I have been in Sweden for officially 17 days now, but to be completely honest it feels like it’s been months! Time definitely passes so much faster here. I don’t know if it’s because Chicago is 7 hours behind or because the sun sets at 3 p.m., but everything is passing by so quickly!
We have finally had our first full week of classes and I’m loving every single course so far! This semester, I am taking Positive Psychology, Swedish Language and Culture I, Psychology of Loneliness, Developing the Brain: Infant to Adolescence, and Psychology of Emerging Adulthood (changed from the Vikings). Each class is 80 minutes long and some classes are double periods that only meet once a week. The interesting about DIS is that for our assignments we read A LOT. However, it’s also because our classes are very much discussion based! Dis holds classes on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. On Wednesdays, we have something called a Field Study.
Field Studies are in a way like field trips. There isn’t one every week depending on when the professor schedules them (YAY DAY OFF). Although, the days there is one is the opportunity for the class to get hands on experience on the course material. Professors also schedule field studies in the morning or afternoon, so there are days where you may have two!
Last Wednesday, my Developing the Brain class went to the Center of Neurodevelopmental Disorders at the Karolinska Institutet (KIND). Due to the fact that KIND was a clinic and research facility where they work with children with developmental disorders, my class got the opportunity to look at some behavioral methods to test such disorders. The amazing thing about KIND was how separated the clinic and research facility was. Since it was an area for children and families, the clinic was extremely cozy with sofas, stuffed animals, books, and bright colors. There was even a family room where families could feed their children or have meals and relax (something you don’t really see in the U.S.)
At KIND, we got the chance to test the EEG and the eye tracking set up! We also discussed how we have to manipulate testing when testing babies and children since their attention span is shorter, they can’t verbally express their thoughts, they cannot walk yet, and much more.
We also took thee bus down to the MR Center at the Karolinska hospital. Here we got the chance to learn about brain imaging and structure by getting MRIs done. It was honestly such a fun experience to be in an MRI. We were given earplugs and headphones with music from the radio since the MRI machine is extremely loud. The machine was also very claustrophobic. However, since it was pretty comfortable I ended up taking a nap in the 5 minutes I was there! Also, good news, I HAVE A WHOLE BRAIN (side story: my professor told us that at Karolinska someone had gotten their brain scanned and found out they only had half a brain?!? Yet, their brain was able to rewire itself and they were completely normal functioning!).
I think the great thing about Field Studies is that it really accommodates to students with different learning styles. Some students learn better through lecture, others are visual learners, and others need hands on experience to retain information better! This field study honestly helped to remind me how much I love learning about the brain and I’m extremely excited to go on more field studies!
Thank you for reading! See you guys next post! 🙂