Hello and welcome to Sweden International students!
Allow us to kindly introduce our selves. We are Göta studentkår – a student union representing the 5 faculties of the University of Gothenburg – Sciences, Arts, Educational Sciences, IT, and Social Sciences Sciences. We at Göta studentkår know that the beginning of the year in a foreign country can be not the easiest thing you have to go through. As much as it is super exciting, it can also be challenging, scary, and overwhelming. You just arrived to the new country, you need to settle in, fix some papers with some tax offices, information at the administration can be confusing, you are constantly showered with information regarding your studies, then you feel like you might need to polish your English, and if you are a native speaker – crack the Swedish accent, and then you need to learn Swedish and… AAAA… *heavy breathing into a paper bag*
Hold on, we are here to help you out! This is why at Göta studentkår we organize student kick-off activities during the first weeks, to help you in starting of your year with a good mood, information and support from your future colleagues and older students. But here you might as well encounter some confusing terms and expressions. Let us help you out and provide a short Swedish student life and culture 101. Let’s begin, shall we?
What in the name of… is Inspark? Or Mottagning? Or wait a minute, got a bit lost here…
Inspark/Mottagning/Kick-off is a few weeks of events dedicated for welcoming students to the university life, it is packed with events, competitions, pub crawls, outdoors activities, sittnings and more. These activities take place in the beginning of the study year for a few weeks between mid August to mid September (depending on the faculty you are studying at). As for the name, out of 5 sections we have at Göta studentkår only the IT section uses a bit more international term because of a lot of international students studying there and call it Kick-off. When it comes to other terms Inspark refers to goal kick and Mottagning means reception in Swedish, and both of them refer to the same thing – the student studies kick-off period. At Göta studentkår we use both terms, some of the sections prefer one word over the other.
What is Sexmästeri?
It has nothing to do with sex… No, really… Most of the students coming from outside of Sweden can feel a bit intimidated by the word. The term sexmästeri refers to a party group/association and it comes form an old Swedish word ”sexa” meaning ”party, festivity, celebration”. Sexmästeri are responsible for organizing parties, sittnings, running the union pub(s), they are usually the ones behind organizing the kick-off activities. They are also easy to recognize during the activities since they wear various colorful overalls with patches on them. Read more about sexmästeri, and their traditions here.
What is Sittning?
In Swedish it is called sittning and thus we sometimes roughly translated it to siting, or a banquet. It is usually an evening dinner with 2-3 courses and drinks that has its own student twist to it. Dinner includes singing various student songs that are often a humorous version of a known Swedish song. Student unions usually have their own student song books dedicated for these types of events. Siting also has rules and a toast master who leads the evening. Siting can have a specific theme and a dress code. Most often it is a festive or black tie, it can be as well a bit more relaxed. If you are not sure ask the coordinators or organizers. We suggest you to try out a siting that will happen at your section during the welcoming days. It usually happens at the end of all the events is often called ”Final sittning” that has a student friendly price with a union member discount.
Other useful terms and concepts
Phadder – or fadder, is a ”father”… and has a very weird spelling for that matter, even to the Swedes. Phadder is an older student or a mentor that helps you through the kick-off, is taking care of you and your course-mates and eases your way in to the student life and your program. Phadders are a big part of kick-off since they usually know details about the welcoming events at the section and they are responsible over you during the kick-off period.
Grillning – is a term for, you guest it, grilling. Grilling has deep roots in Sweden and has a special place in the hearts of kick-off coordinators. Be sure to visit at least one and taste the hamburgare (hamburger), korv (sausage), or just grab a läsk (fizzy drink) . This year the coordinators really couldn’t sleep at nights because of the grilling ban in Sweden due to hot weather, and we really hope this will be over by the time of the kick-off start…
-kväll – kväll refers to evening, and if the activity has a end with –kväll in it will most likely be an evening activity starting at 17:00/18:00 or later. There can be various sorts of -kväll, pizzakväll for pizza, pubkväll for pub evening, spelkväll for game evening… well you get the idea
Caps (or Capsning) – a drinking game with the main objective to throw the cap (kapsyl) of the drink into the glass. The game is so popular among the students that there are championships (even world championships) organised for it. Some universities even developed their own rules for the game. If you see students sitting in a tight circle on the ground most likely you encountered the game in progress…
Kubb – there is no translation for it… it is called Kubb and we will just leave it at that. It is a traditional Swedish outdoors game played on the lawn, where the main objective is to knock over the wooden blocks with wooden throwing pins… sort of very square wooden bowling that is also very fun. Join the tournaments and try it out at least once… or otherwise you haven’t been to Sweden…
Brännboll – is a sort of Swedish baseball for amateurs and it can can have different rules depending on the city or region or country you play at… we are getting into the outdoorsy games area here…
Femkamp – refers to a pentathlon, but here in Sweden we apply the term loosely to anything that includes a competition involving 5 different tasks to complete. If during the kick-off you see the name femkamp or 5kamp, be ready to complete a pentathlon of tasks known only to the organizers
Terms used in student union
Studentkår – is a student union which works close to the university and faculties and is primarily taking care of the education quality, study environment and student welfare from the student perspective and do so via student representation at various university councils and meetings. Student unions are democratic organisations where each member of the union has a voice to bring up matters during student parliament meetings, be involved in union’s work. Even if you are not a member, if you have any idea or issue you want to talk about, do not hesitate to contact us. We know you might come from various countries and backgrounds, and maybe you were not as comfortable to speak about the problems you had with courses, your study environment or teachers, but here we students have a strong voice, and we encourage you to use yours. You can always ask about being involved in the student union and about its work. We are Göta studentkår and we are happy to inform you about the opportunities we have.
Studentförening – is a student association that is usually representing a certain interest which can vary from computer gaming, to sports, to choirs, to party associations (sexmästerier) we mentioned earlier. We at Göta studentkår have student associations you can choose from, or you can start your own. Contact us and we will give you information about how to create one. You can as well visit them and learn about their activities during the Götamässan (Göta fair) 2018 at Studenternas Hus (Students’ House). More information about it you can find on Götamässan page on this website.
Studentgrupp – is a student group that is mostly program specific. Student groups work as your closest contact and are mostly working with education quality, but can as well organise some program specific events and happenings. In case any issue occurs, whether you want to discuss your studies and your program, raise questions, suggest ideas contact them, and we will see what we can do together.
Medlem – a member