Clíodhna Ní Pheadair, University College Dublin (BA English Literature and Philosophy)



Where did you study abroad? 

Lund University, Lund, Sweden


What did you study abroad?

Lund University had a very different semester than what I was used to. We did two or three modules per half semester so the modules were studied more intensely than I was used to. Instead of studying six modules at once, I was now doing two. I had a lot of freedom to explore modules outside of my course, this allowed me to do a module on intercultural communication specifically for international students. This was my favourite module as we presented interesting cultural aspects from our home countries and presented them to the class.

Another module I studied was the Philosophy of Language which wasn't available in UCD. Because the class was so diverse, the assignments were based on our native languages which brought a brilliant aspect to the class. I also studied Swedish Literature which I really enjoyed and was able to bring my perspective from studying English Literature. All of my courses would have at least three hour long sessions a week and they were much more informal than classes in UCD. Instead of lectures, the classes took the form of seminars and we often split into smaller discussion groups for at least an hour. 


Did you join an ESN Section abroad? Favourite Event?

I was in Lund about a week before I joined ESN Lund as the social inclusion officer! I hadn't attended any ESN events yet but I had heard about them from UCD so I had bought an ESNcard and joined their Facebook group.

I saw they were recruiting and assumed it was like an Irish student society (it is and it isn't!) so I cycled 35 minutes to attend their Board Meeting. ESN Lund changed my entire Erasmus+ experience. We went on bonding weekends in a cabin in the local forest where we hiked, cooked, played games, and got to know each other. I also loved the flag parties we did where I could show-off my Irish tri-colour and meet a hundred people from all over the world in one evening.

My favourite trip, however, was when we went up to Stockholm for ESN Sweden's national event; ESN Sea Battle. Sea Battle is a cruise from Stockholm to Tallinn in Estonia and back over two days. There are parties and events on the boat, walking tours and activities in Tallinn, and more parties and events on the way back to Stockholm. It was a really cool way to meet international students and ESN volunteers from all over Sweden.


What is your favourite memory from your Erasmus experience?

My favourite memories from Erasmus+ range from cooking with friends and cycling around the city, to the amazing trips we went on. My top memory is definitely the week long trip I did with nine friends to Abisko, a little village in the arctic circle at the very top of Sweden. We got a 5 hour train from Lund to Stockholm and then a 16 hour train from Stockholm north to Abisko. In total, it took us almost 24 hours by train. When we got there, we stayed in a little wood cabin and rented snow boots and snow suits. We went dog-sledding, sledding, hiking, and saw the northern lights. We even tried the Swedish tradition of rolling in snow after the sauna! This trip was one of the most memorable of my exchange and I would highly recommend it to anyone. 


Did you also travel to any new countries while studying abroad?

I travelled within Sweden a lot as the train systems were very good and it's such a large country with so much to see.  However, I was able to get to Copenhagen very easily by getting a 40 minute train across the Öresund Bridge (the longest rail and road bridge in Europe). It was a big novelty to be able to get to a different country by train. In the winter, I walked around the Christmas markets and Tivoli Gardens. I saw Nyhavn, a stunning canal and waterfront. Finally, I really wanted to see Christiania, an autonomous micro-nation in Denmark. 


Do you have a fun fact about studying abroad?

The biggest culture shock I had in Sweden was how important 'Fika' was. Fika means having a break and getting coffee with friends. Fika is so important that all of my classes would take fika breaks halfway through. Me and my friends soon adapted and fika is a practice that I have kept since finishing Erasmus+! 
I had a pink bike that I called Aloysius which cost me €70 to buy and more than twice that in repairs and hospital bills. I became very good at navigating the hospital system in Lund as I was always falling off my bike. I had a total of 4 x-rays while on Erasmus+

Top tips for the University/City you studied at? Favourite places? Shops? Restaurants?

  • Lund University observes the academic quarter. This means that if your class is scheduled to begin at 9:00, it will actual start at 9:15 to allow the professors time to get there.
  • Lomma beach is the best place to spend the afternoon and watch the sunset, and is only a 40 minute cycle from Lund. Be sure to bring shorts and sunscreen, Sweden can be a lot warmer than you think!
  • The best post-night out snack in Lund is falafel, there are falafel stands all over the city.
  • The best fika spot in the city is Old Town Cafe!