Who would not want to skate with such a view to behold! I would say, absolutely no one! If you do not have gliding around this ice-skating rink at Kunsträdgarden in Stockholm on your bucket list, you might as well add it right away:)
After the first semester examinations, some of my friends and I decided it was the perfect time to go ice skating. Moving to Sweden, Ice-skating fell on the top ten things I hoped to try out at Stockholm. The joy of getting it crossed out of the list was all the mental preparation I needed to balance myself on those skates!
Considering I have never skated before, I was prepared mentally to fall as many times as possible till I get the hang of gliding on ice with just two blades carrying my weight. However, I surprised myself as I did not fall as much as I expected. Special thanks to the experts that went along with me;)
There are other places you can ice skate at Stockholm but at Kunsträdgarden, you can rent the rates at a good price at 9:00 – 21:00 (weekdays) and 10:00-21:00 (weekends).
Marco gliding like a pro:)
You can tell I was excited (haha!)
In the video, you can hear the sound of the wind clearly. The strong winds and the cold temperatures did not deter us in any way because in Sweden, “Det finns inga dalinga väder, bra daliga kläder” which means
There is no such thing as a bad weather only bad clothing
Guess what happened this week at Stockholm? Quite obvious from the topic right? It was the official arrival day on Sunday, 14th January. It was an honour to be part of the arrival team organised by Stockholm Academic Forum to welcome new students as a student guide at Terminal 5 at the Arlanda airport.
Going down memory lane, it was also an amazing day for me because about four months ago, I walked through the same terminal 5 on the second arrival day in August to begin this wonderful journey.
WHAT DOES THE ARRIVAL SERVICE ENTAIL?
On the official arrival day, thousands of students from around the world would arrive at Stockholm to start their studies in one of the 18 higher education institutions in Stockholm. If you’re one of these students, have your heart at rest as there will be a welcome team waiting for you at the arrival halls of both Terminals 2 and 5 of Arlanda Airport.
On Sunday, which was the same for August, the welcome team was there between 9:00 am and 9:00 pm and there were really hard to miss:).
You can see the welcome team were very excited:)
There was a free bus to take students to the city centre which is basically a 45-minute ride. The bus left every hour with two guides on each bus to answer any questions that students might have. Furthermore, goodie bags!! (I still use some of the items I got in mine in August:)) The items in the bags are listed below:
A comprehensive map of Stockholm
Prepaid SIM Card
A Reflex is very important during winter nights. It gets really dark and it would be helpful for people to see you at night. Then, the prepaid SIM card comes with 1GB of data as well as access to messages and calls.
In the bus, you would also get some added tips. I remember it was in the bus, that I heard firsthand that you could easily refill the water bottles by simply turning any available sink to the right(cold water end).
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH THE ARRIVAL DAY SERVICE
For me, the arrival day service was my first billboard from Stockholm saying, “Welcome home”. The students were very helpful and willing to explain all questions. They helped in carrying my luggage too! Also, the organisation was impeccable. I remember I got there before the stipulated time for the first bus on the day I came and once it was 9:00 am the first bus was ready to leave with the first set of students. Thanks to the arrival service, my journey from the airport-to the bus-to KTH-to my accommodation was very relaxing.
With these, you can tell I was very happy to be able to give back and ensure other students felt as welcomed and at ease as I felt when I arrived in August.
Ever wanted to have the opportunity to talk to your younger self because you know better now? For me, absolutely! Ever since I started writing on here, I have waited for the 15th January because at this same day a year ago, I almost did not apply to KTH.
Some hours from now, the opportunity to apply to KTH for the autumn, 2018 semester would be long gone. This day a year ago, I was already sure I was applying to 6 universities in other parts of the world as I had finished their application process or paid the fees in confirmation while waiting to send other documents. For KTH, I had already contacted my previous university to send my transcript and I wrote the TOEFL exam just a week ago. Though I had put all things in motion for a complete application, it was amazing how few hours to the deadline I was about to withdraw my application.
You might ask why? The reason is the same reason some other students have contacted me in the past few days or even today, to be exact:)
However, instead of answering this question in elaborate details (I would do this in another post:)), I would give you the simple advise that pulled me through, “WHY NOT TAKE THE CHANCE?”
KTH is a school that you get quality education! In the past four months of my arriving here, I have grown and not just in the academics but in the quality of people. Also, Stockholm is a place booming with opportuties that is why you see many startups sprotuing out of this place. Both my technical and soft skills have been developed and sometimes, I ask myself : “if this is just four months what would the rest of the master’s programme be?”
Knowing what I know now, I would say if you are caught up like me and you are reading this right now, do not hold yourself back. Finish your application! It has been worth it for me. It should be worth it for you especially if you have a drive to be committed and pursue excellence in all that you do.
How do we usher in the new year in Stockholm? Any special activities? Anything you might like to add to your bucket list if you are in Stockholm on December 31st? keep reading to find out;)
I was meant to meet up with a group of people to go see the fireworks from Gamla Stan. I was a bit busy few hours to midnight and this led to falling behind my planned schedule (I planned to be with them at 11:30) On my way, I could feel the excitement on the streets. Moreso, I could smell 2018 had good vibes as everyone was in high spirits.
My first thoughts leaving my apartment was the streets might be a bit empty with only young people coming out to see the fireworks. I thought WRONG! All modes of transportation were full and active as everyone in Stockholm was headed to some destination in which they would be able to observe the fireworks. This even made it easy to know where to go to because for once, “following the crowd” led to the right direction.
As I mentioned earlier, I was running late but guess who still was able to see the fireworks just in time! (ME!!!) Getting to Vasterbron and looking out to the sea towards Gamla Stan and the skies saying “Happy New Year” with people clustered with friends and families and many hugs and good cheer to get you all riled up with excitement to face the new year is what the Swedes look forward to. To give you a glimpse of all that I have been describing, thanks to Lian Yi, I was able to get good pictures and videos:)
Photo credit: Lian Yi
Photo credit: Lian YI
Photo credit: Lian Yi
Photo credit: Lian YI
I am excited for what 2018 would bring my way and at the same time, you should! Thanks to KTH for adding extra layers of colour to my 2017. The amazing people I have met in Sweden so far plus all the memories I would treasure. Remember the group I mentioned at the beginning of the post? There was something we did together after the fireworks that I liked personally. We shared the things we were thankful for in the previous year and then we all mentioned things we look forward to accomplishing in 2018.
This leads me to this:
For prospective students, it is a few days to the application deadline as we all look back at 2017, ensuring you finish your application before the deadline should be on the top of your list of 2018 accomplishments
For other students and everyone reading this blog, making sure you live your best life and saying no to procrastination in the new year would ensure you achieve all set goals to have a fulfilled 2018.
To this end, I look forward to having my best year yet and sharing my experiences with you.