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New master students learning the "LU-way"


A new academic year just started and the department has welcomed around 100 new master students, of which almost all of them are international students. Before starting their studies at our master programme with five different specializations, the students participate in our preparatory week learning to study the "LU-way" - the Lund University way.
We have talked to the two teachers in charge of the preparatory week, Elin Bommenel and Micol Mieli, to find out how it all started five years ago and why it is important for the students.

Before interviewing Micol, we meet Elin Bommenel, a senior lecturer at the department. She explains that in 2017 her lecture on Academic conduct grew in to a half-day seminar for the students. In 2018 they formulated the idea of "Learning the LU- way" and created the preparatory week.

It all started when professor Richard Ek and Elin Bommenel got the idea to teach students what the teachers expected from them, and make sure they got to know each other. Elin did all the lectures and workshops herself. All activities have been gradually developed as a response to what the previous participants have asked for in their personal reflections. "When the number of students on the programme increased we got our PhD-students to help", Elin says.

Now we meet Micol Mieli, our PhD-student, for an interview:

Micol Mieli, how did you end up at the Department of Service management and Service Studies?

I came here in 2015 to take the Master’s in service management, specialization tourism. I always dreamed of studying abroad, so after taking my bachelor degree in law in Italy I felt like it was the right time to try something new. My plan was to get my own boutique hotel in the Italian alps at some point and I thought a degree in service management was the perfect starting point (that’s not exactly how things turned out for me in the end!). I had been to Scandinavia on vacation and fell in love with it, so I wanted to try life here. The program seemed great and Lund University is an excellent university.

What made you want to do a PhD at the department?

I remember very clearly the first time I thought about doing a PhD. It was during one of the lectures in the Master’s program, when one of the PhDs at the time came to talk to us and told us about it. I remember thinking “this sounds like something I would like!”. I really enjoyed my studies here, it was a completely different approach to learning than what I was used to and I loved how much it promoted curiosity and exploration. Growing up my dream jobs were professor and “explorer”, so I am very happy I found a place where I could aim for both at the same time. Then when I wrote my Master’s thesis I realized I actually enjoyed the process of doing research too. So I went for it!

How long have you been working with the preparatory week Micol?

I have worked with the preparatory week for three years now, first as a workshop leader and then as coordinator and lecturer as well.

What do you think are the most important things about preparatory week?

I think it is an excellent opportunity for new students to get familiar with the “LU way” of learning. It is an intense week where we try to give international students a crash course on learning regimes, teaching and learning activities, different forms of examination, academic writing and academic integrity. Of course we cannot teach them everything in just a week, and it is a lot of information for the new students to take in, but I think the most important thing is to set a standard for the coming two years, as well as getting to know each other and for students to get to know their teachers and the new environment.

What is your favourite part of preparatory week?

Meeting the new students! I think it’s such a privilege to be one of the first people to welcome the new students to the department and it’s a lot of fun to meet new people from all over the world. I’ve been an international Master’s student myself so I can relate to their experience and I always get a bit excited at the thought of how everybody is starting a new adventure.

What is your impression of the introductions this year?

I think we had a great introduction week. The new students were engaged and active, they participated actively in all the workshops. I’m always very impressed with how dedicated, motivated and smart the students are. I think they will have a wonderful couple of years at the Department.

Is there any particular piece of advice you would like to share with the students Micol?

I read a great piece of advice in a book once and I’d like to pass it on. It went something like: a crucial skill for learning is simply to have the patience to sit with something we don’t yet understand. So don’t be afraid of the challenges that lie ahead, be patient with yourselves and others. And remember to enjoy!

(The book is Educated by Tara Westover, by the way!)

Master students participating in the seminars during the preparatory week.