University of the Week – Lund University, Sweden


We spoke to Exeter Business School students about their experience at Lund University. Here’s what they had to tell us…

Getting There & Transport

“Travelling to Lund is extremely easy. The best way to get there is to fly from London to Copenhagen. Once you arrive at Copenhagen airport make your way to the train tracks and take a direct train to Lund (30-45 mins). The Central Station in Lund is in fact very central and only a short walk from the AF building, where all the registration takes place on the first day, and also from any halls so it is very convenient for travel. I must say travelling from Lund to London was some of the easiest travelling I have done. As far as travelling goes once you are in Lund you can pretty much walk anywhere; however I highly recommend you BUY A BIKE!! Everyone cycles everywhere in Lund and there are many occasions where you will need one.” – Gustav N.

“The buses and trains are of a standard I have yet experienced elsewhere; always on time, clean, and with a very helpful on board destination scroll, it proves a welcome novelty when first used. Even if you are not planning on using the public system intensively, it is worth buying a student discount card, as this makes domestic travel (to Stockholm, for instance) far cheaper. Many bikes’ prices are hiked during the 2-week period where international students have arrived (the Swedes are canny operators). Once you have found one you like at a reasonable price (I would say around 1000-2000 SEK condition dependant), get a lock. As everyone has a bike in Lund, if yours breaks then individuals are on the lookout to replace it, and non-locked bikes are generally considered ‘fair game’, as I found to my expense. If you want to travel around Sweden, booking early makes everything a lot cheaper. Although you have to be fairly specific (if you miss the train you booked, you won’t be able to be use it on a later one). If you can plan ahead it is economically worth it.” – Andrew T.

“Wait till you find a bike which will survive a Swedish winter. You’ll want something comfy, with wide tyres for the winter snow. You’ll also need lights so see if you can get these included in the price. I was fleeced for my first bike which eventually died one cold night. I suggest looking at www.blocket.se which hosts adverts for local sellers. A good second hand bike from here should cost no more than £100. Money worth spending if you live a long way away from the action.” – Daniel H.

Arrival at the University

“Upon arrival you will have to make your way to the AF building to register to collect your accommodation keys. Grab hold of a ‘welcome team’ member (like at Exeter, they were parading in bright red polo shirts with ‘welcome team’ printed on the back, so easy to spot), or simply follow everyone else with large suitcases and wearing a slightly nervous gait. If you get lost, then at least it will be together and you will have a talking point with strangers and something to laugh at when you are old and grey. The process is a good way to practice your socialising skills, as it involves a lot of waiting in line, often a complicated seating system, and plenty of nervous chat. You will be expected to answer the same question over to different individuals, but be patient.” – Andrew T.

“The easiest way to find the AF building is to follow an experienced student or simply walk away from the station, through the main shopping district and towards the cathedral. This walk should only take about 5 minutes. It is a brown castle-like structure located beside the cathedral and opposite the impressive white ‘main university building’ (Sandgaten ‘road’). Once there you will need to wait in line, register, wait in line, receive your room keys, wait in line, collect your Swedish language text books and then you can go! Once back outside, Lund student mentors will provide you with lifts to your respective accommodation.” – Daniel H.

Accommodation

“Accommodation is normally found through the IHO (International Housing Office). You will find it is only open a few hours every day, so if you have issues with them you will have to check opening times. Once you do manage to see them though, they are very helpful and nice. In the 1st semester I lived in ‘Greenhouse’ (don’t), and in the second semester Vildanden (do). Vildanden was much closer to town and the luxury of a supermarket across the road (with a second, slightly better quality within walking distance). It was pleasant, and with en suite.” – Andrew T.

“I lived in South Spoletorp , which is literally a 2-minute walk to Central Station and ICA (a large grocery store). Spoletorp South is en-suite, clean and renovated. If you want to live with Swedish people then you should apply to live here. If you want to be with other Erasmus students and are particularly social then you should apply for Spoletorp North, more known for its crazy parties and having open doors everywhere. Keep in mind though it does not have en-suite and there are no fridges or microwaves in the rooms. I believe they put most Erasmus students in Spoletorp or Sparta, and Sparta is very far away from the Central Station, so I wouldn’t recommend it.” – Gustav N.

“Unlike Exeter, the halls are spread throughout the city so you may find yourself a long way from where you lectures are held. Again don’t panic, this is what buses and bikes were invented for. I was slightly unlucky in my accommodation allocation. I was placed in Greenhouse. It was a beautifully maintained building with soft beds, good internet access, Ikea furnishings and a extensive kitchen and living area. Unfortunately it is on the outskirts of town, which meant a bike was a necessity and friends rarely had the strength to visit. Parties are also rare in Greenhouse as so few students are even aware of its existence. Most accommodation including Greenhouse is separated into Swedish and International so don’t be surprised to find not a single Swedish student in your building. If you are placed here I suggest you make good use of the buses which leave from outside the Linero ICA supermarket – these will take you everywhere you need to go including the town centre and university.

