Four of our U-M students are currently studying at Uppsala University: Hanna Ljungman, Joshua Blazen, Connor Genther and Jason Butcher. They are focusing on courses relating to their respective majors, some dreaming of returning to Sweden for graduate school. In their spare time, they are active in the student nations and student-run social clubs, which is one of the best ways to socialize and get to know Swedish students. Our students have also made the most of their opportunities by visiting other parts of Scandinavia and Europe, with spectacular trips to the Ice hotel in Jukkasjärvi, Russia, Latvia, and Spain, to mention a few destinations.
I am also in Sweden on sabbatical with my family and we celebrated Valborg in the south of Sweden, in the fishing village Arild. There, old and new Sweden met in a moving way by the bonfire on the beach. After the performance by the local Swedish chorus in traditional folk dresses, a group of Syrian refugee families from a nearby conference center, now functioning as a refugee center, sang the Swedish national anthem as well as some Syrian songs. Warm applause followed, and Swedes and Syrians approached each other to talk, which was encouraging to see.
A couple of former students have shared exciting news: Sara Ann Knutson (AB '15) has been accepted to a PhD program in archaeology at Berkeley. Aaron Kahn (AB '06) has never let go of his dreams of living in Sweden, and recently he was offered a job as a copy writer in Helsingborg, he claims, thanks to the exchange we are having with Campeon and ProCivitas Privata Gymnasium. Congratulations! We are so proud of the both of you and wish you the best of luck! We love hearing from our former students.
In March, the second year Swedish students had the opportunity to go to Helsingborg for the annual study trip, chaperoned by Britt-Marie Martinsson, their instructor during the winter semester, and me. As always, we are very grateful for and impressed by the host families as well as our students, who, in turn, host the Swedes in Ann Arbor for a week. The U-M students are very fond of Swedish pastries and candy. Perhaps it is time for someone to open a Swedish or Scandinavian coffee shop in Ann Arbor?
November 16–20, 2016, the Scandinavian Program will showcase the Swedish playwright, novelist, and poet Lars Norén with several staged readings and more polished productions by three groups: the Chicago-based theater group Akvavit, head of drama for U-M's Residential College Kate Mendeloff, and theater professor Malcolm Tulip (U-M School of Music, Theater and Dance). The translator Marita Lindholm Gochman, who has worked on translations of Norén’s plays for many years, will also participate. One of the most prominent playwrights in Sweden for decades, he has yet not been performed often in the US.