During the two years of my IMFSE masters, I had the chance of living in three different cities, and three different countries, namely Ghent (Belgium), Lund (Sweden) and Edinburgh (Scotland). After so much time spent in those wonderful student cities, I feel qualified enough to give a couple of good student friendly and fun extracurricular advice to future IMFSE students (or anyone else visiting them). So, without further ado, here they are:
- Make use of well-priced Belgian trains offering a go-pass ticket for 10 rides for 56 euros only, meaning that you can make a ride from point A to point B inside Belgium with as many stops as you like for only 5.6 euros.
- Do not miss the student kick-off, a massive concert and party at the biggest square in Ghent – Sint Pietersplein, celebrating the beginning of the school year.
- Do a pub-crawl tourist tour in Ghent. You will at the same time be able to taste the finest Belgian beers, while hearing interesting stories about this beautiful city.
- Take the advantage of super tasty and at the same time quite affordable student restaurants offering a variety of options – from vegan friendly to heavy meat eaters’ menus!
- Don’t bother buying a bike – just rent one from university. As the uni bikes are secured with gps tracker, no one bothers stealing them, so for very small amount of money per semester you can get a decent bike, and forget about the potential “stolen bike” stress.
- If you’re a fan of mustard, then Ghent is the right place for you. Right in the city center, a bit behind Korenmarkt, you can find the famous mustard factory “Tierenteyn-Verlent” selling delicious mustard and pickles that are a perfect addition to any dish!
- Make sure to check out Hot Club de Ghent, a very nice and cozy jazz place hosting live jazz shows several times a week
- Although Swedish trains at the first sight might not seem particularly cheap, there is still a good tip for being able to afford them – immediately download the Skånetrafiken app. It will make planning your Skåne trips (Skåne is Swedish southernmost county, and Lund is situated in it) and buying your train/bus tickets way easier, and it will save you a lot of money!
- Join a student nation from the beginning as they organize most of the student events during the whole year. If you find time get involved in a nation, it’s a great opportunity to meet locals, and to get to know the real Swedish student life from the inside!
P.S. If you’re into Jazz, like I am, make sure not to miss famous Smålands Nation “Red Note” jazz evenings held once a month.
- If you’re brave and crazy enough, try the real Swedish experience – during winter months, go to one of the saunas at the docks – either in Malmö or in Bjärred, and enjoy the 90 ̊ C sauna followed by a dip in 1 ̊ C sea. Do it multiple times in a row, I dare you! It’s shockingly amazing.
- Student restaruants unfortunately are not as cheap as in Ghent. Nevertheless, student nations offer tasty and affordable lunch every day, and if you’re into cooking, go get your ingredients in one and only Willy’s – every student’s favorite supermarket in Lund!
- Have a delicious buffet vegetarian lunch for only 7 euros in the friendliest restaurant I visited – Govindas!
- If you’re into nature, do not miss Lomma beach, Skrylle national park and Dalby Stenbrott lake, all laying in the proximity of Lund and all accessible by local bus or by bike (or by running 😉)
- Go to Copenhagen, go there a lot! I will only tell you that whenever people ask me what is the coolest thing about Sweden, I always reply – Copenhagen!
- As Scottish Highlands are so massive and often hardly accessible by public transportation, make sure to find a friend in possession of a vehicle, and willing to explore that beauty with you!
- Join one of numerous sport clubs and/or student associations (from clay pigeon shooting, gliding or running over whisky, gin, chocolate or e.g. engineering society). It’s the best and the easiest way to meet likeminded people and do awesome stuff with them!
- Again, for jazz lovers – do not miss a place so simply called “The Jazz Bar”. They host great jazz shows every night, and they are open really late!
- Get yourself a Scottish castles pass for 45ish gbp per year, allowing you to enter all the Scottish castles. Single tickets are very pricey, and most of the Scottish castles are too good to miss them!
- Go to Glasgow for two reasons – to see the spectacular Harry Potter like university, but also for practicing your English listening and understanding skills. Glasgow people have such a funny and cute accent, which definitely takes some time to get used to. P.S. Use a bus to get there, it’s WAY cheaper than the train.
- If you’re into running, join the EU Running Club – Hare & Hounds – the most fun crew in Edinburgh. Your weeks will be filled with trainings, your Wednesdays with beer and nachos at Greenmantle pub, your weekends with races all across the UK, and your nights with famous “Hive till five” 😀
- If you do decide to get a bike in Edinburgh, make sure to get a very very good lock, as I had my bike stolen twice!
Hope these tips will save you some bucks, and make your stays in these three cities more fun!