LU Alumni around the world: Copenhagen

This week’s LU Alumni around the world, Markéta Urbanová

This week we meet Markéta Urbanová, alumna from the master’s programme in Business Administration with a specialisation in Globalisation, Brands and Consumption (class of 2016), and from the master’s degree program in Asian studies, with a specialisation in Japan (class of 2018).

Q: Why did you decide to study at Lund University?

After high school in the Czech Republic, I moved to Copenhagen to study my Bachelor’s degree in Marketing Management at Copenhagen Business Academy. When finishing my Bachelor’s degree, I began researching different universities in Europe to find the right Master’s programme for me, which I could not find in Denmark. My classmates told me about Lund University, and when I started researching more, I learned that it was the right match for me. It met all my requirements, including an interesting programme – ‘Globalisation, Brands and Consumption’, being a highly ranked university, and located in Scandinavia with a close proximity to Copenhagen.

Q: You used to work within consumer marketing, and now you are working towards business marketing. What made you decide to change focus?

There was no specific reason why I changed my area, rather it was more about finding a company whose values were in line with my own. I believe that the people you work with have a great influence on whether you enjoy your job or not, as well as the location of the company. I did not want to stay in Lund anymore, which is one of the reasons why I decided to move back to Copenhagen, where I want to settle for the near future. Not only is location important, but also working within a rewarding industry. I want to work at a company that provides goods or services that I believe in and that are exciting. All in all, the values the company, the people of the company, and the location of the company are essential for me; not whether the job is within BtC or BtB. I think it is a good challenge to change areas and industries now and then, since I believe that it can spark my creativity and foster my development within my field, i.e. digital marketing.

Q: During your studies, you both studied and worked, how did you plan your day as a full-time student with work on the side?

I must say, it was not always easy balancing full-time studies and work on the side. I believe it is all about motivation and structure, as well as your priorities. I tend to be quite strict with myself and I am very goal-oriented. I was never much for nations or partying, but more for achieving my academic and career goals. The way for me to achieve my goals was through working and getting more experience from different companies, as well as studying. During the summers, for instance, I was not the type of person to take a two-month long vacation with my family. Instead, I saw the time as an opportunity to learn more by being an intern in different organisations within diplomacy. By having various jobs and internships, I hope I can differentiate myself from others and add value to my skill set, which I think is important, especially when people with similar academic backgrounds compete for the same jobs. But all of that would not be possible without the immense support from my family, friends and colleagues at Sony. Also, running helped a lot to keep myself sane.

Q: You have two Master’s degrees from Lund University, one in Business Administration with a specialisation in Globalisation, Brands and Consumption, and one in Asian Studies. Did you know what you wanted to work with when you started studying at Lund University?

When I started my studies at Lund University, I knew what I wanted to work with. This is because of the different internships I had had where I realised that I wanted to work within an international company in the private sector, rather than in a start-up company.

Markéta at her graduation ceremony

Q: In what ways do you think your education from Lund University benefits you in your work?

My education from Lund University focused on analysis, structure and critical thinking, which are important no matter the field in which you work. In terms of the programes themselves, there are not many links to Asia at DFDS, however, the international trade plays a big role within such a business. On the other hand, an online marketing course from my Business degree has proved very helpful. We learned about SEO, content marketing and analytics tools, which I now use on a daily basis.

Q: What do you think you will be doing in 10 years’ time?

That is a difficult question, which I do not like to answer. Even though I am an organised planner, I have realised throughout the years that you cannot plan everything. Life takes you down paths that you did not even think of before. And that can only happen when you explore and do not stand still. So 10 years is quite far into the future if you think of all that you can experience during that time. Personally, I hope to have a family by then. Professionally, I see myself as an experienced professional surrounded by a team of positive and inspiring people. Hopefully I help them in their own development that would, in turn, contribute to the company (maybe my own company, who knows). I also hope to grow into a person who can inspire others. That is probably my life vision. Finally, I will strive for a good work-life balance.

Q: What are your top three tips for current students at Lund University?

