Summer of 2020 with EIT Climate Kic Journey

With Covid-19, this was one of the most uncertain summers in my life. At the end of my spring semester, I had no clue whether I should take up a summer job (if I get one), go back on a vacation to India, plan a vacation across Europe or just chill in Sweden. And apart from this, there was another most exciting plan: EIT Climate KIC Journey.

FOUR WEEKS OF TRAVELLING PROGRAM ACROSS EUROPE FOCUSED ON CLIMATE ACTION, INNOVATION, SYSTEM THINKING AND COMMUNITY BUILDING.

The focus word being“Travelling”. But Coronavirus broke our hearts with the program being converted into digital. I was sceptical about the quality and efficiency of the digital program, but I still wanted to give it a try and I did. And the four weeks just ended, and these 30 days was all about meeting amazing people, gaining new perspectives about world problems, and having fun.

I never had expected a digital program to be this fun and impactful.

Previously (precovid era), the participants travel together across cities of europe, working together on challenges of climate change. I was supposed to be at Dublin, London and Budapest. In each week and in each city the agenda would evolve from sensemaking during the first week, analysing and visioning in the next week, followed by experimenting and prototyping and finally planning action. The same approach was adopted in the digital setting too.

The following sentence will seem a little boring, but this was something I was looking forward to every day. “We used to sit in from of our laptops from 10:00 am to 17:00 pm from 13th July to 7th August”. It was interesting because there was amazing workshops, live projects, and more importantly meeting awesome people (participants, coaches, facilitators, hosts, startup founders). This was evident when we stayed back even after 17:00 and chilled out on zoom having beers together.

After the program I was experientially exposed to systems thinking, communicating about climate emergency to common people, working socially and politically, design thinking, creating and amplifying impact.

During one of the workshops
Our action group interacting with a organic farmer in village in Assam, India

And the best part is I now have great friends across Europe and few friends outside the continent too, who talk to the same weird language as me – That climate change is an emergency.

In the following weeks, I will continue to write about EIT climate kic journey, how to apply to it, the personal impact it created, and also about my projects during the journey. Do comment if you found the program interesting and have any questions.

Must visit places when you arrive in Stockholm

Hurray!!! It’s the arrival season. First thing first, Kudos to you all to have braved the pandemic and joining us at KTH. The arrival days for me was filled with excitement and anticipation about Stockholm. In this blog, I write about the places I visited that made Stockholm the home it is.

Gamla Stan: Gamla stan is an Old city right in the centre of Stockholm with architecture and This is one of the best places to hangout in Stockholm. The paths are narrow and clobber stoned. The vibe is extremely cosy and positive. My favourite waffle places are situated in Gamla stan. A nice walk here during the fall will make you fall in love with Stockholm.

Narrow roads can still create wide memories
My favourite waffles in Gamla Stan

City Hall: City hall is where the Nobel banquet happens every year. This was the first monument that I visited after reaching Stockholm. KTH organises student reception in this same building. It feels prestigious to share the same building as legendary Nobel laureates do.

Inside of grand City Hall

Monteliusvägen: Monteliusvagen is a hilltop point just across Gamla Stan to get a view of Stockholm city. It fancies an amazing display of sunset and a tranquil place to hang out while observing the city buzzing with activities. This is a must-visit if you want some calm and peace and yet be within the city.

Kungsträdgården: Kungstradgarden is a park in central Stockholm. In the winter the place has ice slabs to skate on and in spring the place turns into a beautiful display of cherry blossoms.

Skansen: Skansen is an open-air museum where you have the opportunity to learn about Swedish history. The museum is a small city making you time travel to Sweden during the industrial revolutions and the attire of the people reflect the time period of the 1800s.

The open market in Skansen

Stockholm is an amazing city to explore and as new students it easily makes you fall in love with the city. So keep exploring and comment the favourite place that you want to visit as soon as you land in stockholm.

Hej då!

As July is ending and the new students will soon arrive, it is time for me to say goodbye. I’ve had a great time as a KTH blogger and I hope I could help some of you navigate your new life in Sweden or prepare for it. You are in good hands with Vivek, and soon there will be a second blogger to take my place. Here is a little photo recap of my first amazing year here (I tried choosing varied pics but it turns out most of them were sunsets 😅)

August bbq in Björksätra
Campus at sundown
Winter sunrise on campus
(Another) sunset in Tyresta National Park in Stockholm
Dreamy landscapes in Lappland during my Kungsleden hike. PC: Jessica La Costa

I wish you all a great school year, I hope you enjoy Sweden as much as I do!

Public Transportation In Stockholm

One of the best things I loved about Stockholm was access to every corner of the city through public transportation which is called SL Services. It includes a combination of buses, metros, long-distance metros and also ferries. This blog would introduce the nuances of Stockholm public transport for students coming to the city this fall.

Tunnelbana: Stockholm metro map, Sweden
SL Service Map
PC: https://mapa-metro.com/

1. SL Card: This magic card would give you access to SL buses, metros and ferries. You can buy an SL card in any metro stations which can be renewed as required. But you cannot buy a ticket on a bus directly. Students get discounts on SL service when you posses a student card (Mecenat card). Monthly cards as on August 2020 would cost 610 sek.

