Name: Eleonora d’Annibale, Italy
Programme: Master’s in Applied Ethics
Employment and job title: PhD fellow at RIPPLE (Research in Political Philosophy Leuven) at the philosophy institute HIW (Hoger Instituut voor Wijsbegeerte) of KU Leuven (BE).
Tell us about your background. How and why did you choose to study in Sweden and specifically at Linköping University (LiU)? What were you doing prior to coming to Linköping?
I did my Bachelor’s in Letters and Humanities at Genoa University (IT) and on my second year, I spent a semester in Erasmus at University of Franche Comté (FR). When I graduated, I knew I wanted to do my Master’s abroad and that I wanted to study applied philosophy, so I spent a gap year teaching in high school and searching for the right program. As I had always been curious about the Scandinavian countries, LiU’s program in Applied Ethics was the perfect fit for me.Eleonora d'Annibale
Tell us a bit about your programme. What did you enjoy about the academics?
I could not be happier about the courses they choose, all of them were very timely, relevant and well thought out. As I choose to remain in academia, I can now appreciate how the professors got us used to seminars and presentations, as well as to academic writing.
How did studying in Sweden compare to being a student in your home country, and in other countries where you’ve studied?
My studies in Sweden were at the same time a challenging and a relaxed time. Compared to my experience at Genoa University, at LiU I had to do less work to memorize notions, but I also had to put more effort into turning what I had learned into practice. LiU’s program involved way more writing, presenting and discussing than my previous academic experiences, both in France and in Italy. Moreover, the level of formality that I experienced was very different. In Italy, as well as in France, you usually address your professors with their title and whilst some of them are very approachable, there is usually a bit of a barrier between students and professors. At LiU it was normal to call them by their first name and to casually chat with them during breaks or between classes. Overall, this made me feel more comfortable in discussing my ideas with them and asking for advice when I needed.
What was student life in Linköping like? Do you have any particular memories that stand out? What were the advantages of studying in a medium-sized city in Sweden?
I think Linkoping is a great place for students. It is quite easy to get everywhere by bike and there are all kinds of services you might need, as well as student parties and various activities that make socializing very easy for the newly arrived. The library was definitely the place where I would spend most of my time. My student life in Linkoping was a mix of a lot of studying and some socializing (while also constantly trying to plan for my future after graduation).
I have several great memories in Linkoping, but my dearest one is probably exploring the forest in a sunny day in October, with a few people who then became very good friends.
How have your studies at LiU helped you in your career? What has stood out as being the most helpful part?
My studies at LiU were crucial for my career. It is thanks to this program that I was able to be accepted for my current PhD position in Philosophy. The program is really comprehensive in the scope of topics it covers; I now work on issues of justice and migration and I can see how the course in Ethics of Migration at LiU gave me some essential tools to understand the literature. Moreover, as I was applying for my current position, I sent as a writing sample an extract of my Master thesis, for which I have received a great deal of help from my supervisor Lars Lindblom. As I had in mind a somewhat confused idea for my thesis, he encouraged me to work on it and gave me all the suggestions and support I needed.
Why do you think others should choose to study in Linköping? What do you think is really unique about LiU that isn’t found elsewhere?
The selection of the courses is really great at LiU, the university is well organized and functional for students. Besides, the classes are not so big (we were 12 in my class) and the professors do a great job in following personally the students.
What advice do you have for future international students at LiU?
To arrive early in Linköping and start the intensive Swedish course (which by the way is free!). It is a great way to meet people and to get adjusted to your new environment before starting your other classes. Concerning the studies themselves, I would advise to always ask questions and grab every opportunity to learn, to give up on the idea of perfection while always doing the best you can. I believe the years you spend as a student really do have the potential to change your life and you never know which of the many things you learn will turn out to make a difference.
What, if any tradition, will you continue in your home country?
As I live in Belgium, of course, 25th of March has remained waffle day. Plus, this is not really a tradition, however I am still working on improving my Swedish.
Is there anything you would have loved to be able to take home with you?
I really valued how the Swedish society seems to strive for equality in the broad sense of the term. Also, I would have gladly took with me the great people I met there!