  • Be focused. Even if you are unsure of some things or you do not know if what you are doing is the right thing; focus can lead you there. This is the case no matter which discipline you study.
  • Be disciplined. Self-discipline is very challenging, but so important. At least trying to be disciplined is something one should strive for.
  • Be reflective. Be critical and reflect on everything you do. Learn from your mistakes.
  • Last, but not least, my bonus tip is to always be fair and kind! I believe this is the prerequisite for our co-existence. 🙂

 

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LU meets alumni in London

On 4 October we hosted an alumni reception at the Swedish Embassy in London. Many alumni gathered after work for a fruitful evening of mingling and networking. Alumni also enjoyed an inspiring talk by Professor Thomas Kalling, professor of Strategic Management and director of SITE at the School of Economics and Management (LUSEM). In his talk Innovation Research at LUSEM through Industry Collaboration, professor Kalling told us about his work with SITE, a recently formed unit reflecting the School’s commitment to research collaboration with industry within areas connected to organisational and institutional renewal, such as entrepreneurship, innovation, technology management, and strategy.

As it was Kanelbullens dag (Cinnamon Bun Day), we cleaned out a local Swedish bakery and made sure our alumni could enjoy one of Sweden’s most beloved sweet treats.

Join the Facebook Group

It was great to hear that there is such an interest in starting a local group. After our pre-event meeting we had with a few alumni, we came to the conclusion that we can get the ball rolling by starting a Facebook group for London-based alumni.

You can join the group here and start inviting fellow LU alumni in the area. It’s an open group where everyone is welcome to add members, posts, photos and events.

Chapter info

The ambition is that this is now a group you all can use to meet other alumni and plan your own activities. Perhaps after a couple events, and if there is a group of alumni who would like to form a committee, we can create an official chapter in London! Check out our website here for more information about starting a chapter.

Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or ideas for future alumni activities in London!

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LU Alumni around the world: Gornji Milanovac

This week we meet Iva Cvjeticanin, alumna from the master’s programme in Economic Growth and Spatial Dynamics, class of 2013, sharing her daily life as a Design Hub coordinator at Tetra Pak in the city of Gornji Milanovac, Serbia and as an international alumni leader.

Q: You graduated with a Master’s degree in Economic Growth, Innovation and Spatial Dynamics, class of 2013. Can you tell us a bit more about what you’re working with today?

I am very happy to share my story with other alumni and students! After graduation in 2013 I came back to Serbia and found a job in Tetra Pak in my hometown. When living in Lund I passed by Tetra Pak so many times. My new employment made me so excited because I knew that in this way I am staying attached to Sweden and to Lund. I work in a department called Design Hub Europe and Central Asia. We do technical preparation of designs to be printed in our factories around the world. My role is Design Hub Coordinator and, as I like to say it, I do everything except the designs. As an economist by formal education, I deal with various reports on productivity, cost, daily and monthly realization of job volumes. I also take part in big projects that are implemented globally and support implementation of certain methodologies in our daily work. On my to-do list are also organization of soft skills training for my colleagues and yearly team building activities.

Q: What does your typical work day look like?

I can’t say that there are typical work days for my role. However, it depends on the period of the month. I am usually busiest in the beginning of the month and in the end of the year when I am dealing with all kinds of reports for previous months or quarters.

So, let me tell you a bit my day looks like in the beginning of the month (written with the assumption that during the day there were no interruptions – which is highly unlikely). My official work day starts at 8am and ends at 4pm. I usually come a bit earlier to make coffee with my colleagues, prepare everything, and then we are all ready at 8am to start working. Unless I have a very urgent task, I start my day with reading e-mails and setting priorities for that day. At 9am we have a regular morning meeting where we analyze the performance of the previous day and discuss hot topics. Then, until lunch I have an undisrupted time that I use for data collections from different sources and platforms. Around noon, together with my colleagues, I go for a lunch where we try not to talk about work topics. We try to use this time to relax, tell funny stories and vacation adventures etc. When I’m back in the office I usually have (at least) one more meeting regarding an ongoing project and before I go home I use the data I obtained to start creating the reports.

“Last year team building with my work”

Q: Has your Lund University education been beneficial in your work? In what ways?

