Arrival day in Lund
(Deutsche Version auf Anfrage)
Starting with a menace of a lame excuse again (or better: a circuituose explanation), I will explain some stuff about the process of arrival and orientation during the first weeks as a student in Lund. But since I’m a geeky-tweaky, itchy-stitchy-word-order-switchy-kinda writer and I really exert myself for the sake of both, an interesting narration and also an objective report on things that I have seen, this may take a while and probably more than one post. I also tend to wait for this exact right moment, when things have settled down a little and my subconsciousness has worked on my experiences, but it’s not too late to remember everything exactly the way it was – one could say, I try to hit the tiny grey spot beween a good story and a documentation. But enough with the boasting, let’s get down to business.
First of all – what’s this arrival day all about? Well, while the initial meaning is self-explicatory, the actual answer will add some more dimension to it: Lund, a city of around 80.000 inhabitants, features a widely known and very old university. Often referred to as a university city, Lund could be called a city-university vice-versa; Not only have academic and regular city infrastructure been growing into one another for centuries, also demographic development has been (especially in the 20th century) contributing to this reputation a lot. A strong 40% of the inhabitants of Lund, namely 35.000 are students. Lund University is very dedicated to a lively academic exchange and has agreements with 680 universities all over the world therefore receiving about 3500 students anually. In that context, the term arrival day gets a stronger meaning. Consider this: There is no plural.
Since I’ve been here for a couple of weeks now and know my way around already, everything was all-smooth and really stress-free for me. This is part of why I claim to have a good overview and why I pretend I understood it. I didn’t have to worry about keeping an eye on my luggage while getting all the documents, running to different offices, signing forms and, eventually, buying bedsheets blankets and a pillow from the student union. I didn’t have to worry about finding an official Lunds Universitet mentor to pick me up at Järnvägsstationen (=train station) and show me all the way to the castle of the academic society, Akademiska Föreningens Borg. Still, I would have guessed that processing the check-ins, paper work and official welcome of all exchange students would start as a mess and end as a desaster.
No. The whole day long until 8pm LU’s mentors in blue shirts collected arriving crowds of students at Lund Central, guiding them to the AF building, where everyone could lodge their luggage in a guarded deposit and head on unencumbered. Two mentors flanking the entrance tagged everyone in the steady flow of entering people with a yellow or blue guiding-sticker, dividing them into ERASMUS and master program exchangees, handed out a to-do list and an honest, friendly “Hej!” to everyone. From there on, I followed the left hand stairs up to the big mötesal, where within half an hour I had checked in with a sympathic she-mentor from New Zealand, found out in which group of the Advanced Swedish Crash Course (starting tomorrow) I was and mingled with fellow students.
In my hands a neat welcome package (including a detailed schedule of all academic and organisational activities for the following weeks, a guidebook to the city of Lund, several maps, a SIM card topped up with 100SEK and free smarphone internet for 6 months, a guide to Lunds public transport and course material as well as info about the continuative language course), a fine bottle of swedish tapwater and candy, I was standing amidst the bustling court watching students hop on shuttle busses to their future homes after having bought reasonably priced, nice cushions and blankets (50SEK /6€ each) off the studentlund resellers; Amused and – guessing from the all friendly faces around me – with a huge, warm smile, I unlocked my bike and rode home myself, enchanted by the precision and efficiency of this cuddly-death-sure-student-processing-machinery. Sweet.
PS.: These pictures are not mine, so if they belong to you, please don’t sue me. I’ll give them back, promise.