Students Take On Scandinavia

by HALEY BURNSIDE, Asst. Editor

Over the Christmas break, a group of 25 students and two faculty members travelled to various Scandinavian cities for an educational trip, run by the sociology and communication departments.

The 14-day trip consisted of a class taught by associate professor of communication Rebecca Kern, Ph.D. and assistant professor of sociology Cory Blad, Ph.D. According to Kern, the class was a blend of both communication and sociology studies.

“The class was primarily about immigration, the welfare state, and media,” said Kern. “It was a combination of examining the Nordic welfare model and Nordic media models. Then we focused on how immigration plays a role in all of that.”

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Students had the opportunity to explore the Scandinavian cities while studying abroad. EMILY GARREN/ COURTESY

Because of the high numbers of Middle Eastern and African immigrants currently residing in Scandinavian countries, the subject of immigration was incredibly relevant to the course.

The trip included time in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. Students returned from the trip with hundreds of photos of their travels, plenty of fun stories to share and an increased understanding of the world regarding immigration, welfare and media.

Christian Kiraly, a sophomore engineering student who went on the trip, found that physically being in the countries helped him in his learning.

“The class was interesting, and I really enjoyed it,” said Kiraly. “Being in those countries helped because while we were there we could ask the locals about what they thought about immigration. We also were able to gather newspapers to see how the media portrayed immigration.”

Regarding the schoolwork of the class, Kiraly did not think the assignments hindered the travel in any way.

“The workload was manageable. We had to write three papers that were pretty straightforward. This helped because we had more time to see the cities and how the countries treated the immigrants,” said Kiraly.

Allison Eichhorn, another student who went on the trip, agreed that the location furthered her learning experience, and she hopes that other students will take advantage of the chance to learn about these topics through the trip.

“I would absolutely recommend this trip to everyone. It’s crazy how much more you learn through the experience rather than just being taught it. Living in these countries for two weeks and meeting all the people there just reaffirmed what we were learning in class,” said Eichhorn.

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Twenty-five students travelled with two faculty members for study abroad that was managed by the sociology and communication departments. ALLISON EICHHORN/ COURTESY

Although the students all shared similar experiences on the trip, they came back with different fond memories.

“Copenhagen was my favorite city by far,” said Eichhorn. “There was a certain edge to it that the other cities didn’t have. It was absolutely beautiful during the day and extremely lively and adventurous at night. The people were all different from each other, but also all had a universal look different from people I’ve seen in other places.”

Kiarly’s favorite location was different from Eichhorn’s.

“Iceland was my favorite day on the trip because we didn’t waste any time,” said Kiraly. “We were there for around 40 hours and we went on the golden circle tour, the northern lights tour, and the blue lagoon.”

Senior Emily Garren also prefered Iceland, though it was a tough choice for her.

“I loved Stockholm a lot, but my favorite place to visit was Iceland. It’s as picturesque as they say and it’s just so different than any other place I have ever visited,” said Garren.

Garren found herself appreciating the trip in ways she had not originally expected to.

“I’m not much of a nature person but it was just incredible there- we visited a national park and it had the most amazing views I have ever seen.  I hope to return someday for a trip just in Iceland so I can further explore the beautiful country!”