Helwah Hussain Jansson is happy for getting the opportunity to a fast track.
– The introductory program has opened new doors for me within the academic world. For that I am both happy and grateful. The program has made it easier for me to navigate through the Swedish research and educational systems, Helwah says.
Helwah is one of eight individuals to take part in the pilot project Inclusive Internationalization. The goal of the project is to make it easier for doctoral students who have just arrived in Sweden to advance within Swedish academia. The project is a collaboration between University West, University of Borås, Chalmers Institute of Technology, Gothenburg University and the Swedish Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen).
– This is a prime example of how collaboration should work. It’s turned out to be a true win-win for the students as well as the universities. The name of the project really says it all: it’s about both inclusion and internationalization, says Fredrik Sjögren, the contact person for the project at University West.
– The researchers get a firm grasp of the Swedish research environment and gain valuable contacts. The universities get new insights into the challenges that academics face when moving to a new country where the research environment looks totally different. The knowledge we’ve gained through the project enables us to strengthen our work with internationalization at our academic institutions, says Fredrik.
– Obviously there is a lot to gain if researchers with valuable skills are integrated quickly into Swedish society and able to contribute to it.
The project was started in the Fall of 2018 and is designed as a part-time academic program. Theoretical studies in the pedagogy of university teaching, research funding and the organization of higher education in Sweden are mixed with placement at an academic department that matches the research field of each participant. The program doesn’t generate any academic credits but is important to have on your CV.
Helwah is placed at the Department of Human Interaction and Social Studies at University West.
– I’m learning the ins and outs of teaching at a Swedish university, how to write academic essays and how research is funded, among many other things. At the same time, I’m networking and focusing on improving my Swedish. Language really is key, says Helwah.
– I’m also working on a new scientific article within the field of special education and learning disabilities. The article is a necessary step in order to get my dissertation approved in Sweden. After that I’ll be able to apply for research positions, Helwah adds.
– Helwah has been a huge asset to us at University West. We’ve learnt a lot from her, and we hope that her career turns out the way she’s planned it, Fredrik says.
– I think that most researchers that have taken part in our fast track program are happy with it and have a plan for the next step in their careers. Obviously, it’s important for them to recreate their academic identities in order to continue their careers within research. Or choose an entirely new path, says Fredrik.
The first leg of the project Inclusive Internationalization has just been concluded. There are ongoing discussions about extending the project but on a smaller scale. The first leg has been funded by the participating universities and The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT).
– A lot of work has been put into this project. Each partner has been active in shaping the pilot project which is a major reason for its success. A project of this magnitude is difficult for a single college or university to handle, Fredrik concludes.
Text: Christina Axelsson/Stefan Kudryk
Photo: Anna Hallberg