Anthropology’s MA student sharing her study experiences at Uppsala University, Sweden

Anthropology’s MA student sharing her study experiences at Uppsala University, Sweden

This is Kim Anh’s story about her semester studying and living in Sweden under an exchange program between Uppsala University and USSH.

My name is Kim Anh – an MA student at Department of Anthropology – USSH. The year of 2019 was so wonderful for me because I had received an opportunity to study at Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology at Uppsala University under an exchange scholarship between Uppsala University and USSH. Having completed one semester at Uppsala, I am glad to share my experiences that I have had during 6 months living and studying in a Nordic country, which is really cold and far away, but left in me so many treasured memories. My journey will be illustrated by my beloved pictures and short notes below. I hope my experiences will cultivate motivation for the next generations of anthropology students to apply for precious scholarships as such in the future.

Here is the beginning of my journey to Sweden. There were several meetings with Uppsala University’s representative in Hanoi. I had a chance to meet with new Vietnamese students attending the Fall semester 2019 at Uppsala University.

A welcome ceremony at the Great Hall at Uppsala University and we listened to symphonic music that I would have never had this great experience in Vietnam.

These are the photos of my campus where I had classes during the semester in Uppsala. The modern infrastructure impressed me so much, because there were many computer rooms along the hall to support students’ need, and the ancient library has so many books and journals.

This is the office of the Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology. Students can reach their professors and lecturers by looking for contact information at the notice board in the corridor.

I captured a lesson summary after a class of Advanced Anthropology Theory. The teaching format of this course was lectures and seminars altogether. Before coming to the class, students had to read materials to prepare for the class. In the classroom, the professor raised questions for discussion. Students were free to articulate their ideas and thoughts. At the end of the class, students wrote key words of what they had read and discussed on a classroom board, featured with different fonts and colors as a way of summary. I find this way of teaching and studying quite interesting as it really required students to be well prepared for and active in classroom.

In addition to the class sessions, we have had opportunities to attend great public lectures by well-known social scientists of the contemporary world like Bruno Latour, Don Kulick, …

In another key course on Ethnography (Ethnographic Methodology) that I attended, students were free to choose a field-site to practice ethnographic research methods and write weekly reports. I chose a student association called Smalland nation, one of the 13 oldest student associations in Uppsala that were well organized and professionally managed by students, including works such as room renting, coffee shops, pubs, libraries, scholarships, …). Thanks to this student union experience, I could deeply participate in the international life and understand more about Swedish local culture at Uppsala which was completely different from Vietnam.

In these pictures you see my classmates, including Swedish and international students. They were all very friendly and sociable. I do appreciate their help during my time at Uppsala.

During my semester at Uppsala University, I had a chance to stay in a dorm room in the Flogsta area. I had a private room, and shared kitchen, common laundry room…with other students in one corridor.  There was also a great outdoor exercise ground, very convenient for students.

These were my corridor friends who come from different countries like Sweden, India, Bangladesh, Greece, and Iran. They all study very well in their fields, I really admired them.

We had a chance to welcome Dr. Lam Minh Chau when he came to Uppsala through the same exchange program in November 2019.

Vietnamese students celebrated Christmas with Mrs. Anna-Klara’s family – the former representative of Uppsala University in Vietnam in 2019. 

Studying at Uppsala is also a great opportunity for me to enjoy Swedish cuisine in particular and some European food in general. One portion of food for an adult here is a lot of food, more than what I can eat for one meal normally.

I was so lucky as just in roughly 6 months at Uppsala, I could have had experiences with three different seasons in Sweden. In winter, the feeling of playing with lots of snow was super fun and interesting to me. Above is my photo of the sunset at Flogsta that was being awarded “the most favorite photo” in the Vietnam-Sweden Memory photo contest to celebrate Vietnam-Sweden relationship organized by Sweden Alumni Association SANV.

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I have also had a great opportunity to travel to a number of interesting places and explore cultures of other European countries. Without this exchange scholarship, it would take ages for me to realize my dream of travelling in Europe. I would like to advice you that making friends and organizing a student-style travel group will save quite a lot of money for a trip in Europe.

The above experiences are extremely valuable memories of mine. I know that the exchange program between our Department of Anthropology at USSH in Hanoi and Uppsala University’s Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology will continue in 2020-2021 academic year. I really hope more students of our Department of Anthropology will have opportunity to study at Uppsala University to learn more than what we could have in Hanoi and also experience the new and interesting student life at Uppsala!