The Reflective Engineer Week

This week, Engineers Without Borders KTH is hosting a series of lunch lectures concerning sustainability in different fields like technology, innovation and engineering. It is a way to raise students’ awareness in their roles as change makers related to the UN’s sustainability goals.

Over the five days of this weeks, the lunch lectures will feature speakers from academia and industry, each one focusing on a specific issue related to sustainability, like waste management, artificial intelligence, energy, etc.

These types of events are a great way to learn something new and open your mind on something different than what you are studying everyday. Plus, the people leading the talks are usually very inspiring people who are experts in their field, and it’s truly a chance to have such easy access to great minds in the school environment. For example, the first Swedish astronaut to go to space, Christer Fuglesang, will be giving a lecture on the role of space science in the fight against climate change. Talk about inspiration!

If you want to know more about the event and EWB, click here and here!

International Experiences at KTH

Many of our previous blogs have been about how Sweden has surprised us with its amazing culture and practices. In this blog, I will take you through how my Swedish and international friends were surprised by our practices and how they find it to be amusing.

1. Sharing Food: We have grown up in an environment at school where we mutually dig into each other’s lunch boxes and share food amongst friends. I find it rude when I don’t offer my food to a friend sitting next to me. So, every time I ask a Swedes, they are amused by this concept and gradually they have adopted this practice of sharing food.

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Happiness is sharing food!

2. Music: The pressure buildup over the week is released by dancing with the corridor mates on a Friday night. All my international corridor mates now have Bollywood music memorised in their mind and enjoy dancing to its beats.

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Dance your worries away!

3. Festivals: During festivals, we gather together at each other’s corridor and celebrate by cooking special food. And that happens quite often since we have a special festival almost every fortnight. And the international people find it amusing that we have these many things to celebrate every month and sometimes join us in the celebration. THS Flavours is planning its traditional Holi celebration – A festival of colours. So stay tuned.

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Holi celebrations at KTH

4. Education System: Our education system had around 6 subjects every semester with back to back exams. But here it’s maximum of 3 subjects per study period. While everyone else is stressed about examinations, they find us to be relaxed and composed.

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Be calm and Ace it!

How to ace a Career Fair at KTH!

THS Armada is one of the biggest career fair which happens in the whole of Scandinavia. There are also frequent career fairs along with lunch lectures with companies which are organised at KTH giving students an opportunity to network with employers and industries. Most of the companies offer summer jobs, internships, thesis and permanent jobs.

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Scenes during THS Armada and Moment

I consider the career fair to be an amazing opportunity to establish contacts with the companies. The fact is that the main purpose of career fairs is not to secure yourself a job, that’s almost next to impossible. But to introduce yourself to the main person in the company, being on their radar and when the time is right using that network/contact to get what you want. However, with a naive approach all you get to hear from the company would be “You can find more opportunities in our career page on our website”.

So here are a few tips that I have tried that can make the recruiters notice you.

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1. Before the Fair:

a. Research about the fair: THS Armada and THS moment had come up with amazing websites that intuitively shortlisted companies based on your skills, personal interests and type of vacant position. It also showed a map of where the companies are located on each floor.

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b. Research about companies: Preparedness is the most underrated concept among students. Learn about the challenges, trends that your interested companies are facing and how you could utilise the companies resources to help them with that vision.

c. Prepare a pitch: I prepared a 30s pitch about myself personalised to each company. It included an introduction, background, professional experience and how it can relate to the vision of the company.

2. During the fair

a. Arriving at a strategic time: Arriving early would give you a heads up with talking to the company of your interest. Usually, the people from the company would be overwhelmed by the number of students who approach them throughout the whole day.

b. Ask great questions: It is important to ask the right questions to the right person. For example: “I read about Scania idea factory on your website. Can you tell me more about that?” or “Is there something for me to consider before I apply to this position?” The biggest mistake any student can do is to go and ask them about the basic details of the company that can already be found on the internet.

c. Answer questions: The employer can ask you questions like, What kind of position are you looking for? or What would you be able to bring to the organisation? Be prepared to answer such kind of questions.

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Good questions and Good answers does the trick

d. Get the Contact: Either connect to the company representative on Linkedin or make sure to get their contact information.

3. After the fair

a. Follow up: Following up with thank you emails and following up of the developments of the positions would give you an edge over other students.

Being persistent in our efforts is a must. Every network we grow would lead us somewhere as job opportunities can arise from the places we least expected.

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Student Life 101: Cheap eating habits

Living abroad means more freedom, discoveries and adventures, but it also means managing your budget without starving yourself. This might be harder for some, coming from countries where food is 10x cheaper than Stockholm, or living on their own for the first time. Fortunately, there are ways to eat healthily, cheaply and sustainably (yes yes and yes!) without breaking your piggybank.

