With university fees set to stay high, an affordable alternative is hidden in plain sight. Oscar Haven, who has just graduated with his Masters’ degree from university in Lund explains.
7 years ago, straight out of university, I was £45,000 in debt, working in a pub to scrape together the tuition fees (£10,000!) to study for a Master’s degree, and unsure of how I was going to balance my future studies with the job I would keep so that I could afford food and rent. It all looked quite bleak. But then I changed everything. I moved to Sweden.
I applied to Lund University, the second-largest university in Sweden, that boasts 40,000 students (8,000 of whom are international), and offers 7 full Bachelors courses, over 100 full Masters courses, and upwards of 1000 standalone modules- all taught entirely in English. Most importantly, Lund offers these courses completely tuition-free for EU members, including the UK. Subjects range from traditional subjects to more unique courses, such as disaster risk management. My application took less than an hour, as Lund’s English website was simple to navigate and upload my documents to.
I enjoyed the focused style of study that Lund offers. Instead of juggling multiple modules, each semester is dedicated to one subject. Assessments are designed to develop a student’s real-world abilities- either for the workplace, or conducting research (Lund University dedicates £463,600,000 to research every year).
On moving here, the one thing I was most worried about was the living cost- Sweden isn’t cheap, even without tuition fees! Almost everything costs around 10% more than it would in the UK, with eating and drinking out the worst offenders (hello, £7 pints).
After 2 years, though, I can offer some student hacks for living in Lund on the cheap:
- Studentlund. For £25 per semester, you get access to 12 unions, with lunches for £2.70, and student-only clubs with cheap bear (£3 a pint is the cheapest I’ve found)
- Access to museums is also free with a student card
- Facebook “buy and sell” pages are the place to buy basically anything pre-owned, and on the cheap (Tip: stuff goes for near-free around moving out day- September 1st)
- At The Bike Kitchen, you can fix your bike with the help of volunteers using pre-owned parts, for free
- SFI- Swedish for Immigrants- is Swedish language course available for free (although everyone here speaks perfect English)
For students looking for a different university experience that won’t completely break the bank, Sweden is well worth a look. It’s not even that cold, really.
Words and Pictures: Oscar Haven
(Oscar now works for iMotions in Copenhagen – a job he secured straight out of university)