Reid - Lund University

B Science/ B Law
Semester 1, 2016

Academic experience

I studied two law courses, Comparative European Legal History and International Environmental Law. In Lund, law courses are worth two UQ law courses. Thus, you will only need to study two courses. These courses are also studied in two separate terms (10 weeks duration). Thus, the academic timetabling really lets you hone into the course you are studying. Also always for extended periods of travel. Brilliant for an exchange semester, am I right!

Academics are much more approachable as well. They take an active interest in where you are from and how you are learning the content. Take advantage of this and get to know your professors! The exams as well are designed to allow you to extract as much as you know onto the paper. A lot less stressful than a traditional UQ law exam.

Personal experience

Lund is the perfect culmination of small-town charm and student-friendly living. Half of its 80,000 strong population are students, meaning that the town has a very welcoming and modern vibe. Yet it still hums and buzzes with medieval tradition and culture. I suggest you take a tour with a local to find all of the hidden gems that this place has to offer.

It will be surprisingly easy to make friends with other international students, but don't forget to make friends with the Swedes! While they may take a little more effort to warm up to, they are wonderful people who love to learn about new perspectives and life experiences. Make good use of your introductory Swedish course, and impress the Swedes with your willingness to learn their language, culture and traditions.

Volunteer at the 'Student Nations' as soon as possible as well. This is your best effort to make lifelong friendships, while also living as close to the Swedish lifestyle as you can get (with a couple more perks along the way).

Accommodation

I lived in Pålsjöäng International Student Housing (pronounced POLE-WHOOH-AENG). It consisted of a cosy studio flat nestled in the area near the Economics, Engineering and Science Faculties. Unfortunately, the Law Faculty was across the other side of campus, but in Lund terms, this was just a leisurely 15min bike ride through beautiful, cobble-stoned alleys. I would definitely recommend living centrally in Lund. It means that you will be closer to classes, friends, and the action of this student town. Any of these places are perfect: Ulrikedal, Parentesen, Sparta, Sparta International, Spoletorp, Pålsjöäng, Klostergården, Studentlyckan or Delphi. Anything further out than these starts to become too far out.

To be honest, the LU Accommodation room allocation is also hit and miss. I HIGHLY recommend that you apply the MINUTE that they open. You won't get any of your five preferences otherwise. If you do not like the LU Accommodation offer, you can look around on the "Sell/Buy stuff in Lund, Sweden" facebook page. Some people offer rooms to rent, however, they are not LU Accommodation affiliated.

Budget 

So, anyone who has ever set foot within Scandinavia will tell you how expensive it is. And they are exactly right, it's very expensive. Rent, transport, entertainment and activities are all comparable to Australian prices. However, be ready to shell out for food. Due to Sweden's inclement weather, they aren't able to grow much fresh produce. So most of it is imported, meaning that it is usually a little more pricey. Scandinavian products are relatively cheap though. So eat lots of salmon! It's delicious, and also ecologically farmed!

Flights from Copenhagen Airport are quite cheap as well (an hour away by the easy-to-catch train from Lund). That's what really sold Lund for me. The gateway to Europe is just across the bridge! (P.S. Watch the Swedish TV Series 'The Bridge'. You can thank me later).

DO NOT FORGET TO LEAVE MONEY FOR TRAVEL AFTER YOUR SEMESTER IS COMPLETE! And leave plenty of it. You do not want to have to return home early because you forgot to budget appropriately on exchange. Guaranteed to have you sobbing into your lean cuisine, as you slowly trawl your friends' social media accounts brimming with their latest photos in exotic places embellished with the tags #fun #travel #passionpassport

Overall I budgeted $16,000 for my trip and came back with $34. So I'd start with that as your baseline figure. So if you are looking for a budget semester abroad but are still in love with Sweden, I suggest you choose somewhere cheaper and leave Sweden as a weekend escape.

Professional development and employability

Among the usual tribulations that we are faced with while we near adulthood, a semester abroad allows you to open your eyes, ears and your mind. Surprisingly, my English skills have improved, and so has my understanding our other languages. Your interpersonal skills will also improve. You will become more aware of social interactions, and how to make people feel comfortable and welcomed. You will also become more bold and enthusiastic when meeting new people. You'll practically be rubbing shoulders with your professors by the end of the semester.

Your fondness for travel and meeting exciting people will skyrocket, and you'll become more spontaneous and daring as well. I recall booking a rental car and driving around Scotland with a friend based on a whim. It was such an amazing experience, and one I likely would have backed out of at the start of my exchange. Basically, a semester exchange will make you more confident, understanding, and adventurous.

Highlights 

Making lifelong friendships, and travelling with those friends. Weekend trips away with class mates, booking a tour with those cool Swedish guys you just met, or even a peaceful bike ride around the town with your next door neighbour. Those are the memories that I will keep close to me from my exchange.

Also, Fika. It's basically the Swedish term for 'smoko' or 'afternoon tea'. But it's brilliant, and can be done at any time of the day. Involves coffee and cake. Have I said enough?

Top Tips

  • Save, Save, Save for Exchange! It's going to be expensive. But it's also going to be super worth it.
  • If going for cheap flights, don't forget to print your tickets beforehand, and check the baggage allowances as most airlines are quite strict (and don't forget to factor in the $25 train ride to Copenhagen).
  • Join a Student Nation early, and get involved. Does not matter which one, just pick one and get straight into volunteering and meeting new people.
  • If you are umming and arghing about a booking a trip or a flight, just do it. It'll be worth it!
  • Buy UQ merchandise, and wear it with pride overseas!