Adriana from Peru – Alumna
Thoughts about the programme and the teaching style
How did you find out about this programme and why did you choose it?
"I was looking for a Master’s degree in demography to complement my experience in the public sector. I found several Master’s related exclusively to demography, but I got interested in this programme because it combined demography with economics and development. I also looked into the Centre for Economic Demography here at Lund and found they were doing the type of research I was interested in.
Additionally, Lund University was a good option because it is one of the top 100 best universities in the world. It also has a good support system for international students that made me feel welcome even from the start of the application process. It also offers the possibility to do internships or part-time jobs while studying. Finally, Sweden is known for its innovation and sustainable development, which was another reason to study here."
What do you think about your programme? Did it live up to your expectations?
"Definitely! I loved this programme, and it was a good choice. It is important to say that some courses can be very “historical”, and may not be to everyone’s liking, but I believe that a historical perspective allows you to understand long-standing trends and challenge some preconceptions. Although the programme was more theory-oriented than expected, it offered unique opportunities for developing research skills and critical thinking. I saw each course as an opportunity to explore topics of my interest and to learn which topics I would like to research further."
What was the best thing about your programme?
"The best thing about the programme was the people – your classmates and professors. I enjoy interacting with people from different countries and academic backgrounds. Another thing I liked about the Master's was that the professors produced a lot of research and were constantly sharing with us the advances in their ongoing research. It was nice to read a professor's article, and you could then knock on their door and ask them specific questions about a particular argument. Of course, it depends on the professor, but most of them were willing to share and help you with specific interests."
What do you think of the teaching style at Lund?
"By studying at Lund University, you will understand why it is among the best universities in the world. It is demanding and high-level, but at the same time, there is a full awareness that there is life beyond your classes/studies and many incentives to be part of that. Classrooms are safe environments. I don’t know if it is “the Swedish way”, but professors here always see the positive side of an argument or intervention. They don’t expose or cancel students, as used to occur in my home country when I studied.
In my country, reading controls were very common. It was expected that you remember everything the authors said. In Lund, the focus is on reactions, acknowledging the author’s arguments, and using them to generate new ideas. Pass/fail assignments and retakes were also new for me. They focused on self-learning approaches, and I think they were very useful."
Why should prospective students choose this programme?
"This programme gives a broad overview of development issues, econometric methods and demographic and historical processes and provides you with valuable analytical skills. People interested in research, learning new methods and interested in a historical perspective should choose this Master’s. Additionally, it is possible to complement the Master’s with other extracurricular activities, where you can develop other managerial or thematic skills. For example, you can be part of Lundaekonomerna or join the Lund University Finance Society."
Being an international student at Lund University
What was it like to be an international student at Lund University?
"Lund University is very welcoming to international students. There are many opportunities to socialise and learn about other cultures. For example, there are language cafes, where you can learn Swedish, Japanese or Spanish, and potlucks where you can share your food with people from other countries. I love potlucks because we Peruvians love to eat! Additionally, if you are a non-EU/EEA student and apply on time, you can have a housing guarantee which is very important if you come from distant countries."
Were you involved in any extracurricular activities?
"I was involved in several activities, two of them being: The Change Maker Future Track and the Global Policy Research Group. In these groups, I could find people with similar interests, and I’m grateful for that.
I also love doing aerial silks. I used to practice that back in Peru, and one of the first things I did when I got accepted to Lund was to search for aerial silks in Lund. That’s how I found a Circus Open Training at Stenkrossen. That was one of my happy places in Lund. I also enjoyed a lot 'fika' with friends.
One of the best things about Lund is that you can find almost everything, even though it is a small city. As here there are people from all over the world it is possible to find people with similar interests."
What surprised you the most about Sweden?
"How safe I felt everywhere. Walking alone at night was something I usually avoided in my country. I hadn’t noticed how important that was for me until I arrived in Lund.
Another surprisingly nice discovery of Sweden was what they call 'lagom' meaning 'just enough' or 'not too much, not too little'. You don’t hear that word very often, but you can see it in daily activities like having a fika, and enjoying the sun."
Career insights and tips for prospective students
What does your career look like today?
"I am currently back in Peru working for the Ministry of Education. When I applied to the Master's programme, I was convinced that I wanted to continue working in the public sector in my country when finishing my Master’s. However, being in Lund opened up new perspectives, and I learned that it is possible to have a positive impact working in different types of sectors.
I am really happy to be back in Peru, but Lund and Sweden will always be in my heart! Luckily, my boss studied in Finland, so he understands the importance of fika time and work-life balance, which is not common in Latin America."
Do you have any advice for other students who are considering coming to Lund?
"It helps to list what is important for you and establish your own criteria selection. In my case, the Master’s programme and the ranking of the University were important, but for other people, there might be other reasons to select a Master’s (scholarship opportunities, closeness to home country, etc.).
If you decide to come (I didn’t think twice, because this Master’s was at the top of my list), my main recommendation is 'don’t just come to study' – Enjoy Lund, build good memories and have fun!"
If you are interested in Adriana's thoughts on Lund's retake system, i.e. the possibility to retake an exam, you can read her blog post: