Future Nobel Prize recipients
Last autumn, Anna Lindström and Monica Lopez of the Department of Culture and Communication each began wondering what they could do for newly-arrived refugees in LiU’s name. Now they’ve received 30,000 SEK to implement their idea.
In December, the Vice-Chancellor decided that the University’s initiative on the refugee issue should be coordinated. Funds to search for student associations and employees for individual functions and minor projects were also set aside. Ms Lindström and Ms Lopez, of the Department of Culture and Communication (IKK), applied for and received 30,000 SEK for their “Future Nobel Prize recipients” project.
“But it started back in the fall,” says Ms Lopez, lecturer in Swedish for foreign students and employees. She and Ms Lindström, a PhD student at the Graduate School in Language and Culture in Europe, participated in a voluntarily organised meeting about what IKK staff could contribute to the refugee issue. Several suggestions came out in the meeting, including organising evening lectures or quick courses in Swedish. These efforts, however, proved to be difficult to bring about on a voluntary basis for practical and time-related reasons. Both Ms Lindström and Ms Lopez thought one of the ideas seemed to be particularly exciting and feasible – organising study visits for newly-arrived youth at Skäggetorpsskolan and the New Arrival Reception Unit (Adjunkten).
When they discovered the opportunity to apply for money from LiU’s initiative on the refugee issue, they got together and worked up the “Future Nobel Prize recipients” project, which has now been granted 30,000 SEK. The origins of the project’s name can be found in the entryway of Skäggetorpsskolan, formulated according to the slogan: “Many Nobel Prize recipients live in double cultures. We want to educate future Nobel Prize recipients.” This slogan bears witness to the school’s great ambitions and hopeful expectations for its students, where cultural diversity is regarded as a resource and not as an obstacle.
The behind the study visits is both to increase young people’s awareness of the local community and to show what opportunities the university can offer, in due time.
“We want to make the step to the university shorter and create a feeling that ‘the university is open to me’, “ Ms Lindström says. “Study visits often raise questions and can contribute to sowing seeds that perhaps could be reaped later in life,” she continues.
“The university is, perhaps, not an evident place for everyone, but in any case they should know that it exists, and where. If the students know what paths to education are on offer, they can also make more conscious choices when faced with their future. It could also give the students a greater opportunity to apply to high schools in a more aware manner in year 9,” Ms Lopez says.
Conversations about the students’ future begin in year 8. This is why they chose to address this particular group. At present, they deal with around a hundred students at Skäggetorpsskolan, of whom approximately 75 percent are defined as new arrivals and 98 percent have a non-European background. On Adjunkten’s part, they will receive groups of 12 to 16 young people who are approximately the same ages as the Skäggetorp students.
“Skäggetorp is both a segregated and geographically isolated area,” says Ms Lindström, who herself worked a term as a teacher at the school. “The school wants to collaborate with the surrounding community and is also at the leading edge of this work. We see this as something incredibly positive and is work we gladly want to support.”
Now Ms Lopez and Ms Lindström are conducting the study visits, which will take place during the 2016 autumn term and the 2017 spring term. There will be two visits: an introduction in which the students familiarise themselves with the campus and the environments here, and a follow-up where they can go more specifically into some of the activities conducted here. The funds that Ms Lopez and Ms Lindström received are intended to cover the costs for transport, lunch, and an afternoon snack.
“During the joint lunch, we’d like to be able to have more informal conversations with the young people in order to create a feeling of belonging and involvement,” Ms Lopez says. “Perhaps a campus bus could come and pick up the students?”
“We want to show them a selection of everything being done here at the university – by teachers, researchers, and students – something like a popular science week,” Ms Lopez says. “We’ve talked about showing student initiatives such as legal help and Engineers Without Borders, but also perhaps a brief lecture in mathematics. There are so many great educators here.”
Another idea is using students from access courses in Swedish and the “Korta vägen” programme as interpreters, and letting a university student with a similar background as the high school students talk about their life and their path to a university education.
“Many newly-arrived young people don’t know what alternatives exist,” says Ms Lindström. “With the study visits, we want to arouse curiosity in the university’s activities and show that there are numerous opportunities to create a future in, which reflects many different interests.”
Would you like to join in and show your activity, programme or research during the study visits? You’ll spread knowledge of the university and its broad activities that way!
LiU:s initiativ i flyktingfrågan (in Swedish)
Last updated: 2016-04-25