In September, four 2016-17 second-year Swedish students who had recently returned from study abroad and internships in Scandinavia, discussed their experiences in the introductory class “Scandinavian Civilization.”
Elisabeth Benham studied at Stockholm University in the winter semester. “I lived in a student dorm where we each had our own rooms and shared a kitchen and common area,” Elisabeth told us. “I really enjoyed Stockholm University because of its close proximity to downtown Stockholm, a beautiful city that offers great food, music, and nightlife.” Elisabeth was able to travel to other parts of Sweden while there. “One of my favorite trips was with the student union when we went to Lapland to see the northern lights and meet the indigenous Saami people.” She concludes, “I would definitely recommend Stockholm for anyone looking for a big city experience and a change of pace from student life in Ann Arbor.”
Thomas Brooks studied Norwegian during his winter semester at Oslo University. “My seven months in Norway were, as clichéd as it sounds, life-changing. I learned so much from being immersed in a culture, language, and environment that somehow managed to be both similar and different from my own. At the University of Oslo, I was able to make connections with like-minded students and experience life as a college student 4000 miles away.”
In a group of 20 University of Michigan students, Lars Johnson participated in a creative writing course in Reykjavik, Iceland. “The class was all about Fairytales, both reading and writing them. We read a wealth of fantastical narratives, from ancient Norse myths, to tales about children raised by wolves, to stories of sailors jumping onto the moon at high tide. The writing we produced was even more varied, and even more magical.” Lars found the environment breathtaking, and a perfect place for budding writers: “Reykjavik is cradled by majestic mountains on one side, and a shimmering ocean on the other. Every corner of the countryside had a glacier or a waterfall or a volcano, each more beautiful than the last.”
Caroline Rothroth spent eight summer weeks in the south of Sweden, interning for a Malmö-based youth magazine called Gatans Röster. The magazine focuses on providing a platform for young immigrants to Sweden to share their personal stories and perspectives on political events. “It was almost entirely youth-run: articles were written and photographed by a group of students from the Malmö area, under the supervision of two group leaders and myself.” Caroline enjoyed living in a studio apartment in downtown Malmö, which has a young, progressive and artistic feel. “I felt like I was experiencing Sweden as a resident might - I’d come to think of my neighborhood and apartment as home. I don’t think that could have happened through any means besides total immersion.”
Other study abroad and internship opportunities to Scandinavia are offered through the School of Engineering and the LSA Opportunity Hub. In addition to Stockholm University, CGIS offers academic programs at Uppsala University and DIS Copenhagen and Stockholm. The Scandinavian Studies endowment along with funding through the Highfield Foundation provides scholarships to students participating in these programs.