After I arrived at the “Örebro Universitet” (https://www.oru.se/english/) and was warmly welcomed by my fadder (is the Swedish word for buddy), I was even more curious how this Erasmus semester abroad is going to be. During the first three weeks there is always an orientation program organized by the international office and ESN Örebro. Each orientation program has its own theme/motto for example Disney movies or Swedish traditions. In addition, during this time you will be assigned to a group which consists of many different Erasmus students from all over the world and the assigned “Fadders” (most of them are Swedish) who will support you during this time, etc. During these three weeks there are many different activities, such as BBQ in the nature reserve (Oset) of Örebro, a city rally, Swedish cooking lesson, international dinners etc. and there are also many challenges, which you have to master as a group and get points for it. At the end of each orientation program the best group and the best fadder group will be awarded. A highlight for me was when we won the Orientation Program and took the trophy home. Furthermore, by participating in this program I was able to get to know all Erasmus students and make friends for life.
The university in Örebro is very modern and there are countless opportunities where you can sit down and study as a student. Furthermore, there are separate rooms where you can heat up and eat your food. This shows that the university cares a lot about the well-being of its students. It also was interesting for me to get to know another system. In Sweden, one course is taken after the other, which means that you can concentrate completely on one topic/course at a time. In the winter semester, I chose many different courses, such as “Language Structure”, “Social Work, Child-Parent Relationships in Societies and Families”, “Geography of Sweden” and “Sociology, Gender, Diversity and Organization”. Since I also extended my stay abroad, I was able to take all four Education courses during the summer semester (“Teaching and Learning”, “Experiencing Swedish Preschool and School”, “Special Needs Education” and “Diversity in the Classroom”).
The university will organize accommodation for you. You can choose or prefer between two options, there is the “Red House”, where you live together in a (really Swedish red) house with ten people and share bathroom, kitchen, etc. Then there is “Studentgatan”, which is a small settlement of dorms right on campus. The dorms are divided into corridors and you have your own room with bathroom to yourself. Furthermore, you share the kitchen and the living area with seven other people. I lived in one of these corridors and you can immediately get to know other Erasmus students because you live so close to each other. The rooms are equipped with the necessary and the kitchens are partly well equipped.
Since I extended, I was able to experience two different schools and school levels. In my internship I could experience the Swedish school system first hand and work with the children despite the language barrier. This language barrier made me think and I can gain a lot for my future work with children with a first language other than German. Moreover, I could see what it means when the school system is completely free, the students come to school without school bags etc., because the school provides everything they need (after school care, food, books, notebooks, pens etc.). Furthermore, the well-being of the students and teachers is a very important issue. There is a specific “Pupil welfare team” that takes care of the students. For teachers there are huge (in our Austrian relation) rooms, where kitchen, couches, tables, sometimes even a bed, where the teachers can relax from the daily routine. Personally, it was very exciting to see how teaching is done in Sweden and I can use this knowledge for my future.
Örebro [œrəˈbruː] is in the middle of Sweden, it takes two hours by train to Stockholm and a good four hours to Oslo. The city of Örebro is not the largest (but in the Swedish ratio 6th largest city), but it has a lot to offer. There is the Örebro slott (castle), the Svampen (a large viewing tower with a restaurant in the shape of a mushroom), a beautiful city park and Wadköping (an open-air museum of very old houses from Örebro). In addition, there are many nice restaurants and cafes where you can make fika (after not even a week you will know what that is). In addition, Örebro is surrounded by nature and the fourth largest lake (“Hjälmaren”).
In conclusion, I can only say that this experience is worth its weight in gold and I can only recommend it to everyone to take this step. Additionally, I have really taken the country of Sweden and its culture to heart and all the friendships you make during your Erasmus year are so special.
Author: Nadine Haidinger