One year in Gothenburg and one in Warwick, after which Akinyemi David Ademola intends to return home to Nigeria to share his experiences.
“Being able to gain experience from other countries and to learn things that there’s no knowledge of in my own country is a fantastic opportunity.”
Erasmus Mundus is an EU-financed programme that aims to encourage and facilitate exchanges and mobility between countries within and beyond Europe. The University of Gothenburg offers an Erasmus Mundus master’s programme in Complex Systems Science, together with the University of Warwick in the UK, l’École Polytechnique in Paris and Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg. Students study at two different educational institutions, spending one year at each.
In Gothenburg, students follow the Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) master’s programme, which is run jointly by the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology. There has been a great deal of interest, with 150 or so applicants applying for around ten places in the last round. Mats Granath is responsible for the Erasmus Mundus programme at the University of Gothenburg:
“The Erasmus Mundus students are often extremely capable, and give the whole programme an international character. This lends the programme strength, particularly since we have students from outside Europe – which is less common these days.”
Since 2011, students from outside the EU/EEA have had to pay for their eduction, resulting in a dramatic fall in the number of international master’s students. Students on the Erasmus Mundus programme receive a subsistence scholarship from the EU, and they do not have to pay tuition fees. Two types of students are accepted: from the rest of Europe and from the rest of the world. Akinyemi David Ademola found out about Sweden from a friend who had studied there, and who recommended the country to him.
“I’d heard that the people here are friendly and helpful, and they certainly are. Gothenburg is a beautiful city, and the people are cheerful.”
Akinyemi has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Nigeria, and he believes that his studies so far in Sweden have given him a lot of new knowledge. The programme is interdisciplinary, and focuses on methods for analysing different types of complex systems. Akinyemi mentions human life as one example of such a system.
“People are complex in that we develop and adapt to change in different ways.”
He says that studying in Sweden is fantastic. Here in Sweden, knowledge is prioritised over grades, and the teaching staff focus on students learning to apply their knowledge. He also appreciates the cultural encounters, not only with Sweden and Swedes, but also with the other programme participants from every continent. The only thing he doesn’t like about Sweden is the winter.
“It’s so dark and cold here in the winter! In Africa, the days are about as long as the nights all year round. Here, it’s dark for 16 hours a day in December. That’s something I won’t miss about Gothenburg!”
The EU’s Erasmus Mundus programme ended in 2013, but programmes can be extended for another three years. The programme in Complex System Science has applied for an extension, and an assessment is currently under way to see if this will be granted.
Experiences are exchanged within the programme through a summer school that brings together all first-year students from the four different educational institutions. This year they will meet in Gothenburg for a week to share their experiences and present their project work to each other. Year-two students will present their project work to each other via a video conference.