited about it!

MA Ethnic and Migration Studies

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