Vikings and cinnamon buns: Swedish guests bring culture and connection to IU Southeast

3rd December 2018

By Steven Krolak

(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)—IU Southeast recently played host to two visitors from Jönköping University (JU) in Sweden.

Dr. Linda Johansson, director of the Institute for Gerontology and Ms. Susanne Johannesson, director for international exchanges, shared insights about healthcare—and cinnamon buns—in Sweden.

The two were guests of Dr. Deborah Finkel, professor of psychology and a leading researcher in the field of gerontology.

Finkel spent last spring at the university, and worked closely with Johannson and also got to know Johannesson.

Their reciprocal visit was intended to explore potential avenues for collaboration between IU Southeast and JU in gerontology.

With its interdisciplinary mentality, expertise in education, nursing and the social sciences, as well as active clinical partnerships in the region’s dense healthcare matrix, IU Southeast would be in a good position to offer Swedish instructors and students an informative experience. The same can be said for JU, an institution with strong programs in international business, health and welfare, education, communication and engineering. With foreign students from 70 countries comprising nearly 20 percent of the student body, and instruction in English as well as Swedish, JU is committed to internationalizing its campus.

“As teachers, it’s important that we become more global minded,” Johansson said.

To this end, the two colleagues toured the Applied Research and Education Center (AREC), visited classes in psychology and interdisciplinary studies, and met faculty from education, communication studies, nursing and sociology. They also spent time gathering insights at healthcare facilities that partner with IU Southeast, including the Thrive Innovation Center and The Villas of Guerin Woods.

Among their many favorable impressions, Johansson and Johannesson cited AREC’s collaborations with community stakeholders, the use of technology to improve the lives of elders in their homes and the caring and intuitive approach to dementia patients at Guerin Woods as the most indelible and instructive.

At a meeting with an ad hoc committee of faculty, the two discussed student and faculty exchanges and other avenues for collaboration between two institutions who have so many similarities.

Along the way, they found time to join Horizon Radio’s International Power Hour and offer presentations on European Union international educational exchange programs, Viking heritage and the Swedish fondness for cinnamon buns.

For Finkel, the visit opened new doors to the world outside Kentuckiana, and to academic partnerships that can be mutually enriching.

“Our faculty, campus and location all support international collaboration,” Finkel said.

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