In september was the yearly university ranking by Times Higher Education released with Örebro earning a higher ranking from the previous year.
The ranking from Times Higher Education for the year of 2020 has been released. Times Higher Education is the largest university ranking with almost 1400 universities of the 20 000 universities in the world ranked. Last year did Örebro University fall on the ranking from place 386 for the year of 2018 till 405 for the year of 2019. For the year of 2020 has Örebro University gained the place of 385.
According to the university itself, the higher placement is mainly due to the fact that scientific articles are written by researchers at Örebro University have been cited in large numbers by other researchers. In the ranking of only citations, is Örebro University ranked the 136th university in the world.
The best Swedish university is the Karolinska Institute in place 41. Twelve Swedish universities are on the list with Örebro universitet in place 10.
According to the university, does the ranking mean that the university gain an increased visibility both nationally and internationally. It is also of great importance in entering strategic partnerships with universities abroad and in attracting international students, teachers and researchers.
Niclas Persson and Sophie Brömster from Klimatstudenterna meeting Vice-Chancellor Johan Schnürer on September 26th. Photo: Klimatstudenterna.
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An open letter to Vice-Chancellor Johan Schnürer from Klimatstudenterna at Örebro University
NOTE FROM LÖSNUMMER: Klimatstudenterna is a student movement that helps universities to adjust to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and Agenda 2020 (from the Facebook page of Klimatstudenterna). The referenced ”Klimatramverket för universitet och högskolor” is a framework for higher education institutions with specific climate strategies. The aim is to engage higher education institution in Sweden to contribute to both national and international commitments to reach the 1,5 degree target.
With this letter are we addressing Vice-Chancellor Johan Schnürer, the university management, and the faculty’s managements, who have a shared responsibility for the direction of the university. For us to be able to have a chance to stay below the 2 degree target, according to the Paris Agreement, a societal change is required. We want Örebro University to lead this change by developing an action plan for how the university’s emission will be halved by 2022.
Klimatstudenterna has been formed to stress universities and other higher education institutions to show that they take their own research seriously. We urge our higher education institutions to halve their own greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2022. In this way the universities can take the consequences of the scientific knowledge they themselves produce and finance. In a time when science and facts are being suspected and ignored does Örebro University have, as all other educational institutions, a responsibility to live as they learn. In this case; in line with the climate research.
We applaud that Örebro University this summer together with 35 other universities made the decision to sign Klimatramverket för universitet och högskolor. It is a good start to accelerate climate work. But to be in line with research much sharper action is required. According to the IPCC rapid and far-reaching changes are needed at an unprecedented level in all parts of society to have a chance of limiting warming to 2 degrees. When Örebro University in the autumn decides on an action plan for sustainability, new guidelines for business travel and to procure a new travel agency, there is a perfect opportunity to adopt environmental goals that are in line with what is required by research.
We therefore want Vice-Chancellor Johan Schnürer, and the university management, to decide:
that the university adopts more ambitious action plans with clear guidelines for reducing travel-related carbon dioxide emissions, such as air travel to be reduced by 50 percent within four years.
that flights with a final destination below 500 km (e.g. Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen) are prohibited, without exception.
to facilitate business travel by train by setting clear requirements in the procurement of a new travel agency.
to provide greater financial support for support, education and simplified information for digital and travel-free meetings.
to make demands on Akademiska hus to build changing rooms, bicycle garages and bicycle racks that enable frame locking to increase the comfort of staff and students commuting by bicycle.
It is time for Örebro University to take a leading role in the transition towards a sustainable society within the planet’s borders!
(Translation by Emma Edberg, Lösnummer. Approved by Klimatstudenterna)
Klimatstudenterna – Örebro University
Maria Soltani Strömberg, studying construction engineering
Niclas Persson, studying social science
Sophie Brömster, studying psychology
Isak Bergström, studying law
Response from Vice-Chancellor Johan Schnürer:
Örebro University takes matters of sustainability – including climate change – very seriously. Our most important contribution to meeting various sustainability challenges is to generate new competence through education and to produce new knowledge by employing research. Successfully communicating this to a range of target audiences is also imperative.
