Before I even got in university, I knew I wanted to do my Erasmus semester abroad – still didn’t know where, but pretty much everywhere outside Greece worked. I always thought that it’s going to be an easy transition for me because we used to change cities as a family when I was a child because of my father’s job. And still as an adult I was apart from people I love and care about all the time, including my family since I have lived alone for seven years now.
One toxic relationship and one bachelor’s degree afterwards (I’m not going to kiss and tell how many years have gone by) and now I am student again with the opportunity to finally do my Erasmus (let’s be honest reason number one to get into law school was just that)
Making a choice was HARD. I still remember this period as one of the most stressful. Making decisions makes me stressful in general. So, I really wanted to experience a country -far away- and different from my own- Greece. I chose Sweden for that – and in particular Örebro. I remember how much I cried the day I left Greece, but I also remember how enthusiastic I felt when I was on the airplane above the clouds. Enthusiastic about my new home and life.
The first two days at least, I didn’t like anything. My room, the common kitchen, the supermarket. Anything. I barely left my room the first few days. I remember one day my ESN group had plans for pre-drinking and there was a party evening planned. Pretty casual. But the combination of homesickness and anxiety couldn’t even let me leave my bed. I used to cry at random times of the day. Especially when I saw my place or my closest people doing something together back home. Whenever I saw them, I felt like I really wanted to go back. I didn’t understand what I was doing here. I couldn’t be happy or grateful with anything here.
The last thing I could’ve expected was that I would miss the city I live in Greece, because for the last few years I didn’t really like it anymore there. But here I was missing my favorite bar and a walk in the city center. I am not sure if you miss the people or the place though. Since I came here, I feel that people also define our relationships to places.
I am not sure what happened and when and I started feeling more comfortable here. But it happened. And it will happen to you too even if it doesn’t feel like that now. People, nature, pastries help a lot…
A month passed by for me to feel kind at home here. Now I don’t want to leave.
Every year Örebro student union gives out an award to two teachers who have stood out for their excellent teaching. This year the award was given out to John Barnes, senior lecturer in clinical psychology and second-time winner Magnus Hansson, associate professor in business administration. As the student magazine at Örebro university we captured the surprised winners at the award ceremony and got the chance to talk to them after.
The excellent teachers award is given out by the student union at Örebro university. Students who are members in the union have the opportunity to nominate teachers with a motivation about why they think the teacher deserves to win. Thereafter a panel is appointed to choose a winner amongst the 372 nominees. Their names, gender are removed so that the panel can make a neutral choice based only on the motivation provided by the students.
As John Barnes enters the room which is filled with colleagues and representatives from Örebro student union he is startled but manages to look surprisingly calm.
I ask him about the road which has led him, a Australian guy, to Örebro university.
-I did not have any plans to work in an academy. But when I moved into the area I offered to do some seminars and they kept asking me to do more. Then when a lectureship came up they encouraged me to apply.
Ironically he mentions how he had not taken any courses in teaching before his time at Örebro university.
-I have the luxury to be teaching topics that the students are really interested in, like clinical courses where they learn how to practise.
John Barnes also mentions that he thinks one of the reasons why his teaching is perceived positively is because of the fact that he himself enjoys his work and to teach very much.
-I am a little bit of a performer, and teaching is as close to the stage as I get.
When it comes to communication with his students John Barnes mentions that he finds it easier to talk to someone then sending an email.
-I prefer that someone knocks on my door and asks me a question rather than writing a long email about it.
The second winner, Magnus Hansson, is presented with his prize one week later. Even though he has won the prize before, he is overwhelmed when he finds out the news.
-This reward is like a receipt that my teaching has an impact.
He explained that he has a genuint interest in teaching and that is a skill he will continue developing.
-In a first meeting some students could perceive me as very forward. I get personal very fast and I ask a lot of questions right away.
Magnus Hansson also explains that his method of teaching is mostly dialogue based. He mentions that he first of all needs to find out at which level of knowledge the students have in the subject so that he knows where the starting point of his teaching should be.
-It is imported to create a teaching environment that is perceived as safe for the students.
In smaller classes Magnus Hansson mentioned that he learns the names of his students quickly.
-If I see my students in Nova I make sure that I say hi and if they are stuck on a problem I am more than willing to stop and help them along the way.
What becomes clear when speaking to both winners is that both John Barnes and Magnus Hansson make an environment that is very impersonal, such as the lectures at a university, and makes them personal. The students seem to have taken a liking in this, where teaching is more personal and informal. This year the excellent teaching award has gone to two teachers who have managed to tear down the wall between student and teacher and consequently connected with their students.