I would say that my education together with living in Sweden was an invaluable experience that helped me in many ways in my further career and I, would dare to say, my everyday life. First, education at Lund University helped me develop critical thinking. Now, I have a habit of questioning conventional thinking as well as questioning “doing things a certain way because we’ve been always doing them like that”. That is not good enough and calls for a change. In addition, the independent research we were conducting enabled me to manage a great number of different data in a limited time and make good analysis of it. Also, Lund University encouraged brainstorming and group problem solving sessions, which is a very useful skill when you work in a big team.

Also, living in an international environment makes you very open, tolerant and understanding to other cultures and any kind of diversities. This is especially important when working in an international company and cooperating with people from many different countries.

Q: You recently visited Stockholm for the Swedish Institute Alumni Leaders Meeting with alumni who have studied in Sweden, from all around the world. We are keen to hear about your experiences; what are your top 3 takeaways from the meeting?

Yes, I have attended the Swedish Institute Alumni Leaders Meeting and I am very grateful to the Swedish Institute for giving me this opportunity! I was representing Swedish Alumni Network Western Balkans (SANWB) which is a regional network for alumni from Balkan area. The organization was flawless and we fully enjoyed a very fruitful few days! Let me summarize my experience in 3 important points.

First, it was so inspiring to meet the alumni from all over the world! We were around 26 alumni from 24 different countries. During the days we spent together we shared experiences, brainstormed, made future plans and helped each other out with advice. It was a great feeling to see that no matter how different we seem from the outside, we have many things in common. We are all devoted to our alumni networks and we are trying to keep the Swedish spirit alive in our own countries (e.g. the majority of networks organize Kanelbullens dag in their countries in October). We all came back from Sweden with tremendous amount of memories and now we are making efforts to share all good things and habits we learned in Sweden.

Network for Future Global Leaders – Alumni conference in Stockholm 2018

Second, we had an opportunity to meet students and attend the diploma ceremony at the City Hall. It was very exciting to see all these students proud of themselves for finishing such an important chapter of their lives. They came to talk to us, asking numerous questions of what they can expect next, how does a life after Sweden look like, how to fit in the life of their home countries, how to live without “fika”… For us, it was like a travel in a time capsule. We were all remembering the time when we were in their shoes – happy, confused and optimistic about the future.

Third, I had to point out this lucky occasion, and I guess everybody who lived in Sweden will understand – the amazing weather we had in Stockholm! I landed on 27 degrees at 8pm in Stockholm and there are not enough words to express my happiness. 😊 During our stay we had an abundance of sunshine and I believe we all fell in love in Stockholm (again).

Q: If you could plan an ultimate vacation, where would you go?

There are many places on my travel bucket list, but if it were an ultimate vacation you would probably find me trekking through Latin America. 😊

“My dog and I during our winter walks”

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Swedish alumni event in NYC, 13 September

Lund University alumni based in New York City had the opportunity to mingle at the Official Swedish Residence on Park Avenue, as part of a special reception co-hosted by Mr. Leif Pagrotsky, Consul General of Sweden in New York, and several Swedish universities.

Catarina Dolsten (Medical Degree and BSc Business Administration and Economics; Lund University Foundation Advisory Board member) and Mikael Dolsten (PhD Medicine)

The Swedish universities were in the Big Apple as part of a marketing and recruitment visit, with the goal to attract more US students to study in Sweden. The Swedish universities were attending graduate fairs, hosting an information event and meeting with the Consulate General of Sweden in NYC and Swedish American Chamber of Commerce NYC to discuss opportunities to raise awareness for Sweden’s extensive range of degree programmes taught in English.

The alumni networking event was an ideal opportunity to re-connect with graduates and gain their feedback about their own study experience while also sharing ideas to reach out to prospective students in the US. It was a most enjoyable and lively evening with Swedish and international alumni sharing their memories and swapping contact details as they networked at the beautiful residence building.

Marc Gorrie (MSc International Human Rights Law) and Adriana (Yana) Matos (MSc Finance) and Megan Grindlay (Lund University International Marketing Manager)

Lund University recruits students from all over the world to a range of 8 Bachelors and 100 Master’s programmes taught in English. The US is one of Lund’s top non-EU recruitment markets and we are regularly visiting the US to meet prospective applicants. You find our latest US and world tour schedule here – please feel welcome to help us spread the word that Lund University is currently on tour, or perhaps you might even suggest a visit to Sweden to attend the Lund University Graduate Fair on 22 November (Thanksgiving weekend)!

