Christine Mercy Mueni from Kenya
How did you hear about Lund?
“I studied my undergraduate degree in Biomedical Laboratory Technology at Makerere University, Uganda. After I did my Bachelor’s, I wanted to further my studies at the Master’s level, but I didn’t want to do it in the same country or at home. I really wanted this international experience outside Africa and I started looking for opportunities, mainly at universities across Europe and in the UK. In Sweden, there was an opportunity to get funds to study, so I started searching for Swedish universities with a strong profile in medical sciences. After reading about Lund University’s history, I discovered that it is an old university full of great inventions, and I realised this is where I should be.”
Has the programme met your expectations?
“Definitely! It has met my expectations because we have studied a lot and we have combined many different ways of reading. I really feel prepared to go into the field and work now.”
What has been the best thing so far about the programme?
“In the medical biology specialisation there are just four courses, of which three are compulsory: pharmacology, toxicology and cellular and molecular immunology. The fourth one is an elective and I chose basic immunology. The good thing is that the courses are very intertwined; they all overlap to some extent and they all work towards the same goal. For example, if you learn about drugs and their effects in the body in pharmacology, this is also a reflected in other courses, for instance in disease and immunity, which is part of immunology, as well as their adverse effects, which is part of toxicology. The programme is really well structured and gives you a very good understanding of the course contents.”
Do you typically have a lot of lab work in most of your courses?
“Yes! All courses combine theory, practice and seminars. In one of the courses, we had laboratory work on daily basis during the whole course period, which was fun. The programme also gives you the option of doing a Master’s thesis of 60 ECTS, which is a full academic year. This way, you can explore your field of interest more in depth.”
What are you focusing your thesis on?
“My thesis is in immunology, focusing on monocytes and macrophages. I can’t talk much about it yet because it’s still ongoing and not yet published.”
How is the teaching style and the relationship with the professors compared to what you’re used to in Uganda?
“I would say the teaching style is a bit different when it comes to seminars and presentations, but other teaching methods are more similar. Here, seminars and presentations are a very important part of the course. What I like most about the relationship between students and professors is that students are encouraged to give feedback after every course. You can even suggest what you feel should be kept, added to or removed from the course material, which is really good. That’s not common everywhere, so I really appreciate how Lund does this.”
How international is your programme?
“Very! I think the content of the programme is really applicable worldwide. It’s biomedical research, so we are really ‘in the market’ right now because of the rise in many untreatable diseases. Our medical biology class is also quite international. We are only eight students and we all come from different parts of the world, for example, Africa, Asia, Europe and the USA.”
Why do you think prospective students should choose the Medical Biology programme?
“If you really want to be in biomedical research, then this programme is the best. I feel it gives you all the ideas and knowledge you need, as well as the ability to think independently. When you join this programme, you’re given different aspects of learning. You’re taught in class, and you get practical time in the lab, but you’re also challenged to do some tasks independently. You write about a specific topic and study what else has been done on it, and you present this to everyone. You’re able to do work by yourself as well as with other students. This programme really prepares you well for the future, so I would encourage anyone who is interested in biomedical research to do this programme. You will gain a lot of knowledge in the pharmacology, immunology and toxicology fields. I feel it’s the best programme if you want to major in any of these fields. If you are looking for diverse knowledge in biomedical research, then this is a great choice.”
Do you have any advice for students beginning the Medical Biology programme?
“You will enjoy it! It’s very nice, but it’s quite intensive, so be ready to work hard. Sometimes you might feel it is a bit hectic, but it will always turn out well. All the courses are 15 credits, so that’s quite intense. You can’t only revise right before the exams – don’t wait until the last minute! It’s really a very nice course and if you need help, the support is very good.”
What are your plans for the future?
“I am currently looking for opportunities to do my PhD, either in Sweden or outside Sweden. A PhD in the area of cancer research is my dream. If I don’t find an opportunity in the next few years, I will get more training in the research field to increase my skills.”
What’s it like to be an international student at Lund?
“Very exciting! At first, you of course worry about how will you blend in and survive, but the moment you come here it is so welcoming! As an international student, you are really taken care of, so you don’t even really feel like someone who is new. They receive you on Arrival Day and put you in a mentor group to help you adapt to life in Sweden. The international office always follows up to see how you’re doing, and they always have events where international students can go and share their views. I feel that international students are very well treated in Lund. There’s also something for everyone here.”
What do you think of the student life in Lund?
“There are so many events that you can’t ever do them all! There’s something for every kind of person. If you like going out, there are tons of events organised by the nations. If you’re a student who likes doing innovative things, there’s opportunities for that too. For example, at Ideon there are so many seminars encouraging creativity and they help you grow and implement your ideas. People have different likes and dislikes, but you can always fit in somewhere in the Lund student life. You always find something that suits you well.’’
What do you think of Lund as a city?
“I enjoy being in Lund. First of all, it’s a small city, so it’s not very congested. I like it because it’s really calm and you can easily move from one area to the other. At the same time, it is a city of students, so there’s life everywhere.”
Do you have any advice for prospective students coming to Lund?
“If you’re coming from abroad, especially outside Europe, you should be prepared to adapt to a new climate. It will be a new environment, but there are also a lot of good things to do and traditions to adopt during winter.”
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
“Lund isn’t just about academics – it’s about academics and extracurricular activities. There are many activities one can participate in.”