Currently at Örebro University new exchange students are arriving. This semester the university is welcoming around 150 exchange students. Lösnummer has talked to both, Katrin Wieder, who is working at Örebro University as an International Student Assistant, and some exchange students from Germany, Hungary and Belgium.
Katrin is standing ready with fliers and welcome bags to greet new students as we arrive.
-As an International Student Assistant I am mainly responsible for answering all questions regarding the practical and social part of the exchange. One part of my job is that I am also responsible for the arrival days during which the students will receive important information and we hand out the keys for their accommodation.
This is the first time since the pandemic that Örebro University has had the opportunity to welcome exchange students from outside Europe.
-Yesterday we had four Korean students that arrived, that felt quite special and exciting, Katrin says.
Katrin also walks us through the first steps a new exchange student takes after arrival.
-First of all the students receive the keys, they get an accommodation guaranteed within walking distance to campus through the university. Afterward they usually meet a “fadder” of their faddergroup who will guide them to their room and help them settle in.
Katrin also mentions that all exchange students get a welcome bag that includes some small presents and information. She says that the International Office wants the students to get a real Swedish experience so of course there is some Swedish Kexchoklad included in the bag.
Lösnummer has also gotten the opportunity to talk to three exchange students that just arrived from Hungary. All of them study in Budapest.
-Sweden is really different from Hungary and I was really curious to come here. I study International Relations andwe don’t study Gender equality. However, I am really interested in that subject and as Örebro University offers a course in Gender equality, I chose to study here, Anna Erdődi says.
Veronica Bücs on the other hand says that she chose Örebro University for her semester abroad because of its wide variety of unique courses in economics.
Barbara Bódis mentioned that she noticed how modern and clean Örebro University is.
Rosain Jossensis another exchange student, she is from Belgium. She mentions how her first impression of the university is that it’s very calm.
-At Örebro University, we were assured that we would have guaranteed accommodation. I have friends that are going to other countries, and they have to find their own place to live.Guaranteed accommodation, I think, is the first reason for my choice, Rosain says.
Lösnummer also talked to Sophia Gyszas who studies in Lüneburg, Germany. She tells us she has been in Örebro one day now.
-These first days are all about going to IKEA and the supermarket. But I am looking forward to exploring the university later.
Lösnummer asks Sophia why she chose to come to Örebro University for her exchange.
-I chose Sweden because I am fascinated by Scandinavia, as many people are.
21 april, 2020, 15:16 Debatt, Föreningsliv, International, Örebro studentkår, Lämna en kommentar
The following text is a debate article. The opinions voiced is belonging to the respective authors, not Lösnummer. Lösnummer is independent from any organisation or viewpoint and is working as a forum for debate regarding Örebro Student Union and Örebro University.
For a number of years, the Doctoral Student Section (DokSek) has actively represented Örebro University’s PhD student rights, providing support both in their rights as students and as employees. Among other things, DokSek offers every year a variety of lunch seminars (together with the student department) aimed to supplement the information that PhD students receive while being employed at Örebro University. While our base of PhD students is slowly – but steadily – growing, DokSek increasingly gained both visibility and new members.
However, it appears that – despite our efforts – we did not succeed in impressing the University. As an example, during the current academic year, DokSek has compiled a list of issues identified by the PhD students which was later forwarded to the Vice-Chancellor, just to hear back from the Student Union that the university does not have any structures that could be used to address the identified issues.
Every now and then, the University website states that the administration aims to increase its internationalization efforts… yet again, how can you even think about ”internationalization efforts” without transparency; i.e. having still, as of 2020, a website that does not provide all the information in English as well as Swedish? DokSek has long advocated for the right of PhD students, some of whom moved to Sweden along with their families for their positions, to receive proper information.
In addition, DokSek is throughout its establishment, a part of the Student Union which has been invisible to the rest of the university. One obvious example of that is the lack of a section room that DokSek should have, like every other section at Örebro University. However, it appears that DokSek does not matter as much as other student sections. Maybe this is because we are actually a hybrid between student and employee, and due to work commitments, PhD students cannot engage in student life in the same ways as undergraduate and master students. Nevertheless, that does not make DokSek any less of a student section than the rest at Örebro University. As is now, PhD students have no way of actually meeting with each other, or with the DokSek board. The DokSek board does not really understand why we are lacking the infrastructure that other student sections receive by the university. In a previous communication with the student union, we have been told that no one has shown any ”great desire to actively help DokSek” and then we would like to ask: why?