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The sustainable alumni lifestyle

On 13 September Lund University alumni gathered in Malmö for an After Work about “Sustainable Lifestyles”. We took the opportunity to ask some of our alumni how they try to live sustainably.

Name: Anna
Studies: Law, 2017
What do you do to live a sustainable life?
1. I try to repair broken things instead of throwing them away.
2. I don’t buy plastic bags.
3. I try to avoid dairy products (since I can’t say no to cheese and the occasional burger).

Name: Allisa
Studies: Media and Communications, 2017
What do you do to live a sustainable life?
1. Meal planning for the week so I buy the right amount of food.
2. Reduce plastic use.
3. Eat less meat.

Name: Jian
Studies: Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science, 2014
What do you do to live a sustainable life?
1. I don’t have a car. I usually use public transportation and if I need a car I use a car sharing service.
2. I only buy second hand clothes to my children.
3. Eat less meat.

Name: Amanda
Studies: Lund University employee, Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
What do you do to live a sustainable life?
1. I try to avoid the big impact things, like flying.
2. I don’t have a car.
3. Eat vegetarian.

Name: Andrei
Studies: Logistics, Service Management, 2015
What do you do to live a sustainable life?
1. I take the bike to work.
2. Use public transportation.
3. I try to limit my purchases, for example reducing the consumption of clothes.

 

 

 

 

Name: Robert
Studies: Bachelor of science in statistics, Bachelor of science in business and administration, as well as Masters of Science in Finance, 2015
What do you do to live a sustainable life?
1. During the summer-time, I always bike.
2. I use cotton bags when shopping and energy-saving lights.
3. I also make sure that I turn off the lights when leaving a room.
4. I never throw away my old clothes, but give them to charity instead. Before I give away the clothes, I always make sure to repair them.

 

Name: Georgia
Studies: Masters in Asian Studies. 2018
What do you do to live a sustainable life?
1. I bike a lot.
2. I have also consciously made the decision to eat less meat.
3. Making use of reusable mugs, cotton bags when shopping, and trying not to consume too much, are other things I do to live a sustainable lifestyle.

 

 

Name: Louise
Studies: Bachelors in Contemporary Swedish, Literature, Contemporary English and Media and Communications Studies
What do you do to live a sustainable life?
1. I actively take the train. A great adventure tip is to go interrailing in Europe as an adult; it is easy, fun and very rewarding.
2. I do not own a car, I never have, but for me this has never been a sacrifice. There are adequate car sharing alternatives.
3, Currently, I am studying to become a Sustainability Specialist. This has lead me to wonder how one should approach the subject of sustainable living to other people, without being perceived as ‘preachy’ and pretentious. Because it is not about being perfect, it is about tweaking your own behaviour to gradually become more aligned with the planetary boundaries that we all have to live within.

Alumni Events/Updates 0

LU Alumni around the world: Vienna

This week we meet Melanie Hetzer and Josef Moser, alumni from the MSc in Entrepreneurship, class of 2016. They share their story on pursuing their entrepreneurial dream by creating their mobile app Cora which gives support to people suffering from hypertension.

Q: You studied the master’s degree programme in Entrepreneurship in 2015-2016. What have you been up to since your graduation?

The first thing we actually did after graduating was travelling through Sweden and enjoying Swedish summer. Coming back, we followed our dream of becoming entrepreneurs and founded our health plattform Cora Health.

Q: You are the founders of Cora Health, a mHealth app dedicated to support people in their lives with hypertension. Can you tell us more about the app and your business?

Cora Health is a health platform in the field of hypertension. As a matter of fact, one in four adults in Europe is affected by the condition and an overwhelming number of those have developed hypertension as a result of an a unhealthy lifestyle. Cora Health is a connected health platform, offering blood pressure patients the information and guidance necessary to adopt heart-healthy changes in their lifestyle. Featuring an app, health guide, and newsletter, our platform helps patients to better understand their condition and supports them to take action and improve their heart health by starting a healthier life.

Q: What do you find are the major challenges for app businesses?

Nowadays, the mobile app business is a very tough business environment. Millions of apps compete for the attention of their users. If you want to be successful in the App Stores, you need to have a great and engaging product and a marketing strategy that goes beyond the App Store. We are lucky to be able to draw from years of experience in the field, but the high competition is indeed a challenge that is often underrated or even overlooked by entrepreneurs in the space.

