"Hi! My name is Jana and I'm the student ambassador for the Master's Programme in Biology, Aquatic Ecology. 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."
How did you find out about and choose this programme?
"I was looking more for marine biology at first, and I did an Erasmus in the north of Sweden. I looked for a marine biology Master’s programme in Sweden, but I was not sure if I really wanted to go into marine biology because I also like streams, rivers and lakes. Then I found out that at Lund I could study both with Aquatic Ecology. In this programme, we look more at the ecology within the water bio, and within the ecosystems."
Can you tell me a little bit about the focus of your programme?
"We talk a lot about the modern-day problems that come with population growth and therefore the pressure that is growing on these water bodies. Because of agriculture, we're bringing in so many nutrients that are polluting the water bodies (and then also of course other pollutants and climate change is affecting everything). We also look at the different habitats that are present and the individuals and interactions between them. For example, we have a course called Water Management, where we look at the social side of water – for instance, how we treat our water for sewage or make drinking water. We also look at how to restore lakes and rivers or the coastal zones more to their natural state."
Have you been able to gain any practical experience during your studies (so far)?
"We get a lot of practical experience during the courses that we have. During the first course that we did, we first went on a two-week excursion where we basically learned some methods such as: how you do sampling in the field, how you do field studies and these sorts of things. In our other courses, we have a lot of labs where we plan and conduct the projects ourselves. We always have help, but we get to practice on our own, which is really cool!
This summer, I'll be lucky enough to do an internship which I’m looking forward to very much. In our classes, we sometimes have professors or PhD students that present their work. They usually always need a hand with conducting their fieldwork or lab work, so sometimes we have presentations on what we could do for a thesis project or a diverse internship project. Then it’s up to us to approach the speakers if we are interested. We also get a lot of emails about internship, PhD, or mini job possibilities from our department, though it is important to also check the language requirements as sometimes Swedish is required."
What do you think of the teaching style?
"In Germany, we have more of a hierarchy when it comes to the student-teacher relationship, so I would never ever call my professor by their first name. Usually, we have to use their titles and if you forget a title, it's quite frowned upon. I already knew things were different in Sweden since I did the Erasmus semester here, but that's also why I came back. I really love that you can just approach your professors with anything and they meet you at eye level. It makes the whole study environment so much more comfortable."
What has been your favourite course so far in the programme?
"I think my favourite course was Limnology and Marine Ecology. It was just really, really fun to be out in the field together with the teachers and to learn everything side by side. I'd say that was my favourite course, but I'm also looking forward to doing more applied research work in the future with the programme. It will be nice to contribute some actual research work."
What would you say is the best thing about your programme?
"What I really, really like about my programme is that everybody you meet in the programme is very enthusiastic about what they're doing, and that's very contagious! We have excellent professors that really know their stuff and they love it. They can make a teeny tiny invertebrate look super cool and interesting. I have developed interests in different habitats and different fields that I never knew about or thought of before. So, the programme has opened my eyes to new things and different niches. Now I feel like I can choose from a lot of topics in terms of where I could go in my future if I want to be a researcher. Also, the professors show us a lot about what we can do if we don't want to work in academia, which I think is very nice. I didn't see that in my Bachelor’s programme at all."
What are you planning to do after your studies?
"I think I would like to maybe stay in research because there are so many topics that you can look at. You can work with plants and animals, but you can also work with people. Another option for me would be to go into the research sector where I’d work for an agency. With an agency, I could go out and conduct research in the field in addition to raising the public’s awareness of water issues. However, I think my biggest prospective career, or what I would rather do, is to pursue a PhD in the field."
What it is like to be an international student at Lund University?
"I’ve integrated very well here because everybody is international in a way. Also, since we had these two weeks of excursion at the beginning of my first course, I got to know my classmates well. I grew to be very good friends very quickly with the people in my programme. I think it’s pretty easy to make friends here in Lund. I went to the SFI (Swedish for Immigrants) class, for example, and made friends there. I'm not very active in nations or anything like that, to be honest, but the few times that I visited nations, I’ve always gotten to talk to people. If you're open and easy-going, and if you're looking for having a strong social life here, then it is easy."
Have more questions for Jana?
You can chat with her and other current students directly via Unibuddy.