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22 January, 2011

Bethlehem students participate in Linnaeus - Palme Academic Exchange Program

Sharing language and experience Between Bethlehem University and Lund University

Written by Dr. Qustandi Shomali - Bethlehem University Professor of Arabic

Linnaeus exchangeRight: Samar first on the right and Nadine in the middle with
their Swedish friends.

Two students from the Arabic Department at Bethlehem University, Aya Johar and Maram left this week to Lund University for one semester through a Linnaeus-Palme exchange program. During the Fall 2010 semester Dr. Ibrahim Abu Hashash, chairperson of the Arabic Department, spent three weeks at the Arabic Studies Department at Lund University teaching Swedish students Arabic language and literature.

The aim of the exchange was to provide students with valuable academic education and international experience, as well as an understanding of a different culture. It aims also at promoting long-term cooperation based on mutual benefit between Lund University and Bethlehem University. The Program was established in May 2000 and it is financed by SIDA, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and administered by the International Program Office for Education and Training in Sweden.

Linnaeus exchangeRight: Dr. Shomali with the two Swedish students, Paulina Göth and Vibeke Larsson.

Paulina Göth and Vibeke Larsson two Swedish students have studied enough Arabic that they can follow the ordinary teaching at Bethlehem University during the 2010 fall semester.  They took courses in grammar, art of writing and translation and enriched the classes with their presence, questions and background.

Vibeke Larson and Paulina Göth share a flat close to the university in the city centre and near Bethlehem International Center where they were able sometimes to meet other young Westerners. They say with a smile: “We are met in Bethlehem with great respect. It is very easy to move around freely in Bethlehem. Plus, it is such a beautiful city with exciting historical sites that are well preserved… There are often concerts and film showings and we sing in a choir.”

In Spring 2010 Samar Shqeirat and Nadine Qaimari from the English Department at Bethlehem University spent one semester at Lund University. Samar is describing her amazing experience at Lund University as follows:

Linnaeus exchange“It all started in the translation class when Prof. Qustandi Shomali introduced us to Sam and Jenny – two Swedish students who came to spend a semester at BU. During that particular lecture, Prof. Qustandi talked about a possibility of sending two students to study the next semester at Lund University and that was all what I needed to start planning, working and preparing for what I’m proud to call, MY LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE!

Due to this experience I gained a great deal of confidence, learned a lot about myself, made life-long friendships, made wonderful memories that will last, practiced different teaching/learning-styles, learned how to interact with different people, obtained a tremendous amount of insight about the Swedish culture, learned some Swedish, practiced my English with both native and non-native speakers. In few words my time at Lund University was an experience that’ll always treasure.”

-- Dr. Qustandi Shomali
Linnaeus exchange

Linnaeus-Palme: An Academic Exchange Program Dedicated to Bringing Swedish and Palestinian Students and Teachers Together

Linnaeus-Palme is an exchange program for teachers and students at undergraduate and master’s level in higher education. The program aims at strengthening co-operation in the long-term between Universities in a developing country and Sweden. It is the co-operation between University departments that provides the fundamental basis for exchange within the Exchange program Linnaeus-Palme. The respective co-operating departments determine the selection of students and courses. The department of the Swedish institution prepares the project application. In order for students to be eligible for the Linnaeus-Palme grant his/her University has to have a project together with a Swedish University. Then the student applies to the University to participate in the program.  Professor Henry Diab is the project manager and Professor Qustandi Shomali is Bethlehem University liaison for the program.


Bethlehem University Foundation
Phone: +1-240-241-4381
Fax: +1-240-553-7691
Beltsville, MD USA
Bethlehem University in the Holy Land
Phone: +972-2-274-1241
Fax: +972-2-274-4440
Bethlehem, Palestine