1. Learn to cook

One thing about Stockholm is that eating out is REALLY expensive. Of course you can find some cheaper fast food, but overall you’ll save lots of money by planning and making your meals at home. You can start with easy recipes like omelettes, pastas, roasted veggies, and then use your creativity to make them your own. For example, the leftover vegetables you bought to make that pasta dish can probably also be used for fried rice, pizza and soup. Pro tip: make big batches of food and use the leftovers for lunches to eat at school.

2. Beans! Lentils! Eggs! Potatoes!

Food is pretty expensive in a place like Stockholm, but there are food that are pretty cheap and happen to also have a pretty low carbon footprint. With something like chickpeas you can whip out a curry, make houmous, pancakes #aquafaba4life, add them in salads; the possibilities are (almost) endless! Lentils can also make a meal more complete, and I am a strong believer that potatoes (I prefer sweet potatoes) are a great addition to most meals. Also, did I say how much of a wonderful meal a sandwich is? Throw in tomatoes, spinach, cheese and a gooey egg between two slices of bread and you’ve got yourself and healthy cheap meal in 5 minutes.

3. Make coffee at home

You can get some pretty cheap coffee on campus at any time of day, but adding up all the morning coffees might make your bank account cringe. Buy yourself a cheap coffee maker of your choice (try Clas Ohlson or Ikea) and ground coffee at the shop and make yourself a nice cup of coffee in the morning, which you can bring along to school in a reusable mug. You’ll be happy about it in the long run. Once in a while you can reward yourself with a nice cappuccino and it will make it more special.

4. Organize potlucks

Instead of eating out with your friends, make a dinner where everyone brings something! It’s a great occasion to show your cooking skills, try a new recipe and enjoy the food that your friends make. Especially if you have a very international group of friends, it’s a fun way to discover the culture of their home country, as everyone can cook a traditional recipe from home. You will try many different dishes and have as much fun as if you were going out to the restaurant, but at a fraction of the cost.

5. Carry your own water bottle

I consider bottled water (in first world countries) to be one of the most horrific things capitalism came up with. In a place like Stockholm, where the water quality is 10/10, you shouldn’t have to pay for that H2O. One way to avoid this is to always carry your water bottle and fill it up in any sink. Not only will you save money, you’ll also avoid the use of plastic bottles that will end up in rivers, landfills, etc. You can even add some cucumber or lemon or mint in your water and feel like a lifestyle instagrammer #sohealthy #hydration.

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It’s Semla time!

Swedish cuisine is rooted in the country’s rich history, but it may not be the most original or varied. Still, there are some culinary traditions that will make you forget about surströmming (a must-try when in Sweden, even if its smell may make you reconsider your life choices). One of these traditions are semlor.

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These pastries can be found in almost every café and restaurant between February 1st and Easter in Sweden and Finland, and you cannot go by without tasting them, trust me. They were “invented” in the 16th century, when people wanted to add a little twist on the more boring food during Lent (the period before easter when people fast and eat modest food), and added cream and almond paste to their wheat buns. Since then, the sweets were adapted and cardamom was added to the bun dough, and today’s versions include nutella, jam or matcha.

Semlor (the plural of semla) are now a source of pride and many bagerier try to concoct the best recipe, as people have become more critical and tourists follow guides to tase the best ones.

A nutella Semla, if whipped cream is not enough for your sweet tooth! PC: littledessert.se

I have tried a couple of them and let me tell you that I am very grateful for the creative Swedes who decided to cut open a boring bun and put an exaggerated amount of whipped cream and almond paste in the middle. I am not so fond of sweets in general, but this decadent piece of pastry is a delicious treat that will light up any boring day of yours. Here are some good adresses to try them:

  • Valhallabageriet, in one of their many locations in town.
  • Tössebageriet, one of the oldest bageri in Stockholm.
  • BAK, if you are willing to go a little further away from the city centrer.
  • Bröd och Salt, a high-quality bakery chain.

Enjoy! But be careful, addiction may ensue.

Stockholm Design Week

This week is a pretty cool time, since it’s Stockholm Design Week! Scandinavian design is renown worldwide, with innovations and ideas that marked decades. Until Sunday, Stockholm is the hub for many expositions, temporary galleries, workshops and more. If you are a fan of architecture, furniture design, or just curious about art and design, this week is for you!

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Stockholm Design Week actually happens twice a year, once in winter and once in summer, and is aimed at discovering and sharing the latest design trends as well as discover Stockholm in a new eye.

Among the activities are special exhibitions at many museums, including the National Museum and ArkDes, an Architecture tour of Stockholm which could bring you to yet undiscovered neighborhoods, conferences and a design store itinerary, for you to discover the coolest stores and maybe splurge on a nice lamp or decoration for your apartment. The events take place mostly in Norrmalm, Östermalm and Vasastan, which are pretty close to KTH, and some of them are in Södermalm.

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Stockholm is a very creative city, and events like Stockholm Design Week show just that. It is a nice way to learn new things about Scandinavian design, get some good creativity inspiration and enjoy the good sunny days while they last!