14 July 2022

“This is completely different, and fantastic. At home in Brazil, I’m doing a chemical engineering programme, but at the Summer Academy in Linköping I’m studying leadership. And the sun shines almost around the clock!”

Two international students working in classroom.
Alicia Pallarol and Cynthia Higajo Mishima from Spain and Brazil. Ulrik Svedin

These are the words of Cynthia Higajo Mishima from the University of São Paulo. She is working on an assignment with Alicia Par Pallarol – a student of computer engineering at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.

Group of international students within LiU Summer Academy 2022.International students during LiU Summer Academy 2022. Photo credit Ulrik Svedin The course is about leadership, and Associate Professor Dag Swartling is giving instructions on how to solve the assignment. The students are given small, short scenarios where they have to choose an alternative in order to proceed to new scenarios. It’s an extensive assignment that requires a lot of focus. So it takes a while to solve the assignment, which concerns developing production in an airplane factory.

“Difficult. Right now we’re stuck”, say Cynthia and Alicia.

Still, they are pretty satisfied. They were looking for an opportunity to travel abroad through their universities, which collaborate with LiU. Of course, travelling from São Paulo in Brazil to Linköping is an adventure for Cynthia Higajo Mishima:

When I got here, I thought it would be a much quieter than my hometown. But actually it was even quieter! But the university is massive. And Linköpings city centre is really nice.”

Alicia Pallarol agrees, making a point that the largest cities often get all the attention:

There is far too much focus on the world’s capital cities, in relation to many different aspects – not only education. But talent can be found everywhere”, she says.

What impressions will you take home with you?
Its very beautiful in Sweden – it’s so green. And the teaching methods are different. At home we’re more used to lectures and studying, than solving problems”, says Alicia Pallarol.

Life in halls

Cynthia and Alicia then throw themselves at the scenarios and the assignments. A few steps away, Josh Luu from Canada and Fleur Chatillion from France are in lively discussion about the various alternatives.

Every time we’ve chosen the alternative of asking for other peoples opinions, we’ve been wrong. So now we’re taking a different alternative”, says Fleur Chatillion who is studying administration and international exchange at Université Paris Est.

They are very efficient, and will soon be able to present their solutions. Both have observed the everyday lives of the students in the student residences in Linköping.

“The student apartments are much larger than I expected”, says Josh Luu. “I envisaged little boxes where you basically only sleep. But here there’s space for a desk, storage and everything.”

“In Paris, the student rooms are smaller, but we’re not used to sharing a kitchen”, says Fleur Chatillion.

Why did you choose to take a summer course in Linköping?

I wanted to get out and see the world, so this was a good opportunity”, says Fleur Chatillion. “I’m really glad I came to Linköping University. It’s well organised, with the course and the social activities.”

Partner universities

Hong Kong, South Korea, Brazil and the United States are just a few examples. Currently there are 148 students and some 20 nationalities participating in the 2022 LiU Summer Academy. The courses, which are exchange studies with LiU’s partner universities, range from nanotechnology (materials research) to energy systems and Swedish culture. They vary depending on the faculty and the department.

The idea is that the students will benefit from one another in the classroom. One of the larger aims is that the students who come here will become interested in studying here – for instance one of LiU’s International programmes”, says Jessica Sandblom, coordinator and project manager for the LiU Summer Academy.

To the beach

The days are filled with lectures, workshops, study visits and spare time. When this day’s studies are finished, most of the group plan to take the commuter train to Motala, where there is a long, sandy beach. After all, this is a summer course.


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