Roxanne - Lund University

B. Science
Semester 1, 2018
My time at Lund University gave me personal and academic experiences that I will treasure forever.

Academic experience

I studied BIOR51 (Ornithology, SASI03 (Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science) and SVEE11 (Swedish 1). I really liked that the semester was split into two, so that you were only taking one or two courses at a time. It definitely allows students to focus more than the standard Australian system. The classes were also much smaller (my classes were only 10-30 students, which made communication between teachers and students much better.

Once you are accepted by LU, you need to choose which courses you’d like to enrol in. Because the class sizes are so small, you are required to select three times as many courses as you’ll actually take and put them in order of preference. This made things a little stressful, as you aren’t sure which classes you’ll be taking until shortly before the semester starts. When I e-mailed the relevant staff at LU (exchange coordinators and faculties/course coordinators) they were more than happy to answer my questions and always responded within a couple of days.

Personal experience

I made a couple of great friends that I’m still in contact with, one of which is invited to my wedding! It was amazing to live in such a beautiful place with culture, climate and landscapes so different to that of Australia. It was also nice to feel truly independent, as I have lived with my partner for the last 4 years and lived with my family before that. Possibly the thing I’m most thankful for is the chance to do field work in the Ornithology course. It was amazing to do so much hands-on work in a field I’m that passionate about, and no such opportunities are available at UQ.

Accommodation 

Examining a Blue tit during field work.

LU doesn’t have a campus but there are a few housing organisations that the university works with. I lived in a studio apartment through LU Accommodation and I loved it! it was much cheaper than anything you’d find in Australia, I had my own bathroom and kitchen and the fit-out was relatively modern and came with a number of utensils. It was also well connected to both the town centre and my faculty buildings (the bus system in Lund is great!). The host university was quite helpful regarding housing, they provide a lot of information on the housing areas and also have information stalls during arrival day events. My advice would be to make sure you have your housing preferences ready and apply as soon as applications open, as accommodation is in high demand. Also, don’t listen to reviews about distance as the European definition of ‘far’ is NOT the same as ours. Look on Google maps and see for yourself.

Costs

Rent was far cheaper than Australia. I paid about $600-700/month for a studio flat (inclusive of all bills and internet). Most other things such as public transport, groceries and travel were around the same price as Australia (you can also get some good travel prices with the budget airlines). I would recommend saving about $10 000 if you want to travel a lot.

Challenge

The biggest challenge I was worried about was the language barrier. I took Swedish to try and improve my communication, but it was barely used as Swedes speak such good English (especially in a university town like Lund). Personally, I enjoy being alone but I can imagine it would be easy to feel lonely or homesick, so that’s something to keep in mind when choosing accommodation.

Listening for Golden orioles in a Swedish forest.

Professional Development

Working in Lund’s biology department has given me invaluable skills I wouldn’t have received as an undergrad at UQ. I learned multiple field methods for studying birds and was able to do my own research and field work.

Highlight

The ornithology class and seeing Sweden during winter!

Top tips

Do it! I loved everything about my time at the university. The system allows you to feel so connected with the teachers and the content, staff are responsive and helpful and it’s one of the top universities in Europe (apparently Linnaeus started there before moving to Uppsala!). The city itself is stunning and so different to Australia.