By chance, she ended up in Valparaiso in Chile in 2003. Since 2005, Charlotta Copcutt has been living there on a permanent basis while being involved in various projects. After prioritising work for many years, she decided to take a course in Spanish. Why she should choose Dalarna University resulted mainly from what she had heard about it.
"Lots of people I know who have studied their recommended it, such as my brother and a Swedish girl I've met here," explains Charlotta, who sees few obstacles with studying from another continent.
"It works really well if I compare it with other courses I've taken by distance. The entry level is quite high, and it's better for someone who's living in a Spanish-speaking country."
Time for instruction
Charlotta describes an environment with active teachers who answer her questions readily. As well, there is always a lot of activity going on. You can't afford to lag behind. The six-hour time difference is a bit tricky, but you can choose from three different class times. Charlotta normally chooses the evening class - Swedish time. Should she miss anything from the lectures, she can watch recordings as a way to complement texts and these she can watch as often as she likes. As for the technology, that works really well.
"There's always one student who has a lower-quality connection. With a bit of patience, however, things normally work out," says Charlotta.
Increased participation by distance
The difference between traditional education is hard for Charlotta to determine since she doesn't have much prior experience with university studies.
"If I were to compare, I would say that lectures were more inspiring, but at the same time, you're more involved as a student when the course is by distance - partly vocally during the seminar and partly through writing in the forum," she states.
Despite somewhat missing teacher-led courses, she feels that her contact with teachers is just as good as it was with traditional courses. You can quickly make contact with your teacher.
Will take the advanced course
Currently, Charlotta is studying part-time. The rest of her time she divides between various projects such as working at a centre with Nordic literature for children where poor families can come to borrow books that have been translated into Spanish. The flexibility of the course means she can study in the morning and work in the afternoon and evening. She's soon to have a baby but hopes nonetheless to continue her studies by taking an advanced course.
"It didn't work out the last time I took a distance course, but this course is more disciplined and concrete, so I hope that it does," she says.