Outgoing: Adrien at Lund University, Sweden
Adrien Chaud is a Bachelor student majoring in mathematics at the University of Bordeaux. As part of the Erasmus exchange program, he spent his third year abroad at Lund University (Sweden).
Why did you choose Lund University?
In France, I am very committed to protecting the environment, and I volunteer for various associations that aim to increase the use of bikes as a means of daily transport. With this Erasmus experience, I wanted to continue my environmentally friendly actions and increase my knowledge of the subject by studying in a bike-friendly country. I also wanted to stay within Europe and be able to reach my destination by train. Initially, my first choice was the Netherlands, which undoubtedly has the biggest bike culture. However, thanks to the University of Bordeaux’s partnerships, and the excellent courses I found on offer, I finally opted for Lund in the south of Sweden. Upon my arrival, I discovered that 43 % of trips are made with a bike here and I couldn't have been more pleased!
What were your expectations for this mobility experience?
Given the on-going pandemic, I was aware of my privileged status of being one of the lucky few able to travel and therefore I just wanted to enjoy my mobility experience. Scandinavia has always been a region that I’ve wanted to visit so I was really looking forward to spending 10 full months discovering the country, from the eclectic lifestyles of Copenhagen and Stockholm to the snowy valleys of Lapland.
What are the main differences you have identified between studying in France and Sweden?
French studies are quite general, especially at Bachelor level. We do not really specialize before the Master level, so as an undergraduate, we discover a wide variety of courses dealing with various different topics. Studying abroad was initially quite a challenge, since I had to get used to a more specialized approach to studies. In Sweden, an academic year is divided into four terms, with two main courses each semester. The courses are very intensive and demanding. Following high-quality lectures and keeping up with such a rhythm obliged me to really progress in terms of learning techniques and skills.
What have you learned from this international experience?
Apart from all the bike culture I discovered here (and which I will try to bring back to France), I am quite proud of my languages skills: I clearly improved my oral English, managed to speak some German again, and even learned a bit of Swedish, which will be helpful in my future career for sure!
Overall, the greatest memory I will keep from this international experience is the Scandinavian culture, quite unlike that in my birthplace in the south west of France. Here, we take our time, and enjoy the small things of daily life. When the sun sets at 2pm during the winter, it makes one appreciate more than ever the few hours of light outside with our friends. The urban lifestyle is completely different to Bordeaux and how could I forget the fantastic, impressive landscapes—from the many archipelagos of the North Sea to the wonderful northern lights above the Arctic circle!
Partaking in an Erasmus exchange program during a global pandemic has been a bit strange. I am one of the lucky ones - due to the Swedish policy vis à vis COVID-19, I was hardly affected by the crisis, and was able to go about my daily life without hardly any restrictions. The experience has brought me closer than ever with my friends and roommates, as we now share so many memories.
Next year, this difficult period linked to the sanitary crisis will hopefully be behind us, and I am delighted that my fellow students will be able to enjoy an “ordinary” international experience abroad, with all the emotions and memories that come with!