“So, why go to Sweden?” was the hot question I was asked from everyone I knew for the period between acceptance and my flight. To be honest, I had no idea why… I think it was the combination of snow and culture shock that I was after and that did not fail. I am currently studying at Lund, which is south-west Sweden. It is a 10 minute train ride from Malmö and 30 minute trip to Copenhagen, making it extremely easy for me to travel anywhere in Europe as you’ll see should you read on.
Lund is an extremely old town, with rich medieval history from the 20th century. The old buildings and cobble streets have been transformed into a university and it goes without saying Lund is a town within and university. I arrived after previously visiting Dubai, England and Denmark into -5 degree and my fondest memory was the halting of my first lecture to go outside and play in the first large snowstorm of the season. The weather has gradually become a lot nicer since then,proved by the fact me and a group of Aussies tan outside our rooms if its hits 13 degrees! Classes at Lund are also a lot different to UTS. The timetable is essentially broken into half so you do two subjects at a time. There are no set lecture – structured timetables (for eg. I might have 2 classes one week, 4 the next and then no classes for a month) making it extremely easy to travel. Classes are also extremely relaxed, and if you were to fail final exams there are retakes (hopefully will not be needed!). The party life in Lund is also insane. There are a number of ‘nations’ you can join, which you essentially treat as like a “party family”. These nations have a wide range of weekly activities, which is the best chance to meet both Swedish people and others on exchange from all around the world.
One of the reasons why I chose Sweden was how central the country was to travel everywhere. To date, I have been to Dubai, England, Denmark, Norway, Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Estonia, Finland, Belgium and Germany. I am currently writing this blog in Malmö airport, waiting for my flight that will take me to Serbia where I am going on a two week road trip around the Balkan countries. Hard to think that this is only the start of my travels!
So, why Sweden? Firstly, the people. The Swedes are amazing people who are always up for a chat. I have weekly “fika’s” (essentially a coffee date) and just the pure fact that I am Australian makes it extremely easy for me to fit in to class groups, Swedish- based activities, etc… Lund has also allowed me to meet people outside of Sweden from all around the world. I have an extremely close friend group with a lot of people from Canada, Australia, England, France and even Argentina. Secondly, the weather. You will have two months of snow (which is amazing) followed by a slow progression into spring and summer (or the opposite should you get to Lund in the Autumn semester). Thirdly, the ease to travel. By next week I would have travelled to 18 countries and by the end of the semester, I will have visited almost 30! It is incredibly easy and flexible to travel and study at the same time!
I honestly could not recommend Lund enough as a university to visit! Should you need more convincing/ want to discuss my experience, I would be more than happy to help out. You can either find me on facebook or email me at Harry.S.OConnell@student.uts.edu.au.
Harry O’Connell, 12457622, Exchange Student at Lund University, Sweden.