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Easing into a New Student Life

NEWS: Mar 14, 2019

Living in a new city and attending a new school can be challenging. The University of Gothenburg’s Welcome Services works to ensure that the arriving international students have an as easy transition into student life in Gothenburg as possible.

On Tuesday the 22nd January, four days after most exchange students arrived for the semester, a Welcome Day was held. General information about, among other things, Gothenburg, the university and Swedish culture were presented in the university’s auditorium, in the main building. During the welcome speech Nils Nävert, who works at Welcome Services, explained that, since the University of Gothenburg’s different faculties and departments are scattered throughout the city, the university doesn’t have a traditional campus area. However, he also presented an alternative way to look at it.
“The whole city is one gigantic university campus!”

Karl Kilbo Edlund, representing SAKS, the student union for students attending the Sahlgrenska Academy, who had come to the Welcome Day to talk about what student unions are and what they do to help students, took a minute during his time on stage to reminisce about his own time as an exchange student.
“You’re in for the most exciting semester of your life,” he ensured the newly arrived students in the audience.

“It Breaks Down Cultural BarriersThe Welcome Day was rounded off with a panel discussion where students, both international and Swedish, answered questions and traded experiences regarding studying in Gothenburg, Swedish customs, first impressions of the city and much more. At the end of the panel discussion a question arose regarding how studying in Gothenburg can differ from studying at universities in other cities and countries. Factors such as a more informal relationship with the teachers and professors, the grading system and that learning often is regarded as a communal effort was brought up.

Siddhant Gupta, a former student of the Chalmers University of Technology who currently works at Volvo and simultaneously takes some courses at the University of Gothenburg, shared his view on the benefits of group work, as well as on working with people from across the globe.
“The beautiful thing with group work is that it breaks down cultural barriers. That’s an experience that has helped me a lot now that I work at Volvo and interact with people from all over the world.”

During the Welcome Day the students were also informed about upcoming events, and suchlike, for international students. This is a subject which was expanded upon the following day, when the Fair and Information Day took place.

The Fair and Information Day is exactly what it sounds like; an event where information regarding, amongst other things, student health, Swedish language courses, academic writing support, student housing, the University of Gothenburg’s library system, mail and bank services is presented. It is also a fair where students get a chance to talk to a broad variety of exhibitors who arrange activities or events for students, or offer help and assistance during the students stay in Gothenburg.

A Broad Variety of Exhibitors

Among the exhibitors this year were different faculties and departments from the University of Gothenburg, student unions, student associations who arrange lectures, meetings and discussions about a variety of topics, Fysiken, which is a gym where students can work out at heavily reduced prices, the Student Chaplains, and K103, which is Gothenburg’s student radio channel where students can produce and broadcast their own radio shows.

It’s not uncommon that the exhibitors themselves have experiences similar to those of an exchange student; having arrived in Gothenburg from other countries with the intention of only staying for a finite period of time. During his presentation Greg Soulliere, a language supervisor at the Unit for Academic Language who helps students with academic writing and language development, retold how he only planned to stay for two years when he first came to Gothenburg. Today he has been living here for nine years.
“I’ve made the city my home,” he declared in between telling students about who they can turn to if they feel the need for help with writing academically.

After the Welcome Day and the Fair and Information Day most of the students are about to start their first courses, and some may already have begun. Hopefully, all students feel ready to start their semester at the University of Gothenburg but should there be any lingering uncertainties or worries, be it regarding writing techniques, health issues, questions about insurance, or anything else, there is always someone to turn to.

BY: JOACIM SCHMIDT

Page Manager: Welcome Services|Last update: 5/28/2019
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