Welcome to the new SUM students

This year we are welcoming our new students both digitally and in the lecture room.

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Social distancing is the new normal. The students physically present for the introduction day are already living in Norway, the rest will be participating online.

A different start of studies

This year, SUM students come from 12 different countries, including Sweden, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, USA, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Australia, Nepal and Norway.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most of the international students are not able to travel to Norway for their first semester. Teaching will be organized both physically and in digital groups. 

Normally, the international students make up about half of the class, and this year, they will join us in the great experiment that is long-distance, digital teaching and learning, says Kristian Bjørkdahl.

anneline and kristian
Anne-Line Sandåker, Study Coordinator and Kristian Bjørkdahl, Head of Teaching, one meter apart.

The students will have an online platform to meet, chat and work together, whether they live in Oslo or Mexico.

We have created a Teams-version of SUM where students can chat and meet staff and fellow students. We are very lucky to have two former SUM students as online learning assistants (OLA) in the digital groups, says Anne-Line Sandåker. 

Alex Ruelas is following lectures from Mexico this fall.

It was great meeting everyone today in our first Zoom session. Learning and engaging in group discussions remotely will be challenging. But you can tell immediately that everyone -teachers, staff, and students- is putting a great deal of energy into this process. And well, less time in the classroom means more time to read, right? We'll be needing that. I'm sure we can all adapt and make this work. Hopefully, we'll be able to meet in person in January, says Alex.

Why choose SUM?

Ingrid and Roman on their first day at SUM
On their first day in SUM’s offices in Nydalen, Ingrid Fuglår from Norway and Roman Paluch-Edwards from England and the rest of the students got an introduction to the study programme and met some of the researchers at SUM.

– SUM seems very inclusive, and does not have a typical university auditorium. I look forward to interactive lectures and group discussions in an actual classroom, says Ingrid. 

She has previously studied business and worked in marketing agencies.

– In my former job, my main task was to sell more products. I came to a point where this felt so wrong, and I have chosen the study programme at SUM to learn more about sustainability. 

Roman has an undergrad in social economic studies and has had different work experiences before he now decided to return to studying again. 

I chose this programme as I want to better understand the issues of environmental sustainability in order to advocate for change and increase my work opportunities, he says. 

Changes to the master’s programme 

Over the last few years, SUM's master's program, Development, Environment and Cultural Change (DECC), has been revamped from A to Z. Everything from the venue, to the course modules, to the teachers, to the teaching methods and the content has changed. 

This fall, we have done major changes to our introductory course, SUM4200, focusing much more on developing academic skills and increasing student participation, as well as on work relevance and the bridging of theory and practice. Our methods course, SUM4100, has continued to evolve, and now even includes the staging of a play, says Kristian Bjørkdahl. 

The Buddies, a group of second year SUM students, have planned several outdoor activities for the new students to get to know each other.

We wish Alex, Ingrid, Roman and the rest of the new students welcome to SUM! 

Read more about the master's programme

Read more about SUM

By Charlotte Kildal
Published Aug. 14, 2020 11:16 AM - Last modified Aug. 14, 2020 11:57 AM