Name: Sonali Srivastava
Title: PhD student at, Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Country of origin: India
What programme did you study?
I studied the Master’s in Social science in Child studies at Department of Thematic studies, Child Studies (Tema Barn) at Linköping University
Where are you employed now? What is your job title?
Currently I am a PhD student at the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. I am also employed in a research project.
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?
Sonali SrivastavaI have close to 10 years of working experience in three countries India, England, and Finland, where I have worked in different capacities. Majority of my work experience has been in Early Years education institutions. There were various synergies between my educational and professional background and the outlined learning outcomes of the master’s degree in Child studies offered at Linköping university, this mainly motivated me to choose the program. The program was described as a research-oriented program and this also motivated me to choose it as it was in consonance with my goal of undertaking doctoral studies related to children and young people. Lastly, the distance learning mode of the program with few campus periods suited me very well as I was living and working in Finland.
Tell us a bit about your programme. What did you enjoy about the academics?
I did the master’s program in Child studies. It is not very easy to describe this enriching program in few words. The multidisciplinary program adopts the theme of child and this becomes the focus for learning about different aspects of children’s lives right from peer groups, schools, consumption, family, international migrations and much more. I really enjoyed the interdisciplinary approach of the program. I also enjoyed the research orientation of the program especially the focus on exploring children’s perspectives. I also enjoyed the opportunity of interacting with co-students from all across the globe, that was a very enriching experience for me.
How did studying in Sweden compare to being a student in your home country, and in other countries where you’ve studied?
I actually did not need to relocate to Sweden as the program is primarily distance learning with few campus periods. I have studied in India and UK (for a short course) in the past. What was really unique about studying in a Swedish university is the space that it gave me and all the students to express themselves in a very non-hierarchal atmosphere.
How have your studies at LiU helped you in your career? What has stood out as being the most helpful part?
My aim in taking up the program was to pursue doctoral studies and the program really helped me in reaching that goal. The thesis writing process helped me a lot. I think the thesis format that was adopted in the department of Child studies is very practical and useful, it has fewer pages than the format adopted for master’s theses in some other countries. This taught me valuable skills on specificity, which is very essential while writing a journal manuscript with strict word limits. I think the format essentially helps students stay specific, while still maintaining quality of research.
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?
I think LIU is a very international place and my experience at Tema Barn has been that through such international programs, students get a lot of opportunities to interact with and share experiences with students from all over the world.
What advice do you have for future international students at LiU?
I would advise students to take opportunities that Swedish curriculum offers in developing their critical thinking skills as that may not be something that every country’s curriculum may offer.
What, if any tradition, will you continue in your home country?
My country of origin is India although I do not physically live there anymore, but I really wish that in India critical thinking skills would be encouraged more among students from all disciplines not just for those from social sciences.
Is there anything you would have loved to be able to take home with you?
I actually live in Finland and there is enough snow here too, if I lived in India, I would have carried snow from Sweden.