Are PhD students just labor who produce articles and help in teaching and supervising and as long as we are getting paid for it we should not complain about anything else? Should we not be treated equally as other student sections?
Undertaking a PhD is usually a lone-task, meaning that opportunities for socialization are highly valued by us and are used as means of maintaining our psychological well-being. Recent research (Martinez et al., 2013; Janta et al., 2014) has shown that PhD students are very often affected by depression and anxiety issues often related to the lack of social interaction and isolation. A room where PhD students would be able to convene with each other but also with the DokSek board would work as a mean of promoting socialization, increasing the psychological well-being, but also finally providing DokSek the much- needed visibility which would – hopefully – once and for all end DokSek being the forgotten student section of Örebro University.
The Doctoral Student Section – DokSek
Janta, H., Lugosi, P., & Brown, L. (2014). Coping with loneliness: A netnographic study of doctoral students. Journal of further and Higher Education, 38(4), 553-571.
Martinez, E., Ordu, C., Della Sala, M. R., & McFarlane, A. (2013). Striving to obtain a school-work-life balance: The full-time doctoral student. International Journal of Doctoral Studies, 8(39-59).
When you read the title of this article, you might have thought “Is she crazy? We are in 2020, no need for using homing pigeons, we can directly ‘Facetime’ with our family and friends!”.
That is fair enough. The 21st century might have brought a lot of bad sides, but one definitely good invention has been telecommunication, internet, social media and so on – when it comes to keeping in touch with our close family and friends while we are away.
To be honest, I might never have gone abroad for one year if this did not exist. Being able to hear the voice or even see your family and friends can help reduce the distance between you and them. It is always nice to chit chat as often and as long as one wants.
However, I still think that communicating through letters is a good thing, and can complete in a way the relationship that we maintain with people from home. I for example write letters to my close family and friends, maybe once a month, and I can tell that waiting for a letter back is way more exciting than waiting for someone to reply on my last 4-words-text on WhatsApp.
I am not saying that we all should only communicate through letters like the old times, but this is an alternative way of keeping in touch with our family and friends. A letter is tangible, concrete. It takes much more effort to hand write your thoughts, organise them. Besides, you and your penfriend(s) can keep a trace of your epistolary relation during your exchange semester or year.
In the end, it is up to you to communicate the way you want with your family and friends. After all, this article is in a broader sense emphasizing on the importance of keeping good contact with the persons that we love! No matter how you do it – I recommend you to take a piece of paper and a pen, and try to write some kind words and describe how incredible your experience in Örebro is!
For some more practical information, you can buy stamps at Pressbyrån and send your letters just behind it in the yellow post office box! Price for Europe is 22 kr (February 2020).
When I applied for my year abroad in Sweden, one of the things that I was really looking forward was Christmas time. I have always heard good things about this time of the year in Scandinavia – how cozy the houses get with all the decoration, all the tasty cookies, etc. During the dark November, I started to see the premises of Christmas time in the shops, and even in town, where some light decorations appeared. But it was nothing compared to December.
Let me introduce you to the Swedish way of celebrating Christmas, through the eyes of an exchange student.
Disclaimer: the point of this article is to see how an exchange student feels about Christmas in Sweden and what stands out at first sight. That is the reason why some information can miss or be approximative.
The first category of noticeable things is the Christmas decoration: when December shows up, so do the cozy paper stars on every window. While some houses (and even schools, offices or shops) might bear such stars, some others are ornamented with typical candelabra. I also happen to see a lot of these cute figurines called tomtar and representing bearded gnomes wearing big red hats.
Besides these Christmas-related decorations, a bunch of events also occur during December. First, some Christmas markets open in nice places such Dylta Bruk, or Wadköping. Inside these markets you can find a lot of crafts, such as for example candlesticks, wooden kitchen utensils, woolen socks and mittens, or also some pottery. You can of course have a taste of Sweden when trying some moose salami or Swedish cheese and marmalade. The second big event of Christmas time in Sweden is Lucia day. From what I heard about it, on every 13th of December, girls are dressing up as Lucia, an Italian saint, wearing a white tunic and lights in their hair, and everyone is parading and singing typical songs.
Finally, a lot of food seems to be related to Christmas time in Sweden. I can first talk about the tasty pepparkakor, those spicy cookies that you will for sure find in every grocery store during this month. I also eat a lot of lussekatter, these saffron brioches in a “S” shape that are ornamented with two dry grapes. During the ESN Farewell Dinner that took place during this month, I got the chance to try the famous julbord, this Christmas buffet where you can savour some meatballs, marinated fish, smoked salmon, potatoes, and a lot of other appetising dishes.