Q: What does a typical work day as an entrepreneur look like for you?

As an entrepreneur you have a very diversified work day which means that every day can be quite different. While this is challenging, it is also very rewarding as you are able to learn and improve your skills in many different fields. Our regular tasks include everything from product development, to marketing, to people management.

The CoraHealth team

Q: What do you think is the biggest difference between being employed and running your own business?

For us, running our own business means freedom. As a bootstrapped startup, we are only accountable to ourselves which gives us the opportunity to try out just about anything. Nonetheless, this self-responsibility can also be a burden: as an entrepreneur your work simply is not over after you head home from the office. You will have many evenings full of thoughts and work and also sleepless nights.

Q: Has your Lund University education been beneficial in your work? In what ways?

Having graduated from the MSc in Entrepreneurship has helped us a lot in developing our business. First and foremost, our studies and especially the business project and internship we conducted in our second term has helped us develop the mindset required to living the rollercoaster life of an entrepreneur. Furthermore, we gained lots of knowledge and methodical skills that help us in our daily lives.

Q: If you could envision the future, where do you see yourself and your business in five years’ time?

Our goal is to become the go-to connected health platform for hypertension patients in Europe. We want help as many people as possible – pursuing this dream is what gets us up in the morning.

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Autumn Alumni Activities

Back in business again after the long hot summer holidays here in Sweden! We are kicking off the autumn semester by finalising plans for a busy event calendar for all our alumni, both Skåne-based and around the world.

Here are the events planned (so far):

In Lund

  • 13 September: Alumni After Work in Malmö with the theme “A sustainable lifestyle” (FULLY BOOKED)
  • 20 September: Student workshop “Network with Intention – Build Meaningful Relationships”
  • 11 October: Family afternoon at the Physics and Laser Show at Fysicum
  • 12 November: Seminar “Turn your global experience into a professional asset”
  • 13 December: Our amazing Lucia breakfast in the University main building

 

International events

  • 13 September: Alumni evening at the Swedish residence in New York. In cooperation with other Swedish universities, at the Swedish residence. (FULLY BOOKED)
  • 4 October: London Alumni Reception
  • 9 October: Tokyo Alumni Reception in connection to the MIRAI conference
  • 17 October: Alumni Reception in Den Haag with other LERU universities.
  • 24 October: Joint alumni event in Shanghai with other Swedish universities
  • 7 November: Berlin Alumni meet-up

Meet us in New York, London, Tokyo, The Hague, Shanghai and Berlin this autumn!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact the Alumni Office at info@alumni.lu.se.

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LU Alumni around the world: Denver

Gordon Lindeen attended our alumni event in Denver last spring and reconnected with Lund University. He is a shareholder at Hall Estill Attorneys at Law in Denver, Colorado. We have asked him a few questions about what he has been up to since his exchange studies at Lund University in the 1980s.

Q: What do you work with today? What does a typical day in the office look like?

My name is Gordon Lindeen and I have been a practicing intellectual property attorney since 1987. From June 1982 to June 1983 I studied in Sweden as a part of the University of California Education Abroad Program. Over the years, I have been involved in almost every aspect of patent, trademark, copyright and trade secrets law: acquisition, licensing, sale, evaluation, and enforcement. Lately, most of my work has been obtaining patents for major companies in the electronics, communications, and semiconductor fields. Every few days, I will have a conversation for an hour or two with a group of innovators about the group’s most recent new invention. I will then spend a few days preparing a patent application, confer again with the group to make sure that it is right and then submit that to an appropriate national or regional government patent office. I will also work with in-house counsel at the group’s company to make sure the company is getting the patents that it wants. Patent prosecution work is always new and exciting to me because I work with creative people and with their new ideas. It is also easy to keep a positive outlook because the inventors are excited to explain their invention.

On other days I will receive correspondence from those patent offices about earlier patent applications and why they may be rejected or allowed. This work requires an extensive comparison of the invention with what came before and the careful drafting and redrafting of claims that attempt to express the new invention in words. I work with patent attorneys and patent examiners in this and other countries to prepare these claims and explain these claims in a way that is convincing to the respective examiners.

