Ivette from Spain
Why did you choose this programme and why in Sweden?
"I knew I wanted to study in a Nordic country, but I was not really sure where because in Spain we don't really know that much about this area. I always loved environmental issues and I knew I wanted to focus my studies on the environmental aspects of development. I knew the Nordic countries really stand for that, and then also the universities here, in general, are ranked worldwide and student life is amazing. So, I actually applied to Norway and Denmark as well and at the time of the application. After learning a bit more about each of the universities, I knew that I really wanted to come to Lund."
What do you think about your programme (so far)? Does it live up to your expectations?
"This programme is not something that I had ever heard of, at least not in Spain. It's a shared feeling among my classmates that we were not really sure what the programme would be like when we started because I think for many of us it wasn’t a common subject area that people talk about. The programme was quite different from what I was expecting, but I am really enjoying it. I love that it's so interdisciplinary so you can kind of lean towards what you like the most. That's really nice because some people, for example, really enjoy the economic part of the programme so they write all the assignments more towards economics."
What is the best thing about your programme?
"Well, I'm a person that really likes independent study. So that's something that I really like in general about studies in Sweden. Compared to other countries, I do have a lot of time to organise my studies as I like. I also love that we touch on so many subjects because I am a person that has many interests, and with this programme, I can study a lot of things at the same time."
What do you think of the teaching style at Lund?
"I would say that there's a more informal relationship between students and lecturers. We also have just one course at a time instead of multiple ones, which makes you really focus on the one that you're taking at that time instead of going back and forth between the courses. It doesn't feel like you're missing out on information, because the course itself is really broad and you have multiple teachers at a time that will give you different perspectives. Then we also have the seminars, of course, which kind of complement the things we'll be studying in class, and are more practical."
Are you involved in any extracurricular activities?
"I have had quite a lot of experiences within student associations, which is something that I really love because you can gain a lot of experience while you're studying. This year, I was writing for UPF (The Association of Foreign Affairs) and for the Swedish Development Forum. I was also involved in the Social Science Student Union in the labour market committee. That was also really nice because I learned a lot about how the labour market works and what you should expect, especially if you're an international student and don't know how Sweden or the labour market in Sweden works. You really learn a lot with associations."
What do you think of Lund as a city?
"I come from Barcelona which is a really big city. So, at first, I was kind of shocked at how small Lund was, but I honestly just really liked it. It feels like a city built just for students. I just really love it because you can go out and meet a lot of people that you know in the streets and see familiar faces everywhere. The campus is super beautiful, and it just makes you excited to study – well maybe I wouldn't go that far – but it makes everything easier and there are a lot of nice cosy places to study or go for lunch. Even if it's small, Lund has literally everything that you would want to find in a city. There are a lot of gyms, a lot of clubs, and even a couple of museums. I know some people might prefer bigger cities, but then you also can just go to Malmö or to Copenhagen, or even Stockholm is not that far away. So yeah, I honestly really like just the city itself."
How have you found the transition from Spain to Sweden?
"The way that you make friends is definitely different. I feel like Spaniards and Swedes are really different in that sense. In Spain, we don't have that much student life within the university. We just go to university to study and then we have the rest of our life outside of the university. Here in Lund, everything is related to the university. You go to class, the nations, the unions; everything is within the context of the university. So of course, all the friends you make or at least 90% of the friends you make are going to be in the university, which is great because it creates a tight-knit community. I made my first friends in my corridor because I moved to Sweden a month before I started my programme, so I didn't meet my classmates until it started. Since my corridor mates are all international, I didn't feel that much culture shock because we were all kind of in the same situation."
What are you planning to do after your studies?
"I came here without really knowing what I wanted to do in the future (that's also why I wanted a programme that was broader than usual). I think in the beginning I wanted to do something environmentally related, but now that I've been here and I've been involved in those associations, my interests have shifted a bit. I am definitely still interested in environmental topics, but something that I hadn't thought about before was focusing on human rights and maybe indigenous issues as well (like the Sami people in Sweden). We don’t have an indigenous population in Spain, so this wasn't something that I had thought about before and it was just really interesting when I read about it."