My First Month Abroad
Greetings from Sweden!
While my friends, professors, and colleagues in the admission office back at Babson are busy shoveling out of the snow from the recent blizzards, I wanted to give an update on my semester abroad at Lund University.
First off, I’m so glad I have the opportunity to take a semester to study in another part of the world. The last four weeks have flown by as I’ve been adjusting to my new home and familiarizing myself with the Swedish culture! There are many differences and similarities between studying and living in Lund versus in Wellesley at Babson, but I want to highlight a few of the things that have stood out to me most since being abroad.
First off, Lund University is very different from Babson in that it has around 47,000 students and multiple faculties. Coming from a close community like Babson to a university that is the size of a small city has definitely been one of the more significant adjustments for me. Furthermore, the academic structure here in Lund is strikingly different than back home. Here they split their semester into two terms where most students take only two classes at once. Each class has lectures, which are not compulsory, and the professors expect you to address them by their first names (this informality felt very weird for me at first!). Also, most classes do not have participation grades and instead exams can count for 100% of your term grade. I’ve also noticed that professors here do not host office hours, but are open to scheduling appointments if students need extra help.
In my first term of the semester I am taking Swedish and Entrepreneurship. The Swedish language has been very challenging so far, but I’m making progress! It’s also easier to learn a language when you live in that country and are able to use it everyday to interact with others. My entrepreneurship course is very interesting and it’s been great to see the similarities and differences from what I’ve learned in FME at Babson. The professor for this course taught MBA students at Olin a few years ago and we have referenced many Babson terms, including the Timmons Model of Entrepreneurship. For these two courses, group work is a significant part of the learning process, just like at Babson.
Although there are many differences between the academic environment at Lund and Babson, I’m enjoying learning in a style that is different from what I’m used to. And most importantly, in addition to taking classes, one of the best parts about studying abroad is meeting new people and getting to be directly immersed in a new culture. In my first month here I have met students from all over Europe who have been very welcoming upon my arrival to Lund. Also, the Swedish culture is very nice! One of my favorite parts of the Swedish lifestyle is fika. Being the third largest coffee consumer in the world, fika is a time when the Swedes take a break from their day to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee and pastry while catching up with friends. There are many great cafes in Lund to grab fika at and to my delight the Swedish coffee is second to none!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading a little bit about the beginning of my study abroad experience. Shout out to the Glavin Office for helping make this all possible! I’ll be back soon to give another update on my exchange experience.
P.S. For those of you back at Babson who are reading this… feel free to send some of the snow my way!