To quote my all time favourite movie (Finding Nemo): “First day of school, first day of school!”. Today, I started my Drug Addiction studies at Linköpings Universitet (Linköping University) in Linköping, Sweden. My day started out a little rough, with construction hammering away outside my window at 6:30am. 6:30am! In Canada, nothing really starts until 8 or 8:30am. I was not impressed. But that was quickly replaced by the excitement of the realization that today was my first day as an international student.
I pulled myself out of bed and into the “school” mode, my body still protesting the jet lag that has been in place ever since Saturday morning. Kaffe (the Swedish word for “coffee”) was needed today, and desperately. I lollygagged around my room for 30 minutes and the next thing I knew, it was time to go meet my new friends so we could catch the bus to the Campus US, which shares a campus with the hospital in the city (something I am used to from back home, of course). 2 buses later, we had arrived and were filing in for our morning orientation session. This is the first year that Linköping University has offered an international summer academy program, which makes us its guinea pigs. We have students from all over the world (the majority coming from Singapore and France, each with 30 students!) There are 10 from the USA and 9 from Canada, and a few from Germany, Austria, the UK, Mexico, China and Argentina. Overall, there are 132 students enrolled and ready to learn.
My day ended around 5:30pm, which was followed by a quick visit to McDonald’s for my American friend, so she can celebrate the 4th of July. I managed to give my mom a call, and we chatted for a half hour or so before I got back to preparing for tomorrow’s lectures.
I knew coming into this intensive course that it was going to be a lot of work, but I am not sure I was fully prepared for everything that is involved. On average, I am in class for 7-8hrs a day, 4 days a week with a half day on Fridays. We have journal clubs, practice-based learning (case studies), laboratory hours and lab reports, and a final examination in the form of a presentation and lab report. That does not include the lecture preparation we are expected to do every night. It will be a lot of work, but I think I am going to learn a lot of really interesting things that will really complement my major back home in Canada. This may very well be one of the best summers yet.
Love from Sweden