Other accommodation may not require a bike so urgently – in the second semester I moved to Spoletorp which is placed in the centre of town and only a 10 minute stroll to lectures. Students will pay for proximity not just facilities, however you will have little choice in where you stay to begin with. Simply expect to pay less then you currently do in Exeter.” – Daniel H.

Lectures

“Lectures in Lund are impressive; most have relatively small class sizes (around 50 students). The year is split into 2 Semesters, with each semester split into two ‘demi-semesters’ which tend to be fairly intensive. Most courses will have around 8-10 hours of lectures a week with additional reading, although they have the advantage of being over in 6 (or 12) weeks. Exams are normally taken at the end of each course (after a short period off for revision) and are a refreshingly relaxed affair. A minor picnic is standard – some people bring full baskets of fruit and drink to an exam!

Scandinavian Area Studies (SAS courses) are courses designed specifically for international students; all lectures are in English, and there seems to be a relaxed feel as there is less emphasis on exams and more on gaining a ‘general subject knowledge’. Swedish Social Policy if you are planning to take ESP is well worth a look. It will be up to you if and how many of these courses you wish to take, perhaps proportional to have much work you are prepared to do. Courses in the Economics department are very well run, and you will find the lecturers very approachable if there are any problems.” – Andrew T.

“The lectures are intuitive and engaging with some offering excursions to castles, neighbouring cities and Copenhagen (all free).” – Michael A.

“The university is well organised and you will have few problems selecting courses or tracking down timetables. Not all modules will have a written examination; many will assess you on essays alone. The short time frames make the modules considerably easier to pass than in Exeter, mainly due to the sheer reduction in revision required to adequately answer exam questions. You may choose any module you like (providing it is taught in English), this gives Erasmus students a large selection to choose from. Do not be afraid to take on advanced courses (D). I found Advanced Development Economics extremely interesting and received one of my best grades from this course without any previous development knowledge.

Exams are listed as lasting five hours for most subjects, don’t panic this is only the maximum time limit. Most students finish exams after 3 hours or less. This gives a much more relaxed feel to exams as running out of time is not an issue.” – Daniel H.

“If you want to take Swedish at the University you are required to do a two week course at the beginning of the year which is very easy and a good way to meet new people in the first couple of weeks.” – Gustav N.

Social Life

“Your first fortnight will be spent making friends and getting to know your surroundings. In your first week you will be offered the chance to attend the Erasmus welcome party – if you do, make sure you enjoy a pre-drink first to avoid early bankruptcy. Many students will be assigned mentors, this sounds a little needy but in fact the mentors are a great source of local knowledge and again a great way of meeting fellow students. I suggest you use this scheme, at least in the early stages.

Nightlife in Lund is certainly not what the town will be remembered for. Lund is an academic town and resembles Cambridge in such respects. Therefore don’t expect large nightclubs and international DJs to be making appearances. Nightlife in Sweden is simple, you spend a lot of money in a bar or go to a student nation. Nations were designed to give Swedish students a sense of comradeship among students from similar areas in the country. Students are free to join whichever nation they wish, and they act as cafés, social clubs, meeting venues, ball rooms and of course night clubs. You’ll need to join a nation when you arrive in order to receive your student card. Then you’ll be able to attend any nation in town for a small cover charge (there are 14 nations in Lund). The nations are not open every night so you’ll need to shop around to see what’s open on which week nights.

The nations vary greatly – some are small and have a pub atmosphere whilst others are large and feel more like Mambo on a Friday night. Beers are considerably cheaper than other venues costing around £1.50 a bottle, making the nations the first stop when going out in Lund. Guest passes are also available if friends come to visit you. Cities such as Malmo and Copenhagen offer more varied clubs and gigs, however transport and door charges often make these trips expensive to do regularly. Make sure you get down to the free Malmo music festival in your first few weeks in Lund.

Lund University doesn’t offer the same sort of student activities as you can expect here in Exeter. The nations will organise sports teams particularly in Football and Volleyball however these sessions may well be taken in Swedish so it’s worth checking. During my year I joined the Lugi rugby team (athletic union). They offer a wide range of sports -see what’s on offer at http://www.lugi.se/. If you decide to join the rugby club you will be joining an international team, coached in English (well Scottish) with one of the best team atmospheres I’ve ever experienced. I can’t recommend this team enough, it was simply the best part of my year in Sweden by a long way. If you’re looking for a more individual approach to leisure then Lund also offers a great swimming pool, two cinemas, a pool hall (Bredgaten) and a small bowling alley. If you need more simply hop on a train to Malmo which has all the facilities associated with any large city.” – Daniel H.

