Living in two worlds

Immigrants in Sweden

How can you integrate students in high school with little knowledge in Swedish in projects outside the school? A solution to this dilemma was the cooperation with Kalmar läns museum starting in September 2013.

Our students at Lars Kagg High School in Kalmar, taking part in this project, have newly arrived in Sweden from all parts of the world and need active learning by doing. When staff from the museum introduced us to the project ”Living in Two Worlds” we decided to participate.

We quite soon agreed on making a Time Travel to as far back in time as the Stone Age. In order to prepare the students in the best way we visited the museum. We saw Stone Age objects and tried Stone Age clothes. From this visit we brought back lots of words
and sentences which we studied at school.

On a sunny day in September one of our classes, at the more advanced level of Swedish, took part in a Time Travel together with staff from the museum and participants from other heritage organizations from various countries. The event took place in Tingby in the outskirts of Kalmar, in where a small Stone Age house is reconstructed. Everyone wore a Stone Age outfit and learnt how to make tools, cook, use instruments and sing. It was lovely to watch their techniques and hear the others cheering at their skills.

Though we were mixed with grown-ups from different countries, we all played our new alter egos, in a skilled and serious manner. We represented two tribes who had never met and were challenged with question as: ”Can we trust these newcomers? Do we have we enough food for them? Are their traditions, clothes and songs good enough? Shall we let them stay?” Without realizing our students reflected and talked about their own situation as newcomers to Sweden today and we heard so much wisdom and profound thoughts and reflections this day!

A few weeks later all of our immigrant students at Lars Kagg school were invited to a similar Time Travel open to the public. Here the first class introduced the others and though speaking very little Swedish they all were active in communicating by doing. It was fascinating to watch the shyest student take part in a most self-conscious way thanks to his/her new Stone Age character, and also to watch all the happy faces. Everyone, from student to grown-ups, really liked this!

Back at school we had many interesting discussions and everyone tried to write in Swedish about their new experiences. All of us learnt how many similarities there are between people in different time periods and from different areas of the world.

Lotta Eberhardsson, Swedish for Immigrants (SFI), Lars Kaggskolan, Kalmar

About the project: Living in two worlds.

A hot topic in most countries in the western world today is migration. People are moving to new environments, countries and continents. This affects both communities and individuals. How can we understand the current migration in the light of historic migration periods? How can young refugees and Swedish students gain an understanding of each other’s life situations and experiences?

Kalmar County Museum has in recent years worked in several integration projects in conjunction with the Swedish Arts Council, the Regional Council and SFI (Swedish For Immigrants). The museum wants to deepen its work and find ways to reach and support the refugees and immigrants coming to our county. This project is made together with cultural organizations in Ostrobotnia, Finland, and funded by the European Union, Leader Kalmar - Öland

Promoters: Linda Liljeberg and Tina Lindström Kalmar County Museum, Sweden