Another aspect of this work is working with company management and engineers to determine a strategy for what should be patented and which patents should be sold, purchased or licensed. These are long term strategy discussions and decisions and it takes many years to see results. The enforcement side can be very different. In my view, the excitement and drama of litigation and adversarial negotiations around the globe is canceled out by the many quiet hours of analysis and preparation that go into any multi-million dollar decision regarding complex technology.

Q: As a patent attorney, what have been some of the unexpected challenges associated with the job? Any advice for students and young alumni thinking about following this career path?

This is a job that requires a great amount of careful study and careful thought. It is also a job where most of what you write is placed into a permanent record and might be used against the patent 10 or 15 years later in a dispute. Putting so much care into each word is not for everyone. In that way, the work is not for everyone, but it can be extremely satisfying for the right person. Another side of this work is becoming a patent examiner at a national patent office or at the European Patent Office. A great many patent examiners quit after a year or two but the ones who stay tend to enjoy their work.

One of my early surprises was how much patent trials are not like television courtroom dramas. Because so much is at stake, most cases are settled before they ever go to trial. A patent litigator’s job is mostly study and preparation and most of the arguments are not to a jury but to lawyers for the other side. On the other hand there are more patent disputes now than ever before and this trend is not likely to change for a few years.

Student housing – Delfinen (circa 1982)

Q: We noticed on your Hall Estill profile that you have Swedish listed under Foreign Languages. Has your former time in Sweden and your Swedish language skills come in handy during your work as an attorney in the United States? If yes, how so?

As a persuasive writer and a reader, which is most of my work, becoming conversant in Swedish not only deepened my understanding of English, but also brought me new ways of looking at the same idea. While Sweden and the USA share a common cultural foundation, there are more differences than many would suppose. Some differences are superficial and some differences are fundamental. Sometimes it is hard to tell. While “fika” and “lagom” seem superficial they point to a something fundamentally different. The Swedish language is the embodiment of Swedish cultural ideas so that these differences can only be fully understood through the language. Living in Sweden and conversing in Swedish gave me intellectual insights and abilities that cannot be obtained through book study. I apply these insights in my writing and in my arguments. It allows me to make different arguments from different perspectives to make the same point. This might also be true if I had learned Russian or Vietnamese, but I see the closeness of Swedish to English as an advantage in improving my use of English.

The AF building (circa 1982)

Q: Looking back on your student days, what would you say is one of the most valuable takeaways from your exchange studies at Lund University?

The physics institute was a lovely place and a welcome refuge even in friendly Lund. The instruction was good, the classes were small, and the professors were kind and welcoming. All of my credits were recognized by the University of California and yet these undergraduate courses were not greatly different from similar courses at home.
The greatest value from the year in Sweden, guided, advised, and supported by our fantastic faculty guide James Massengale from UCLA, was learning to thrive in this foreign country with these foreign people. It is a pleasant and valuable thing to travel to another place and talk to shopkeepers, taxi drivers, and others that you may meet. It is another thing to move in to student housing, join a student nation, take courses, struggle through the material in a study group, take examinations, make friends, and become part of a society for year. Not only did I gain a deep insight into Swedish culture but I also gained a deep insight into my own, including how it is perceived by those on the outside.

Faculty advisor Professor James Massengale at a midsummer celebration in Malung

Q: What is your favorite memory (or one of your favorites) from your student days in Lund?

Lund is a beautiful city from the old cathedral to the springtime delight of the fields in bloom. Lund is also as close to Berlin or Oslo as it is to Stockholm and I did travel with some fellow students. Nevertheless, my favorite memories outside the classroom are of the warmth and kindness of my fellow students whether in the basement at Wermlands Nation or dancing weekly with Lunds Studenters Folkdanslag.

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Voices from Arrival Day

On 20 August, Lund University had the pleasure to welcome over 1700 new international students to Lund on the official Arrival Day in AF Borgen. Today you meet some of the new students who arrived from near and far.

Name: Josh
From: Australia
Studies: Chemistry
Why did you choose Lund University?
“It’s a beautiful city and university. It’s bilingual, so I have the chance to learn Swedish.”
Looking forward to right now:
“Having a shower!”

