Published: 2020-09-04 09:49 | Updated: 2020-09-04 09:49

Over 100 international master students attended summer course in Swedish

Student practising Swedish grammar during the summer course.

During the summer, the Department of Global Public Health organised a course in Swedish for international master students at KI. The course was organised in just a few weeks. “One day after the registration was opened, more than 100 students had signed up for the course”, says Helle Mølsted Alvesson, Departmental Director of Education at the department.

Helle Mölsted Alvesson.
Helle Mølsted Alvesson, Departmental Director of Education (GUA) at the Department of Global Public Health. Photo: Private.

“We realised that many students were planning to spend their summer in Sweden – for many their first summer – due to the travel restrictions. We wanted to support the students in their efforts to learn more about Sweden and to improve their conversational skills in Swedish”, says Helle Mølsted Alvesson.

In collaboration with the students at the Master Programme in Public Health, with support from the International Office as well as the network of programme directors of international master programme at KI, a quick assessment of the interest and needs were made and financial resources were made available.

The study counsellor at Global Public Health Malin Sandell, took on the task of organising the course and mobilised local teachers that received a quick introduction to teaching by the University Library at Karolinska Institutet.

More than 100 students attended the course

Over 100 students signed up during the first day of registration, and in total 114 students from KI attended the course in Swedish. The students were divided into different groups that meet over the course of five weeks, most of the groups met online, but two of them met at different locations in Stockholm.

Maja Engsner studies at Karolinska Institutet and was one of seven who volunteered to teach in the course.

“From the start I considered the course a language café as it creates a more relaxing atmosphere, which I believe is important for learning a new language.

My goal was to make the participants improve their Swedish, but I wanted it to be on their terms, with focus on their interests. In the end, what I did was to initiate discussions on topics we mostly choose together, answer questions that came up, split the attendees into breakout rooms, and come up with games”, says Maja Engsner.

Aleksandra Kanina was one of the master students that attended the summer course in Swedish. Photo: María Del Rosario Alsina

Student Aleksandra Kanina, who participated in one of the online groups, says the course helped improve her Swedish but also made her more motived to keep learning.

“I’m not afraid to talk Swedish anymore. And it motivated me to continue learning grammar with a private teacher. So, now, when I speak incorrectly in Swedish, I try to fix it.”

With hopes to repeat the course in the future

Many of the students express a wish to continue the course in some form.

Kaushik Ahmed. Photo: María Del Rosario Alsina

“I think it would be a good idea to continue with the course. Most of my classmates want to learn Swedish but they left the SFI course. If I would have done this for a year my Swedish would be much better now”, says Kaushik Ahmed, another of the students who participated in the course.

The evaluation after the course also indicate that students appreciated the interaction with Swedish teachers and their knowledge on grammar as well as on cultural and social aspects of life in Stockholm.

“We would like to offer new language courses during the winter as one way of making international students feel part of the local life in Stockholm and connect with students in other programmes at KI. We welcome any ideas on strengthening intercultural exchanges, please contact our Educational Committee if you have any suggestions”, says Helle Mølsted Alvesson.


Helle Mölsted Alvesson Project coordinator