Studying abroad for a semester is similar to freshman year, with orientation, making new friends, establishing a new routine, and adjusting to a new way of learning. Academics is one of the reasons I decided to go to Stockholm specifically, because DIS offered me classes for both of my majors that I could not get back home at Wofford.
The DIS Way
One of the first things you realize about DIS is that they take academics VERY seriously. The attendance policy is very strict and the students are expected to be on top of their schoolwork. The class sizes are similar to Wofford, my biggest class only has 20 students. The professors are also very friendly and try to get to know their students, similar to many professors back home! Fun fact: in Sweden, you call your professors by their first name in school!
Something unique about DIS is that the program includes two travel trips with your core class to another city and country. For my core course, Forensic Psychology, we went to the city of Gothenburg for three days on our short study tour to visit institutions that worked with recidivism and crime in Sweden. For our long study tour, we went to Edinburgh, Scotland for six days to go to organizations that work with the justice system and rehabilitating victims. We had the opportunity to hear a chief detective from the Edinburgh police share one of his tough murder cases and made us think of how to solve it. My favorite organization we visited focused on changing attitudes about the criminal justice system and opening new options for rehabilitation beyond imprisonment. This hands on way of learning as a class gives us first hand experience from police officers and workers in many different organizations.
As a Psychology and Anthropology/Sociology major, I am able to take classes that fulfills credits for both my majors in Stockholm! Forensic Psych is not offered at Wofford, so I was excited to get a chance to take this class in general, and it also counts as an elective towards my Psych major. Swedish Politics and Glued to the Screen are counted as sociology credits. I also had room to take two classes for fun that only count as hours towards graduation, so I picked Psych of Loneliness, which is a very interesting class, and the Vikings since I’m in Scandinavia! DIS offers classes in many topics, so it was fun to pick classes outside my major as well.
Classes at DIS only happen on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wednesdays are free, because each class has two field studies that happen on random Wednesdays throughout the semester. On these field studies, we go to museums, schools, or programs that are related to what we are learning in class. If a class doesn’t have a field study, then it is just a free day to explore or catch up on homework! It has been nice having class only four days a week, and it will be an adjustment to go back to having classes five days a week back home.
The Work Load
Coming from Wofford, I was used to studying and reading a lot to prepare for classes, and at DIS, reading also makes up most of my schoolwork. One big change is that all my classes require reading and class participation, and at Wofford, I only had a few classes like that. It was hard at first to juggle all the readings for all my different classes, but I think I am on top of things this far into the semester!