Anders Fällström

Handlingsplan för internationalisering

Asien-20120528-DSC_2365 - kopiaIdag har vi hälsat nya internationella studenter välkomna till Mittuniversitetet. Prorektor Eva Dannetun i Sundsvall och jag i Östersund. Det är alltid lika fantastiskt att se dessa förväntansfulla studenter från i stort sett alla kontinenter och tänka på hur mycket de har att bidra med till oss. Jag klipper in mitt välkomsttal till dem i slutet av det här blogginlägget då det kanske säger något av min syn på internationella studentutbyten.

Så vill jag utbrista i ett ”Äntligen”! Och jag tror att flera med mig instämmer. Internationalisering, mobilitet och utbyten inom såväl forskning som utbildning och stödverksamheten är ett av de viktigaste områdena för vårt universitet. För ett universitet som Mittuniversitetet, beläget där det är och av den storlek det är, skulle jag säga att de internationella delarna är ännu viktigare än för många andra universitet. Även för den region vi befinner oss i – Västernorrland och Jämtland – är mobilitet, inflyttning och internationella inslag viktigare än för många andra delar av landet.

Varför då ”äntligen”? Jo, ända sedan jag började som rektor har jag talat om att vi ska ta tag i, förbättra och fokusera mer på internationalisering. Området har också fått en framskjuten plats i vår vision och våra verksamhetsplaner, men ändå har det inte riktigt lossnat. Inte på övergripande nivå i alla fall. Massor av bra saker görs ju på många institutioner och avdelningar och det är i och för sig kanske det viktigaste, men vi behöver också ytterligare förbättra inte minst det stöd som universitetet centralt kan ge. Nu börjar det dock lossna också där.

Asien-20120528-DSC_2373Under senare delen av hösten anställdes en ny gruppledare för International relations office vid FUS – Anna Lindahl. Anna har lång erfarenhet av internationaliseringsarbete inte minst från Linné-universitetet. Varmt välkommen till oss Anna! Anna kommer nu att leda en grupp som kommer att ha i uppgift att ta fram ett förslag till handlingsplan för internationalisering vid Mittuniversitetet. I gruppen kommer förutom Anna bl.a. också personer från fakulteterna och förvaltningen att delta. Arbetet kommer löpande att stämmas av med både utbildnings- och forskningsråden.

Tanken är att handlingsplanen ska omfatta internationalisering väldigt brett; Såväl utbildning och forskning, som samverkan och stödverksamhet. Internationalisering ”borta och hemma” och alla möjliga tänkbara aspekter. Beslut om direktiv, gruppens sammansättning och annat kommer att tas inom kort och min förhoppning – även om den inte är diskuterad eller förankrad ännu – är att vi ska kunna ha en handlingsplan för internationalisering kanske kring sommaren.

Brinner ni för internationalisering och har goda idéer ni vill föra fram eller diskutera saker ni tror kan vara viktiga i arbetet under våren, så tveka inte att höra av er till t.ex. Anna, någon av prorektorerna eller mig.

Välkomna nya internationella studenter 2020

20200116_103134“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”

Most welcome! Welcome to spend an hopefully very exciting semester in Östersund, Jämtland and Sweden! The sun is shining today but unfortunately we have not that much snow yet, but that will soon change!

I must say that you arrived for the very best time of the year to be here. Soon the days will get longer, the sun will keep shining over crystal white snow and there will be many marvelous days. Later on, you will meet the spring and the early summer. So, very welcome to the city of Östersund, County of Jämtland and Mid Sweden University!
Today is the beginning of a great adventure in a new country!

I am Anders Fällström, mathematician and vice chancellor at this university. As a student in the late 80’s and early 90’s I spent a year in Moscow and half a year in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since then I have been traveling to and visiting quite a lot of different universities around the world. The two periods I spent abroad as a student however, were periods that changed me a lot and gave me memories and experiences for the rest of my life.

