Daniel from Spain
What is your educational background?
"I will graduate from the Photonics programme in 2022. I am from Spain and I had never studied abroad before coming here. In 2020, I graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Physics at the University of Santiago de Compostela. During my Bachelor’s, I got very interested in optics and quantum mechanics."
Why did you choose Lund University? How did you find out about the programme?
"When I finished my degree, my intention was to study for a Master's degree abroad specialising in the field of photonics. I was especially interested in studying in Scandinavia because of the high-quality education that I had always heard was offered in Nordic countries. Searching on the internet, I discovered the Photonics Master’s programme given at Lund University. This became a serious candidate for me, knowing that Lund University is considered one of the best universities in Europe and a lot of research is done in the field of photonics, especially through the Lund Laser Centre and MAX IV – both considered to be European leading facilities in the field of optics and photonics."
What does the programme entail and what do you think of the courses?
"This is a 120 ECTS-credits Master’s programme (2-years). The courses cover everything from the fundamentals of optics, optical design and lasers – to modern applications such as laser spectroscopy, medical optics, optoelectronics, optical communications or ultrafast optics. In most of the courses, there is a final examination which you need to pass in order to pass the course. In addition, there are labs done in pairs where one can see experimentally what has been explained during the lectures. In some of the courses, there are projects where the students work in a more independent way on one of the topics covered during the course. The Master’s is concluded with a 30 ECTS Master’s degree project that each student will carry out being part of a research group or in collaboration with industry.
I like the structure of the programme. The mandatory courses help students acquire a solid understanding of optics. From my own experience, during the first year of the Master's degree, one finds many attractive topics on which to do the thesis the following year. In my case, it was especially thanks to two courses: Light-Matter Interaction and Advanced Optics and Lasers, that I discovered my interest in ultrafast optics – the subject on which I am currently doing my Master's thesis at the Division of Atomic Physics in the Lund Attosecond Science Center."
Have your expectations been fulfilled? What has surprised you?
"All my expectations were more than met. I am very happy with the education I have received so far. I have great classmates and the teachers are very nice and supportive. I have made good friends thanks to the fun welcome activities that the LTH (Faculty of Engineering) student associations organise to involve the new students.
Something that has pleasantly surprised me, is the evaluation criteria of the various courses since they greatly encourage teamwork as well as learning through laboratory exercises and projects.
As for life in Sweden, one of the things that have surprised me the most is how easy it is to use the bike here, although public transport in Skåne is very efficient and cheap which makes it also a very good option to travel. People here are generally a bit more introverted than in Spain but once you get to know them it is easy to find nice and friendly people."
What is the difference between being a student at LTH (Faculty of Engineering) compared to your previous university studies?
"I feel that there is a much healthier student environment here, where group work is encouraged as well as learning through understanding and not memorising facts. Moreover, I think there is better communication between teachers and students, which I see reflected in less stress as you have a good idea of the work that needs to be done in order to pass the course or to get a higher grade."
What do you do in your spare time? What is student life in Lund like?
"In Spain, I used to play football, but when I got to Lund, I wanted to try new sports. Here, it is very easy to find people interested in practising other sports such as badminton, volleyball or chess. I also love going for "fika" (breaks for coffee and pastries) with friends in the fantastic cafés that can be found in Lund. As you can probably tell, the balance between studies and personal life is very good in Lund. Whenever I have the opportunity, I also like to travel around Sweden. Lund is in a great location for short trips to nature or big cities like Malmö and Copenhagen."
Any other thoughts you have that you think could be interesting to people applying for this programme?
"I highly recommend coming to Lund to study in the Photonics Master’s programme. Here, you will obtain a high-level education and you will have the opportunity to experience and learn from state-of-the-art research in multiple areas of photonics. At the same time, you will experience life in a multicultural city in the south of Sweden where you will make good friends and get unforgettable experiences. If you finally decide to come here, start looking for accommodation early on since it can be hard to find something that you like – and don't forget to come prepared for the weather since it can be quite rainy and windy sometimes!"