But wait, there’s school?! Yes, yes, and yes. Although you may think that studying abroad is solely a pseudonym for “abroad,” it is most definitely not. Academics are the primary focus of DIS. However, this does not mean that you will be locked in a classroom without having the opportunity to explore your host country. Classes themselves facilitate community engagement and cultural immersion. I will get into that later on, but first:
Let us talk about me. I will be in Stockholm for the entirety of the summer. I am enrolled in the Biomedical Course which is a part of the Labs & Research Session. It is a six-week journey spanning from late May to early July and is based at the Karolinska Institutet, one of the most esteemed medical institutions in the world! Next, I will take the Lifespan Psychology course until my departure on July 30th. This course is based at DIS but includes a one-week study tour to Zurich, Switzerland.
The Biomedical lab focuses on biomedical research and medical diagnostics. There are three modules: biometrics, immunology, and molecular biology. So far, I have completed biometrics and am in full swing with immunology. The biometrics unit was housed at DIS campus; and it focused on biological responses to stimuli using tools such as eye tracking, GSR, and EKG. We got to create our own experiments in groups and test them on others. My group used these techniques to measure fear responses when presented with “jump-scares.”
My class and I have had the pleasure of working at the Karolinska Institutet for the immunology unit. It is an incredible medical school/hospital and its excellence truly shines through its professors and its professionalism. In short, everyone really knows what they are doing. The institution exudes prestige in all aspects. The lab facility is clean, organized, and equipped with anything science related that could possibly come to mind. My group and I are currently working with bacteria transformation and its relationship with antibiotic resistance.
The Lifespan Psychology course focuses on “what influences an individual’s life choices and explores what remains consistent and what changes.” I anticipate a fast-paced course that hopefully will not age me too much. The study tour affiliated with this course will take me to the C. G. Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland. As someone who has always been interested in Jung’s take on the mind, I am especially excited about going directly to the source for further information.
Why would I take these courses? Easy. I am passionate about biology as it is my major; and I am passionate about psychology as it goes hand-in-hand with my neuroscience minor. These courses combine my interests in harmony. I get to work with the medical aspect of the body’s responses, and then the psychological aspect of the mind’s responses. The mind-body relationship is where my interest lies. I will continue to study it for my career.
In conclusion, work comes first, only to be succeeded by the rest. However, the directors at DIS are not cruel, fun-hating people. They understand that the point of being in Scandinavia is not to spend all day, everyday, inside of the classroom. That is why the typical class period lasts three hours—not eight! Most importantly, they recognize the bipartite nature of this experience: academics and exploration with the conjunction of the two.