A postcard from… Stockholm
Posted on April 5, 2019
By Savannah-Rae Squair Monday 11th March, I’m up early this morning to catch my flight to Sweden for a research visit to Stockholm University. I’m going there to collect research towards my dissertation project which is to create a marketing and communications package of recommendations to GALA’s promotive and communication practices. I’m excited to visit the country and University independently as I think this will benefit my interpersonal skills and help me gain confidence in taking on independent projects! I arrive at my hotel which is located right in the heart of the City and is surrounded by many shops and restaurants. The central station is only a 5-minute walk and will take me directly to the University. I’m looking forward to finally meeting Professor Claudia Egerer in person as we have been planning my visit through email exchanges the past few months. The University Campus is much bigger than Bath Spa. I found from research prior to the trip that there are more than 35,000 students at the University, and it is one of the world’s top 100 higher education institutions. I’m enjoying walking around the campus and noticing the similarities between Stockholm and BSU. Nature seems to be a big part of both University Campuses, it really is beautiful here. Me and Claudia discuss my plans for the next few days and I give her a little more detail about my project. She introduces me to one of her Masters students, Rasmus, who treats me to traditional Swedish Fika, a ‘coffee and cake break’ which emphasises the importance of socialising in Swedish culture. It’s similar to having an English cup of tea and biscuit! I love Sweden already. I’m able to interview Rasmus on his experience of studying at Sweden and really get a feel for student life. This will be beneficial in producing promotive material for my report!
(Stockholm University Campus) (Aula Magna Building) Tuesday 12th March, Today I’m enthusiastic to get stuck in and learn more about GALA’s engagement with Stockholm University. Claudia starts the day by giving me a campus tour and I’m able to take pictures and update GALA’s social media, Instagram and Twitter. I’m also managing the social media posts from Ella and Laura’s research visits to the Netherlands and Udine. Not only am I managing this, but I am also researching how to utilise social media features to promote the network to a range of audiences and provide recommendations in my report. Next, I’m having a meeting with the English department’s Student Councillor and departmental Coordinator for international and exchange students, Helena Engler. I’m able to have a conversation with her about the central issues surrounding student mobility and start thinking about how GALA offers more flexible, short-period opportunities. Helena talks to me about the kind of things her students want to know about Bath Spa and I’m now planning on how to create GALA partner Fact-Files that can be used as promotive material at GALA-involved events, such as the GALA Student Reception or Go Global Extravaganza Day. Later Claudia invites me to sit in on her Higher Literary Seminar with the rest of the English and Creative Writing Staff. Claudia introduces the Environmental Humanities as a field at Stockholm University which flourished from GALA workshops such as ‘The Lost Water Project’. As an English Literature student, I find this seminar interesting in thinking about the role of literature in climate crisis. I take the opportunity to snap some pictures of the seminar and update the GALA Instagram Story, directing our audience to the GALA website where they can find more information.
(Famous Stockholm Alumni, such as physicist, Christer Fuglesang) Wednesday 13th March, Today will be my last day of research at Stockholm University so I want to get all the information I can before I leave. I start the day interviewing Undergraduate Student Yara Gawrieh who studied at BSU last year on an Erasmus scheme. Yara first heard about GALA at the Student Reception and said it was a great opportunity to collaborate with students from across the globe. This directly supports my recommendations to continue with GALA-themed events as they are very successful at promoting what GALA is and what it can do for students at BSU. She tells me about an article she has written and wants to publish on the website. This is significant to my report as I am looking to create a simple and effective way for students to upload their GALA experiences and share their involvement with the network. Yara tells me that the most important thing to her was that she was able to study creative writing in such a collaborative and liberal atmosphere at BSU. This kind of feedback is great to hear, and I swiftly tag @BathSpaUni in a Tweet to share this. For the rest of the afternoon I sit in on Claudia’s English Seminar where she is teaching a group of international students. This kind of small seminar is like the ones I have at BSU, where students have plenty of time to share ideas and collaborate on work. After class I talk to a few international students about their experiences moving to Sweden and what it was like adapting to a different education system. I even bump into a student from BSU who is currently studying at Stockholm! Before I leave, I make sure I get to interview Claudia who has had a relationship with BSU from GALA’s founding in 2014. She describes GALA as having ‘Globality, Connectivity and Understanding’ stressing that is important for our Universities to have a global outlook because ‘we live in a global world, problems and opportunities are global. Universities add flavour to this, and this is vital.’ These are perfect examples of why GALA is so important in an increasingly interconnected world and I will be sure to include these responses in my report!
(The Communal and Student Services Building, ‘Studenthuset’) Thursday 14th March, Before I catch my flight back to the UK, I have some time to explore Stockholm and reflect on my experience at the University. I visit Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old town which has cobbled streets and beautiful 17th and 18th century buildings. While Stockholm is modern and innovative in many ways it values tradition and history which reminds me of Bath. I’ve really enjoyed my GALA experience and feel like I am coming home with lost of research to help develop my project. Visiting Stockholm University has really helped me to understand the value of collaboration to support complex projects. Thanks GALA!
(Colourful 17th and 18th Century Buildings in Stockholm’s Old Town) Author: Savannah-Rae Squair