Today (Wednesday 11th) has been an extremely stressful day.
Disclaimer: These are my own opinions and experiences. They may not be typical of those interacting with SFE and / or Linköpings Universitet. I am writing this entry to show that it is not all plain sailing at the moment, which is an important side to this and any other exchange program. When and if problems are resolved, I will update this post accordingly.
Here are the main sources of my stress:
Student Finance England
I’m not sure why, but SFE have been completely unhelpful with helping me sort out my maintenance loan. Their website does not seem to be set out in any logical fashion, and their call center staff don’t know enough about the system to counter this lack of information.
My application has taken so long (and is yet to be finished) that I am seriously worried that I will not get the funding I need at the appropriate date.
The main problem seems to be this: not enough English students go on exchanges for the system to be good at dealing with exchange students. I’ve tried to work out what documentation (if any) I needed to send as evidence, since the website seems to think I need evidence, yet one person I spoke to on the phone seemed to think I didn’t need any…
I have therefore had to ask for extra documents from my home university, and basically guess at the type of documents required to prove that I am (a) Abroad, (b) on the Erasmus program, (c) registered with my home university and (d) registered here at Linköping.
I sent off a copy of the documents with my declaration, after being told by one of their call center staff that that “should” be enough to prove that I am doing what I say I am doing.
I await confirmation/denial of my application with interest!
UPDATE: Fixed! I don’t know who do what, but It’s all better now. (12/09/13)
I really don’t like to say that Linköping University has let me down here… but Linköping University has let me down here.
Yesterday was my first computer lab for my Aircraft and Vehicle Design course. We have to produce a MatLab model of the ICAO International Standard Atmosphere. In fairness, this should be a relatively straight-forward exercise, and it really isn’t the assignment that I have the problem with…
It’s that in order for me to complete the lab assignments, I need to be able to do two things:
1) Enter the room in which the lab is being held.
2) Enter other computer rooms to work on the task in my own time.
The way that students are allowed access to these rooms is by swiping their LiU-card. You are allowed in a limited number of computer rooms – so that you don’t get lots of people going to one room, I suppose – and the rooms you are allowed in are allocated according to faculty and course.
Now, I am registered on the courses that I am taking. I know this because I got scared that I wasn’t registered for my Beginners Level Swedish written exam, and thus registered for as many things as I needed to all at the same time. That, and I made sure to check before writing this post!
In spite of my apparent level of preparedness, my LiU-card does not work.
Having been to the student office to try and sort it out, I was told that my card was in fact working, and that I was only allowed to use Valhall and Bifrost computer rooms. The fact that my lab was timetabled in Alfheim required my lecturer to activate my card for that particular room.
I duly went to try my card at Valhall and Bifrost. It did not work their either.
The solution to this problem? Email email@example.com and they’ll get back to you.
I’d like to point out that it makes it extra annoying when the solution to your lack of access to computers requires access to a computer (Libraries on campus do have computers available, but they run internet explorer and a few basic programs… not MatLab or anything useful)
I haven’t got any lectures tomorrow… I was hoping I could progress with my lab assignment. Let’s hope that the email I sent will fix the problem.
This is not the first situation like this that I’ve been in whilst here in Linköping. It’s so frustrating that the solution to almost every problem is via email! Though I think Southampton has similar issues with resolving student problems, at least the people at the student office can point you to an actual person to help you with the problem!
By using email to resolve the issues, students are left feeling helpless. What makes it worse is that I am actively trying to make the most of the facilities here at Linköping – which are excellent – to try and further my education and the system has conspired so that I am forbidden from doing so!