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Seminars attract pupils from Angeredsgymnasiet to the university

Film at Hagabion, visits to museums and the theatre, short research presentations, text reading and conversation. Students at the Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion arrange seminars for pupils from Angeredsgymnasiet, as an introduction to the University of Gothenburg.

The seminars started in the spring of 2016 by students at the master’s programme Kritiska studier, with support from the department.

At the meetings, fifteen to twenty pupils from Sprintus participate – a programme at Angeredsgymnasiet for refugees who have complete or almost complete high school exams from another country, but need complementary studies in Swedish.

– It is an integration and introduction project – the idea is to introduce the university for other groups within the frame of widening access and participation, and to integrate the university in the society more, says Emil Öhlén.

A taste of academic studies

Emil Öhlén coordinates the seminars this term together with his classmate Sofia Andreasson, and they have just started this spring’s meetings.

The group will, amongst other things, visit the Gothenburg Museum of Art to see an exhibition about the city, and thereafter discuss texts on the same topic, and watch a play about sickness and health at the Gothenburg City Theatre, followed by a seminar on the subject.

The intention is to give the pupils from Angeredsgymnasiet a taste of what academic studies can be like, what the discussions can contain and what research is all about

– The idea is to visit cultural institutions in Gothenburg to get mutual experiences that we can discuss afterwards. We read texts as well, to connect to what we actually do here at the university when we have our regular seminars and courses, says student and former coordinator Viktor Andersson.

Many want to continue their studies

The group has earlier visited an exhibition about climate change at the Museum of World Culture, read debate articles and text parts from books, seen a documentary film at Hagabion and analyzed it, listened to short research presentations, and been to Folkteatern.

The coordinators have received positive response on the seminars, many of the participants have said that they want a continuation and that they want to continue their studies after high school. One of them is Benjamin Sahari, whose plan is to study to become a doctor.

At the seminars, we have learnt how the atmosphere at the university is. How does it work, how do you study? It is totally different from studying at high school; at the university, you do a lot more on your own.

Has developed his Swedish

Benjamin Sahari is from Syria and has been in Sweden for two years. He especially appreciates the chance to develop his Swedish, to use new expressions and the opportunity to be able to ask questions about the language.

– Emil is incredibly good at explaining words! Sometimes, if you look up a word in a dictionary, the sentence might be correct, but the word can be very different in another context. However, he was so good at explaining it in different contexts! The seminars are a very interactive activity, we have learnt a lot, in an incredible way.

Reads faster and faster

Even if Benjamin Sahari has learnt Swedish quickly, he says that it has been hard to read articles on a high academic level. Now it has become easier.

– You need someone to explain: in which way should you read this article? They helped us with that. We got some articles to read at home. It took a long time, but when we came back here we discussed them and asked questions. It was really good. Now it will take half the time to read another article, and it will become easier and easier over time, the more used you get.

He goes regularly to the theatre now

Benjamin Sahari also enjoys the opportunity to go to the theatre with the group. He sees himself as a theatre-going person, but here in Sweden it just had not happened before. Now he has got the boost that he needed.

– After this, I go regularly to the theatre and keep an eye on the repertoire. At the theatre, you meet a more popular language, the spoken language. I went to Hamlet afterwards; here I got to see it the Swedish style. It was great.

Exchange of ideas that has served everyone

Viktor Andersson and Emil Öhlén are pleased with the experience as coordinators for the project.

– It has been really fun, nice in many ways. Sometimes you talk about integration as something that goes in one direction and is quite problematic, it’s also about the academy needing to move out towards the society. It was very interesting to see what such a shared space could be like, says Viktor Andersson.

– This has been very fruitful discussions and we have had fun, an exchange of ideas that I think has benefited everyone, says Emil Öhlén.

The picture of Benjamin Sahari is taken by Arvid Perbo.