Andrea Del Carmen Tock from Guatemala
Why did you choose this programme?
“I began working in popular education projects in Guatemala while I was studying my Bachelor’s degree. This experience sparked an interest in antisexist and antiracist education and activism, as well as a desire to engage in critical theory. After finishing my Bachelor’s, I thought about studying a Master’s degree abroad. I was particularly drawn to Europe, as I considered it to be a place where people from all over the world go to study, which would give me the chance to learn about different experiences of activism. I decided to look for programmes in English where I could engage in critical thinking and experience different perspectives of social change. I knew that Sweden had a broad range of programmes and there were also scholarships that I could apply for. Finally, I made up my mind and decided to apply for the Master’s in Social Studies of Gender, not only because Lund University is the most international university in Scandinavia, but also because I found the interdisciplinary structure of the programme and the good balance between theory and methodology very appealing. I was granted a scholarship from the Swedish Institute, which allowed me to pursue the programme.”
What is the best thing about your programme?
“I like many things about my programme. It is a very diverse programme, not only because of the different nationalities of the students and teachers, but also because of the different academic backgrounds that materialised the interdisciplinary nature of the programme. Critical thinking is at the centre of the programme and the different perspectives, visions and knowledge of the students are brought together, creating a special ‘encuentro de saberes’ (‘meeting of knowledge’). This, combined with the Swedish system of collaborative learning and student cooperation, has been a very rewarding experience.”
How international is your programme?
“It is very international. I have had classmates from North, Central and South America, Western and Eastern Europe, and different regions of Africa and Asia.”
What is studying in Sweden like compared to studying in your home country or other countries you’ve studied in?
“Before coming to Sweden, I had done university studies in Guatemala and in the United States. I think my previous experiences were characterised by a more competitive style of learning, where the priority was more on getting great grades rather than building cooperation between students and producing knowledge. This particularly applied to the US, where I never had any group work or anything similar. In Sweden, it has been the opposite, however. There is a lot of group work, and the lectures are paired with seminars where students discuss with each other. Also, most of my papers are discussed with classmates and professors in supervision sessions before handing them in. All this creates a very good learning environment.”
What are you planning to do after you studies?
“I would like to pursue a career in academia because I really enjoy research and pedagogical work, but I keep my eyes open for other career paths as well – I have worked in development organisations, which is also really fulfilling. If possible, I would like to stay in Sweden for a couple of years now that I have begun to understand Swedish culture and gained a better understanding of the language. Afterwards, I would like to go back to Latin America and work somewhere closer to home.”