“We help professors to learn Swedish”
At EECS the tables have turned and students are now mentoring their teachers, helping them develop their Swedish language skills.
Oscar Barreira Petterson, master student at EECS and involved in the language mentoring program, what do you do, what is the program about?
"The main goal is to help the professors develop their Swedish, but we do it a bit differently than a regular Swedish class provided here at KTH. We make a personal plan developed for every professor with consideration for their workload and spare time. A lot of professors work a lot and have a family so we make an individual plan to consider that. We also pick subjects to talk about and work with, that the professors enjoy and are interested in. Every person will be treated differently depending on time and goals but I personally focus a lot on making them comfortable talking to others. If you have been working here for a while and feel that you want to learn Swedish but don't have the time to go to regular classes this is a great opportunity!"
What has been the most fun about participating?
"I always enjoyed teaching and talking to people, so this is kind of a perfect fit for me. The big bonus is that I get to meet and talk to smart and bright people."
Has anything surprised you, not been as you expected?
"How enjoyable it is to do this. I personally enjoy every meeting and it’s really fun to see how well people develop."
How did you become interested in participating?
"I was contacted by Lars Nordström, who used to be my mentor in a class I took here at KTH, who told me that they were going to start this project and that I would be a good applicant."
Lars Nordström Deputy Head of School at EECS, What is the purpose of the language mentoring program?
"The purpose of the program is to let our international faculty improve their Swedish skills at their own pace via individual mentoring and coaching from a Swedish speaking student. Fluency in Swedish might not be necessary for research, but for teaching and definitely for participation in development of KTH as a university it is really necessary. Not being able to follow internal discussions at KTH regarding matters such as future strategies, budgets and organizational development puts non-Swedish speakers at a distinct disadvantage. The mentoring program is an important step in allowing for participation for all in these important discussions."
How does it relate to other Swedish classes offered at KTH?
"To participate in the mentoring program, you must first have mastered the basics of the language – something which is best done classroom style with regular practice sessions. Through the program, we want to offer tailor made training in Swedish “on-the-job” where you can learn to use Swedish in your workday as you go along."
How long will the program continue?
"The school provides funding for the program until end of 2021, after this the plan is that the individual divisions can fund the program by hiring language mentors locally as needed."