NEOLAiA helps students with work placements abroad: “It’s exciting!”
Léna Czech is studying for her master’s in European law at the University of Tours. Through NEOLAiA, she got the chance to do her work placement at Örebro University in May. “It’s challenging, but you learn a lot about yourself.”
Via the NEOLAiA alliance, students at Örebro University can experience what it is like to work internationally.
“It was fascinating, and I really loved working in an international setting,” says French law student Léna Czech, who completed her work placement at Örebro University in May.
Which students may apply for a work placement through NEOLAiA?
“Some students have a work placement in their study programme. In some cases, work placement can be done abroad – students can get more information from their teacher or study advisor. There’s also the opportunity to apply for an Erasmus+ grant for traineeships, work placements or internships within the EU, which means students can seek financial support for their stay”, explains Ida Andersson-Norrie, international strategy officer at Örebro University.
Örebro University is one of nine European universities forming the NEOLAiA alliance. The EU Commission has appointed NEOLAiA as a European Universities Initiative and granted funding totalling EUR 14.4 million. The idea is that the cooperation will increase the universities’ competitiveness internationally and develop opportunities for the internationalisation of education, research, and collaboration.
One student who has already taken advantage of the alliance is Léna Czech. She is studying a master’s in European law at the University of Tours, France and, as part of her studies, completed her work placement at Örebro University in May.
“It was fantastic. I felt so welcome, and everyone was so helpful. It was an exciting experience to meet those working with internationalisation here at Örebro University. In addition, I had the opportunity to discover Örebro’s surroundings – and even visit Stockholm, which was nice,” says Léna Czech, and continues:
“Working with legal matters through NEOLAiA is challenging. It feels like we’re forging a new path and creating new opportunities in law studies, which is very stimulating. Sure, it could feel a little overwhelming sometimes just having a blank sheet to start with, but at the same time, it allows for greater flexibility.”
What would you say to other students considering a work placement through NEOLAiA?
“It’s extremely interesting – and I really loved working in an international setting. Getting to know many remarkable people and learning from different cultures provides you with an invaluable experience. It’s challenging, but you learn a lot about yourself. Testing your limits and what works for you, comparing different ways of working and experiencing how different organisations function. It’s a great way to discover how your professional career will be,” says Léna Czech.
“Whether students have the opportunity to do work placement depends on how their study programme is designed,” explains Ida Andersson-Norrie, international strategy officer at Örebro University.
Why are these types of international exchanges important?
“Doing your work placement abroad is an excellent opportunity, especially for students who might not otherwise have been able to go on a student exchange to get a chance to stay abroad longer. By doing a work placement in a foreign country, students gain new perspectives on what they’ve studied in Sweden. Such experience is often valuable, regardless of whether you later work abroad or in Sweden,” says Ida Andersson-Norrie in summary.
Text: Jesper Eriksson
Photo: Jesper Mattsson
Translation: Jerry Gray
NEOLAiA, meaning youth in Greek, is an alliance of nine young European universities with solid rankings and strong regional support.
The following universities form NEOLAiA: Bielefeld University (Germany), University of Jaén (Spain), University of Nicosia (Cyprus), University of Ostrava (Czech Republic), University of Salerno (Italy), University of Suceava (Romania), University of Tours (France), Šiauliai State University of Applied Sciences (Lithuania), and Örebro University (Sweden).