Sweden vs Australia (Education)

Posted in: University on 13 January, 2020 by Sebastian

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After living in Sweden for seven months, I have become more aware of the differences and similarities between the two countries both in terms of education and culture.

Regarding the former, I think that further education in Sweden and I could perhaps generalise further and say Northern Europe, is considered a right. Students have a right no matter their socio-economic background or ethnicity to attend university and have the freedom to study what they like. They are encouraged to attend university and then once there, supported both financially and mentally.

By comparing Australia and Sweden, I have come to understand that Australian students are not afforded the same support or encouragement by the state. As an Australian student, one must pay for their studies either upfront or by taking out a government loan and usually, must work while studying to support themselves financially. I have known friends who did not complete their studies or did not even consider studying due to the financial strain it causes.

I have much admiration for the education system in Sweden, from the state’s role in supporting students to the quality of education universities, in particular Linköping University, is able to deliver. I have come to see education and more specifically, higher education, as an opportunity that should be made more accessible to everyone. Australia could learn a lot from Sweden in terms of education, especially when it comes to supporting their students financially and consequently, mentally.

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Ice Hockey and LHC

Posted in: General on 19 December, 2019 by Sebastian

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Tjena!

You can easily become a little bit sad in the Winter, with little sun and cold weather, you need to find things to do in order to distract yourself from the constant darkness. Linköping offers many different activities but one thing that I have enjoyed doing is attending the ice hockey.

LHC (Linköping Hockey Club) is the local team and they play at home (SAAB Arena) quite often. I have attended several games this season and it is great fun. As a student you can purchase tickets for roughly, 80SEK (8 EURO). LHC draw pretty good crowds to their games so there is a really good atmosphere, especially when LHC are winning.

If you are someone who has no knowledge of ice hockey, whatsoever (like me), I recommend doing what I did – befriending a Swede and go with them to the game. That way, they will be able to explain to you the quirky rules of icing and offside (you can discuss this at the bar between periods).

The game itself is quite physical and for me, I enjoy seeing big shoulder-to-shoulder hits as it reminds me of Australian Football. Although, I have been told that the Swedish league (SHL) is not as physical as the American league (NHL), partly due to the NHL playing on a smaller rink, making it more chaotic but also partly due to the teams in the SHL being a bit more disciplined.

If you’re a sports enthusiast or even if you are not, I recommend going to watch the mighty LHC at SAAB Arena.

 

  

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Christmas in Sweden (Part 1)

Posted in: General on 12 December, 2019 by Sebastian

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With only two weeks until Christmas I thought I’d share with you what it is like to be in Linköping during the month of December. The Swedes have many Christmas traditions that I am hoping to experience. St Lucia Day officially marks the start of Christmas on December 13 but the Swedish people get into the Christmas spirit, well and truly, before then. Christmas is celebrated on the night of 24th December (Julafton) with a smorgasbord of traditional Swedish foods. I hope to tell you about these events in more detail after Christmas when I have experienced them for the first time but for now, I will continue with my experiences so far.

The Linköping Christmas markets are on every weekend in December and is located at Gamla (old) Linköping. I recommend buying a cup Swedish Glögg (which is a mulled wine essentially) and walking around all the different stalls. At the markets you can buy many traditional Christmas decorations and food but you also get to experience Gamla Linköping in all its glory. The best time to visit is between 14:00 and 16:00 as that is when the sun is setting and all the Christmas lights are being turned on (see some pictures below).

It is essential that you also buy some Christmas decorations to have in your apartment or room. As December is the darkest month you will need to buy some Christmas lights and candles to ensure your spirits remain high.

Linköping in December is beautiful and uplifting. There are Christmas decorations everywhere and every main street in town is lit up. It’s an amazing place to be in the lead up to Christmas.

God Jul (Merry Christmas)

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UF Events

Posted in: University on 12 December, 2019 by Sebastian

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G’day!

One thing that I have really enjoyed while at LiU has been attending events held by the Student Association of Foreign Affairs (UF). These events will usually cover topics and issues that are relevant and prominent in society today. I have been incredibly impressed by the speakers the association has been able to organise because they are either very well respected in their discipline or hold very important positions. For example, I attended an event a few weeks ago on Chinese-Swedish relations and the guest speaker was the Chinese Ambassador to Sweden!

The Chinese Ambassador to Sweden spoke for about 40 minutes (with a translator) and then answered the audience’s questions. The fact that an LiU student association was able to organise a speaker that holds such a position, I think, shows how well respected the university it is.

Another UF event I attended was about Swedish arms exports which was incredibly insightful and thought-provoking. The speaker was from the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society which is a non-governmental organisation that is primarily focused on peace, disarmament and democratisation. It was interesting to learn about Sweden’s role in the trade of weapons. Sweden is country that has an international reputation for being a neutral, peaceful and tolerant society that has a strong international presence regarding the promotion of international peace and human rights. But Sweden is also a major weapons exporter which is in direct conflict with their international reputation. For instance, Sweden is the biggest contributor of aid to Yemen but also exports arms to coalition partners which essentially facilitates the war in Yemen to some extent.

These are only some examples of the issues and topics the UF events cover and if you are interested in attending UF Events, all you have to do is sign up as a member (50SEK or 5 EURO for one year), which is great value considering they supply sandwiches and coffee at their events. Or if you aren’t interested in foreign affairs there are plenty of other student associations at LiU so you are bound to find one that is of interest or appeals to you. 

Seb

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LiU and Languages

Posted in: General on 18 November, 2019 by Sebastian

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Tjena,

Being part of an International Master’s programme at LiU has been an incredibly rewarding experience so far and one thing I have developed an appreciation for is the sharing of knowledge and experiences among students in my class. Our class has a very diverse makeup, comprising of students from all over the world. Through classroom discussions and conversations over a beer or two, I have come to admire them for many things but one thing in particular is their ability to speak multiple languages. Many of them come from non-English speaking countries and are undertaking a master’s programme in their second, and in some cases third language, which I find to be an amazing accomplishment. Something I cannot say I would or could do.

This is both motivating and also a little bit embarrassing from my perspective. I come from a country where bilingualism is not really prioritised in the public school system and in addition, Australians and perhaps other English speaking countries too, have a mindset that others will speak English when it is us who we are in their country. Now, I know there are reasons for this but nonetheless, it is a motivation for why I want to study Swedish and make an effort to learn the native language to the best of my ability.

Being an international student at LiU makes me eligible for free Swedish language courses and I recommend to anyone else to take up this offer. LiU place a real importance on bilingualism and this is evident through the offering of free Swedish language courses for international students and through the fact that they offer a substantial number of master’s programmes in English.

I am currently studying Swedish (level B:1) and I am hoping that by the completion of my degree that I will have become close to fluent in Swedish and that it may even kickstart an interest in other languages too.

Har det så bra!

Cheers,

Sebastian

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Sebastian Westley

Sebastian
Hello, my name is Sebastian and I have recently moved to Linköping from Melbourne, Australia to study International and European Relations.
I am a keen traveler and lover of sports. Follow my blog to enjoy my travels within Sweden, life in Linköping and my experiences studying at LiU.

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