“As with all evening activities, it is not where you go but whom you are with; as this is likely to be a mixture of European nationalities roughly the same age and with the same interests as you, you will all bring something to the table. One experience not to be missed is a Swedish ‘sittning’; this involves a 3-course meal interspersed by schnapps and singing, followed by dancing and probably some more singing. The evening will end with singing. A great way not only to meet Swedes but to get a free sittning is to work in one of the nation kitchens, as each Friday a ‘thank you sittning’ is provided for all those who have worked at the nation during the previous week. A less formal affair, but paralleled singing.” – Andrew T.

Weather

“Let’s face it, if you’re thinking about going to Sweden then you can’t be expecting too much in terms of weather. However you will be surprised, Sweden has two seasons: Summer and Winter. Unfortunately winter lasts a lot longer than summer. When you arrive take shorts and t-shirts, you will need them! The Swedish summer is wonderful and can get quite hot when it wants to. Soon though, around October winter will set in and not budge for 6-7months. Temperatures will drop to below zero in the depths of winter and a good coat and gloves will be essential. As if to over compensate, all Swedish buildings are super heated so once rapped up tight and warm you’ll only need to stroll into a shop before you’re on your back gasping for air. Snow will be a factor, but in the south where you’ll be, rain is much more frequent. I bought myself some cheap waterproof trousers and a coat from England to save money. There is nothing worse than riding to lectures in the cold and wet then being forced to sit in wet trousers for two hours, be prepared! You’ll also be much further north than here in England; this means that it will get darker sooner. If like me you enjoy a mid-day lie in then you may not see much daylight. In the middle of winter it will get dark at 3pm. Don’t let it put you off though! The Swedes are like us Brits, they love complaining about the weather. An endless source of conversation is arguing over whose is worse!

When summer arrives be prepared for some partying. Like a hibernating hedgehog, the population emerges into the parks and cafés to begin drinking and celebrating. Smiles cover the faces of locals and Lund looks stunning. Make sure you use your last few weeks to hit the beaches in the south and generally be outside.” – Daniel H.

Top Tips

  • Supermarket Netto is incredibly cheap in a country where food is otherwise very expensive.
  • Apply for accommodation early!
  • ‘Tiger’ is a good place to go for cheap stuff for bikes or anything else you might need.
  • Buy spirits in UK duty free on your way over to save cash at early parties.
  • 90% of Swedes speak English, making it easy to ask for help and advice. It does help to be organised and check your Exeter emails frequently for the few important things that need to be done.
  • Use Blocket.se and the flea market on Sondravagen (Sat mornings) if you need second-hand goods e.g. Bikes, clothes, Abba LPs.
  • If you want to travel, do so in groups. It’s a lot cheaper. Renting a car is a great way to see the country.
  • Ask local students about the DC++ Lund network for all your film and music needs.
  • Buy a Swedish simcard to make calls home or get a Skype account.
  • Volunteer to work at several nations not just your own. When you feel confident become a förman of Helsingkrona nation, this will look fantastic on your CV because you manage people either in a bar, kitchen or nightclub for just 3 times but over a period of several months.
  • They’re quite flexible about when you take you module credits, so try and pick the modules that run in late autumn and winter. This way you can be free to enjoy the sunshine when it comes back.
  • If you use the buses and trains frequently buy a travel card from Skanetrafiken (at the railway station)

Last thoughts…

“The year will be what you make it. It is easy to sit back and simply ‘participate’ for the year, as Lund is a quiet place with apparently not much happening and before you know it the year will be over. But if you dig around and get involved in as many activities as possible, the year will be one you will not forget in a hurry.” – Andrew T.

“Lund is an amazing city to live in because it is a proper student town and has a real good feel to it. I had an amazing time while I was there and got to do a lot of travelling as well. Copenhagen is only a short train ride away and is an incredible city to go visit. Also if you’re worried about not being able to speak Swedish that well don’t worry, you would be hard pushed to find a Swede who didn’t speak English, so the language issue is not really a problem at all. I hope if you go you have an amazing time, I sure did, and would be more than willing to go back!” – Gustav N.

“So you’re thinking about going to Sweden? Do it! I found it to be not only a beautiful country in terms of cities and landscape but also in terms of the people you’ll meet there. Sweden is stacked in a rich history to rival that of England or any other European country. At the same time Sweden is a modern liberal thinking country which will surprise you every day with its innovative approach to problems which even here in the UK we fail to tackle. I can think of no better place to advance your studies particularly if you, like me, study Economics for which Sweden is an amazing living example of social democratic government intervention in action. Good luck if you do decide to go!” – Daniel H.

 

For more information on Lund or other partner institutions, contact us at Business-School-International@exeter.ac.uk. 

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