Holly Knapton from England, now PhD student in the department of Psychology at Lund University
How did you find out about Lund University and this programme?
“My Swedish partner told me good things about Lund and told me to look at what programmes were available in English. Just by chance, the year I wanted to start an MSc in Psychology the department started the programme in English!”
Why did you choose this programme?
“I really liked the broad focus of the programme. In the UK, the MScs are much more specific and specialised so I liked that this was broad.”
Did the programme live up to your expectations?
“I would say it was definitely a different approach to studying compared to my undergraduate, so for me it was different to what I expected, although that difference was positive. There was lots of time to reflect and consider your personal approach/opinion to a specific topic. Rather than just learning facts, you delved into discussions and challenged your thinking and thus developed your knowledge.”
What was the best thing about the programme?
“Now I have completed the programme I would say I really feel it gives you a great basis for a research career, giving you hands-on research experience in interesting areas combined with further developing your statistical and research methods knowledge.”
What was your favourite course and why?
“I have to say the social psychology course! This course sparked my interest into what I am now spending my current career researching. Further to what I said above, I loved this course for the interesting group discussions we had that broaden the way you see a topic!”
Were you able to gain any practical experience during your studies?
“The programme is full of mini research projects that give you great practical research experience.”
What was your impression of the lecturers?
“The lectures were much more laid back than what I had experienced in the UK. It is a much more approachable relationship with the lecturers, which is great in my opinion. It allows you to easily ask questions, make suggestions and discuss, which I think is great for developing your knowledge in psychology.”
What are the facilities like?
“The facilities are good. There are plenty of group rooms for group study and the social science library is close by!”
How international was your programme?
“When I was on the programme it was really international! I had and still have friends from all over Europe and as far as the USA from the programme.”
What was is like to be an international student at Lund University?
“I think Lund – and Sweden in general – is a great place to be an international student. It is easy to communicate as everybody is happy to speak English. There is lots to do in Lund as well as Malmö and Helsingborg. And Copenhagen is a short train ride away!”
What was studying in Sweden like compared to studying in your home country?
“It was much more relaxed and approachable. I studied in the UK previously and found it much more hierarchical and harder to approach lecturers when I had a point of view to suggest or a question. I think this makes it a great place to study and research, as I believe good discussion is key to developing research.”
What was your first impression of Lund?
“I lived in Helsingborg – and still live just outside of it – even though my programme was based in Lund. I think both Lund and Helsingborg are extremely beautiful, charming cities! Helsingborg really suits my personality. There are enough things to do – restaurants, cinema etc. – but with a smaller city vibe. In my opinion, it also offers everything: the water is right on your doorstep and the countryside in the form of Pålsjö forest is a few minutes’ walk away.”
Were you involved in any extracurricular activities during your studies?
“When I was on the course I was really involved in LISP, which is the student organisation for the programme. It was great with lots of social events and also educational activities!”
Do you have any advice for other students that are considering to come to Lund?
“Buy a decent winter coat. Waterproof, windproof and with a hood. Throw away your heels and embrace the comfortable and practical Swedish style, even on a night out. Also get candles. When the dark evenings roll in, I find that embracing the darkness by looking forward how cosy ('mysigt' in Swedish) your evenings can be helps. And don’t forget ‘fredagsmys’! It translates directly to Friday Cosy. This is my favourite thing about Sweden. It can be done alone, with someone else or with a group, but it is basically about being cosy on a Friday. Get some sweets, crisps and candles and spend the evening being relaxed and cosy.”
Do you have any advice for other students specifically from your country that are considering to come to Lund?
“Expect a different academic culture where as a student you feel as though your opinion or point of view is valued, unlike in the UK where it can sometimes be made to feel you are a bit inferior.”
What is it like to live in Sweden? What have you learned from living and studying in Sweden?
“I love Sweden. It is now my home. I think the biggest thing it taught me was ‘simpler is better’. Joy can come from the smaller things, like fredagsmys with some candles.”
What surprised you the most about Sweden and Swedes?
“Swedish people are shy. They are often considered cold, but they are in fact the friendliest people I have ever met, once you get under their shy shell. Invite them for lunch, dinner or the movies. You will soon see that shyness thaw. And don’t forget to attend the midsummer and crayfish parties! The Swedes are definitely not shy then.”
What are the highlights of your time here so far?
“Meeting friends on the programme six years ago who are still my friends today.”