Five things Malmö University is terrible at

You definitely shouldn't study at Malmö University if these five things matter to you.

Five things Malmö University is terrible at
Photo: Malmö University
1. Being traditional

When you think of academia, perhaps visions of ivory columns, stuffy, monotone-voiced professors and dimly-lit libraries with bad air circulation come to mind. That’s definitely not the case at Malmö University. Having only been in existence for 20 years, the University doesn’t have all that tired institutional baggage. The buildings are smack-bang in the city and even have artsy, shape-shifting window installations. Students run the uni’s social media account, and even the actual traditions are not that traditional. Take, for example, the academic ceremony, where newly appointed professors get awarded rings made from repurposed firearms.

2. Acting like a grown-up

A couple of years ago in Sweden, Malmö University was not-so-affectionately dubbed Malmö lekskola, or ‘Malmö play school’ – a reference to the supposedly lax teaching approach and ‘soft’ subjects the University is known for. Well, the rumours are true. Playing, experimentation and creativity are vital parts of learning, and Malmö University believes that subjects like language, design and communication are just as important as number crunching and lab work. There is even a seminar series entirely dedicated to smells. So, sorry snobs, but what kind of world would it be without poetry and art to express ourselves, or a focus on the environment when thinking about innovation? Or without a critical look at media and how it shapes society? Sign us up to the play school any day.

3. Sticking to one thing

If there’s one thing the University is really bad at, it’s making clear-cut choices. For example, would you rather go to an in-depth academic talk on artificial intelligence, or have a chill night out with friends at your local bar? Well, why not both? Malmö University’sKnowledge Bar’ takes research out of the labs and lecture halls an into one of the city’s most lively bars, inviting everyone to crack open a cold one and learn about some of society’s most pressing issues.

4. Regular study

If you think studying is about sitting on plastic chairs trying not to fall asleep in front of yet another Power Point lecture, think again. At Malmö University, students are enthusiastically encouraged to engage with their surroundings and the community, whether that means live streamed, interactive seminars with classmates across the globe, getting support to create their own start-ups, or figuring out how to make Malmö a more sustainable city by ‘co-designing’ with locals.

5. Robots

Okay, this is something the University is genuinely awful at: making robots. Evidenced annually at Hebocon – a competition organised by the Internet of Things and People research centre, where robots fight each other for fame and glory. The competition is open for all, especially amateurs and the technically ungifted, which makes for some, uh, interesting, stand-offs. Prototyping and design meet complete ineptitude in this glorious, true-to-form celebration of creativity, failure and fun! 

This article was produced and sponsored by Malmö University.


INTERVIEW: International students ‘vulnerable’ to Swedish housing shortages

People moving to Malmö to study now have to wait as long as a year to receive accommodation, Milena Milosavljević, the president of the Student Union in the city, has told The Local. The situation, she says, is "urgent and acute".

INTERVIEW: International students 'vulnerable' to Swedish housing shortages

The Sofa Project, run by the Student Union Malmö, received 80 applications this year from students who wanted to rent short-term accommodation, showing just how acute the current housing shortage is.

These 80 applicants were vying for one of seven spots, ranging from a spare room to a sofa bed – from hosts who sign up to offer their spaces to new arrivals.  As the programme only had seven hosts registered this year, the project had to close its application page to others, otherwise the number would have surpassed 80.

“They are ready to come to Malmö and sleep on a sofa bed at a stranger’s house before they find accommodation,” Milosavljević told The Local. 

Malmö recently received a red designation from the Swedish National Union of Students, which publishes an annual report assessing the housing situation in university towns and cities across Sweden. A red designation means that finding suitable accommodation as a student takes more than one semester. The report found that 61 percent of students live in a city that has been designated a red ranking.

READ ALSO: Sweden’s student union warns that housing shortages are back this semester

“The reality of Malmö and the reason why it became red is that to find suitable accommodation you have to wait up to a year,” Milosavljević said.

Some individuals, she said might have to wait up to three years to find their own accommodation, making do with second-hand contracts, long commutes, and living with family members in the meantime. For newly-arrived international students, who lack personal numbers when they move here and so cannot join Swedish housing queues, looking for suitable housing becomes a complex task.

“International students are more vulnerable because they don’t have a personal number to enter the system before they come to Sweden,” Milosavljević explained.

Milosavljević herself moved to Malmö as an international, fee-paying student. Because she paid tuition, she was offered housing by Malmö University. Based in part on her own experience, Milosavljević explained that the housing issue cannot be reduced to a shortage in the number of flats and rooms. There is also a shortage of appropriate housing options for different needs.

“They offered me accommodation in a student building,” she said. “Not an apartment, but a room – and I came with my husband. The room was not enough for two of us.”

Student accommodation must accommodate the different needs of different members of the student body, Milosavljević said, including those who move with partners or spouses, or even with their children.

In the past year, one new student apartment building was built in Malmö, with 94 new spaces for the city’s student body. This is inadequate, Milosavljević said. While Malmö is growing, and there is residential construction being carried out around the city, it is unclear how many of those new buildings will prioritise the city’s student population.

The city’s student population, too, is growing. As the pandemic era ended in Sweden, students returned to campus. And new students joined them. While student ranks grew, housing options remained stagnant.

“From our perspective from the Student Union, we have talked about, in the previous years, how the situation after the pandemic is going to get even worse for the students,” Milosavljević said. “There’s an increase of students coming back, new students, and already not even enough housing.”

Milosavljević has fielded calls and emails from students who say that they cannot move to Malmö because they cannot find housing.

“They are already working on it,” Milosavljević told The Local of the university’s response.

There are plans to create more housing for international students, but these proposals focus mainly on students from European Union, leaving other international students out. All international students should be given priority for student accommodation, Milosavljević said, because none of them have access to the Swedish housing market.

“I do believe strongly that the City of Malmö and Malmö University need to have urgent negotiations and start building straight away,” she said.

Because Malmö University is a public university, it must follow the lead of the Ministry of Education and Research. Milosavljević acknowledged that in the aftermath of Sweden’s recent elections, which put the right-bloc in power, student housing shortages might not rank highly on a list of national priorities.

“The Student Union Malmö considers this situation quite urgent and acute,” Milosavljević said. “We are more than prepared to sit down and talk so we can actually do something, instead of just having meetings. The students will continue to suffer if the living conditions and the bostad [housing] situation in Malmö is not improved.”