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What Johan says about the Master's in Literature – Culture – Media, General Literature

Photo of Johan Kullenbok, student at the Master's programme in Literature – Culture – Media at Lund University, spring 2016

Johan Kullenbok from Sweden

Why did you apply for the Master’s in Literature – Culture – Media?

I had a Bachelor’s degree in Children’s Literature from Lund University, so applying for the Master’s in Literature – Culture – Media seemed like a natural step. I also really enjoy the combination between literature, culture and media; it allows you to expand your knowledge and perspectives beyond the field of literature. As far as I understand, Lund University is also one of Sweden’s best universities and my friends had recommended the Master’s programme.

How would you describe the city of Lund?

It is a cosy city where the University is a very present and integral part. It is especially evident how many students live in Lund when the students leave for their summer holidays.

What is distinctive about studying at Lund University?

When I talk to my international friends, they often say that you have a unique contact with the professors here in Lund – you get to know your professors in a way you may not be able to do in your home country. I don’t know if there is a specific Lund University spirit, but people are really friendly here and people are willing to help each other and cooperate. At the Master’s level everyone is interested in studying and you encourage each other to do better.

Where do you spend a lot of time?

I spend a lot of time at the Centre for Languages and Literature (SOL) where I have most of my lectures and at the University Library (UB), where I can find a lot of books that are relevant to me as a literature major. I mostly focus is on Scandinavian languages and there is a large collection of old Swedish texts that you can access.

What do you think about the resources the University has to offer?

We have access to a large number of encyclopaedias and databases, both digital and physical copies. If you need material that is not in a library’s collection, they can easily order the material you need from another library in Sweden, without charging you anything for it. This service is really great.

Do you have a favourite subject within your programme?

The first semester we had a course in world literature; where, instead of studying, for example, German literature or Swedish literature, you lift your perspective and look at literature from a global perspective. You ask yourself if a thing such as world literature is even possible, how it would work, and the complexities of translating texts from one language and cultural domain to another. It was a super interesting and fun course that awoke a lot of new thoughts in me, as we looked at literature in a new and larger context!

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I know the competition is probably quite fierce, but I would like to continue on to PhD studies. Alternatively, I would like to become a high school teacher. Since most of the courses on my programme are taught in English you are prepared to work both in Sweden and abroad. Now, a Master’s is not required to be a teacher in Sweden, but my philosophy is that the more you know, the more you are able to teach your students. I’ve learnt a lot during the programme, even things that are not directly linked to my subject, such as study techniques. After your Bachelor’s you think you know it all, but the Master’s is yet another level and you realise there is always more to learn.

How would you describe the student life here in Lund?

It is very rewarding and there are so many things and activities to choose between. I am a part of a student choir called “Studentsångarna” which is a lot of fun. Whatever you are interested in there is something to be involved in. Even though students often arrange these activities, for other students on a volunteer basis, people are pretty ambitious about it and the result is often quite extraordinary. During your time at Lund University, you don’t only learn through your studies, but also through the activities you are involved in. There is a tradition of maintaining a high standard, no matter what you do.