Lund is a place in which half of the inhabitants are students. You can see that from a lot of things. There is a lot of focus on the vibrant student life in which the international students certainly are not forgotten. From the first day on, there were millions of activities to join. A lot of arrangements had been made, to welcome all new international students (which were 1.800 at arrival day only!). This was very nice, because it didn’t give you the time at all to be bored. But it could be confusing sometimes as well, as there were days that you were supposed to be at three places at the same time.
A big part of Lund’s student life consist of the ‘nations’. I think you can compare it a bit with student associations in Holland, but without any obligations. A nation is basically just a place to hang out, meet friends, enjoy brunches, lunches and dinners, compete in different sport teams and go to pub nights and parties. As Lund has several nations, you will have to choose one. But this doesn’t mean you can only go to the one you are member of, you can actually still go to every one of them. Besides the social activities, you can also choose to work at a nation. For example to be a help in the kitchen at dinners or take care of the drinks as bartender. The nations are called after certain Swedish districts. I joined Hallands nation although I have just been there to subscribe yet, because it really doesn’t matter which one you choose.
Besides the nations, I am also part of a very active and fun faculty. Because I study Biotechnology I am in the faculty of Engineering of the University. This faculty happens to be very serious about welcoming new students and provides them with an 5 week introduction, called the Nollning (nolla = zero). Originally this introduction was only available for the new Swedish students, but since two years every study program has accepted one international group to join as well. All different departments (study programs) of the faculty are dressed up in a different color overall and are called ‘Guilds’. I am part of the K guild (K-sektionen), which stands for Kemi (Chemistry) and contains the study programs of Biotechnology, Chemical Engineering and Food Technology. Our color is yellow and this is shown in the yellow overalls we wear during the introduction weeks. With your guild, you compete against the other guilds within the faculty in a lot of crazy activities and games. To give an example, I made a boat with a group of people from my guild with which we did a boat race in the lake near the faculty. After the race we all dove into the lake ourselves and went to the sauna in the faculty (?!) afterwards. For every activity or party that you have attended you can buy a ‘batch’ to sew on your overall. This way, you can show everyone what you have been up to during your college years. Besides the batches, it is also kind of tradition that you try to collect pieces of overalls of all different guilds and sew them together at your leg.
Especially in the first week of my stay in Lund, I have had a lot of activities, parties and dinners with the international group in my guild. It is a very unique, intensive and totally crazy way of doing an introduction, but it is definitely one of the things that make Lund and its student life even more amazing.
In Holland we know the concept ‘pre-party’, but in Sweden they take this to the extreme. They like to start their parties early and even have pre-pre-parties before the pre-party. After that there is often a ‘sittning’ (a fancy dinner with a lot of songs and drinks), then you go to an ‘in between party’ and after that it is time to go to a club. Of course we end the night with an after-party. I have never come so far that I have experienced all of them at one night, but maybe that’s something for the future!