I am one of the few lucky students who had the opportunity to study in not one, but two Swedish cities, at two of the most prestigious universities in Scandinavia. 2 years ago, thanks to the Erasmus program, I was able to spend one semester at Lunds Universitet, in beautiful Skåne. Even though I decided to move up North for my master’s degree (which I am very happy about), Lund still holds a special place in my heart.
Since it’s that time of the year when most of the prospective students have to decide what programmes/universities to apply to, I will attempt to make a comparison between the two cities and present some similarities, as well as some differences between them. For the sake of the argument, I will not discuss academics, as they both Stockholm and Lund are important centers that offer students high quality education – I will, however, focus on cost of life, entertainment and other aspects of life in Sweden.
Even though the cities are only a 6 hour drive away, and both have long winter nights and long summer days, between the two, the weather is slightly different – I would actually say that weather-wise, Lund is closer to the Copenhagen than to Stockholm. On one hand, Stockholm is a slightly colder – the average temperature for November is 2.8˚ C in Stockholm and 5˚ C in Lund, for example. On the other hand, the Lundian wind is a lot stronger than what I experienced in the capital, so far. Still, they are both breathtakingly beautiful in spring and summer, and worth a visit, regardless of where you choose to move.
As an exchange student, finding affordable housing in Lund was not an issue I had to deal with prior to my arrival. My experience in Stockholm was very different, as I was not eligible for most KI housing options and ended up not being offered a room. However, a bigger city indirectly meant more housing options to choose from. To end this topic on a positive note, it’s important to mention that both universities offer guidance and alternatives, such as websites and different platforms where you can search for accommodation.
- Transportation and distances
This is one aspect where the two are very different – Stockholm is the biggest city in Sweden and it includes a number of separate municipalities. While all of them are connected by the public transportation system (SL), the distances can get pretty big – it takes me approximately 40 minutes to get from Kista to Solna, two municipalities that are fairly close to one another. Meanwhile, in Lund, bikes are the most popular means of transportation, as the distances between different points in the city are a lot smaller. Bikes are everywhere in Lund! You will see people cycling in Stockholm as well, but definitely not as many. In terms of price, the SL card (Stockholm) and the JOJO card (for some parts of Skåne) are relatively similar (between 550 and 590 SEK/month).
- Entertainment and social life
One of the reasons why I enjoyed my time in Lund so much were all the parties and events organized by the student nations – talk about having a good time. Copenhagen and Malmo are also less than one hour away, so if you don’t mind the distance, you have where to choose from. That being said, Stockholm offers you entertainment options beyond the student variety, and more importantly, it’s all next to you. This is the case for gyms, restaurants, cinemas, plays, conferences, and the list goes on.
- Food and Co.
I’ve mentioned restaurants above, but what about groceries and other necessities? First of all, Sweden is not the country of hypermarkets. Coming from Romania, where the big department stores are everywhere, I had to get used to buying specific items in different stores. Still, if you’re currently living in a big city, Stockholm won’t shock you too much. You will find the usual supermarkets everywhere and bigger department stores in certain municipalities/part of town. In Lund, not so much. Yes, supermarkets like ICCA, Coop and Netto are there, but if you need specific items, you might have to go to 2 or more different stores.