2. Vocabulary: These are few Swedish transportations vocabulary which can help you figure out commuting in the initial days:
a. Tunnelbana: Metro
b. Pendeltåg: Commuter metro (long-distance metro)
c. Busser: Busses
d. Spår: Platform
e. Ej I trafik: Not available

3. Always carry your Mecenat card while travelling to prove that you are eligible for a student discount.

4. The station of KTH is called Tekniska högskolan accessible by the red line of tunnelbana towards Morby centrum. And T-Centralen and Odenplan are the main points of transport throughout the city.

5. Bonus Tip: You can use the SL services to reach to and from Arlanda airport. You can reach the city centre by taking an SL bus 583 to Marsta, and then a pendeltag (commuter train) to T-centralen.

And finally Welcome to Sweden!!!

Packing for Sweden-What to bring

Now that the start of the term is approaching, it’s time to start thinking about your bags. Vivek has already told you what NOT to pack, so here I will help you out on what you need to bring.

I suggest you spend one or two weeks normally at home and write down everything you are wearing/using. This will help you narrow down what you actually use on a daily basis, which are the essentials that you need to bring. There is no universal list of what to bring here, as it depends what you use/do. The following list is more of a general help to make sure you don’t forget anything absolutely necessary.

  • Passport/ID/Residence permit: You will need them to travel and for many different instances here.
  • Copies of your acceptance letter/insurance/passport/ID/accommodation contract: You never know if your phone will stop working or if the migration agents will ask you for these documents (normally not). It’s always good to have a physical copy just in case.
  • Clothes you like for all seasons: Sweden has very changing weather. In the summer it’s warm and sunny so do bring summer clothes, but in winter it is rainy and cold so bring at least a couple article of clothing for that kind of weather. If you don’t anything for winter, buy it here in Sweden to save space in your luggage as Vivek recommends.
  • Toiletries: Bring your shampoo/soap/lotions, as well as your beauty products, especially if you have a brand that you love which is not international. You will of course find all of the essential products here but you might not be motivated to go shopping in the first few days here so it’s good to have the essentials with you.
  • Bedsheets, pillowcase and towel: You will be happy you have them on your first night. They don’t take too much space and you’ll be happy to shower and sleep comfortably after a long flight, especially if you arrive after stores are closed. For KTH accommodation, you should bring 90cm x 200cm sheets
  • At least one business/dressed outfit: You might end up looking for a job here, or attend a networking event, so it’s always a good thing to have a nicer set of clothing.
  • Plug adapter: You’ll need one and will be happy to have it when you arrive at your accommodation with an empty phone battery and computer. I suggest buying a smaller-type one specific for your country to Sweden (Europe standard), as the ones for all countries are bulky and don’t always fit all plugs.
  • Electronics: Do bring your computer/tablet/backup drive/cables: It is not worth buying new ones here.
  • School bag/supplies: I suggest bringing your basic school supplies here, as your backpack, pencil case and pencils, as well as scientific calculator if you have one.
  • Eye Wear: I would recommend carrying an extra pair of spectacles or lenses in case if you lose one of them.
  • Medications: I carried basic medications such as paracetamol and crocin so that I have access to it till I time I figured about the medical system in Sweden. However, there are pharmacies all over Stockholm where you can buy medicines.
  • Something that reminds you of home: I might have a small trinket, photos ornament that you like, is small enough to not take any significant space in your suitcase and will make you remember home. It can be hard moving half-way around the world alone and sometimes a small souvenir can

If you forget anything, do not worry, physical mail still exists and you can buy everything here. The critical aspect is to get here, so make sure you have all your documents necessary.

A day in Ystad

Ystad is summer destination located in the very south of Sweden with a big harbour, beaches and rolling hills overlooking the ocean. On one of our off days at the farm, we decided to take the train to explore this cute little touristy town.

Flowery terrasses hidden between the historic buildings really make Ystad unique.

Ystad is a great destination for a one-day stop if you are road-tripping around Skåne, but it is also easily accessible by bus or train. The city center is for pedestrians and cycles only, and the cobble-stone streets and old-buildings offer a great setting for a number of cafés, restaurants and second-hand shops. I suggest getting an ice-cream at one of the many stores, and enjoying it on the main square by the Sankt Maria Kyrka.

Ales Stenar, overlooking the sea with an unexpected performance by local parasailers.

After exploring the city, it’s time to take a bus to one of the most popular sights in Scania: Ales Stenar, also called “the Stonehenge of Sweden”. It is a formation of rocks in the shape of boat located 15km from Ystad. A bus takes us there and the sight is quite impressive. The actual date of constuction is still a mystery, but some believe it was built some 2500 years ago! The cliff where it is located is also gorgeous and the sight on the ocean stretching until the horizon is breath-taking.

Relaxing on the sandy beach to end this great day

Next: a quick swim in the sea at Ystad Beach, located by the luxurious hotel Saltsjöbad. The sand is white, the sun is shining; it is a perfect way to end this touristic day. Ystad might be small but it has a lot to offer for a satisfying one-day trip.