Belfast to Sweden: My Study Abroad Experience
"Moving abroad and attending a different University was daunting at the time, but by far one of the best experiences of my life". Read Caitlin's study abroad experience.
It was a truly unique experience that I would not have been able to have without the Erasmus funding (Sweden is very expensive of course).
Why did you choose Lund University in Sweden?
Sweden, and Nordic countries in general, are a very expensive places to visit never mind live. So it seemed like a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend time there and immerse myself in the culture and life in Sweden whilst being financially supported by Erasmus loans, and I can safely say that I made the perfect decision.
Financial reasons were not the only reason for my choice. The student life in Lund is unique; not only is the city quaint and full of character it is a purely student city, being entirely built around the University and Student life with an abundance of student led groups and societies. This made the idea of moving away on my own a lot easier, as I knew it would be easy to integrate into university life there and make many new friends from all over the world.
Tell us about Lund University
The student experience in Lund is extraordinary. Academically Lund has a great reputation. It is the second biggest University in Sweden and one of the top 100 universities in the world. It was founded in 1666, with the city being built around it to become a true student city and an emblem of Swedish culture and life.
What is student life like in Sweden?
In Sweden they have a relaxed classroom model, with lectures almost always being informal and discussion-based. The lecturers are often very relaxed also, allowing many international students the flexibility to spend time travelling and seeing all that the Nordic countries have to offer.
Tell me some fun things you liked about Sweden
The Swedes do 'Fika' like the Irish do pubs, always taking time out of their day for a hot beverage, snack, and a chat. The vibrant and wholesome city quickly became a home away from home, when surrounded by so much wholesomeness and community how could it not.
The bakeries were always busy, and the pastries were to die for. I will never forget the amazing aroma of the city on cinnamon bun day (yes this is a national holiday in Sweden, how could it get any better?).
Did you make friends? What sort of things did you do?
I quickly made friends with people from all over the world who shared a love for travel so we did not stop at Lund, and decided to group together and go elsewhere. Firstly, we decided to go to a party in Copenhagen, which has a much more vibrant night life than other cities in Scandinavia. Being only 40 minutes by train from Lund this was the perfect first adventure.
Then we ventured to Norway by bus, visiting the beautiful cities of Oslo and Bergen before going to see the Fjords. The people of Norway are so friendly and helped us find our way around.
What's one of your best experiences from your year abroad?
In the build up to Christmas where else would we go other than Finnish Lapland? We had lots of fun at the Arctic Circle, the Levi ski resort and also had a swim in the Arctic sea before hitting the sauna.
This will always be one of the most magical and spectacular trips of my life. With the highlight of my entire trip being the fantastic northern lights display we were able to see whilst out snowshoeing.
Were you about to keep up with your studies while having so much fun?
Thankfully, I was able to keep up with my work by always being in contact with my lecturers and getting high grades that helped me achieve my best in my overall LLB Law degree at Queen's. Taking modules in both Swedish and European Business Law I have not only got amazing global connections in the world of Law, I also still use my Swedish tutor as an academic reference.
When it reached Christmas time and I had to pack up and leave Lund and my international friends it was a truly sad, bittersweet moment. Lund will always be a home away from home for me.
I am still in touch with the friends I made there and have even been to visit some of them since. I will never forget the experience and I will for sure be back.
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International Commercial and Business Law | Postgraduate Student | Northern Ireland
II am a 21-year-old student originally from Annalong and I have just started my Masters in International Commercial and Business Law. I love my degree as it is so relevant to modern times. Businesses and Corporations and their actions have a huge impact on the world and our day to day lives. I find many of the current topics that the course touches on fascinating such as Business and Human Rights and World Trade Law as they contain many new arising legal problems that need to be solved. When I am not in class or working on assignments, I am usually working in The Graduate School at Queen's. Otherwise, I can be found at one of the pub quizzes around the city with my friends.