 

 

 

Name: Elisa
From: Italy
Studies: Management
Why did you choose Lund University?
“I have two friends who spent last semester in Lund and they told me many beautiful things about studying here. So, I wanted to give it a try. The School of Economics and Management also offers many interesting courses within my field.”
Looking forward to right now:
“Actually, I’m looking for new friends. I just arrived and everything feels a little confusing. I’m looking forward to settling in and hope to enjoy my course at the School of Economics and Management.”

 

Name: Anna
From: Finland
Studies: Medicine
Why did you choose Lund University?
“I want to learn Swedish and Lund is a nice town.”
Looking forward to right now:
“To unpack my bags!”

 

 

 

 

Name: Davide
From: Venezuela
Studies: Computer Engineering
Why did you choose Lund University?
“Sweden is a great country with many opportunities. And you can find good work here.”
Looking forward to right now:
“I’m looking forward to meeting people! I have been in Lund for some time and it’s been a little lonely!”

 

 

 

Name: Mioko
From: Japan (just arrived after a 21 hour long flight)
Studies: Media and Communications
Why did you choose Lund University?
“I wanted to study abroad and improve my English. I had heard that people in Sweden speak English fluently. I had also heard a lot of good things about Lund, and that people are nice, from friends who have studied here. I’m looking forward to connecting with people and meeting a lot of international friends.”
Looking forward to right now:
“Making new friends and improving my English”

University happenings/Updates 0

Autumn – happy expectations or a stressful flying start?

During the summer we will publish popular articles from the Alumni Network newsletter, Lundensaren. This week you will get some useful advice on how to have a happy start at work after the summer holidays.

Become a member of the Alumni Network here to receive Lundensaren on a regular basis.

Text: Britta Collberg

Autumn can be a time of new beginnings and happy expectations, as it is for children on their way to their first day at school. For others, it means throwing oneself back into the struggle for work and recognition with a gnawing sense of inadequacy.

“Both relationships and employment are less stable in our time. We have to try to maintain a feeling for what is important in life”, says sociologist at Lund University Bo Isenberg.

He himself recently returned to work, has held a few introductory lectures and feels satisfied with his efforts.

“I have made a difference by listening to the new students’ questions and explaining to them what sociologists do. On other days, it is not equally clear what I have achieved, and then I feel more insecure.”

He shares that feeling of insecurity with a growing number of people. Sociologists study social change and they observe that society is changing fast, becoming more complex and harder to fathom.

“Terms of employment change, companies get bought up and move. Nowadays, even large parts of the middle class live with uncertain employment and abstract or shifting work duties. People feel replaceable and lack control over their lives.”

Meanwhile, we are expected to interpret change as something positive, thereby demonstrating our flexibility and enterprising spirit.

“The picture isn’t all black and white. Of course there is much that has improved. Gender equality for example – that is a revolution that has happened, to the benefit of all parties”, says Bo Isenberg, who was recently on parental leave himself with his little daughter.

He likes to read to his daughter in the evenings, but sometimes he does check his work emails as well…

“I believe that many people feel they risk missing something if they completely shut down. It can make it more difficult for them to assert themselves at work; colleagues today are competitors to a high degree.”

“In order for change to be positive, you have to feel that you can influence it yourself, but increasing numbers of people are forced to be flexible to conditions imposed by others”, says Bo Isenberg. They don’t recognise themselves in the political rhetoric on freedom of choice. In disappointment, some turn their backs on a reality that is increasingly complex and hard to grasp, becoming drawn to simplistic solutions. Politically, we see this on both the right and the left. It is comprehensible, but dangerous. Bo Isenberg would also like to see more honest public debate about everyone not having the same chances: class, gender, ethnicity and skin colour play a role and the gaps widen.

“We can discuss freedom of choice on a philosophical level, but we cannot get away from the social factors which control and limit choice in reality. A career like Zlatan’s, with Zlatan’s social background, is not the rule but the exception.”

Reboot or flying start? What can we do to avoid losing ourselves in this frenetic rate of change?

Bo Isenberg gives advice from the heart:
“Get a dog! Dogs understand what’s important in life: being close, having fun, eating … Then it also becomes easier to say ’no thanks’ to all of life’s impositions: I have to go home and take the dog for a walk”.

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