Anders Nelson

"British universities have good reputation in all areas. The tutor systems and enthusiastic teachers are very much appreciated by visiting students."

Anders Nelson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Halmstad University

Halmstad University and the UK through educational exchanges 

Halmstad University (Högskolan i Halmstad) in Sweden is often known as The Innovation Driven University. It was established in 1983 and is a public higher education institution offering bachelor's and master's programmes in various fields of studies. It conducts education and research in areas such as Innovation Sciences, Information Technology and Health and Lifestyle. Anders Nelson, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, spoke to the British Council about the University’s connections to British Universities. 

What is unique about Halmstad University? 

We are a small University where four schools work closely together. These include: the School of Business, Engineering and Scienc; School of Health and Welfare; School of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences; School of Information Technology. We have a tradition of entrepreneurship and innovation which ensures that new ideas are possible to realise. Our ambition is to be especially strong in the interdisciplinary profile areas Health Innovation and Smart Cities and Communities. We have our most qualified research in Computer science, AI, Innovation science, Flexible product development, Green innovation, Sport science/sport psychology, some areas within nursing and science teaching. 

Is international exchange important for the University? 

Yes. Our University was established in the beginning of the 1980s, initially offering a small number of bachelor programmes for a few hundred, mostly local, students. Today, Halmstad University is a rather comprehensive University with 10,000 students, approximately 50 degree programmes and strong research in some areas. This change is not only a change in size but more importantly a change from mainly being a supplier of competence for the local labour market to being an institution addressing local, regional, national and global challenges. International exchange is very important for us.

How many students in Sweden have an international exchange opportunity, and how does this benefit their learning experience?  

Today most students have (literally) exchange opportunities due to the implementation of Bologna structure in course- and program curricula, except from some programs which are following a national vocationally oriented structure, based on Swedish legislation and national guidelines. For example, our teacher training program, nursing program, etc. The number of Swedish students that complete an international exchange is approximately 25, 000 yearly, which is approximately 6 % of the student population. The overall goal for 2020 is 20%. The UK is the country with the highest numbers of Swedish exchange students after the USA. 

What about the exchanges that the University is pursuing with British universities?

Halmstad University had once several exchange partners in the UK, especially beteen1994 and 2004. But the number of British universities that have engaged with us through Erasmus+ has slightly declined. We do have the following ERASMUS+: Edinburgh Napier University, University of Leeds, University of Lincoln, University of Westminister , University of Wolverhampton, University of Worcester.

Why is Britain seen as a good country to partner with?

From student perspective, it is down to several factors. For example: language and culture; common or similar course and program curricula; the grading system; the redit transfer system; the high quality of the education and the dedication of the teachers; word of mouth spreading news about the quality of the British universities; and the fact that Swedish students like to interact with British students. 

From faculty perspective, the main reasons are that British universities have renowned and recognised research and high ranking universities.

Are there subjects that the UK is reputed to teach well and that inspire Swedes?

British universities have good reputation in all areas. The tutor systems and enthusiastic teachers are very much appreciated by visiting students. Modern teaching pedagogics and methodologies are introduced and examination and grading system attracts those from afar. 

Would you say that Sweden and the UK have a strong bond when it comes to education over the years?

Definitely. Our educational systems are very similar, compared to France, Germany, Spain, etc. This seems to be the case from the earliest years, until Higher education level.