Sweden in Touch, is a new site for international students and was launched on the 1st of October. Its aim is to network all the international students in Sweden, of which there are approximately 28 000. It has been launched by the Swedish Institute. The first goal of the website is to reach 3 000 of the international students in Sweden.
I think it’s a great site – there’s already a whole bunch of people on it and a number of university networks.
I was at a breakfast seminar recently where I got to see Olle Wästberg give a presentation about Sweden as a brand. Olle Wästberg is the director of the Swedish Institute and previous Consulate General in New York. One of the things he talked about was the aim of the Swedish Institute to have an ‘omnipresence’ of Sweden on the web. This is clearly the case, when you look at the high quality of some of their other websites, for example, Study in Sweden.
A recent report from the Swedish Institute shows that the willingness of international students to pay fees depends on how well they know Sweden. According to the survey, 47% of the students – who had expressed in interest in Sweden - would still recommend Sweden as a study destination, even if there was a fee. The report was published in July 2008.
The study shows that the more students know about Sweden, the more actively they will seek out knowledge and the more disposed they are to paying a fee.
A couple of thoughts – firstly, the more barriers we place in that attempt to seek out knowledge the more likely they are not to choose Sweden – our website must help them quickly and efficiently. Also, if knowledge about Sweden contributes to students being more positive to studying here then existing exchange students, who have studied as undergraduates in Sweden, may well be positive to studying in Sweden again. It would be interesting to find out the current conversion of undergraduate exchange students to master students.