After a long journey to Sweden, I finally got to Lund Central Station, the meet-up place. It was -2°C, foggy and everything seemed so sad. I arrived at the train station at 7 am. What I did not realize was that the meet-up time was 10 am. I stood there alone, confused, picturing my life for the next 6 months. After a while, people started coming and I thought, “This isn’t too bad after all.”
As an international student from Thailand, who came to SFU to pursue my BBA, I assumed that being around different cultures and new environments would be easy for me. My first week of settling down, making new friends and learning the Swedish language was the most challenging week of all. I thought I would be fine adjusting to new environment as I did before when I first moved to Canada. But no, it took me quite some time to get used to the Swedish culture. I am very thankful to my mentor group for helping me to get through.
To get an idea about my life on exchange, here are some facts that you need to know about Lund.
- Lund is a student town
- Most things in Lund are run by students
- Lund has the best student life you can imagine
Lund is a small and peaceful town (Yes, it is a TOWN!) located in the southern part of Sweden only a 40-minute train ride from Copenhagen, Denmark and 5 hours, by train, to Stockholm. People live a slower-paced life, there are not that many cars and people bike everywhere. This town is named after the university so you can imagine how spread out the campus is. Because Lund is very far south, most of the students live on campus. There are plenty of student accommodations and everywhere you go you will see people your age. This is what makes Lund’s student life so special.
We have things called “nations,” which are societies run by students. If you cannot quite picture it, think of houses in Harry Potter. They do everything from serving brunches, lunches, and dinners, to hosting weekly pub and club nights. International students are welcome to apply to be a member of any nation, as it is a good way to socialize and get to know the Swedes. You can even work at the nations as a bartender, cashier or in the kitchen in return for food and candy!
Everyday there are things that you can do. Each nation hosts different activities like game nights, movie nights and sittning. A sittning is a traditional Swedish 4-course meal where people sit, eat, sing a song and, of course, drink.
I find the Swedish culture quite different; people are friendly but at the same time, a bit reserved. Swedish people are fluent in English and I had no problem communicating with them at all. People live a happy and relaxed life. They drink a lot of coffee and eat a lot of cinnamon buns. Swedes have traditional coffee breaks, get-togethers known as “Fika”. People are allowed to take as many Fikas as they want during the work hours.
A perk of studying aboard in Europe is that people tend to travel all the time. Each week, you can plan a new weekend getaway. Travelling in Europe is very cheap, I even found some low-cost flights that were as cheap as $8 CAD. Throughout my exchange journey I had an opportunity to visit over 14 cities in 12 countries. I went to Copenhagen (Denmark), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Milan and Venice (Italy), Helsinki (Finland), Tallinn (Estonia), Riga (Latvia), Vilnius (Lithuania), Brussels and Bruges (Belgium), Budapest (Hungary), Vienna (Austria), Prague (Czech Republic), and Krakow (Poland).
Choosing to come to Lund University is the best decision I have made in my life. If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind student life experience, you will never regret coming to Lund.
Pat is a third year student at the Beedie School of Business and is currently on exchange at Lund University, Sweden. As her concentrations are Marketing and Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Pat is constantly looking for new ideas and opportunities to gain real-life experience. She is passionate about personal development and community engagement. Pat is enjoying her time on exchange as she loves challenging herself and believes that learning never ends. Email Pat at email@example.com if you have any questions.