International students' blog – LTH

Engineering, Architecture and Industrial Design students write about life at the Faculty of Engineering LTH

Academic quarter

On my very first day at Lund university, I had a lecture at 10:00 am. I woke up early in the morning and had breakfast checking a lecture room. I arrived to school at 9:45 and no one was in the lecture room at the moment. I sat in the middle of the empty hall after waiting for 10 minutes, some students came in. Nevertheless I was afraid of being in a wrong place or having confusion on my schedule. I re-checked the schedule of the course and it was definitely right place at right time. I’ve decided to stay more in the half empty room. Finally a teacher showed up at 10:05 and started connecting his computer to the screen with any rush. The lecture had begun only at quarter past ten and he did not mention any sorry words. In addition, it happened again at the second class. I was extremely disappointed at him and Lund university. I was complaining to my classmates and they started laughing at me and got me to know reasons behind it.

Clock of Lund cathedral (Wikipedia)

The following definition of the academic quarter is given in Svensk Uppslagsbok, Vol A – Apostat, 1947: ‘the 1/4 of an hour that passes after the appointed hour before lectures and the like start at Swedish universities, as a matter of tradition.’

Being fifteen minutes late was tradition! This tradition goes back to long long time ago when students did not have their own watches. It was of which church bell was a general method of time keeping  At that time nearly all students of Lund university lived adjacent cathedral. When the bell rings every hour, students and teachers leave houses and still have 15 minutes to make it to the lecture. Hence a  lecture would start at 10:15 even if it is stated with start time of 10:00.

I hope my story helps you to be “on time” to classes in Sweden!

17 October, 2018

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