An Eventful Term


The semester is drawing to a close and the summer vacation is just around the corner. For Welcome Services at the University of Gothenburg the past six months have brought about lots of different activities and events, both recurring classics and new additions, for international researchers and staff as well as international students.

Welcome Services co-hosts some events with Chalmers. One of these is the International Café at Ågrenska Villan to which international researchers, faculty, staff and PhD students, as well as their families and host are welcome the first Monday of every month. This semester’s last café on June 3 had a summer theme and was attended by a record amount of guests. During the café tips were given regarding things to do in, and around, Gothenburg during the summer.

Another café Welcome Services has arranged regularly during the spring is the Language Café, which is open to international researchers, staff and students, as well as anyone who is newly arrived in Sweden. Every occasion leads off with a short lecture about a certain topic, which is later discussed in groups. This helps keep them varied.

The previously mentioned Ågrenska Villan was also the location for the International Evening were international researchers and staff were treated to food and drinks, and mingled in a festive setting.

The same target group has also been invited to guided tours of the Museum of Gothenburg and the Gothenburg Botanical Garden, as well as a guided city walk. An all-day excursion to the Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Sciences on Tjärnö took place in April were the partakers got to learn about the research conducted there, as well as about the nature and the wildlife in the area.

Guest at Tjärnö
Photo: Joacim Schmidt

Welcome Services have arranged a number of seminars, lectures and workshops. Participants have gotten useful information about the Swedish tax system, working in Sweden and what rights they have as consumers. A new seminar that was arranged for the first time in March dealt with eating healthy, sustainably and economically. This particular seminar was open to students as well and after the lectures, the participants got to sample some typical Swedish food items.

Another new event that took place in March was a workshop for spouses of international researchers and staff. The workshop was wrapped up with a concert at the Museum of World Culture.

In total the events that Welcome Services have arranged for international researchers, faculty, staff, PhD students and their families have had about 450 participants during the past spring semester.

We think it is valuable to create different meeting places across various disciplines and topics

The international students were also invited to activities and other events. The Welcome Programme for them started in January on the Arrival Day, when most new students arrive for the semester. They were picked up in buses at the airport and train station, were given important and useful information and those who would be living in student apartments were also driven there. After the Arrival Day the Welcome Day was held were the students were informed about what living and studying in Gothenburg can be like.

Welcome Fair
Photo: Nils Pasi Nävert

During the following Fair and Information Day at Conference Centre Wallenberg the students were given information regarding, amongst other things, student health, Swedish language courses, academic writing support, student housing, the University of Gothenburg’s library system, mail and bank services. They got the chance to talk to a broad variety of exhibitors who arrange activities or events for students, or offer help and assistance during the students stay in Gothenburg. The Welcome Programme concluded with the Welcome Reception were the participants got to spend an evening at Universeum, when it was closed to the public.

A number of workshops for students were arranged and they got to learn about, among other things, intercultural communication and group works, which here might constitute a larger portion of the education than they are used to. In May they were invited to an all-day excursion to the city of Varberg, the Varberg Fortress and the Halland Museum of Cultural History.

During the spring semester, approximately 800 participants have attended Welcome Services’ events for international students.

“It is important that we can give the international staff information about what they can expect from living and working in Sweden. Our seminars can be seen as a complement to other introductory programs that the university provides. In the same way, we want to give the international students the information they need in order to quickly get started with their studies,” says Karin Hellqvist, head of Welcome Services.

”We think it is valuable to create different meeting places across various disciplines and topics. It is nice to see that so many people participate and that it often leads to further contacts.”

Originally published 2 July 2019