Lachlan - Lund University

B Commerce
Semester 1, 2016

Academic Experience

The opportunity of exchange presents you with the capacity to extend your academics beyond your usual horizon. I decided to undertake electives that were both relevant to my degree and to the culture of Scandinavia. Whilst exchange at Lund is a great opportunity to complete degree specific courses, I would highly recommend you to go out of your comfort zone, not only does it mean fresh and exciting challenges but also, meeting new people from different backgrounds and with new perspectives.

The academic system in Lund is very different from most universities, rather than 4 subjects a semester it is separated into 2 subjects a term, meaning courses are intensive over a shorter period of time. They also emphasise the integration of group work into many courses, which I found crucial for the business related courses I undertook.

Personal Experience

Exchange at Lund was such an overwhelming experience it's difficult to specify what I learnt. The best way I have found to summarise my entire experience would be by saying the old term "learn something new everyday", yet on exchange it is ten fold because you find yourself learning something new in class, about Sweden, from friends, traveling etc. Exchange is the ultimate experience to learn, intentional or not.

Accommodation 

My accommodation at Lund was essentially living in Ikea, no joke. I was located on campus in a residency called PJs (Pålsjöäng) around 200m from the faculty of economics and the faculty of engineering (LTH). It was a perfect location for many of the exchange students and only a 5 minute bike ride to the centre of town. Like many of the accommodation, it was a studio flat with everything except for an oven. Essentially PJs was great, it had location, facilities and people, but it lacked Swedes. Being an accommodation for exchange students, no Swedes lived there, which made it difficult to meet them. If you want your privacy at the end of the day it is perfect, but if you want a more social and community feel amongst the people you live with I would try and live in a Swedish corridor.

Budget

Let me repeat what everyone else says. Sweden is expensive. However this really only holds true when you compare it to the rest of Europe. Compared to Australia, it's almost the same. An issue living in a small student town is a restriction on the overall facilities, such as there being no all purpose shopping centre in town (you have to go to Malmo). Another challenge when contrasting the costs that gets overlooked is the exchange rate. For the majority of my time abroad, 1 AUD = 5.5/6 SEK. When this goes up, everything gets significantly cheaper. As such I would highly recommending trying to pay the large expenses such as accommodation when the exchange rate is strongly in your favour. For many, travel is a large portion of the budget and the amount is determined by the length of your intended travel. Allowing 2 months travel post-study and small trips during I would recommend around $15,000 AUD.

Professional Development & Employability 

One of the greatest skills I learnt on exchange was cooking. Not to say I couldn't cook, but when you have to cook for yourself for 6 months, you learn to get creative and experimental with dinner, sometimes for better, but mostly not. It was an interesting learning curve and led me to make the most of group dinners with friends in PJs and BBQs in spring.

Highlights

When you are essentially traveling for 7 months your highlight reel becomes more of a full length movie. Yet one experience that always sticks out was traveling to Kiruna, Sweden. A mining town in the Artic Circle. Along with 10 friends, we stayed in a cabin in the woods, with a metre of snow, a floating sauna and a frozen lake on our doorstep. We went ice fishing, snowmobiling, dog sledding under the northern lights and played many games to fill the long nights... If you go to Sweden, a trip to see the northern lights isn't a recommendation, it really is a must! Oh and Tandem was pretty amazing, but that's another story.

Top Tips 

Just Do It. Seriously, I've talked to so many people that have thoughts about exchange and told me their pros and cons, voiced their doubts and concerns. I had high expectations going to Sweden for exchange and I was blown away, it was an unforgettable experience I could not have prepared for. If you are unsure, talk to people who have gone on exchange, every single one of them will tell you stories about their time and you will see how fondly they reflect upon their times abroad. A big recommendation when going to Lund is choosing a Nation (like a club/society), pick a nation you like and be ACTIVE, I cannot tell you how worthwhile it is to be active, not only is it the easiest way to meet Swedes but also a great opportunity to be invited to exclusive events in Lund!