"What a valuable environment at JU!"

Chris comes from South Africa. Through an exchange program he got the opportunity to take part in the program the first semester.


Excursion to the East Vättern Biosphere Reserve.

How did you experience the teaching environment?

– What a valuable environment at JU! Not only the challenging academic concepts we were exposed to and the relevant contexts around the world, but mostly because of the rich input from the international student body also enrolled in this program. We all had such different stories to share and diverse perspectives relating to how things are, how they can be, and how they ideally, context-specifically should be. The lectures were very engaging and provocative and there were ample opportunities to challenge or agree with what was being discussed. The environment was also a very safe and non-judgmental space where we could share freely. The lecturers are all very knowledgeable and encourage critical thinking.

What is your best memory?

– My best memory at JU is undoubtedly learning from so many people and in so many different environments, not only a classroom. Going on excursions to the East Vättern Biosphere Reserve and consolidating the academic work by seeing it in practice, was invaluable! Having so many different people from all parts of our globe in one class, was key to this rich and stimulating program.

How have the courses contributed to your understanding of sustainable development?

– One thing that I realized or maybe was highlighted again, is that we cannot do the change alone! Even if something is not happening in your backyard, it will still affect you. We need to break out of our comfortable bubble that essentially keeps us disconnected from one another. We must explore further and not remain blind to the struggles our neighbours are facing.

What is your advice to prospective students?

– Come with an open heart and open mind! Expose yourself to as much as possible and to as many diverse situations as possible – completely out of your comfort zone! A course like this relies on a plethora of diverse input and variety experiences. Leave your biases at home and see things from others’ perspectives.

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