Something that must be on a prospective student’s mind is – what is it really like to study in Sweden? At least, it was on my mind before I moved abroad. It was about two years ago that I received my acceptance letter to Lund. So this seems to be the right time to write a post like this.
I am sure some student’s have trepidation about the experience of moving abroad to a country where they maybe don’t speak the language or do not understand the culture. I have to say; moving to Sweden was a very smooth and easy experience. Lund University really looks after their international student’s every step of the way. One of the hardest things a new student may face is finding accommodation, due to Lund’s demand. However, most people manage to find something if you look in advance (don’t leave it to the last month!).
Lund is a small, bike friendly, student city. It is quite safe and people are generally very welcoming. Not speaking Swedish is not a problem as almost everyone speaks English. I have always found the other Swedish students to be very friendly and always open for a chat or to offer some help.
The school life was something I did have to get used to as it was different to the way my previous university worked. School hours are considered to be between 9:00-17:00, Monday to Friday. This does not mean you will have class every day but more that you could have class during these periods. School and group work should also be done in this time frame. I was surprised by the fact that Swede’s rarely worked after hours. Weekend work was not something that was necessary if you were productive with your time during the week. This schedule however, limited one’s ability to have a job between Monday to Friday. Classes and schedules could change last minute as it was understood that people would be available for school during the week. Many Swedes did not have jobs so this system worked for the majority of students. This is quite different to what I am used to as I always had a part-time job while at university.
Despite this, I found the school to be quite flexible with deadlines. If you needed more time for a project, generally you could speak to your teacher and ask for it. I can’t say this is true for all courses, just my experience in Architecture. I am sure there is less flexibility for exams. Although Lund does have resit exams if you fail! I also found it interesting that the topics you picked for your projects were quite flexible. In architecture, your briefs were largely open to interpretation and what you produced was often up to you to decide. In my past experiences at school I would receive strict briefs and guidelines on what work must be submitted and when.
Something else that I found interesting is that teachers were really open to your feedback. If something seemed to not be working in the course, you could discuss it with your teacher. It was nice to feel like you had a say in the direction of your education. I think some people really thrive in this environment, while others may find it hard to manage their time and structure their work. With all that being said, everyone has a different experience of studying in Lund. It really depends on what you are used to and in the end your education is what you make it.
- Margaret Metchev