By CHRISTINE PAHEL
Beep! Beep! Beep! I heard my alarm energetically call to me. Battling jet lag, I was not as enthusiastic to get up early in the morning. However, it was Wednesday—time to meet the faculty. It was the second day of welcome week, where department coordinators introduced students to their departments, and students finished registering for classes. Do not skip these meetings—no matter how tempting sleep may be—because they are essential to finish formally enrolling in your classes. Each major department holds their own meeting, so if you are taking multiple disciplines while abroad, you’ll have to go to more than one meeting. Since I am taking Political Science and Psychology while here, I attended both the Faculty of Social Science’s registration meeting and the Department of Political Science’s meeting. Below is a picture of one of the buildings in Paradise (Paradis), which is where the majority of the social science buildings are located.
That night was the Welcome Reception in the University Main Building (Universitetshuset). Located in the center of town, the cream exterior of the building contrasted with the black night’s sky. The top of the building has two gargoyles with human faces on either side. A large fountain sits directly center of the front of the building. Even though it was turned off because of the chilling weather, it still had a commanding presence. Nearly every day, I pass this building during my journey through town, and every day I am stunned by how gorgeous it is. I cannot wait to finally see the fountain turned on in front of it, and the plants on either side of it blooming in the springtime weather. Below I attached a picture of it in the daylight. While it is gorgeous at night, it is difficult to make out the finer details of the building in a photograph.
The inside of the building was equally impressive. Chandeliers lined the main room from the entrance to the stage. If you looked up, you could see the artfully crafted ceiling, which was painted in a pattern of beige, tan, and blue. The night started with a selection of traditional songs from Lund University’s Male Choir (Lunds Studentsångförening). According to the conductor, this choir is the oldest in Sweden, and their talent certainly spoke to that honor. While it is difficult to understand the lyrics, since most of the songs were purely in Swedish, the choir’s tones melded together in a beautiful arrangement of music. After a great round of applause from the audience, the host, the Vice Chancellor, welcomed the exchange students to Lund University. A university, he stated, that was created after the conquest of Skåne from Denmark. Skåne, the county Lund resides in, was given a university in order to aid in making the newly acquired territory loyal to the Swedish Crown. After the Vice Chancellor’s speech, we retired into the grand entrance room for some small desserts, sparkling cider, and light beer. There, exchange students had a chance to mingle with each other. When it seemed like the evening was almost over, a student joke band burst in and entertained us, giving us one last taste of Swedish student life before heading back home.
SUSA, the introductory Swedish language class for exchange students, comprises most of orientation. It is divided into two classes, SUSA11 and SUSA12. SUSA11 is for students with little to no Swedish skills, whereas SUSA12 is for those who have been exposed to Swedish prior to coming to Lund University and have a general working knowledge. Most exchange students, who elect to take a SUSA course, choose to take SUSA11. While SUSA is optional for exchange students, UCEAP has it as a mandatory component of their program. The language program has six language lectures and one lecture on culture. Don’t let the few number of lectures fool you. This course does cover a lot of information in the limited amount of time granted towards it. Some of the topics covered in the class include the alphabet, telling time, verb tenses, basic phrases, numbers, school subjects, and a lot of general vocabulary. After the ten blocks are covered, students are tested on the material in a 50 question multiple choice and true/false exam. By the time of the exam, the teachers expect you to be able to comprehend a long dialogue and text that is completely in Swedish. If you are studying abroad during fall semester, this two-week language course will be completed before any of your actual courses start. However, if you are studying abroad for spring semester, like I am, the latter week of the language course will likely coincide with your other courses. I suggest familiarizing yourself with some basic Swedish in order to take some stress off your plate during your first weeks in Lund, especially if you are taking regular courses at the same time as the language course. Otherwise, the class can get quite overwhelmin