Moving on to typical Christmas drinks, I can first mention julmust, which is a soda that I see in every shopping cart during December. And finally, how not to talk about the amazing glögg, this spicy mulled wine that Swedes drink with some roasted almonds and dry grape inside.
Bonus: I also noticed that building ginger houses is also a tradition here, which is not without reminding me the Hansel and Gretel tale…
Anyway, that’s it for my Exchange-Student-Perspective-Swedish-Christmas-Review. I hope you exchange students learned a bit more about Christmas in Sweden, and that you Swedes enjoyed seeing your traditions reviewed by an alien.
As a thrifting fan, I was amazed of the number of second-hand shops in Örebro – and Sweden in general. Back home in France, I know we have a lot too, but I have to admit that the Swedish ones are really nice. I decided to write this short guide for all the vintage lovers, but also for you that “only got twenty dollars in my pocket” and don’t want to spend all your money on clothes, home decoration or another kitschy lampshade.
And if you are not totally convinced by the benefits of second-hand, I can just add that buying in second-hand shops is a sustainable, cheaper and original way of doing shopping!
N.B: Some addresses might be missing as I do not already know Örebro like the back of my hand… But here is my second-hand shops guide!
Description: Myrorna was created in Stockholm in 1896 by a group of women who wanted to help persons in need. It is nowadays owned by the Salvation Army (Frälsningsarmén) and is the biggest chain of second-hand shops in Sweden.
What I like about it: This shop is the one in which I spend the most of my thrifting time. It is quite big and you can find whatever you need: if you like clothes, there is a “regular” clothes section, but in the other side of the shop you can find the vintage part. And in between, you can thrift a lot of bibelots, from small domestic electrical to dishes, by way of books, comics or lampshades.
What I like about it: This smaller Myrorna shop opened in October 2019 and the items are more selected: you could think this shop is selling new stuff (but the prices stay exactly the same as others second-hand shops – affordable).
Ge för livet Second hand
Description: Ge för livet was created in 1967 and is run by the Evangelical Church (Evangeliska Frikyrkan). The first shop in Örebro opened in 1995. The money earned by the organisation goes to humanitarian projects such as children’s rights or fight against human trafficking.
What I like about it: This shop in the city center is selling clothes, dishes, decoration and books. What makes it an even nicer place to go is the small café located inside the shop, where you can get an affordable fika in a really cosy place.
What I like about it: This shop is bigger than the one in the city centre, and even though it sells the same things, it is more focused on selling furniture. There is also a café part inside the shop, which make you enjoy your thrifting trip.
Röda Korset – Second Hand-butiken
Description: The Red Cross organisation is the biggest NGO in the world, and also in Sweden. Among the country, the Red Cross organisation (Röda Korset) owns around 300 second hand shops.
About two weeks ago did the International office of Örebro University host an event at Kårhuset. This event was called ”Time to Go!” and was an opportunity for students to talk to other students who has been exchange students previous semesters. Down below can you watch a clip from when Lösnummer covered the event and talked to some students.
11 november, 2019, 11:18 International, Örebro studentkår, Universitetet Lämna en kommentar
Maybe you heard about the Orientation Program (OP) before. Before I start, let me just say, that those four weeks were freaking amazing! I honestly don’t remember a time, where I had that much fun before and also got to know so many great new people – and that’s not because my life is boring.
I don’t even know where to start. Let me just take you back to the time, before I got to Örebro, which is by the way an awesome city for doing Erasmus. Back home, I’ve already received some emails from my future group leader, who introduced the Orientation Program a litte, so I kind of knew what to expect. At least, that’s what I thought back then… If I look back now, I HAD NO CLUE WHAT WAS COMING.
It all starts with getting to know your so-called Fadder-Group, usually consisting of a handful of Fadders, which are mostly Swedish students, and 20 to 30 international students.
The first few days already start with a lot of parties. We had many different theme-parties, which were fun to dress up to, like a Swedish-theme party, a pirate party or (my favorite) the Toga-party, where everyone basically uses a white bedsheet to wrap him/herself up like a burrito.
In between those parties, there are always super fun activities during the daytime. You get to know the campus by contesting against the other groups in different tasks. You learn Swedish during a crash course. You experience the town of Örebro by doing different challenges throughout the whole center. And what I, personally liked most, was that you constantly stick to your Fadder group, so that you all get very close. What’s also great, is that you get a chance to interview some Swedes and ask them anything you want to know about Örebro or University stuff.
Once a week you have a Fadder-Group get-together, where you can basically talk about what happened during the week and try to reconstruct the weekend, if necessary. On those meetings, the Fadders usually organize something chill, like having a BBQ outside or just playing board games.
