you get two blogposts today, lucky you!:)
This one I (Hilde) was supposed to write ages ago, but I kind of forgot.
In September, we RREs (+former RRE`s ) had the possibility to participate in a workshop/ presentation of student survey results, in four Nordic cities. the workshop was arranged by the nordic council of ministries. They sat down at some point and had the brilliant idea to make cooperation between the nordic countries even broader, by making inter-nordic master programs. They made out a call about it, and a lot of people/universities applied for funding to start a project. Some professors already cooperating within fields of religious studies and theology in the nordic countries saw the call, put there heads togheter and Voila! RRE was born:)
As you already probably understood, RRE is not the only master program of its kind. in the workshops we participated in we met some brilliant people doing old norse studies and marine biology, and we learned that "our" way of doing a program like this is special, because the model RRE uses, with compact seminars, is after my understanding quite unique. Other programs do 1+1 year (or 1+ 1/2+1/2) meaning the students actually move been the countries while they study, unlike us who rather goes on a holiday to Helsinki or Bergen. Not that the seminars feels like a holiday, they are busy and challenging, but soo much fun:)
anyways, these meetings, taking place in Helsinki, Copenhagen, Bergen (and Stockholm?) had two parts: the presentation of the results from the student survey, and a workshop.therefore, in what follows, you will see that I asked my RRE friends to answer the following questions:
(1)What is, after your opinion, the most important results from the evaluation/student survey? and (2) What is after your opinion the most important results from the workshop?
Nils Hallvard graduated RRE from UIO (University of Oslo) in the autumn of 2011, and is currently a phd.student at MF- Norwegian school of theology, in their religious studies department. He participated in the workshop in Bergen.
Morten is currently studying RRE at Copenhagen university, and was enrolled in RRE in 2011. He participated in the workshop in Copenhagen.
on question 1 they replied:
Nils Hallvard: The positive feedback/results which RRE got, being the biggest program within NMP and the best organized one. I find these facts especially important because we know that our field of study is not of high priority among politicians working with the field of higher education.
The most important thing that I found out during the NMP workshop was that our program works in quite a different way from the other Nordic master programmes. They all stay a period of time at on host-university only to then move to another. I think that the way the RRE is structured works much better because it enables you to make contacts in a specific place, as well as creating connections with students and teachers throughout the nordic countries. Of course it makes some challenges in relation to E-learning, challenges that still need to be met by some of the teachers in the RRE program.
On question 2 they replied:
Nils Hallvard: It was really clear that we need better routines for the programs to continue running,better communication between the universties. and that there is a lack of information, especially for international students, about what the universities has to offer. The students needs to get the same information other international students (like exchange students) get when they start studying. Housing was mentioned as a problem for many, and visa is a constant challenge.
Morten:The most important thing that was discussed was the thing about housing and living expenses. The students might benefit from an extended hand in this matter, not just from the host university but from the coordinators of the RRE program. Given that I myself am a native Dane living in Denmark i did not have these problems, but i understand how a lack of housing, or a dorm not living up to the standard, can be a stress factor for people moving the the cold north.
Thank you Nils Hallvard and Morten! I would like to add that Morten answered me by email, and in English, while i interviewed Nils Hallvard, meeting him as his work and in Norwegian, so that it is my translation of what he said.
To their excellent replies I would like to add that the single most important thing for me is that the universities take the survey seriously and DO SOMETHING soon, because the NMPs are excellent programs, but there is a lot of logistic stuff which could go much smoother. Ask students who studied abroad which information they found important before and upon their arrival in the new country. I had an excellent mentor when I did an exchange semester in Århus, Anne who is also doing RRE now ( but was doing her bachelor in theology at that time) and for me she and other helpful students was gold to me.
This is, sadly, my last blogpost. I dident graduate RRE yet, but I will in february, and until then I am overloaded with work. I might come by and do a guestpost at some point, we will see.