In addition, we should as efficiently as possible ensure that we carry out our operations sustainably. As an example, our collaboration with property management company Akademiska hus has an explicit focus on reducing the university’s energy consumption. More recently, we have introduced a more tangible goal: producing fossil-fuel free electricity via solar panels.
In our role as university management, we are required to navigate a number of conflicting goals. For example, the one between the environmental impact of business travel and the absolute necessity for a university to engage in an international arena. This calls for measured decisions that, as far as possible, are based on scientific knowledge.
I welcome the dedication shown by the Climate Students and I will listen to and receive their petition. It would prove valuable for this dedication to be channelled in cooperation with Örebro Student Union and the elected board members of the student union sections. Their mandate includes representing all students in the dialogue with the university.
(Translation by Communication and Collaboration, Örebro University)
When I arrived in Sweden one of the first things I did was to ask every Swede if they have seen the Northern Lights. A little disappointed everybody answered me that they have never seen them, and they are not planning on seeing them in the near future. My follow up question was, which cities are worth visiting during my short exchange time. I received another disappointing answer ‘I haven’t been to many cities in Sweden’ or ‘I have heard Gothenburg is supposed to be nice’.
In the beginning, I couldn’t understand those answers. How can you live in Sweden and haven’t seen the Northern Lights? Each winter they are just a few hours away. Isn’t it something everybody would like to see? This made me think and I realised that I am the same. When friends who haven’t been to Germany ask me, what cities are worth visiting, I have to refer to places family and friends have visited before, because up until now I haven’t been travelling much through Germany. I have seen more places and could provide more recommendation about France, Sweden and South Africa. Even in my own hometown, I lived for over 21 years, I have never seen the ‘touristic’ or ‘must-see’ places.
I was wondering ‘Why is that so?’. I concluded that my home country doesn’t spark the same excitement than, for instance, visiting another country. When I think about vacation the first thing which comes into my mind is which country I should go to. Since I lived in Germany for so long and I’m surrounded by Germans every single day I get the feeling that it is nothing special anymore. Even though in my case, Germany, has a lot to offer. Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the Dome in Colon or the Historic Port of Hamburg are just a few examples which would be worth visiting. It doesn’t even have to be a trip away from home. My home town has a beautiful baroque castle which is a resemblance to the castle in Versailles. I have seen it many times from the outside, but it never crossed my mind to book a tour to see the inside and to learn more about its history. I find myself being bored of my hometown and just have the urge to run away from it, but how can I be bored without even experienced it to its fullest? People from all over the world are planning their vacation to my hometown to experience the small Versailles.
I find myself guilty of just wanting to tick off different places and countries. However, it is important that the priority should not lay on the travel more on the experience that we can gather from it. When talking to my friends about that topic, I’m not alone with that though. We forget that we can escape and change the scenery in our home country as well. We forget about the beauty that our own home has to offer to us. We forget that there are places to explore and new memories which can be gathered just by opening our eyes and stepping outside of our front door. There are many benefits that come with travelling in your home country. Friendships can be created with less distance, travel can be planed short in advance and often it is less cost effective. You will also learn more about your own country and history.
Sometimes we should be a tourist in our home country.
The decision is made; you want to go on exchange, but what happens next? Here are some tips and steps that need to be considered during the decision-making process and application for the chosen university.
Step 1: Creating an Excel Sheet
To keep track of deadlines, requirements and costs for each possible university, creating an excel sheet beforehand can give a good overview and help in the decision-making process.
Steps 2: Researching
First, you have to look up the possible partner universities you can go on exchange to. Comparison can be made via Times Higher Education University Ranking, by looking up the provided courses, facilities or housing. In addition, inform yourself about the countries the universities are located in as well as the travel destinations around it. Don’t forget to gather information about the prices of flights, housing and living costs. Most of the times these can be found on the website of each university.
What requirements are needed?
Different universities have different regulation for accepting you as an exchange student. Some require language tests, a certain grade average, Visa, a special insurance or a motivation letter. Once again inform yourself about the prices of insurance and Visas and add these to your excel sheet.
Which grant am I able to get?
If you study at a European university and are going on exchange in Europe, you are qualified in getting the Erasmus + grant. The country will influence how much money each you will get. For students going on an exchange outside Europe, Erasmus + does not apply. Some universities offer grants for those students, however the deadline and application process for those are different and include a longer application process in comparison to Erasmus +.
