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Selena at Gothenburg’s Summer School (Part One)

Selena Carty, a BA History with Military History student, is currently attending the University of Gothenburg’s Summer School of Sustainability – a coveted spot at a popular summer school.

My applications were successful upon submission, and I planned and prepped for the opportunity to study ‘Teaching Sustainability for a Global Perspective’. The Go Abroad team were very supportive with the knowledge and support given in the countdown to departure. When Monday the 3rd of July arrived, I was finally ready to embark on my newest adventure of attending summer school in Gothenburg, Sweden.  

On my arrival I was received by the welcome team, and we were loaded into a coach patiently waiting to take us to our accommodation. The rain fell very hard on arrival, causing me to feel right at home! The air here is so clean, the landscape serene, the space unrivalled. The energy here in Gothenburg is very light and consumes you into submission. It is a very peaceful place.  

I packed my creature comforts from home to limit my homesickness and am very glad I did. Gothenburg’s prices are double what they are in England, so budgeting has been interesting. My excitement increased when I located a cheese, chocolate, pastries, and yoghurts that I love, as well as finding an African-Caribbean store, where I have been able to shop for items culturally familiar to me. *HAPPINESS* 

The Summer School team are AMAZING. Our welcome and attention to detail has been super comforting. Having confidence in a team within an unfamiliar country has been paramount to me sleeping within a new space and cooking within a shared kitchen. As the days past by I have been able to interact with my kitchen mates who are here studying from France, Belgium & Hong Kong.  

Speaking of Hong Kong, I met Cheryl my fellow Goldsmiths student (from HK) on the first day, as I chose to wear my lanyard and she spotted me in an instant. 

two women smiling at the camera. one woman, on the right, is holding two fingers up in a peace sign

Selena and Cheryl on the steps of Gothenburg University

Our welcome was heartfelt. We were transported on a journey of discovery and learnt the history of the summer school, as well as celebrating 400 years of remembrance of the history of Gothenburg this summer. Due to the pandemic, they were unable to celebrate in 2021.

We listened to many speakers and were entertained by an extremely talented band called Mejram, discovered fika ‘A time for tea & cakes’ and indulged in a delicious moment.  

Once the ceremony was complete, we were escorted to the ‘pedagogen’ where we would receive our lessons and to obtain out student logins. The city has been designed to support walking, bicycles, electric scooters, buses, trams, and vehicles. We have been walking a lot and the sites you are able to take in are stunning.  

the back wall of a building with a large painted mural in the backdrop and a slideshow welcoming students to the summer school in the foreground.

Stunning mural – centre hall of Gothenburg University

I spent my first week settling into a new routine, cooking daily, sleeping, and familiarising myself with my new home. Adjusting to the limitless light that seems to never diminish. The days are super bright amidst the rain. 

My classes are great and just the addition into my life that I had been looking for. Understanding aspects of sustainability using the 16+1 point of the United Nations goals has connected many dots. As a Cultural & Ancestral Genealogist I focus on cultural sustainability and use wars, rebellions, and revolutions to do this. Education and the relationship with the planet are key aspects of my education and I am being fulfilled here on the program and within the country.  

The balance between class and socialising has been on point. Within our first week we were taken to the West Swedish Chamber of Commerce, where they unpacked the secrets to Gothenburg’s success and encouraging us all to consider contributing our thoughts, ideas, and initiatives to a growing economy.  Interactive learning is the best form of learning. Gothenburg is a formidable country and environment for this.  

an image of a lake with a beautiful blue sky and green grass and trees in the background.