Archive for category 'University'

One Year at LiU

Posted in category: University on 6 June, 2020

As we approach the end of the semester I find myself reflecting on my first year as a student at Linköping University. It has been a year filled with new experiences, great food, awesome company and also, a few stresses. The programme itself  exceeded my initial expectations, the teachers are incredibly knowledgeable and encouraging, the content is relevant and engaging and the people are friendly and fun.

I have been really impressed by the programme, specifically the way it is structured and taught. It is designed to give students the best opportunity to write a strong thesis in the final semester. Social research methods are a significant part of the course content and although it is not the most exciting of topics, our teachers stress the importance of having a strong understanding of what research entails and the different methods that facilitate good research. Research methods are an important component in writing a Master thesis and by realising the importance of it well in advance to writing our thesis, it gives us the best opportunity to do well. This is just another example of LiU having the students’ best interests at heart and it certainly contributes to the appeal of my programme and to the appeal of Linköping University too.

My favourite part of the programme so far though was the study trip to Brussels, not only was it an amazing learning opportunity but it was great fun too. It is a great feature of the Master of International and European Relations programme. See below some pictures from the study trip.

It has been an amazing academic year and I cannot wait to comeback next semester and do it all over again.

I really hope my photography has improved over the course of me writing these blogs. It is certainly a skill I need to improve on 🙂




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Adapting to Distance-Learning

Posted in category: University on 6 May, 2020

Due to the current situation with Covid-19 we are now studying online and due to my own personal circumstances I have returned to Australia which means not only am I getting used to the reality of studying online, but I also have the inconvenience of having my classes late at night. The transition to online learning has not been overly difficult and although my classes are at an unfavorable time, it just means my early morning routine is out of WHACK!

We are using Zoom which I find very easy to navigate and as always, the lecturers continue to be incredibly supportive both during class discussions and outside of class. So adapting to distance-learning has not been too much of a challenge – the quality of teaching remains the same and I still continue to engage with my fellow students.

The only thing I would say that has been a little bit challenging would be being back at home and studying in my bedroom. I find it very hard to motivate myself at home, in Sweden I would usually study on-campus or at the local library and then reward myself with a 5kr bulle (cinnamon bun). Obviously I cannot do that now with Australia’s isolation restrictions in place and it’s hard to find a good bulle in Australia.





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Tips for Learning Swedish

Posted in category: University on 10 March, 2020

As I have mentioned previously, as a Linköping University master’s student you are entitled to free Swedish courses. I have taken full advantage of this and I am currently studying Swedish B1 level 2. I thought I would share with you some tips that have helped me to improve my Swedish (both speaking and listening).

Besides obviously attending classes every week and doing the necessary tasks, I have found that the following two tips are incredibly effective in trying to enhance one’s Swedish proficiency.

1) Listen to podcasts – one thing Sweden does very well is encouraging those who have recently moved to Sweden to learn the language and they provide them with the necessary resources to achieve this. One good example is the wide range of podcasts provided by the Swedish national broadcaster, Sveriges Radio. One podcast I listen to every day is ‘Radio Sweden på lätt Svenska’ which roughly translates to ‘Radio Sweden in easy Swedish’. This podcast basically talks about current affairs in easy to understand Swedish and they talk at a reasonable pace too, unlike your average Swede who talks at a ridiculously fast pace …

2) Befriend a Swede or several – the best way to learn is to challenge yourself and a good way to do this is to just speak the language as often as you can with other Swedes (provided they have the patience). I have been trying to just speak Swedish with my Swedish friends and although I make plenty of mistakes, my confidence is rapidly increasing and I am now more inclined to speak Swedish in public. Now this is easier said than done because the Swedes are brilliant at speaking English so it is very easy to fall into the trap of speaking English with them.

Obviously, these two tips can be applied to most languages but I think they are specifically relevant and effective in regard to learning Swedish.



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Brussels Field Trip

Posted in category: University on 18 February, 2020

This week we were fortunate enough to fly to Brussels as part of the MIER programme and visit certain European Union institutions, the Turkish & Russian mission to the EU and other political organisations. It was an amazing opportunity to further our understanding of how the EU functions on a day-to-day basis; the challenges they face in 2020 and beyond; how, exactly, the EU is perceived by Russia and Turkey; and the policy positions of certain political organisations.

We flew there on Sunday (the weather was terrible and the flight was one of the most frightening experiences of my life but that is a story for another time) and had our first meeting on Monday morning. From then, it was a packed schedule. We had meetings everyday from Monday to Friday. The places we visited were very welcoming and put a lot of effort into educating the class on what they considered to be important issues within Europe and the international system as a whole. In addition, they were very happy to answer – or attempt to answer – our questions, even the critical questions.

We obviously had some leisure time too and this was spent exploring Brussels, tasting quality Belgian beer and trying to understand the most basic of words in French.

Below are some images of the week.




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UF Events II

Posted in category: University on 3 February, 2020

G´day All!

I have spoken about UF events before but I thought it necessary to speak about it again. UF events are run by the Student Association of Foreign Affairs and during the week I attended another one in which the guest speaker was a Swedish journalist and author – Joakim Medin. He spoke about his book Orbanistan – Fear and Loathing in Illiberal Hungary. He gave a very good and detailed account of the political strategies and motivations of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and how the events in Hungary are subsequently inspiring other right-wing populists in other EU Member States. Joakim continued by talking about populism within Europe and the characteristics and tendencies of a populist government / movement.

Now as much as I would love to write more on this topic I will have to avoid politicising this blog – I merely wanted to highlight a point I made in an earlier blog about how LiU is able to attract such inspiring guests to Linköping to share with us their knowledge and experiences. I have found these talks to be incredibly thought-provoking and in addition, they complement what I am studying really well.

There are many student associations at LiU and whether one joins for social or academic reasons they are a great way to meet new people and experience new things in what is, for most of us, a new city.


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Sebastian Westley

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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