From Cold to Cool – Why it is great to Study in Sweden

An architecture student from Sardinia, Italy, came to study in Luleå, Northern Sweden – but why? An article by Angela Lise Frank, Student of Architecture, University of Sassari (Italy) and Luleå University of Technology (Sweden)

Being Erasmus in Sweden

I am a student from University of Sassari, Department of Architecture, and I decided to spend my Spring Semester in Sweden through the Erasmus programme. I come from Sardinia, an island surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, in which culture, life and way to make architecture and design are quite different from the Scandinavian countries.

Sweden is – as other Scandinavian countries – open to intercultural exchanges, and one of the first things I noticed was the high attention of Swedes on keeping a comfortable life in order to maintain their type of a welfare state. This country also provides a great opportunity for an Italian architecture student like me to explore a new world because it is the country of modern architecture, design and ecofriendly technology.

The region of Norrbotten offers a good example of Swedish style of life but what makes this region different from the others is its Lapp and Finnish cultures in addition to Swedish culture. The nature in itself is impressive: Northern Lights, fjords and frozen sea are just few of the awesome experiences people can have here.

Staying in Sweden for four months (from 10th January), I had great experiences thanks to which I matured both professionally and mentally.

Luleå University of Technology – Warm Welcome in a Cold Climate

In Norrbotten you can find the northernmost university of technology of Scandinavia: located at about 100 km from the Polar Circle, Luleå University of Technology offers sensational experiences and it is one of the best universities in Scandinavia as for technological researches and studies of materials.

During the first two weeks of staying in Luleå, the University organizes meetings in order to let exchange students meet with each other; LURC (Luleå University Reception Committee) is an association of Swedish students and they take care of international students from the very moment they decide to come in Sweden: they guarantee a good stay, accommodation, buddies and anything that can help a foreign student to feel more comfortable.

At Luleå University the approach towards studies is different from Italy: in Sweden I have few hours of lectures and laboratories per day (about one and two – in Italy I can have eight hours of lesson per day) and there are more homework and assignments, so that the student keeps working at home and has spare time to study.

Environmental Friendly Architecture

What interested me most was how Luleå University of Technology approaches to design in a place with so hard a weather. Since the beginning I was impressed by the way in Luleå everything is designed thinking about ice and cold; for that, in Swedish architecture technology is more important than anything else and they have an interesting view according to environmental friendly architecture.

I experienced this hard weather myself, especially following a course called Snow & Ice for that I had to design a building thinking about the cold weather of Luleå and in which I studied the polar climate both in a physical and technological way. In this course I even did a field exercise in Arvidsjaur (a locality in the province of Lapland) with the Swedish Forces Unit for Cold Weather Operations: during the field exercise, I increased my knowledge of cold climate through experiential learning.

If an Exchange student is interested in studying in Luleå, it is good to mention that the University offers courses in English and most of the professors come from foreign countries.

Luleå guarantees a stay which is much more cool than cold.
The article is produced as part of the ONE BSR project which among other issues focus on how to attract and retain talents to the Baltic Sea Region.
Originally published at http://scanbalt.org