– Our goal for the trip was to explore possibilities for future student and teacher exchange, but also for research collaboration, says Silje Gustafsson.
The purpose of the seminar is to provide Swedish universities the opportunity to come in contact with overseas educational institutions to initiate future partnerships. Contact seminars have previously been organized on six occasions in different parts of the world, and this time the Nordic countries were also invited to participate.
Mingle and handshakes
Crown Princess Victoria opened the seminar at the Peruvian university Universidad de Lima. The Nordic countries had about 30 representatives and the Latin American universities were represented by a total of 200 people. During five days, five universities in Bogotá and Medellín, Colombia, and Lima, Peru, were visited to network, inform about countries different education systems and to discuss possible cooperation projects. The visits were conducted with standing lunches and natural mingling with handshakes to make opportunities for new contacts in an organized and pleasant ways.
– It was a very nice and efficient way to pursue internationalization and we got to meet many people and establish many important contacts, says Silje Gustafsson.
The same problems and interests
An interest for cooperation arose between the Department of Health Sciences and Universidad del Norte in Baranquilla, Colombia. As Norrbotten, they have the same logistical problems with small villages far from medical care centers and wants to reach out with care in a more efficient manner. Luleå University of Technology and Universidad del Norte already has an agreement for student exchanges and now wants to extend the cooperation.
– They thought it was interesting with a northern university and was keen to share our knowledge of ICT and e-health, she continues. Universidad del Norte has well established procedures for reception of exchange students with intensive language courses and cultural and social events organized for the students.
The Universidad del Norte has a very strong social commitment and the students conduct together with the teachers a medical center where they provide free health care to people in need.
– The concept aroused our interest. We have students who are very capable and have skills that can be utilized to a greater extent than they do today.
Also in the city of Medellin were both nursing education and occupational therapy education possible for an exchange. Here was also health centers and social work carried out through the University with students and teachers in collaboration.
– Medellín was a charming colorful town that is incredibly beautiful, green and fertile. I am confident that our students would think it would be great fun to experience, says Silje Gustafsson.
The Swedish government wants to invest in strengthening the relations with Latin America and that was proved by the presence of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel. After many years of fighting between the guerrillas and the government Colombia has become calmer and both countries have a strong belief in the future.
– We have much to learn from each other. Both Peru and Colombia are making great strides economically and as a result of the journey we hope to increase common projects between the countries, says Karin Axelsson-Grafström.