Internship in Örebro for Lucas from Germany: “Great international experience”
"As a future teacher, it’s of course especially valuable to have international experience and networks. This is excellent preparation for any professional settings in the future,” says Lucas Mronga.
Lucas Mronga is a teacher student at Bielefeld University in Germany. He is currently doing an internship at Örebro University within the framework of the European Universities Alliance NEOLAiA.
“My English is improving every day and I get to share the perspectives of another culture. This is excellent preparation for any professional settings in the future,” he says.
Teacher student Lucas Mronga came into contact with NEOLAiA, a collaboration between nine young European universities, thanks to his part-time job as a student assistant at his home university in Bielefeld, Germany.
“Bielefeld University takes a prominent role within NEOLAiA when it comes to diversity and inclusion. I’ve helped initiate some activities, such as a podcast, aiming to raise awareness of these issues,” he says.
It was through NEOLAiA that Lucas Mronga came into contact with Örebro University, who has been part of the alliance since 2020.
“It was a perfect fit for me to come and do an internship at a university that’s not only active within NEOLAiA, but where the level of English is also very high.”
Working with exchange students – and senior high schoolers
As an intern at the International Office at Örebro University, he has, among other things, worked with welcoming international students.
“At the start of the semester, my job was to help preparing welcome packs, organising COVID testing, and making sure that all the students were shown to their accommodation. I also helped with the orientation programme available to all exchange students, identifying any gaps in the information or if there was anything that could be improved,” he says.
As part of his three-month stay in Sweden, Lucas Mronga will spend two weeks at Karolinska gymnasiet, an upper secondary school in Örebro.
“It’ll be very interesting to see how teaching is organised and what tools they use. Hopefully, I’ll also be able to share my experiences and contribute to content during English and German lessons.”
“Fewer hierarchies in Sweden”
To his mind, gaining work experience from Sweden is rewarding – and a great opportunity:
“In my experience, working life is very inclusive here. There are fewer hierarchies and I feel like I’m part of a team. I get to take a lot of responsibility – at the same time I feel we trust each other and can speak openly. The fact that all Swedes speak English also boosts the sense of inclusiveness.”
What does this mean to you, doing your internship abroad?
“It definitely helps me grow as a person, getting out of my comfort zone. Especially at this stage when we’re coming out of a long pandemic. My English is improving every day and I get to share the perspectives of another culture. As a future teacher, it’s of course especially valuable to have international experience and networks. This is excellent preparation for any professional settings in the future,” says Lucas Mronga.
Welcoming international interns is a great opportunity also for Örebro University. Ida Andersson-Norrie, International Strategy Officer at Örebro University, describes it as an excellent opportunity for internationalisation at home.
“We’re inviting a new culture and new perspectives into our organisation, which helps us to reflect on our activities and see our culture in a new light. I really hope that others will also seize the opportunity to welcome an intern.”
Aiming to be a European university
The work within NEOLAiA has been a high priority at Örebro University from the start, and work on an application for the status of “European University” within the EU’s ”European Universities Initiative” is currently underway.
“The involvement with NEOLAiA is a way for Örebro University to focus its internationalisation efforts and to prioritise partnerships with a few higher education institutions that we share many similarities and have a good relationship with. We have already seen outcomes such as research partnerships, plans for joint courses, and the creation of professional networks for administrative staff. Lucas’ stay in Örebro is another excellent example of the practical application of these activities,” says Ida Andersson-Norrie.
NEOLAiA’s ambition is to secure funding from the EU to intensify the work that has already begun.
“If we’re successful, we’re well placed to design joint study programmes, courses and summer schools; multi-partner research collaborations; develop common methods and approaches; and collaborate with regional organisations to find solutions to various challenges in society,” says Ida Andersson-Norrie.
Text and Photo: Anna Lorentzon
Translation: Charlotta Hambre-Knight