You have come to a comprehensive university where you will find everything from industrial design to sports performance research, from journalism to tourism,  economics and Physics, Political sciences and Public health or Nursing and several other disciplines.

20200116_101359.jpgWhat is a university? Well, it is an institution of higher education and research which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects and provides both undergraduate and postgraduate education. This is one way to see it, but what is maybe more important, not least to keep a strong quality of both education and research in the long run, is that a university is a kind of melting pot for different cultures and ideas! This is where you become so important! You, the international students, together with our guest professors from abroad, are the people who bring in new ideas and new ways of looking at different things.

My hope is that this year will be one of the very best years in your life. I am quite sure, that it will be so in the long run, when you several years from now look back at your time in Sweden, but I hope that you also during this year will think that you are actually having a marvelous time.

I hope your studies will go well, that you will find your teachers, your departments, friends and everything else at the university to be as good as your expectations probably are today.

However, most certainly, there will also be days during your stay here when things will go wrong, when you will think of all these Swedes as hopeless and impossible to understand. I have experienced such days and things my self – not least as an exchange student. There were days when I almost hated these stupid Americans or these silly Russians and when the only thing I wanted was to go home to my sweet Sweden!

But I stayed, and it turned out that these moments became some of the most important ones. They made me grow and mature.

20200116_102431So, when you sit in your student housing, wishing all these Swedes could just disappear, remember then, that these not so good moments may be some of the most valuable of your stay here. You can return home, telling stories and laugh with your friends at home. And this is of course good – turning something negative into something positive. But the best thing is that no matter how hopeless, boring, funny, good, stupid, exciting etc. things can be, it will certainly change you. You will not be the same Aleksey, Yin, Angelique, Sarah, Thomas or Muhammed when you return home. You will know something more, you will look at yourself, at your own country and your friends in another – broader, more complex – way.

Of course, it is important that you learn your mathematics, physics, economics, politics, design, sport science or whatever it may be, but I am quite sure that what will mean most of all for you – INCLUDING for your future studies – after this year, is what you learned without noticing it – a new culture and a new way to think and look upon things. I know, since I have been in your place. Lost in a new country, with a language difficult to understand, alone with no friends. Remember – this is the starting point of a big adventure!

As I said, you are also very important to us. To the university, the Swedish students and all your professors. You bring something from your country and your culture to us and we, who meet you, will not be the same as we were before we met you. And this is what a university is about. This is also what student life is about: new friends from all over the world!

Now, just a few words about Östersund and Mid Sweden university.

20200116_104524For many of you this is a very – not to say extremely – small city. For others, it’s quite normal, maybe even not so small. But I’m sure that for all of you, this is something new, and I’m quite sure, you will find a nice city with an active student life, some culture and a lot of outdoor activities and sports. About 100km to the West, you can experience the mountains and a lot of down hill skiing. There, in Åre, the Alpine ski center of Sweden, the FIS world cup in slalom and giant slalom will take place in March.  Here in Östersund, there are a huge amount of possibilities to take part in outdoor activities or watch world class biathlon competitions. Next week, the invitational games of the Special Olympics will also take place in Östersund and Åre. There will be thousands of people coming here from all over the world.

Take the opportunity to try doing fun things in the snow before the marvelous spring is coming!

When you leave, you will have made new friends from all over the world with this little city as your common experience.

Probably, you will also learn a little Swedish, although most of the citizens speak English quite well.

Most of you will spend your time here at our campus in Östersund, but we have another campus in Sundsvall; about 200km East of Östersund. Östersund near the mountains, Sundsvall near the sea. Sundsvall is a campus, in some ways, very different from here and a city also of quite another type than Östersund. It could be worth taking the train – it is just 2 hours  – to go there with some friends.

International Relations Office, your professors, people at your departments and others will tell you much much more about the university and the city, so I think I will stop here and once again wish you all cordially welcome to our university. To YOUR university.

Wilkommen und viel Glück!
Welcome and Good luck with your stay here!
Добро пожаловать! Успеха вам в Швеции!