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European Week – a great experience for CIVICA students

With only a month left to the second CIVICA European Week taking place at Bocconi University in Milan, SSE student Rasmus Salén who took part in the previous European Week in Stockholm, is taking a look back and explaining to the attendees of this year what they can expect of the experience.

Along with digital hangouts, lectures, and other social activities one of the main tasks for the students was to solve a case given by different actors from the business world. The students were divided into ten groups of five and together with a tutor, they should present their solution for the specific company by the end of the week. Along with the students from the CIVICA universities, SSE had also invited a few high school students from Stockholm to the activities, to give them a preview of what university life might be like. Every group were joined by one of them while solving their cases. 

The first European Week was organized by SSE but was a digital event due to the pandemic. How did that work out? 

Rasmus: Meeting each other was awkward at first as it was entirely digital, sort of like a "Zoom University". But I was amazed how well it worked out despite that format. I thought it should be more challenging when various students with different backgrounds at different universities that did not know each other before should join forces. It was up to us to function as a group – and we did, people were spontaneous and really wanted it to work out. I thought it was exciting and I was surprised at how well it worked when we were solving the case in the smaller group of five. The project work with the case was very intense so we had time to get to know each other from an academic perspective, but also socially. During the breaks we discussed what we wanted to do after our studies and shared personal stories, as we spent long days together, we had time for that too. I had enough fun to be inspired by the group even if we didn’t meet in person, but when we do, we will have this shared experience in common. 

Tell us a little bit about your group’s case! 

Rasmus: Even though the theme of the week was "Financial Literacy", the that my group had to solve was from Nasdaq and very financial. I liked that, but I soon realised that I was the only one who had studied finance. That meant I had to coach the group a little at first, as I had more knowledge of the subject, until we all got to a level where we could solve the case together. As we presented, we felt like a united group and we had all learned a lot. I enjoyed the whole process and the role I had in it; it was a good challenge.

How did the high school student cope with such an advanced case? 

Rasmus: There was no one else did their best and worked as hard during the week, so there is no question whether he did his part. It was rewarding for the whole group to see the process he went through as he became more and more confident for every day, as he saw that he also had knowledge to add and was able to perform in a group of university students. It was definitely a great experience for him. 

What did you think about the setup with a tutor for each group? 

Rasmus: Our tutor knew impressively much about the theme of our case; it was an excellent match. That help brought us closer to a professional and challenging answer. The tutor could answer ALL our questions, no matter how qualified or stupid the questions might have been. It was great to have someone who could assure us that we were on the right track. 

What are the most important and valuable things you take with you from the European Week experience?

Rasmus: That would be how great it worked out despite the format, we were all ambitious students with a common goal who adapted to the situation, included everyone and it gave us a great outcome. We were from completely different backgrounds and had different English skills, but we achieved this together without having known each other before. That is impressing and inspiring! I have taken part in several activities CIVICA is offering and they have all been rewarding. As long as you have an interest in society, CIVICA is a fantastic way to get involved. There are so many fun opportunities!