Nils Mellbin: University of Bologna - Italy

Last changed: 02 June 2021
picture of street view in Bologna, Italy

In conclusion the exchange period of two semesters was very nice. I lived with two Italian guys that I became good friends with. Interesting courses at the University, lovely weather, culture, food and drinks. Disregarding the pandemic, I can't find a single reason not to have done this exchange.

Why did you want to do an exchange?

Because I really like Italy. The food, the climate, the language, the wine, the culture etc. It was also my ambition to improve my Italian skills.

Which courses did you take?

All my courses were supposed to be in English and all the courses were also held in English. There were a few slides in some presentations that were in Italian but the teachers could usually explain everything to me in English.

I enjoyed the education overall. I felt like most teachers were very competent and interested in their subjects. The different examination methods were very different among different teachers, some wanted you to email them a date when you wanted to have your exam. Others wanted you to apply for an exam via the student portal online, and others just said a date and you went there and did the exam. Not very structured and quite confusing for me as a student. However the teachers felt very accommodating and flexible about the exams so in the end there were no big problems.

I was afraid that there would be a lot of mandatory literature to read in the courses but there wasn't, only a little bit of recommended literature.

35513 Engineering Geology: Very nice teacher, structured course easy to follow. Exams reflected the content of the course in a logical way. Interesting subject.

72647 Ecosystems And Plant Ecophysiology: Course divided into two subparts with two different teachers. One was clear and structured and the other one was not very pedagogic. There was a little bit of math in this course which I'm not the biggest fan of but it felt very useful considering my education. The one of the two exams was not very clear and I had to do it three times.

88191 Ornamental Tree, Shrub And Turfgrass Care And Management: Interesting subject but the teacher was very unstructured. I needed to email him five times before he answered me. He felt quite competent within his subject though. Course did only concern tree management.

79430 Advanced Plant Pathology And Entomology: Another course divided into two subparts. The part about Entomology was interesting and easy to follow and the exam reflected the content of the course well. The advanced pathology however was quite unstructured, and there was a lot of information at once. Competent teachers in both subparts.

88101 Microbial Biotechnologies In Agroforestry: Very nice teacher. Very interesting subject. Quite structured and very competent. However there was a lot of information in this course and I needed to study a lot for the exam. The exam was however easier than anticipated.

78596 Sustainable Design of Water Resources Systems: In agreement with the mobility team I decided not to take this course because I didn't need the points/credits.

85863 Functional Biodiversity To Enhance Pollination And Biological Control Of Pests: Another course divided into two subparts with two teachers. One focusing on pollination and one on functional biodiversity. Both were very competent. Very interesting subjects. Sometimes I felt like the two teachers talked about the same thing and sometimes they talked about one topic for a very long time even though the topic was very clear from the beginning. But I guess that repetition doesn't hurt.

75478 Management Control Systems M: This course was also quite interesting. Learn how different companies work and how they are structured. The teacher felt competent within his subject but not as much when it comes to environmental sustainability which isn't very strange since that isn't his subject. But the source talked a lot about companies wanting to be more sustainable and I often felt like there was a lack of understanding of how sustainability works. The group project would have been impossible to do on my own since most of the documents were in Italian. I got lucky that my group could translate for me.

85864 Viticulture: I love wine, so this course was a lot of fun. Good teacher. Some slides were in italian. Some data felt old. Very nice course in general.

What was the student life like outside of your courses?

Since this period was during the COVID-19 pandemic the life outside of university was limited. Both in terms of what I could do and also in terms of what I felt like doing. But overall I think the two student associations did the best they could considering the circumstances. Mostly, I did my own trips together with just a few friends to decrease the risk of getting myself or someone else sick. I guess it worked quite well since I've managed to be here now for two semesters without getting sick. Maybe luck also played a part. However, I got to travel to Modena, Venice, Verona, the beaches on the east coast, explore Bologna and go to wineries and wine fairs (I'm a wine geek). When the bars and restaurants were allowed to be open we enjoyed Italian drinks and food as a small group of friends.

What was your best experience during your exchange?

Just to try out to live in a different country. Meet new people, enjoy the food and the wine.

What was the biggest challenge during your exchange?

To deal with the restrictions of the pandemic. To find time to practise Italian. To get used to doing five courses at the same time. In Sweden we only had one course at once which I find much better in all aspects.

Advice for future exchange students:

I was not used to study five courses at once and I started to study for all the exams at the same time. This was a terrible strategy, do one course at the time and then one exam at the time. If you want to learn Italian you need to put your mind to it. It's easy to go back to English but try not to. Enjoy everything, especially if there's no pandemic or restrictions, you should consider yourself very fortunate. Email:


Name: Nils Mellbin
Exchange at: University of Bologna
Program at SLU: Landskapsingenjör
Period of exchange: Semesters: autumn 2020 + spring 2021