Students are coming!
Students have always been a natural part of LUSEM and our working life here. Characteristic of the past year has been empty lecture halls and corridors. But during the upcoming autumn we will, with pretty high probability, see more students in our premises.
Anna Thomasson, Associate vice-dean, with special responsibility of education, summarize the situation and describes it as follows:
"Now, for the first time in over a year, we're finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! In the autumn, we plan to be able to gradually welcome students back to campus. We are hoping that when summer turns to autumn our campus, which has been dormant for over a year, gradually will be brought to life as the students return. A lively campus is something to look forward to when we now go on a well-deserved vacation."
Finally: Exchanges seem likely
At the International Office the past year has been a special one. The staff has been busy with taking care of disappointed students being unable to travel abroad on their planned exchange and equally disappointed students who could not come to Sweden for their exchange semester. Now it finally seems like this is going to change!
"We have around 300 students nominated to go on an exchange semester this autumn, mainly within Europe, and a total number of 450 students for the whole academic year. This feels great since these numbers are as good as a normal year", says Alice Kjellsson, International Coordinator at the International office at LUSEM.
This feels great since these numbers are as good as a normal year!
Several partner universities are not accepting incoming students though, like for example Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. And it's the same the other way around, these countries are not letting their own students travel to Sweden either. If the number of outgoing students is the same, what about the incoming exchange students, are they as many as they used to be?
"Yes, actually they are", says Camilla Ennerberg, International Coordinator at the International office at LUSEM. "160 students are coming, almost like a normal autumn semester."
Rather surprisingly, the International office has during the academic year 2020/21 been able to let 100 students participate in the exchange programme. Many of these students have only followed courses online, still in Sweden, but a number of students have actually been able to go to the chosen country. The situation in many countries has of course been different with few possibilities to be on campus. Very few students have come to Sweden, only 25 during autumn and 50 during this spring. But now we are facing a desirable change!
160 students are coming, almost like a normal autumn semester.
Alice and Camilla describe a different way of working during the pandemic. They have met students at Zoom: during virtual drop-in sessions, digital information meetings and digital "fika". Incoming students have for the past academic year been studying online together with domestic students at LUSEM. Some students have taken their courses from home. This autumn they will continue to offer a digital course package to students who are still unable to travel to Sweden. The International Office wanted to give the students the opportunity to follow LUSEM courses even if they couldn't travel here.
"One thing that we will probably continue with is our digital meetings and drop-in sessions. In our focus group interviews we got positive feedback and the students have expressed that they appreciate it", says Alice.
"We have learned a lot about crisis management and we have also found new ways within our group to be able to make good, well-thought-out decisions", says Camilla.
Eager students AND coordinators!
Concluding, what happens if the students can't go abroad as planned?
Alice explains: "Then they have to use their back-up plan. We have urged all students again and again to apply for courses at Lund University, as a back-up plan if they can't go."
That many students are super anxious to leave on an exchange is obvious.
Camilla comments: "We even had a few students last semester that went to countries where they had to stay three weeks in quarantine, a quarantine that they had to pay for themselves!"
Hopefully all students, prepared for exchange, will be able to go just as the incoming, planned to arrive in Sweden in August/September, will be able to come.
"Right now, the coming semester looks promising and we are so much looking forward to getting back on campus and to hear and see students in our corridor again", Alice concludes.