I know, it sounds like they’ve planned activities for almost every day and, honestly, yes, it is a lot of program! But the cool thing is, that you can just pick between those offered activities and just do whatever you’re in the mood for. You’re not expected to attend all of the activities, since everyone needs a few days to rest sooner or later. Or in other words: OP sickness is catching everyone! They say, if you didn’t get a cold during the OP at least once, you didn’t do it right.
When the OP is over, you have like one week without any program, before the final „Welcome Dinner“ takes place. That is a fancy dinner with all of the ESN people, where they show all the photos taken during the OP and also do some program on stage. Afterwards, you can already guess it: Party in Örebro’s lovely town!
Well, the OP is now over since a few weeks and I can’t wait for the one next semester! If all this is still to come for you, prepare yourself to get a bunch of new friends and collect some indescribable memories.
Adèle Jordan, a former Örebro student, has recently released her debut novel Kärlek, svek & smaragder which she debuted with at the annual Gothenburg Book Fair in late September. We met in her home for an inspiring talk about her book and writing process.
Adéle and I sit down at her kitchen table and I’m given a copy of her book to browse through. The cover of the book shows an Irish landscape and goes in the green colours that are so often linked to Ireland. The green colours have the same tones as a tattoo on Adèle’s arm of a shamrock, an Irish clover. We are going to continue to talk about Ireland but as I’ve heard that Adèle is a former editorial member, we start to talk about Lösnummer.
– That’s right. I was a member of Lösnummer between 2011 and 2012. I wrote articles about a little bit of everything possible like news, sports, reviews and more. It was fun!
You’re a former Örebro student. What did you study during your time as a student? – I studied Media and Communication with a specialization in film. I also studied creative writing courses. In the creative writing courses did we learn how to write different kinds of texts. Those are the courses I’ve had the most use of after my studies.
–In addition to my university studies, have I studied other writing courses. I took two courses over Facebook, one called Författarateljén which had different themes every week. I wrote my book through a course called “Från bokidé till bokmässa (eng. translation: From book idea to book fair, ed).” by Litterära konsulter. That course had supervision meetings every Monday and different writing sessions every week to speed up our writing. Through that course did I gain access to an editor, proofreading and cover of the book among other things. I also got to go the Gothenburg Book Fair and I’ve released the book through my own publishing house.
What’s your book about? – It’s about Michelle from Sweden who goes to Ireland on vacation. In Ireland, she meets Adam and they fall in love instantly. But Michelle has to go back home, and complications arise. It’s a romance with elements of suspense. You’ll have to read about it to know more!
How come the story takes place in Ireland in particular? – Well, I am a hibernophile. In other words, I love everything about Ireland. I’ve been there four times since 2011 and if I could I would go there all the time. I like the country and the people, so it was quite natural for the book to take place there.
Hibernophile, that’s a word I never heard of before! I know that your writing process has been a bit special, how did you do when you wrote your book? – That’s right. I got a CP-injury at birth due to lack of oxygen. I’m sitting in a wheelchair and cannot write by myself, so I use a voice-controlled program and say word for word. It has been a bit of a struggle of course. It takes a long time to spell out every word and sometimes the program fails. I started writing in January 2018 and also attended a writing course in New York last autumn. I spent several hours each week writing.
How fun with New York. What did you do while being there? – It was there with the course that I studied. We were four Swedes on the course, and we lived in Harlem for a week. We had lessons every morning until lunch and homework to work with during the days. We also explored the city of course.
It must have been very inspiring. Do you have any advice for other students who want to write? – If you really want to write, you just have to start. Don’t think too much. You do not need to write from point A to point B. One advice is to take a course in writing like I did. There are good writing courses that you can study at distance via the internet as the ones I took. The editing phase can be hard, but I went into my own bubble during it. Get to know your characters and go into your own world through writing.
Did you have a complete story finished when you started writing? – I started by writing a synopsis. The longer I wrote the more did the story become different. The characters got their own life. I knew the end of the story all along, it was pretty clear, and it was good to have it like that.
What happens next? Do you have plans to write more books? – I’ve started writing notes for the next book. I hope for it to be ready for next year’s book fair. It’s a bit of a continuation of this book. Some characters remain, although it has been a few years. I could not let the characters go completely so I’ve chosen to keep some of them.
Finally, where can you and your book be found? – The book is available for purchase on Adlibris, Bokus and on my website adelejordan.com. You can follow me on my website where I’ve a blog and on my Facebook page which has the same title as my book Kärlek, svek och smaragder.