Summer holiday on campus

What happens when you are so absorbed in an activity that you forget everything else? So-called "flow" was one of the topics discussed at the Oslo summer school in comparative social science studies.

Summer school students and coordinator Tron Harald Torneby

Yerin Shim (from left), Sara Ascenso, Hannah Klaas, and Tim Theebom were students at the summer school of 2014. In the front, co-ordinator Tron Harald Torneby. Photo: Silje Pileberg, University of Oslo

While others are sweating on the beach, around 20 PhD students sit in a classroom in the university’s library building, with water bottles on their desks. They are here to learn about positive psychology, and the lecturer is the renowned professor Antonella Delle Fave.

Forgetting everything else

- Flow has two core antecedents: The perception of high challenge in an activity, and the perception of personal skills adequate to this experience, explains Delle Fave.

- It happens naturally, both among children and adults. We often like an activity because it provides us with flow. And if we enjoy an activity, we will search for increased complex activities. This is why we grow.

The students in the classroom are engaged, and quite often the lecture develops into discussions. With 20 PhD scholars in the same room, the level of expertise is high.

Productive holiday

- It feels like a really productive holiday, says Tim Theebom from the Netherlands.

- The atmosphere is relaxed, but still at the end of the day I feel that I learned a lot. I get a multidisciplinary insight, it gives depth and an opportunity to look at things from a new perspective.

Co-student Hannah Klaas from Germany, doing her PhD in Switzerland, agrees.

- Antonella Delle Fave has a good overview and a lot of knowledge. It is not easy having a course for such a diverse group, but she does it very well.

Broad range of topics

The summer school students could engage in a whole range of topics. This summer nine different courses were taught, covering different fields: democracy, migration, integration, authoritarian regime, and the welfare state. Also methodogical courses were offered.

Coordinator Tron Harald Torneby says that the students generally are very happy about their summer school experience.

- I've been reading evaluation papers for fifteen years, and almost everyone answers "good" or "very good" on all questions. My impression is that the same will happen this year, Torneby says.

In total around 220 students participated at the summer school of 2014.


By Silje Pileberg
Published Aug. 14, 2014 10:19 AM - Last modified Aug. 14, 2014 10:19 AM