After my experience studying at Uppsala University I decided to write my History bachelor thesis on student societies from their medieval roots to modern day. The question I’m asking is whether there is a transnational connection between the different student societies and in what they are similar or differ.
Many traditional organisations have actual rituals of initiation, some more symbolic than others, that aim to welcome the new student into the university world, leaving behind childhood in seek for knowledge and experience.
The ‘Nation’ is one of the oldest student organisations that dates back to Medieval times and was a group of students who helped each other settle-in to the university city and provided a social club for people from the same territory. This form of association was present in Italy, France, Scotland and other European countries but has now only survived in the universities of Uppsala and Lund in Sweden and some Finnish universities.
Colleges came at a later date and were formed to provide accommodation for students who lived outside the university city and were often connected to monastic orders or to pre-existent fraternities. These can be found in the English universities of Oxford and Cambridge and other UK universities.
Goliardia, the oldest of the three organisations mentioned, started in Italy in medieval times from a group of ‘clerici vagantes’, students who travelled following the lecturer to different universities that for social or financial reasons did not have the right to follow university courses.