What Rebeka says about the Master's in Biotechnology
Rebeka Kovačič from Slovenia
Why did you decide to study at Lund University?
"I wanted to do part of my education abroad, especially in Scandinavia, since I had read a lot about how great the school system was, and about the quality of life in general. I had also been there before and got a very good impression. I searched online for universities with biotechnology programmes and then decided on Lund, since it seemed like a very cosy, middle-sized and student-friendly city. I considered universities in Copenhagen (Denmark) and Uppsala (Sweden), but the programme in Lund convinced me. It was also very helpful to read the Student Prospectus – I really got a good picture of what studying in Lund would be like."
What were you looking forward to the most before you came to Lund?
"I was curious to see how it would be to study in a foreign country, in a foreign language and to have new schoolmates from all over the world."
What is your programme about?
"I am studying industrial biotechnology, which means that we are learning how to manipulate living organisms (mostly bacteria and yeast) for producing various goods. We also design plants for industrial production."
How did you like your programme and its course content?
"What I liked most about the programme was that, besides the lectures and lab work, we also studied course literature. We had problem-based learning exercises, where we critically evaluated scientific literature and learned how to tackle concrete problems, respectively. In addition, when preparing presentations for our assignments, we got valuable feedback from our professors and the opponent group. This way of teaching suited me and I managed to gain lots of useful skills."
Did you have any favourite courses?
"There were quite a few courses that I really liked, but I would say that Protein Engineering was my favourite."
How did you like the professors and lectures?
"All teaching personnel are very friendly, simple and available. There is no hierarchy and I like that we call each other only by name – it creates a more relaxed atmosphere. The lectures themselves were nothing special, some were more interesting than others, and some professors did a better job than others."
Does the way of studying and teaching differ from that at your home university?
"At my former faculty, we did not have problem-based learning exercises. There was also a difference in lab equipment. In Lund, we used some state-of-the art technologies, which was not the case in Ljubljana. Also, the exams in Lund were much longer (5 hours), which really allowed the professors to test our knowledge on everything from basic theories to problem-solving skills. Although it sounded tough at the beginning, it was actually not too bad. We were also allowed to bring food and drinks to these exams, which was very nice. At some courses we even had take-home exams, which was a positive new experience for me."
Will the things you’ve learned at Lund be useful for your future career?
"Yes. I took a wide variety of courses – from Human Nutrition and Food Microbiology to Protein Engineering and Bioprocess Technology – which provided me with knowledge on topics that are not so similar. I therefore have more possibilities of finding work in the future. In addition, I really improved my academic writing skills and my ability to evaluate scientific literature. Those skills are always desired, especially if I ever consider continuing with a PhD."
What is the social life in Lund like?
"I felt welcome. At the beginning of the semester, we had mentor groups that were very nice. We got to meet new people from other faculties and got useful information from the Swedish students about basically everything in Lund. Student life in Slovenia and Lund are quite similar: we do not have student ‘Nations’ in Slovenia, but we do have a lot of other student organisations which I have not seen here. In Lund, gala balls are very popular, so you can often see suited-up students around town."
Are you involved in any extracurricular activities?
"Yes, I sing in 'LTH-Kören', the Lund Institute of Technology Students' Choir."
What are the highlights of your time at Lund?
"Life experiences I would not have gotten if I had stayed in my home country."
Which challenges did you face?
"The difficulties were connected to the long, dark winters, which really affected my mood and motivation to study, but I managed to overcome this by exercising and seeing friends."
What are your favourite things to do in Lund?
"I adore Lund. It is such a cosy little town. The infrastructure allows us to safely bike anywhere. It is quiet, safe, clean and just rural enough for me to see horses and rabbits almost every day. I really enjoy biking in Lund, but also walking around the botanical gardens and stadsparken (the city park). I like window-shopping in the town, going to the library and having ‘fika’ every now and then. In summer, I enjoy lying in the grass and reading in stadsparken."
Did you travel anywhere in Sweden during your stay here?
"I went to Gothenburg, Stockholm and Malmö. I cycled to Lomma and swam in the Baltic Sea. I also went hiking to Söderåsen National Park and visited Ales Stenar near Ystad – a prehistoric monument that is sometimes called the Swedish version of Stonehenge. There are still quite a few things on the list of places I want to visit. I would also really like to go to the north, where there are more mountains and forests."
Do you have any advice to other students that will be coming to Lund?
"It is wise to know how to cook, since students here mostly prepare food on their own."