If you are reading your second or third term here in School of Economics and Management in Lund, it is soon time to choose what to do in your fifth semester. For many of us this means an exchange term. Something I am very interested in myself! That’s why I went to the information meeting the 6th of November in the Crafoord hall, which was filled with curious students with questions about this mysterious fifth term. In mid-January it’s time to accept your spot in a university abroad, but the road to this day can seem a little complicated, therefore, this article may be a help on the way. Nådiga Lundtan also got a chance to talk to Sara Svensson whom gave us more answers.
But first of all we begin with the part that got the most questions on the meeting, the selection.
Firstly, the international department finds out if you’re applying for the right term, term five in other words. Then they look at if you have something left from the previously completed terms. One must have passed at least 75% of the courses. If you are not alone applying for a specific university, they look at the grades you have got until the 1st of December. If you have the same grades as the other students applying, who will then get the spot? If they come to this point they will look at everything else like CV, a possible letter of recommendation and letter of application. They evaluate your argument and aspirations for going to that university and country.
Meaningful tips from the information meeting:
- Ask someone to write a letter of recommendation, for example, your previous employer. In a competitive situation, this can be crucial.
- Get help with your CV design and Statement of Purpose at MyCareer, which has its office on EC1:133 and drop in times all weekdays. Monday, wednesday and friday, before lunchtime and on tuesday and thursday the have drop in times from 1 o’clock to 4 o’clock.
- Download the Erasmus + app, regardless of whether you are planning on going to Europe or not there are good checklists and recommendations regarding a semester abroad.
- Search scholarships to finance your trip. Many realized too late that the plane ticket could be really expensive and other expenses as well, insurance, visa and possible language tests for example.
A few days after the information meeting I met Sara Svensson from the international Office. She is an international coordinator at the Lund office. From my interview with Sara, I understood more about what a semester abroad means and received fantastic tips about the application process. I hope this article gives you some answers that you maybe have wondered about, everything from preparation to when you arrive to your new country.
What are your best tips for those who are interested in an exchange term?
To increase your chances, apply for more than one university and do not do as your friends. Think about where you want to go. Start working on your application on time. Read travel stories. Sign up in Live @ Lund to receive login information for the application and not wait until the last day for this.
What part of the application process do you think is important to put the most effort in?
Focus on University and courses. If you do not find good courses, you can broaden yourself with specific orientations. Take the opportunity to read courses that you cannot read here in Lund. Not just writing “I’m going to read FEK”, this shows that you maybe haven’t put so much effort to it. Find around four five courses that the university of your choice offers and if there is a course code, please enter it as well.
How much time do you think it will take to write and apply?
It is of course different from student to student. If the student knows what it´s looking for the process won’t be as much time consuming. But we have made an estimate of 10-15 hours.
What is the biggest misunderstanding regarding exchange studies?
A common misunderstanding is that students think that if they have bad grades they aren’t allowed to apply and if you have an unfinished course you cannot apply.
Sara tells me that unfinished course is actually one of the most common question the international department get in connection with the exchange term. The question is about whether you can apply for an exchange term despite not having done the all the exams till now. Sara told me that the answer is that you can apply. What´s important in the selection is the size of the uncompleted course and if it is this or a previous semester. But you can definitely apply. When you leave for the university though, you are required to have completed all courses from previous semesters.
What does it sound like from those who came home from a semester abroad?
People are satisfied – there is rarely anyone who is dissatisfied.
Sara also describes that many students are stressed that it takes so long for the grades to get to Sweden and she explains that it may take months before the grades arrive and it´s normal.
What is important to consider when you moved abroad?
Adapt to the host university´s rules. When in Rome, do as the romans do. Students who have been on an exchange term in, for example, Singapore usually say that the big difference is that you should be dressed up when standing in front of the class and that there are far more compulsory moments than we have here in Sweden.
What is important to consider during the application process?
Choose more than one university. Apply for a university where you want to go, not where the friends want to go. The study plans are also important. We only read letters and CV when there is competition and therefore it is difficult to say that it is the most important.
Sara also explains that you can change your course selection even after the study plan has been submitted. Once the student has been given one of the desired universities it´s time to submit an application again to the university abroad and here you have the chance to change your courses if there is a course that you have regretted or a course that you want to read more than another. During one of the information meetings that were held in the beginning of November I got the impression of that if you have not decided yet on whether you are going to choose Business Administration or Economics, it can be a good idea to choose a university offering courses in both areas, so that you have the opportunity to decide later. This is information I later got confirmed from Sara on our meeting.
One of the most common questions associated with the exchange term is which universities have the highest application rate. Under my interview with Sara I found out that the three universities with the highest number of applicants in the last admission were University of Melbourne, National University of Singapore Business School and Singapore Management University. And the highest number of applicants per offered place was Copenhagen Business School and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, both at first place, with only one offered place. However, the application rate varies often from year to year, and also, when reading this you should keep in mind that the number of seats offered might vary from term to term, and that universities recently added to the students selection are not included in the statistics and therefore cannot fully give you a complete picture of the situation.
There will be halls booked for Question Time in EC1 for a few days here in November. If you have any questions about the exchange term and the construction of your study plans, this is a great opportunity to make sure that you get the answers you want. Here are the dates that may be good to write down in your calendar: Monday 27 November at 13-14 and Tuesday November 28th in hall 138 and Friday December 1 at 10-12:30 International Office EC1 3rd floor.
You will find more information on Live@Lund and I also recommend you to read the Exchange Stories that Nådiga Lundtan offers.
Good luck with your applications!