These first two weeks here have proved DIS’s promise of an engaging and well-balanced (very Scandinavian!) approach to education.
I’ve found that DIS courses might push students out of their comfort zones and in turn reward them with a deeper understanding of their areas of study as well as the confidence to communicate new ideas. Field Studies are built into the program to bring students directly into the Swedish university communities – these are great opportunities to engage with the work that local students and their professors are working on and to ask questions!
What really distinguishes DIS courses from those in the U.S. is an excellent quality of instruction in unconventionally small (think 5 to 20 student) classes.
This means that instructors are able to demonstrate content and also respond to individual questions in full – plus, when the weather is nice, class may even be hosted outside under the warm sun.
The Swedish egalitarian model is on full display during lunchtime, when DIS students and faculty intermingle with the students and staff of the Swedish Royal College of Music in the cafeteria. International students of all ages and their professors enjoy lunch in the courtyard community – style. This is a wonderful way to meet people and gather recommendations for Stockholm!
Here are some things you can expect from your DIS classes:
- Class seminars. Because the courses are relatively small, instructors emphasize the importance of everyone having an opportunity to discuss the readings and assignments. Participation matters! You can learn plenty from other DIS students.
- Interactive activities and projects. Both of my courses this summer have a core project built into them that encourages students to explore the application of materials taught in class. For my statistics course, this looks like a small group collecting real world data for analysis and presentation. This will be an opportunity to get out of the classroom and hear from locals about their habits and attitudes about health, culture, or climate.
- Purposeful modules. The readings and assignments at DIS have genuinely enriched my experience here and have strengthened my interest in statistics. Our instructor has introduced us to challenging concepts within the math and science community and allowed us to discuss our opinions about them.
- Inspiring professors, guest speakers, and field studies. On Monday afternoon our class visited a working researcher and professor at KTH whose data visualization technologies have advanced the reach of critical information to audiences and industries globally. This was one of my favorite moments at DIS so far! Dr. Vega introduced us to techniques and creative ideas that I will undoubtedly be revisiting throughout my education and career.
I’m grateful for our incredible Professor M.P. pacing our statistics course with just the right amounts of familiar and brand new content. Students in our class have varying experience levels in the R programming language, but M.P. supports students who are learning from the beginning and encourages seasoned coders to give more advanced materials a try.
Ultimately, you can expect fun and rewarding academics at DIS! It’s important to arrive with an open mind and ready to learn, because when you’re here for just a short time, there is plenty of exciting material to cover right away.