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Deltagare på Summer school San José State University i Kalifornien

The students on the first day at campus in Trollhättan, together with some of the teachers, Professor Melinda Jackson (to the left), Professor Per Assmo (to the right) and Vice-Chancellor Martin Hellström (in the back row with the tie).

The Summer School is held at the Symbiosis Center located in the municipality of Sotenäs and focuses on the development and challenges of the Swedish welfare system. Lectures by teachers from University West, presentations by representatives from Sotenäs municipality as well as visits to local businesses in Kungshamn make up the program. After a week of lectures in Sotenäs, study visits are conducted in Gothenburg and Stockholm, where the students will visit Parliament.  

– The American students visiting us study economics and political science, and our Summer School is designed to fit their curricula. Students from the Intenational Programme for Politics and Economics (IPPE) at University West participate as well, Prof. Assmo said.  

Tailored program

The Summer School is part of the bilateral cooperation between San Jose State University and University West.  

– Based on discussions with my colleague in California, Prof Melinda Jackson, I’ve built a program that I hope will be appreciated by our American students. The goal is to give them a thorough understanding of the Swedish welfare system, said Prof. Assmo. 

Close cooperation with Sotenäs municipality

The more formal part of the Summer School is held at the Sotenäs Symbiosis Center in the town of Kungshamn. Per Assmo works closely with the municipality in order to give the students a complete picture. Municipal Chief Executive Maria Vikingsson, business development officer Tomas Larsson and integration coordinator Petra Olsson all participated to give the students an idea of how a Swedish municipality works and the role that it plays in society.

– We are happy and proud to have the students here in Sotenäs, and excited that University West has chosen to highlight the work that we do. We’re happy to talk about the circular approach at our Symbiosis Center. Maybe it can lead to future collaborations, said Ms. Vikingsson.  

– It’s also an opportunity to exchange experiences regarding something that’s important to Sotenäs: tourism. California works really well with tourism issues, so I think these days will be rewarding for both the students and us, Ms. Vikingsson continued.

Visits to businesses in Kungshamn

The students also get to visit several local businesses in and around Kungshamn, like Orkla Seafood and Kustcharken. They’ll also be treated to a boat trip in the archipelago of Bohuslän, get to visit the Hållö lighthouse and try local delicacies.

The agreement between University West and San Jose State University was signed in 2016 and is one of about 130 partnerships between University West and selected universities around the globe. These partnerships are part of the University’s ongoing mission to expand international cooperation within research and education. San Jose State University is a so-called “preferred partner”, and as such is considered an academic institution with which University West wants to develop a long-term relationship.

– University West sends 5-6 students each year to San Jose State University to study for a semester. Our Summer School is a way to develop our cooperation and increase the number of students coming the other way. The Summer School is also an excellent way to deepen our external relations as the municipality of Sotenäs is an important partner, and is kind enough to let us hold the program in their state-of-the-art Symbiotic Center, Prof. Assmo concludes.

Text: Christina Axelsson/Stefan Kudryk
Photo: Anna Hallberg