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STUDY HUMANITIES Meet five people at the Faculty of Arts in Gothenburg

Foto: Nicho Sรถdling/FOLIO

Welcome to the small big city Sweden’s second largest city, Gothenburg has become the country’s most popular place to study. Maybe it’s because of its industrial-romantic soul, maybe it’s the city’s diverse cultural attractions – we can only guess. Whatever the reason, Swedes as well as foreign exchange students from all over the world come to Gothenburg to experience the city’s unique atmosphere, and the spirit of the small big city. There is always something to do here, and since most things lie in close proximity there is no need for long journeys between the city’s districts. Students at the University of Gothenburg are not based on one single campus, instead they are spread out across different institutions all over the city. The Faculty of Arts is centrally located among beautiful surroundings, with nature close at hand. We let you plan your studies in accordance with your individual areas of interest. Education within humanities is both broad and varied, whether you are interested in studying individual courses or towards a Master’s degree or Ph.D. We offer courses such as Scandi­navian Studies, Viking and Medieval Studies, Religion, Culture and Society as well as a range of language courses. A list of courses and programmes can be found on the back of this brochure. On the following pages you will meet Na-Rhee, Shashank, Gabriela and Simon, a selection of our international students, as well as Robert, a Theatre Studies lecturer. They all chose Gothenburg – and the Faculty of Arts. We hope you do too.

”Scandinavians are pretty shy – at first” na-rhee scherfling is officially based at the University of Bochum, in Germany, but is currently an exchange student at the University of Gothenburg, studying Scandinavian Studies. “I feel at home here. For us Germans, Sweden has a certain romanticism about it – I guess it’s to do with our childhood. Back home in Germany we often read Astrid Lindgren’s Swedish children’s books, such as Pippi Longstocking, Seacrow Island and the Brothers Lionheart. I’ve read several books and also seen many films, and I think this has left an impression on me. I had never been in Sweden before, and maybe wanted to explore my childhood image of Scandinavia,” she smiles. Indeed, Scandinavian Studies is one of the courses Na-Rhee is currently studying. All the lectures are in English, and the course is aimed at international students. The course examines culture and society in Scandinavia and Sweden from a cultural, aesthetic and social perspective. “It’s a good choice for those who don’t have so much background knowledge about Sweden. It helps you understand the society in a completely different way, and on a far deeper level. The course is also diverse – for example, we study history, sociology, culture and film studies. In principle, we can touch upon just about any subject, and learn more about how people live and work in this context. It’s interesting.” Na-Rhee’s classmates all hail from a range of different backgrounds, from countries all over the world. “There is a broad mix of students, with people from all over the world studying every course imaginable: languages, the humanities

NA-RHEE SCHERFLING, GERMANY Studies Scandinavian Studies.

and physics – you name it. It’s not only our nationalities that set us apart from one another, but also our ways of thinking. As a result, we often have really interesting discussions featuring a range of different perspectives.” Unfortunately, there are no Swedish students on the course – something Na-Rhee thinks is a shame. “It would be great to meet more Swedes at the university,” she says. “Scandinavians are fairly shy in the beginning, and I’ve noticed that it can take time to get to know them. Having said that, once you get to know them they’re really nice, just like everyone else. If I’m honest, I haven’t put that much effort into getting to know our Erasmus students back home in Bochum, so I really shouldn’t complain. I’ll definitely try harder when I get back,” she laughs. All in all though, Na-Rhee feels right at home in Sweden. Her Swedish is getting better by the day. “I’m living with a family in Grimmered, an area just outside of Gothenburg, together with three children and their parents. We spend time together doing everyday things, like cooking, for example. They speak Swedish with me for the most part, so I’m actually learning quite a lot. When I’m not at home I hang out with my friends, mostly in the Linné district or on Andra Långgatan, here in Gothenburg. I have visited Stockholm three times in all. It’s a really beautiful city, though I think I prefer Gothenburg. There’s more of an alternative feel here, which appeals to me, and the Gothenburg film festival is totally amazing!”

Shashank Srivastava How do people view religion in different parts of the world? This is what interests Shashank, from Varanasi, India. Having gained a degree in Indian Philosophy and Religious Studies back home, Shashank came to Gothenburg in order to study the ways in which people all over the world live with religion, as well as how religion influences society. “It’s really interesting to look at the differences which exist across our societies, and the way we respond to religions,” he explains. “Some societies are governed entirely according to people’s faith, and many people are born into a religion which will come to define their whole lives. They will never be able to renounce their faith or choose a new religious orientation – they are stuck in this role for the rest of their lives.” Life in Gothenburg, Sweden and Europe differs from his own homeland and upbringing in a number of ways. “Here, you can choose your own religion or live as an atheist if you wish. This simply isn’t an option where I come from.” Shashank enjoys life in Gothenburg. Before the journey, he had heard that Scandinavians were very reserved and difficult to get to know. “This has definitely not been the case for me. Back in India, people are always bawling at each other,” he laughs, “but here the people are really nice. I’m new here, and if I need help with anything there is always somebody on hand.”