Step 3: Laying out your budget
This needs to be done relatively early. Different countries have different expenses and the one thing that you don’t want to experience is running out of money or constantly worrying about it. Don’t forget to include travel money because traveling is one of the best things about going on exchange. Also, you need to take in consideration that most of the exchange students do not work while being on exchange. Even if you plan on working you will probably not have the time for that. Increase your calculated budget by 10% for unforeseen cost and to provide a buffer for emergencies.
Step 4: Choosing a university
After doing your research it’s time to choose the top 5 universities you are interested in. Check your research and cross out requirements that aren’t met, courses you are not interested in and universities which are over your budget.
Step 5: Application
Now to the easiest step: Handing in your application and waiting for the result. Make sure to hand in all the documents on time. Sometimes there is a second round of applications if you missed the first one. Simultaneously to your exchange application you should also apply for your grant.
Four months ago, as I prepared to leave my home country of Singapore for exchange, many of my friends were worried that they would begin to miss, among other things, the familiarity of home. But my perspective stood on the complete opposite side of the spectrum. For me, though my next few months in Sweden would be uncertain, and though I had never set foot in Europe proper before, it was as though I was about to return to a place I’d known all my life.
When I was nine years old, my parents moved my family to China. While I was there, I was lucky enough to study at an American-run international school until I was 18, and thus my peers and friends came from all corners of the globe. One could probably understand that the longer I stayed overseas, the more distant I grew from my home country.
Upon my graduation from high school, I was required by law to return to Singapore and serve in the military, just like every other 18-year-old male from my country. As I mentally prepared to leave China, I was warned multiple times that Singapore, my very own home country, would never feel completely like home.
It was true. Children who grow up overseas naturally find themselves withdrawn and detached from their home communities. It’s been four years since I arrived back in Singapore for good, and that disconnect is still starkly apparent to me. Though I learned how to talk like a Singaporean and walk like a Singaporean, my new peers and I simply did not share the same experiences growing up. We thought differently. We wanted different things. We cared about different things.
It felt like all my new friends in Singapore were only ever exposed to one world and one culture, whereas I got to see glimpses of countless others through my friends overseas. That difference in perspective, pretentious as it may sound, drove a huge division between my own people and me. Many of the things that my friends grew excited about were plain boring and cliché to me. I felt like a stranger in my own homeland.
So where is home for me? Basically nowhere. ” I could potentially return to China, but all my friends and teachers have returned to their own countries. My school moved to a different campus. My house was sold, my neighbourhood completely changed. That was just the nature of growing up in a community like mine. Nothing was permanent. As a friend of mine said when we parted ways at the airport: “I’m leaving everything I’ve ever known behind, but everything I’ve ever known is leaving me as well.
Coming to Örebro and being a part of ESN’s international community was my last chance to return to those ‘good old days’. Surrounded by people from places far and wide, I’ve talked politics with Belgians, jammed together with Germans, swapped jokes with an American, made dinner with a Greek, learned songs in Catalan, laughed about vulgarities with Koreans, and so much more. Being embedded in the diversity of cultures here — that’s where I find myself being comfortable.
And now, four months since I first arrived here, as I count down the final days I have in Örebro, the thought that this will soon be over hangs heavy over me. I will be forever grateful for the time that I’ve had in ESN. It hasn’t just been a breath of fresh air for me. It isn’t just an adventure. It’s life as I remember it.
I have to admit – one of the main reasons I chose Sweden as my exchange destination was the chance of seeing the Northern Lights, which has always been a dream of mine. With this in mind, I signed up for the ESN Scanbelt Lapland trip to explore places and sceneries in Lapland, hoping that my dream of seeing the Northern Lights would come true.
Our first stop brought us to Kiruna, where we stayed for one night. The city is famous for its big iron mine. Nowadays the city is also brought up in the news because of its relocation. The iron is located underneath the city, which means further mining will make the ground above too unstable to live on. We also saw Kiruna’s church, which was voted Sweden’s most beautiful building in the year 2014. On our first night we went out on a hunt to see some Northern Lights and walked up a hill to have a free view on the sky. Waiting in the cold resulted in my feet almost freezing off, but we finally saw them! They were weak, but definitely there.
