Hi! My name is Nina, and I'm the student ambassador for the Master's programme in Public Health. 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.
Why did you choose this programme?
"I chose this programme at Lund primarily because I liked how the courses were set up. It was a pretty broad approach to public health. I knew I was interested in going into health promotion. However, I liked how this programme still covered lots of other areas, in case something else sparked my interest, and provided me with a broader foundation of public health. In addition to providing a very wide variety of courses in public health, it also gave me the freedom to choose electives or do an internship. It was built into the programme, and that wasn't something I found at all the other universities. Some programmes offered it, but I liked how Lund was very clear in the organisation of the course and the flexibility that we still had. I also really liked Lund's assistance for non-EU students in finding housing and scholarships.
I also knew one person who was studying in Lund while I was applying, and they were telling me all about fika—the coffee-pastry break culture—and the work-life balance, which was a big draw to Sweden. They also told me about the idea of casualness in education and the workplace. But it was primarily the programme that I liked."
What do you like most about your programme?
"I like how it covers both qualitative and quantitative methods. Outside of the coursework, one of my favourite things about this programme is how international it is. We have students from so many different places and very, very different backgrounds. It's nice to be able to learn from my classmates, just as much—if not more than—the course materials, and to gain perspective of various policies that in reality might be different than how they come off on paper. Also, being able to hear about different experiences from someone who's from that country - I don't think I would have gotten this experience back home in the US in a regular MPH programme."
Why should a prospective student choose Lund?
"I wouldn't say the international factor was a driving reason behind choosing Lund, but it's something I've really appreciated and taken out of my first year. Looking at all the other programmes I applied to in Sweden, I'm really glad that I went with Lund. When I was applying, I liked how courses were set up. It was like one course a month, and that's a format that I had some familiarity with. It was something I knew I could manage. That was a bonus that I was looking forward to."
What was your favourite course so far?
"Definitely the Health Promotion course. Going into the programme, I was already interested in this specific topic. This course reaffirmed that this is the field I want to go into.
We were able to do a health promotion intervention project on a small scale, which gave us the experience of building up an intervention practice and then writing about it. It definitely reaffirmed that I'm studying something that I really like and what I want to do. Getting that practical experience was very helpful."
What do you think about the teaching style in Lund?
"I think each professor I've had has had a very different teaching style. The lecture-seminar format provides a good structure and is similar to the one in the US.
There's also been a lot of group work, which I think has been super helpful. Speaking with some of my classmates, group work wasn't super common in their Bachelor’s. Learning how to work in a very diverse group was a new situation for many, but coming from the US, it was fairly common for me. I think most teachers here are a lot more relaxed than I'm used to. There's not that strong of a hierarchy in Swedish education. I think that's pretty different for me, to not have to address all my professors as "doctor" or "professor." I feel comfortable reaching out to my professors if I have questions or going to their office hours. Most of my professors have been pretty open in supporting and answering them all."
How international is your programme?
"I'd say it's very diverse. We have a lot of non-European students. I think we have students from every continent. What I like about the way students interact, is that everyone feels pretty comfortable raising their hand and sharing their experiences. In the middle of lectures, people will just raise their hand and say, "Oh, this reminds me of this experience or this case from back home.", "This is similar to this event that happened in Peru" or "This is a challenge that might be applicable in Ghana." It's been very exciting to get so many examples. In the lectures, students are very vocal about sharing their experiences within the class, after class and in discussions."
Are the backgrounds of your classmates as varied as their nationalities?
"My programme has a really big age range, which, from what I've heard from my housemates, is a bit different from their programmes. We have people who just finished their bachelor's and then go straight into a Master's. And we have people who are in their 40s, who have already had a career, or this is their second or third Master’s. There are a lot of nurses, we have medical doctors who come back for further education. There are a lot of people from pharmacy, physical therapy. I come from the social sciences – sociology and anthropology. We had someone who did their bachelor's in French, and someone in art history.
One thing from this programme – at least it was like this when I applied – is that it looked for people with work experience. I think a lot of the people who come from less traditionally health backgrounds have already had a lot of work experience. I think LU is also trying to communicate that health is not just medical sciences."
What do you do in your spare time?
"I, along with a couple of my classmates, are student representatives for EUGLOH (The European University Alliance for Global Health). We do a lot of work with EUGLOH, help organise activities and engage with students from different universities. I think EUGLOH has been such a great part of my experience here. Being able to get so many international connections and experiences, travelling around Europe and meeting with people with very different ideas and perspectives on health, and health access and promotion has been super encouraging and exciting.
I feel like all of that was made possible through Lund being a part of EUGLOH. It has been something I've truly appreciated about studying here, all the different opportunities – EUGLOH, Venture Lab, U21 and all the other alliances and affiliations – all those things that Lund tries to provide for students.
I'm also an international student mentor. That's been super fun. This is my second semester working as one. I also volunteer at Kristianstads Nation. It's been nice to get involved and meet more Swedish people at the nation and to experience more of Swedish student life."
What is it like being an international student at Lund?
"I live in LU Accommodation, so all my corridor mates are also international students. It's been super nice to get to know people from different cultures and backgrounds more in-depth. I'm really lucky that my corridor is very social. We cook dinners together, share food, and have game nights and movie nights. That's been a really good source of community for me, just living with other international students.
Starting my second year, something I realised I missed from back home is having a community of people from similar backgrounds that I can also connect with. But finding international friends hasn't been difficult when I make the effort. There are so many of them! I think the hardest part is balancing being social with studies and, for example, trying to make time to grab fika with people. Overall, I think it's been pretty easy to make international friends. And for me, it's been important to have both international and similar-cultural-background friends, in addition to also making Swedish friends. I try to find a little mix of both."
Have more questions for Nina?
You can chat with her and other current students directly via Unibuddy.