Culture Shock


Studio Space at the End of the Semester.

Studio Space at the End of the Semester.

I asked my classmates the question: “What was your biggest culture shock coming to Lund or studying in the program?” The following were some of their responses, majority are about the program itself.

  • 75 minutes for lunch
  • The holy academy quarter [classes start 15 minutes past the hour – not on the hour]
  • lunch at 12
  • calling the teachers with their name
  • ONE laser cutter for 3 departments in SWEDEN
  • Having a 15 minutes tutorial and wondering for the rest of the semester what the teacher really wanted to say or imply
  • people saying Jaaa jaaa jahaaa and I seriously thought they had a problem thank god I didn’t ask “Are you ok?”       [[If you have never heard Swedish before people will say the words “ja”, “jaha”, “jaså”, “javisst”, “absolut”, “precis”, “exakt”, quite often….]]
  • Different lecturers almost every week!
  • In tutorials and presentations the crits were usually super nice so it was hard to know sometimes what one should improve/ what they really think about the project.
  • Very limited time to explain one’s project (which i think was good).
  • And of course people from all over the world in the same class 🙂
  • No grades – meaning there is no way to know your actual level.
  • Lack of critisism at tutorials ;(
  • The tiniest out-of-date architecture library that could exist! 😀 
  • Fikas all the time! 🙂

Clarification in regards to tutorials: This is something that I think pretty much everyone struggled with at one point or another. Many people in their home countries, at least in our class are used to having very straight forward critiques, or being told this and this and this is wrong. That is not exactly the Swedish way. That in itself is a cultural adjustment. However, if you really are struggling, they will pointedly help you out, but if you are going in the right direction, they are going to tell you to keep going – which is where some of the frustration has come into play.

Very limited time to explain your project: This is very true. For instance in my case, during our final review after having done a semester long project we would have a 45 minute critique time. It was up to us to divide the time between our presentation and how much time we wanted to leave for critique. Here, for presentations we have been given 5 or 7 minutes, I think the most we got was 10 minutes to present. Then there was maybe 10 or 15 minutes for discussion. It is very important to have a clear concept, project, and presentation.

No grades – In the SUDes program, our classes are Pass or Fail. It is never about you compared to other students it is you compared to yourself and your progress during the semester. If you want, you can do the bare minimum and probably get a pass. However, it is up to you to push yourself so that you get what you want out of the program. At the end of the day, it is you that will have taken advantage of the opportunity to learn and grow, or not to have taken advantage of the situation.

The architectural Library is small. I personally wouldn’t say out of date, they have always had what I needed, but that is what my friend said. However, I do believe they have inter-library loan, so you would be able to get a book, but it may take time to get it.

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