Hi! My name is Maaike, and I'm the student ambassador for the Master's programme in Asian Studies. I am happy to answer any questions you might have about the programme, courses, student life, and life in Lund and Sweden via the Unibuddy Platform, where you can chat with me (see below). Please note that I cannot answer questions about the application process, scholarships, or residence permits.
About the programme
How did you find out about this programme and why did you choose it?
"The programme was recommended to me through friends who studied at Lund University a few years ago. I was interested in studying both East and South-East Asia, as my family – specifically my grandparents – came from South-East Asia. Furthermore, as my undergraduate degree mainly focused on East Asia, I considered the programme to be a great opportunity to broaden my knowledge on other regions within Asia."
Why did you choose Lund University in particular?
"When I was younger, I spent my summers with my family here in Skåne on holiday. I remember playing in the forest and enjoying the calmness of Swedish nature. In the Netherlands, there is little nature and the country in general is quite crowded. I enjoy calm and quiet places, which is one of the reasons why I moved to Lund. I live in the rural part of Lund near Dalby. Here I can go for a walk in the nearby park after studying. There is also a hill surrounded by forest from which you can see Malmö and Copenhagen when the weather is good.’’
What is a day in your life in your programme like?
"In the first semester, I would get up around 7 or 8 in the morning to do my readings and study. Then at 12, I would have a lunch break. My classes started around 1 and ended around 3. After class, I either planned my studies or did something together with my classmates, such as going out for a fika – a Swedish coffee break. Currently, the class is around 25-30 people and we mostly have lectures in LUX on the Humanities and Theology campus. When it comes to the course content, the first semester focused on Area Studies, Economics and Politics in the context of both East and South-East Asia. In the second semester, we got the opportunity to choose a region-specific course focusing on either Japan and Korea, China or South-East Asia. I chose the course focusing on Japan and Korea as I’m planning to write my Master’s thesis about this region. Around 15 other students took this course, which instead of LUX took place at the Center for East and South-East Asian Studies. In the evening after dinner, I would either study more or do some readings to prepare for class the next day."
What’s the best part of your programme?
"Honestly, I enjoy almost everything about my programme – but that is not a very helpful answer. Firstly, I especially enjoy writing seminar papers because we often get to choose our own topic within the course context. It does happen that we receive an assigned topic, yet we are often encouraged to use literature we have gathered on our own in addition to the course literature. Next, something I appreciate about studying Asian Studies at Lund University is the safe academic environment. I feel comfortable sharing my thoughts and opinions as the discussions in class are held in a constructive and respectful manner. Finally, what makes the programme enjoyable as well is the wide range of undergraduate backgrounds of my classmates. This often leads to discovering new perspectives and interesting discussions within the classroom."
Why should a prospective student choose this programme?
"There are multiple reasons to choose this programme. First, many Asian Studies programmes I found in Europe focus solely on East Asia. The programme at Lund University offers to study Asia in a broader context by focusing on both East and South-East Asia. This is something I value as both regions are interconnected when it comes to areas such as politics and the economy. Second, the programme focuses on improving your academic skills. I've often received constructive and supportive feedback on my seminar papers, which allowed me to improve my academic writing skills over the past year. Finally, the accessibility to academic staff is something which enhances the overall quality of the programme. The lecturers are always open to answer questions regarding the course material. I’ve made appointments during office hours several times to ask questions about either my thesis or seminar papers."
What are the practical components of this programme?
"The programme has some time allocated for exchange, which allows you to go abroad for one semester or for a whole year, which is great. The Asian Studies programme at Lund only requires English as a language. While I have credits in Japanese because I studied there, I have a lot of classmates who want to learn another language and they can go abroad to do so. I think that this is really great because it means that everyone can leave with a language skill if they have an interest. Most of my classmates are going on exchange next semester. I will not go on exchange, however, if you want to do your fieldwork in Asia, there are partnerships with universities there. I have been thinking of writing my thesis in Japan and I will go to university there where I will take a course in fieldwork."
How international is your programme?
"It's super international! People come from countries such as Portugal, Morocco, France, Italy, China, Finland, Sweden and many other places! It’s an incredibly international programme which is also one of the reasons why I decided to study at Lund University. I think it's fun to have Swedish classmates, especially since I am learning Swedish now, so I always try to practice my Swedish with them."
Thoughts on extracurricular activities at Lund and future plans
Do you do any extracurricular activities here at Lund?
"Yes, I’m a study support mentor for the mentor programme organised by Lund University’s Disability Services. The programme matches students who need academic support with a study support mentor. I hold meetings with my mentor student twice a week, in which we sit down and plan their academic studies together. I found the position on one of the bulletin boards around campus. I enjoy being a study support mentor and I’m glad that I can give another person support in their university studies.”
Where do you see yourself in the future after this programme?
"The programme is indeed only two years, so I thought about this before applying. When I applied two years ago I asked myself the question: ‘What would I like to get out of the programme?’ I personally aimed to pursue a Master’s degree which matched my undergraduate in Japanese Studies and intercultural Communication/Marketing. I can see myself continuing in marketing because it’s something I enjoy, yet I’m also considering continuing in academics. I have decided to apply to universities and jobs when I finish the programme. I think it’s good to have multiple options on the table.’’
Have more questions for Maaike?
You can chat with her and other current students directly via Unibuddy by clicking the card below.