Antonios pursued his Master’s programme in Wireless Communications at Lund University. He found his studies via Studyportals. We asked Antonios about his experience of searching and applying to the university abroad.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your name? How old are you? Where are you from?
My name is Antonios Pateas. I am 30 years old, I have studied Informatics and Telecommunications in the Technological Educational Institute of Larissa, Greece and I also come from Larissa, Greece.
Where are you studying now? What university are you attending and what programme are you enrolled in? What degree are you studying and how long is your programme?
Since September, I am a student at Lund University, Sweden. I study Wireless Communications, a 2-year Master’s Programme taught in English.
Why did you want to study abroad?
Well, as I mentioned before, I come from Greece. Here, the unemployment rate keeps rising. I couldn’t get a job, not only in my area of study, but also in general, so I decided to study abroad.
How did you find your study programme? Why did you choose this particular university?
As soon as I made the decision to study abroad, I also decided in which country I would like to apply to. Sweden was the first option, mostly because telecommunications in this country and all around the Scandinavian Peninsula in general is highly developed. Also, the cost of living is a bit lower here, in comparison to Denmark, Finland and Norway, and also everything is very well organised.
Once I found the country, I started searching for the programme that best suited me using Studyportals. Studyportal was really helpful, because of the options it has like filtering programmes, or the keywords and also the information it provides for each programme.
I also found useful the selection requirements and tuition fees that made the whole procedure faster. I chose Lund University specifically, because it is a university which relies a lot on research. For example, Bluetooth was discovered there.
I knew about the university and the fact that it is the highest ranked university in Sweden. As for the programme, I found it on Studyportals. Studyportals provided the most vital information and also gave a link in case you were interested in this programme and wanted to look for more information.
What were your main priorities when choosing your university and your programme (e.g. academics, accommodation, university services & facilities, personal & professional development, city & culture, cost & funding, practicalities, social life)?
The main priorities were academics, personal and professional development, career opportunities, university services and facilities and social life.
Was it your first study choice? What other universities did you consider? What was the main reason of your final choice?
Lund University was my second choice. My first choice was the KTH University Stockholm, only because of its location. The reason behind this was the fact that it was in the capital.
In every country, the capital provides more job opportunities. I also considered applying in Germany, because I have lived there before as an Erasmus student and I liked the whole experience.
The reason for my final choice was that applications for studies in Sweden had a deadline on 15th January, much earlier than any other country in Europe, excepting only the rest of the Scandinavian countries, which have their deadlines in early February. I received my acceptance letter at the end of March, so I didn’t apply for more programmes. I was really content with my selection.
Did you know from the start that you wanted to study in that particular country and city? Why did you choose for this particular location?
As I mentioned before, Sweden was my first option, not only for academic and career reasons. Many people I met that happened to live there for some time, also encouraged me to go.
Moreover, Lund is a city of nearly 90,000 inhabitants, out of which 47,000 are students. So, it is a small city, where it is very easy to socialise and meet people from all over the world. Plus, Copenhagen is only 45 minutes away by train.
Did you take a language test (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS) when applying for the programme? If yes, which one did you choose, why and how was your experience with it?
I took the IELTS Test, because I found that it is preferred in every country. I had planned to send more applications to other universities in different countries in case I wasn’t accepted.
I have also a Certificate of Proficiency in English ECPE from the University of Michigan, but it isn’t accepted by most universities in Europe. So, I took this test only because it was one of the admission requirements, just to be on the safe side.
It wasn’t difficult to me, because I speak and read in English very often. I just did some courses to see how the IELTS exam was like and after 2 months took the exam. Everything went smoothly.
What would be your advice for students from your country that consider to study abroad?
My advice for students in my country that consider to study abroad is the following: If they want to study abroad and can afford it, they should go for it. It is a big step, no question about it, but it is totally worth it.
Before that, they have to realise that social life abroad is not the same as in our country and most times the cost of living and studying is higher than in Greece. If they are studying abroad, I would advice them to socialize mostly with foreigners in order to improve their linguistic skills, but also to make contacts.
Sometimes, job opportunities come from where you never expect it. Last but not least, they should try to keep their deadlines and act responsibly.
How did you finance your stay abroad and what financial advice would you give to future students?
I had some savings from the time I was working and some deposits my family had for me, so this is how I fund my studies. Sweden has no tuition fees for EU students, so the only thing I have to pay is the rent and my personal monthly expenses, like food. Future students should solve the financial matter before moving abroad. They should also check for scholarship offers.
Why would you (not) recommend this particular city / university? How would you rate your experience on a scale from zero to ten (0 – It was a total disaster, 10 – I had the time of my life)?
I wouldn’t recommend this city only to students who are used to live in big cities and large crowds of people. Lund is a small and quiet city. Of course, Malmo and Copenhagen are not very far, but it is costly to go to Copenhagen regularly. Plus the city itself is expensive, in everything compared to Greece.
This has to do with the city, not the university, though. Another reason that has to do with the whole of Sweden and not only Lund is housing. Finding accommodation is really tough and someone has to look for it at least 3 months before he/she goes abroad. Many students live with other people in their houses, renting a room.
To get accommodation, you have to apply on specific dates in order to get on the waiting list. Luckily, freshmen have some advantage, but the housing problem in Sweden is still obvious.
Is there anything that you would do differently if you could do it over again?
What was the biggest surprise in your study abroad adventure?
My biggest surprise was the state of the art facilities in the labs and the fact that we are given free entrance cards in case we want to go to school at night.
Were you inspired by the story of Antonios?