The Ice Hotel
Another item on our agenda was visiting the famous Ice Hotel. Each room was created by a different artist – it was truly amazing to see what can be created out of ice. We also enjoyed a cocktail at the ice bar. The drinks were served in hand-made ice cups which we, after finishing our drinks, threw against a wall. It was a lot of fun!
Abisko National Park
Following the Ice Hotel we drove to our next destination, the Abisko National Park, where we would stay for the next two nights. From our room we could see over the frozen lake, as well as the mountains behind it. On our first night, while looking out of our window, we could see the mountains in the most amazing colours, tinted in a stunning pinkish tone. In the evening we set up a camp and grilled hotdogs and marshmallows. Unfortunately the sky was cloudy and there were no Northern Lights to see, which left everybody feeling a little disappointed, but we still had one more evening to go.
Narvik is a city located at the Norwegian border. On our way there we stopped at a beautiful fjord. The scenery was incredible! There were mountains left and right surrounding the endless water in front of us. After arriving in Narvik, most people in our group tried the whale burger which is served in a restaurant in the city centre.
Visiting the Sami
We also had the opportunity of meeting the Sami, the native folk of northern Europe who, depending on the season, travel through Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia. It was a really interesting experience, getting to know the Sami culture and learning about the challenges and opportunities that the Sami face while managing both modern and traditional ways of living. We also got to feed the reindeer!
Ice Sauna and the Northern Lights
On the last night of our trip we experienced the Ice Sauna, which meant being in the sauna until it’s really hot and then jumping into arctic water. It is more fun than it might sound! The sky was crystal clear and we saw the spectacular Northern Lights. Jumping into the icy water while having the Northern Lights above me is an experience I will never forget. They were moving in the sky in purple, green and white, it was amazing! This was a great ending to an amazing trip exploring Lapland.
Excitement, fear and nervousness. These feelings took place inside me when I decided to travel on my own for the first time. It took me over two years before I made the step of packing my bags and leaving Germany to go to South Africa and I loved every second of it. Since then I have been travelling alone over and over again. I asked myself: Why didn’t I do this earlier? Here are five reasons why you should pack your bags and travel on your own.
Making travel plans with friends and family means aligning multiple schedules. Finding a period of time that everybody is happy with is an almost impossible task. Because of this those travel plans stay plans without being realised, with the follow-up statement ‘We can do this trip at a different time’. When travelling alone the only schedule that needs to be taken into consideration is your own. The right timing can be now, tomorrow or next week. There are so many beautiful places on this planet to visit. You shouldn’t wait for the right time to arise, just create the right time now and not later!
2. Freedom of choice
After successfully aligning the schedules, a destination needs to be decided on, as well as the activities. When travelling alone there is no compensating in aligning interests with anybody elses. What matters is what you are interested in and what you want to do. No family or friends will intervene, the decision is yours alone. You can to explore the city or have a relaxing day at the beach. You have the option to travel wherever you want to go, do whatever you want to do and whenever you want to do it.
3. No prejudice
The decision is made to travel on your own. Wherever your travels take you there are new people that you’ll get to know. Who you are back home will be irrelevant, what counts is living and enjoying the moment and not looking back at the past. There will be no prejudice. Everybody is excited and open to make new connections and collect new experience and impressions.
4. New friends
To stay within your budget the cheapest accommodations are hostels, which often have kitchens and bars where you can chill out and have a beer with other travellers. You will get to know new people who you can travel and bond with through experiences. Sharing those moments will create a special connection. You will create a network of friends from all over the world and the next time you will travel you just need to send one text to sort out an accommodation for your next travel destination.
5. Stepping out of your comfort zone
Travelling alone is challenging because we are leaving our safe and comfortable environment behind. I hadn’t been on a plane for 18 years and my first travel alone to South Africa included transits, delays and a lot of stress, but I made it. When travelling alone there is no procrastination possible. Problems need to be solved now and immediately, which leads to growth. Being faced with challenges you wouldn’t have come across in your day to day life will develop you as a person and make you stronger.