SHASHANK SRIVASTAVA, INDIA Studies Religious Studies.

Robert Lyons Back in 1969, with a BA in Drama from Yale University, New York born Robert Lyons opposed the US’s invasion of Vietnam and left the country to seek new perspectives in Europe. He’s still here. For several years now he has been working at the University of Gothenburg, lecturing in Theatre Studies. “The theatre course I run for exchange students is always held towards the end of term, in December. By then, they’ve gotten to know the city a little better, as well as experiencing some of Sweden’s winter traditions, with candles and warm drinks to counter the darkness. It’s a special time here.” Robert’s course in Swedish theatre and drama forms part of Scandinavian Studies, and for many exchange students, it represents their first encounter with theatre as an art form. “In addition to classroom work, I arrange a theatre visit for the group. Our students represent a broad mix of nationalities, cultural backgrounds and academic disciplines. I’m convinced that art can offer something positive for all of them, regardless of their specializations.”

ROBERT LYONS, SWEDEN Lecturer in Theatre Studies.

Simon Hoeflich Simon was born and raised in Hannover, Germany. With a Swedish mother, Simon enjoyed a head start on his peers when it came to understanding Swedish society. “I have always had a Swedish passport but have not been able to speak the language. I felt as if I ought to learn a little more about my roots.” Simon came to Sweden back in 2003, initially studying in Jönköping for a few years before relocating to Gothenburg in 2007. Despite not intending to stay on a long term basis, he currently has a Swedish girlfriend and is studying Teacher Training at the University of Gothenburg. “Soon I will have been living in Sweden for ten years, so I can scarcely consider myself an exchange student,” he says. “Student life in Gothenburg suits me down to the ground. It may not be the biggest city in the world, but there is always something to do here. I also really like the fact that Gothenburg is not so student orientated. It’s good to spend time with ‘genuine’ Gothenburgers as well, not just students, so you can get to know the city from another perspective. Another advantage is that the university is not restricted to a single campus, but quite spread out. This makes it easier to see more of the city, which I see as a plus.” Simon will soon become a fully qualified upper secondary school German teacher. During his time in Gothenburg, he has also read German Literary Studies extensively. “We’ll see what happens when I complete my studies. I could even choose to work as a teacher in Germany by reading supplementary courses, although I haven’t made any firm plans at this stage. For now, the future is an open book.”

SIMON HOEFLICH, GERMANY Studies Teacher Training in German and English.

Gabriela Mercado Narvaez Four years ago, Gabriella uprooted from Mexico to Sweden, spending time in Linköping and Vilhelmina before finally settling down in Gothenburg. Gabriella is right at home here. “I often get asked how I put up with the weather. Sure, I am used to a completely different climate, but I really like Sweden and the weather here. In Monterrey, where I was born, the temperature is normally around 40–45 degrees, and droughts are commonplace. This is why I really appreciate the variety of the climate here.” Gabriella has already taken a Master’s in Spanish at the University of Gothenburg, and is currently studying towards a Ph.D. in Literary Studies. She is focusing on the Spanish author, Miguel de Unamuno, and his view on masculinity. “Naturally, it will take a while to meet people and make friends, but I feel really optimistic about settling down here and achieving my goals. Gothenburg has a really good vibe. The people are open, and there are loads of fellow Ph.D. students for me to hang around with. Gothenburg offers a wide range of cultural attractions, and unlike many other cities, you don’t need to be loaded to have a good time here.”

GABRIELA MERCADO NARVAEZ, MEXICO Studying towards a PHD in the History of Spanish Literature.

International Courses and Programmes Individual courses offered in English or languages other than Swedish (single subject courses). The courses vary in length, from a few weeks to one term.

Individual courses 30 hec = Full time study over one term. Please visit for a full list of the courses we offer. • Theory and Method in Religious Studies, 15 hec • Religion, History and Society – course 1 & 2, 15 hec • Viking and Medieval Scandinavia, 15 hec • Western Colonialism and Imperialism, 15 hec • Scandinavian Studies: Cultural and Aesthetic Perspectives, 30 hec • Scandinavian Studies: Cultural and Social Perspectives, 30 hec • Cultural Perspectives on Gender and Families, 7.5 hec

We also offer a variety of language courses, for example: • English • Japanese • French • German • Russian • Spanish

Master’s Programmes • Religious Studies, 120 hec • Language Technology, 120 hec • Gendering Practices, 120 hec • Deutsche Gegenwartsliteratur: Rezeption, Vermittlung und Kontext, 120 hec

COURSES IN SWEDISH: If you have documentary evidence of

Swedish language skills equivalent to Swedish B level, and fulfil the requirements for basic eligibility in all other respects, you may of course choose a university course taught in Swedish. For a full list of courses, visit

Contact University of Gothenburg Faculty of Arts Department of Swedish

Department of Historical Studies

Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science

Department of Literature, History of Ideas and Religion

Department of Cultural Sciences

Department of Language and Literature

Service center Näckrosen Tel: 031–786 6500 Direct line: +46 (0)31–786 6501 Web:

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