Thursday, 5 February 2009


Monday 19 January was not a usual Monday.

Caroline, Lucas and me were driving the car to Norrköping, because I was going to take a course there. We also had my mum in the car, who had visited us for some days and who would now take the coach from Norrköping to Skavsta Airport that same day. The weather Gods were not with us, as we had heavy snow. Road 51 between Örebro and Norrköping is not exactly a highway and most of the time wewere stuck behind a truck. Due to the bad weather and road conditions we weren't driving faster than 40 km/h instead of the allowed 90. Very frustrating, since I didn't want to start the course by missing the first lecture, and my mum didn't want to end her visit by missing the coach to the airport.

However, after 2 hours we arrived in Norrköping, about 110 km from Örebro. I was lucky to find the campus quite soon and I only missed some minutes of the inaugural lecture. My mum notified me some minutes later that se made it to the bus. Everything alright, and Caroline and Lucas could take it easy on their way back to Örebro. I think they even took a rest in Katrineholm.

The campus in Norrköping is wonderful! In the middle of this town, situated in some old buildings that once were the blooming centre of the textile industry, are now some faculties of Linköping University's Campus Norrköping. One of the buildings at the entrance is now the Louis de Geer theatre, marking the importance of this Dutch entrepreneur that initiated some of the industries in Norrköping in the 18th Century. For entering the campus you have to walk through a small tower, or campanille, which reminded me of Trinity College Dublin. The Motala Ström meanders through the area and waterfalls cascade beside bridges and pathways. Pleasant surroundings!

The course is called Theories and Politics of International Migration. It is part of the Graduate School in REMESO (Institute for on Research Migration, Ethnicity and Society) and lasted from Monday to Friday. Accomodation was taken care of by the course administrator. We were about 20 students from all over Europe, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Poland, Turkey, Scotland, Lithuania and Spain. Some of us had a more difficult story, such as the girl from Spain who actually was from Mexico, a guy from Bosnia that had been living in Sweden for many years, the girsl from Scotland who's parents are Czech but who lived most of their life in Denmark, and me, a Dutch guy from Sweden (or the other way around). It was like an Erasmus Exchange and we never had a dull moment. Either we were in class, some days 11 hours of lectures and seminars, or we hung out in one of the town's bars and restaurants. We also met in the hotel/youthhostel where we stayed. You can imagine that I was completely exhausted when I sat in the coach back home on Friday afternoon!

What was the course about? Yeah, well, there were 5 themes. The first day, Professor Russell King (University of Sussex) lectured about the state of the art in International Migration Research. Very interesting lectures, especially from a Human Geography point of view. He told about the somewhat artificial divide between internal and international migration and about a new map of migration in Europe. Here is where my study fits best; lifestyle migration. The second day, Political scientist Peo Hanssen - one of the initiators of the course - told us about the European Integration of Migration. Also an interesting subject, especially since I am interest in the EU and it's "internal migration". Day three started with an extra lecture by Russell King on his newest work about Albania. Very inspiring for my forthcoming article! Later that day, Branka Likić spoke about Irregular Migration, Changing Labour Markets and Perspectives on Global Governance. Interesting, but not directly related to my research interests. Migrant Experiences of Integration and Discrimination was the subject of the next-last day. Stefan Jonsson, a critic writing about social and cultural phenomena for the Swedish Newspaper DN, showed us the movie "La raison du plus fort". Together, we took the role of philosophers and talked bout different experiences of migrating to a completely different society. Most focus was put on the politics of the veil in France and difficulties between Muslim and other ethnic groups in Europe. The course was concluded by a panel discussion on Friday. Theme for the discussion was Migration and Development and here guest lecturer Charles Woolfsson from Glasgow University but living in Lithuania painted a picture about Lithuanian membership in the EU and the role of migration and development for this Baltic state. You can imagine it took me some days to sort all the information I got, it was a very intensive week!

But now, I should start writing the paper for the course, if I want to receive my 7.5 ECTS credits! Cheerio!

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