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Johan Merlo

Studies the Master's Programme with the specialisation Tourism

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am 29 years old, with dual nationality, and I was born in Sweden. However I took my bachelors degree in Switzerland, followed by work in both Africa and the Middle east. With my prior experience of higher education being conducted abroad, I ended upp recognizing myself more with the international students then the national students, in terms of studies for my masters programme.

What did you study before this Master programme?

During highschool I studied natural science with a focus towards mathematics and computer science. However, this direction took a turn when I decided to study a Bachelor in Business Administration with focus towards the hospitality industry at Glion in Switzerland. The international experience I received during my time abroad broadened my horizon and made me aware that there was no real limits in regards to where I could work and live. After graduating I ended upp working in both Africa and in the Middle east. This experience gave me insight towards how the world sees Sweden as a country. From this, a desire to return to Sweden and work with destinations started to grow within me. I returned to Sweden to work for a year before commencing my master studies, which has now lead me to where I am today. 

How is it to study in Sweden?

The studies in Sweden differs quite a bit in comparison to what i experienced in Switzerland. Some core differences that  have encountered are: 1) The course structure differs, we now focus on one course at the time, with four courses each year. Personally I prefer this structure, compared to having five ongoing courses throughout the year, as it allows for greater focus and understanding for each course that you study. 2) The studies are much more research and academically based, compared to my bachelors studies which was more practical. Instead of merely teaching general managerial tools, the studies encourage you to think, to develop a critical mind and to see connections. This to me is one of the most valuable lesson that I bring with me from my studies here. and 3) there is less time focused on lectures and more time on personal studies. This implies greater freedom for the student, but also greater responsibility for succeeding with the studies. 

On an average day, what do you do at the programme?

Each day may differ quite a bit, however since I live in Malmö, the transportation to school gives me a good 40 minutes of study on the train, providing me with a great start before the lecture. A lecture usually consists of two 45 minutes sections with a 15 min break in between. Following the lecture, in the case of group work, we would meet up after class for a few hours. I would then return home with additional 40 min of studies on the train. Well at home I would have something to eat, possibly go to the gym, then continue with a few hours of study. 

As you have the freedom to structure your studies to your own personal preference, a day might vary greatly in between students, however this example does present an average day for me. 

Additional about the lectures, the students are encouraged to participate and it is clear that the main purpose of the lectures is to learn and have an interesting time together through discussion of topics. This way of conducting lectures has not only grasped my interest during the lectures, but in addition it has connected the topics on a personal level increasing my understanding of the course. 

What is the best thing about the programme?

This I would say is the relationship I have with fellow students and professors. The open communication that we have between each other has resulted in countless interesting discussion, both during lectures, but also when bumping into each other in the hallways. The second best thing about the program is the professors personal interest in each of the topics studied. There seams to be a healthy passion between the professor and the topic, which makes the lectures interesting, but also motivating, as in a way both students and professors aim to tackle the topic together. 

Why did you choose the specialisation Tourism?

I wanted to better understand destinations and tourism, not so much in best practices or managerial models, but a deeper understanding to what is going on, why is it happening and how is it developing. To my current belief, managerial models and best practices varies between organisations and time, so what motivated me to choose to study Service Management - tourism was that it took a different approach. The research aspect which is central to this programme allows you to go deeper into the topics and lets you understand destination and tourism in a critical way, not just to accept whatever model is out there. 

What do you want to work with when you have finished your education?

Classical question. After my studies I wish to work with destination development with focus towards tourism. 

How is Helsingborg as a student city?

Helsingborg is a city with rich history and today it offers both cafes, great walks and a wonderful shopping street in the center of town. 

There are great connections, both by train to the rest of Sweden, or by boat to Denmark. There´s a variety of bars and restaurants, adequate for both the casual burger or afterwork beer, to the more classy ones with great food and drinks. There is also a forest close by and several parks which are great during warmer weather. As I live in Malmö I might not have experienced the ”true” student Helsingborg, however what I have experienced I can warmly recommend. 

Do you have any advice for other students considering to study at Lund University?

From my experience, Lund University offers high quality education with passionate professors. In addition to this, the well developed transportation system in Sweden, and the Universitys location close to Copenhagen airport, allows you to explore not only the region, but Sweden and Europe, something that I would warmly recommend while having the opportunity. 



Page Manager:

Johan Merlo

Johan Merlo

"The research aspect which is central to this programme allows you to go deeper into the topics and lets you understand destination and tourism in a critical way, not just to accept whatever model is out there."

The Department of Service Management and Service Studies
Lund University | Campus Helsingborg
Visiting address: Universitetsplatsen 2 Helsingborg
Postal address: Box 882, 251 08 Helsingborg, Sweden
 +46 42-35 66 20
Email: info [at] ism [dot] lu [dot] se

Faculty of Social SciencesCampus Helsingborg