The first time I heard the word “Semla” was my first lecture this year. Not long after that, it was everywhere! Curiosity got the better of me and then I found out about Fettisdagen. This led me to decide to stick to tradition and wait to have my first Semla on Shrove Tuesday.
WHAT IS SEMLA?
Semla is a cardamom-spiced bun which you can cut off the top and then fill it with almond paste and whipped cream. The cut-off top now serves as a lid which is dusted with powdered sugar. Sounds amazing right? Semla is very delicious that it is said that King Adolf Fredrik (a Swedish King) died because he had too many!
Semla was originally eaten only on Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday) as the last festive food before Lent. However, the tradition is not strict anymore as Semlor(plural of Semla) is sold everywhere weeks after Christmas till Fettisdagen. However, after today you’ll have to wait until next year:)
So, this was how I celebrated my Fettisdagen with other international students as we assembled our own traditional Semla. Thanks to the S-chapter!
As the application period is over, the next thing on everyone’s mind is funding this prestigious education if it comes through.
The Swedish Institute offers a range of scholarships for various 150 countries for higher education in Sweden. To view the 450 available scholarships, click here
The Scholarship for the masters programme is now open! You can find out if you are eligible (a citizen from the selected 140 countries) here. On that page, select your country from the drop-down list to know what scholarship opportunities are available for you.
The largest group covered is the “Swedish Insitute Study Scholarship” for developing countries. It is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Sweden has long-term cooperation with and for other OECD/DAC countries.
Most of the questions concerning scholarships have also come from this group. To this end, this post would be centred on this particular scholarship.
To me, the most important part of the scholarship is this:
you must have proven leadership experience and at least 3,000 hours of work experience. It is also important that you have a clear plan of how your studies in Sweden can contribute to the development in your home country.
WHAT DOES THE SCHOLARSHIP COVER?
Tuition fees: directly paid to the Swedish university
Living expenses of SEK 9,000/month
Travel grant of SEK 15,000 ( One-time payment. Not applicable to students already living in Sweden)
Recall I stated here to give the answer to my most frequently asked question:
I applied to KTH as I liked the structure and the mix of courses presented for my programme of interest. Altogether, I applied to schools in the United States, Canada and then, Europe. When the offer letters started rolling in, I had my hands full and had to weigh in the pros and cons of each school and their various locations. In the end, I chose KTH!
In this post, I would give my untainted, non-exaggerated reasons why I am certain I made the right choice. With no further ado, let’s get the ball rolling:
This is the first and foremost thing that as students we are in search for. I really love the quality and the approach to education at KTH. The education is really a “hands-on experience”. In my programme, there is such a strong tie with the industry. You would have some of your lectures taken by foremost people in the industry who have achieved milestones.The aim is that once you have completed the programme, you would be well equipped to fill in roles in organisations adequately or start up your business, whatever career path you choose.
All the projects are aimed at current technologies and solving current problems in very practical ways. I have been involved in projects and I still have more lined up in the coming semester. For me, this was really what I wanted. To know that the theory is well infused with the practical to ensure that you are constantly thinking outside the box.
You would have noticed in previous posts that I refer to various deadlines and then, examinations at different times. As an engineer, there would always be deadlines to meet for various projects, and in the industry, these deadlines have economic importance. KTH already puts you in that mind frame of constantly meeting deadlines (haha!). The examinations majorly test how practical you got with the course. They go past the theory and ensure that you start applying the knowledge in the particular field of interest of each course. The examinations are never for you to mug it all up in your memory but to test your understanding in very practical ways. Due to this,you will find that the professors are very approachable and if you need any clarity, you can always get help:)
After paying the tuition fee and not forgetting that Stockholm is an expensive city to live in. It is very normal to want to find opportunities to work after studying. So far, I have seen there are opportunities for this but I would say as a student, you have to present yourself for these opportunities. Most people get to work with companies for their master thesis and that’s already their gateway to these industries.
Also, from the career fair in November, it was a good way to know what the companies want themselves and also, get some good contacts:). Furthermore, lunch lectures are being hosted especially in January when most of these companies open their applications. This gives you a sense of what they want also and their plans. I have some friends that have taken up part-time jobs so as to cater for the living expenses. For these part-time jobs, I would say take a close look at your schedule as it is advisable to dedicate about 40 hours per week for studying.
QUALITY OF PEOPLE
There is this saying that what makes a community or a country is the quality of people. Before coming to Sweden, someone actually stated that Swedes are racists but I am here to correct that notion. The average Swede is just shy but once you break that ice, you might find the warmest of souls who are ever ready to help. I have some friends that are Swedes so, you can take my word on this one;)
Moving past Swedes, KTH presents you with a citizen from every country on the globe. Working on the Armada team coupled with my academic-related projects, I have had the opportunity to work with people from various countries and in turn, share experiences, culture and value systems. I can say truly I am getting the most of my international education.
THE BEAUTY OF STOCKHOLM
Photo credit: Jarturun Sukthong
I am someone who really loves the serenity that comes with the beauty of nature and Stockholm brings you so close to nature! If you have a love for art and photography, you would love Stockholm too! Yes, it is a cold country but I really love the stories that one can tell with the various seasons as there is true beauty in nature:)
Also, there are so many activities that you can do in Sweden plus if you love to travel, you would love it here too!
Stockholm is a safe city! Sweden runs a socialist economy that believes in healthy living standards for its people. This transcends to the security you feel walking down the streets even at very odd hours in the day. You would feel very safe in Sweden, I can assure you.
So, these are my first five reasons why I feel studying at KTH is definitely worth it:)
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.