"Hi! My name is Xiaoxuan and I'm the student ambassador for the Master's Programme in Social Studies of Gender. 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."
What do you think of the programme so far?
"I like it! It's a very interdisciplinary and international programme. It creates a space where you can critically engage with all the theories. It's also a very interactive programme. In my home country, studies are very traditional. A lecturer is just giving you theories for memorisation. Here at Lund, the knowledge production method is different. It's not about how I should memorise and recite, but rather there is a focus on class discussions. The teacher is often invisible, and the students shine in the discussions."
What advice would you give to someone in China who is considering applying?
"I would definitely recommend that they apply to this programme. Gender Studies is a very undeveloped field in my home country. After I came here, I had a whole process of destroying and developing my previous thinking and knowledge on the subject. It's so exciting to learn all the new things. All the articles that we’ve read so far here are well developed and reasoned. You need to explore the current situation, by exploring the trends."
Have you gained any practical experience through this programme so far?
"I am thinking about applying for an internship soon. There is a space for us to explore our interests within the course plan. The course is all about theory, but there are plenty of opportunities to apply the theories to real life. We also have methods courses that allow us to use what we’ve learned effectively."
What has been your favourite course so far?
"I love the theory courses the most. I had an undergraduate course before this that was all about the methods, so the theory courses at Lund are more exciting to me. I like that we are encouraged to cooperate in a team."
How international is your programme?
"This year, we are very Eurocentric. I think that is because COVID-19 is limiting the travel opportunities, however, in past years it has been very diverse. All of the courses are open to all the students. Anyone in Lund can study these courses, even if they are Swedish. I have met students from many different backgrounds in my programme."
What's it like studying in Sweden versus in China?
"Our director of the Graduate School told us at the beginning that a ‘C’ is not a bad grade. From that moment on, I knew that this is a really different environment. In China, I feel that I need to always be the top student. We are not learning for the grades here in Sweden, we are learning to engage in the topics and to critically think about the good sides and the opposites. For me, it has been a great learning opportunity. I have been able to really learn instead of just statically memorise."
What do you do in your spare time?
"I am part of Kalmar Nation and Smålands Nation. Kalmar Nation is a great place for international students. I have participated a lot in their different events such as their movie night and baking night. Smålands is a safe space for Gender Studies people because we are this 'radical' small group in society. Smålands is a great space to talk about sensitive topics in an open way outside the programme."
Do you have any general advice for students thinking of coming to Lund?
"Students should get used to working in groups. It is not just me coming from China, there are many students who are not used to working in groups. How can you produce knowledge as a team? That is the role of the university to help train you to do. It is also a place to give up your fear. I used to be afraid of saying something wrong, but here I can say what I want."
What are your plans for the future?
"I am planning on staying here in Sweden and hopefully, I can use my knowledge by working with NGOs. I want to put to use the knowledge that I’ve learned so I can do something for society."
Have more questions for Xiaoxuan?
You can chat with her and other current students directly via Unibuddy.