Let There Be Light- St. Lucia’s Day

It is 6:30 am, the darkness is still around, not to go, while I struggle my way out of my bed, forcing myself to shut my sleep off and bounce my way to the KTH Library for the Lucia procession. I should witness the real thing least this time, can’t really miss it when I love Sweden so much. 

Running through my way to the metro station, to make it to the Library by 7 am, I was greeted by a bunch of random people at the T-bana, candles lit up the boring metro entrance and the aroma of Kaffe and Lussekatter made sure I stopped. Swedes are really kind to serve breakfast at 7 am! Home baked Lussebullar, that’s probably the softest and the fluffiest thing I have ever had! Bright smiles and food from random people made me feel so warm on the cold and dark morning. My day couldn’t have begun lovelier than this! 

It’s almost 7 am and the Library’s lobby is filled with at least 200 people, no idea how this place could fit in so many. Hot Swedish Kaffe, Lussebullar,  and the very mandatory Glögg were being served to everybody! I am having my second breakfast! The crowd gets filled up so quickly and we are waiting for the Library’s main hall to be opened; the sleepy soul inside of me is beginning to wake up. This is kinda very early for me, not to the Swedes; they wake up pretty early actually.  Some things take time to learn, especially when the days are so dark, I am only glad I made it to this place on time.

Being early is nice, particularly because I managed to find probably one of the best places to sit, right in the front! I haven’t seen the library so crowded before. Quickly the light goes off, the crowd goes silent, and from the back, the Lucia walks in, in her white gown and red sash, with a wreath of candles on her head, holding another candle and bringing her handmaidens along, bringing light, music and warmth. 

They walk in closer to the front, singing the very typical “Sankta Lucia” song. I made sure to listen to it a couple of times yesterday, and now I could lip sync and enjoy it even more. What a beautiful song! What a beautiful sight! This is an experience to never miss! I love where am sitting…

It is in times like these I feel very emotional, flooded by gratefulness for being in this place, to be able to experience such a beautiful culture, to be able to have the opportunity to study at KTH, the opportunity to do what I love; I am grateful. Life is beautiful, calm, warm and melodious. St. Lucia definitely brings in warmth and hope on this cold December morning.

Last year I baked Lussebullar on st. Lucia’s day. I am not sure if I am doing that again today. I haven’t made that decision yet. Too many Lussebullar this morning, might perhaps have a glass of glögg. Do check out my Lucia post from last year here 🙂

I wish you all a lot of warmth and love on this lovely day.

Armada- The largest Career fair of Scandinavia

Sindhuja and Oluchi @ Armada once again!

Being in the final year of our masters programme we got the opportunity to experience Armada for the second time! Armada is the largest career fair in Scandinavia that happens at KTH Royal Institute of Technology every year and is organized by students themselves.  This year more than 150 companies participated in the fair and exhibited their opportunities for students, which includes summer job, internships, trainee programmes, part-time jobs, bachelor and master thesis, and also full-time jobs. Diversity and sustainability form the core values of THS Armada.

Get Matched!

To make lives easier for students, THS Armada has an app(or you can access this, through the webpage), which allows students access to basic information regarding the participating companies. For example, a short summary of what each company does and positions available for students. Also, students know exactly where these companies would be located during the fair.

The coolest part is the additional functionality that matches students with companies based on the students’ preferences! With this, students get to know the first four companies that share similar interests! Perfect match-making scheme with companies, you might say right? haha!

Interactive Maps

Companies were spread out between Nymble, KTH Entre and the KTH Library. Therefore, it could have been a great hassle locating specific companies and also, students could get “distracted” with some companies’ extra activities. However, the THS crew thought about this earlier and created the interactive map! Still accessible from the app or webpage, students can search for a certain company and know exactly where to find them at any of the three buildings.

Diversity Room

Diversity, one of THS’ core values, is promoted during the fair, to the extent that, a section of Nymble was well decorated with purple. The carpets, balloons, wallpapers and a big signboard at the door, made the “DIVERSITY ROOM” very hard to miss.   The interesting thing to note is, students are made aware that companies who are located in this section have made the most progress according to THS with inclusion and diversity in their working environments.

Green Room

EXPERIENCE

My Experience- Sindhuja

Every time there is an event at KTH, I feel so glad to have been part of this university and am so thankful for being here to have this opportunity. Armada, is a great platform to know many companies in Sweden. It really opens your mind to think about what one wants to do in life, it opens up new doors for thesis and job.

Last year I collected a ton of flyers and brochures from the companies, that only piled up in my home. I anyway eventually noted them all in my computer and threw away the brochures. So, this year I went sustainable. I said No To Pamphlets.  Almost all of the information is always available up online, and are pretty generic when it comes to “how to apply”- You only need to hit their website! Some gave a weird look at me when I said that I will note it down in my phone instead of the brochure, but that’s okay, I guess 🙂

The most important thing to do when at Armada is to make contacts. Nothing works like LinkedIn to maintain your professional network. I would recommend everyone to have an updated LinkedIn profile at all times and don’t hesitate to ask to connect on LinkedIn. Sometimes, there are project leads and really amazing people that are at Armada to represent the company. When you have already had a chat and discussed some cool stuff, why not connect with them on LinkedIn? I always do that. So this year, I didn’t spend the time on freebies, or games or brochures. I just made contacts 😀

I actually met an amazing person from a company that I was interested in. In fact, I had the opportunity to visit their company this week following our Armada discussion. Isn’t that awesome? I honestly knew the person just from Armada, and now I know 10 people and got a tour around their office. I got to know a lot more about their team, had coffee and made a professional relationship for years to come. This is exactly what Armada provides, a platform to take off!

My Experience – OLUCHI

For me, I am glad that I got to experience Armada in two different ways. Last year, I was part of the logistics team. This year,  I had a tighter schedule and could not volunteer and the opportunity to experience Armada through different eyes was something I was loooking forward to.

I would say that the most important thing that students can leave Armada with is CONTACTS!! Yes, Armada is really for networking with companies and obtaining contact cards. The contact card will come in handy if you plan on sending applications to that company. Speaking of companies, one big advantage of Armada is opening one’s eyes to see beyond the “popular”. Popular, in this case, refers to companies that even without a google search, you know they exist in Sweden. Thanks to Armada, I have met various companies which I previously did not know were located in Sweden and I am equally interested in.

Another thing Armada is well known for is the souvenirs and games!! I always try to engage myself in some of these, it is an interesting way to speak with the company representatives, destress also from a busy day and at the same time, an opportunity to win something cool;)

My experience would not be complete if I do not talk about the student lounge!! Unending Fika throughout the fair. I could have gained 2kg extra just for the two days at Armada! (haha). It was good to have this especially after walking around the fair. It was nice to know that there was a place to get a quick snack from to energise oneself:)

Finally, Armada was also a mini-reunion for me. I met friends that are on an exchange program to some other European universities but studied at KTH, the first year. They planned their trips to Sweden so as not to miss Armada, one of the ways of meeting their future employers. This reiterates the importance of Armada, yes or yes?

Water Matters

What covers 2/3 of Earth and accounts for 3/4 of the total mass in our bodies, yes, WATER! This weekend was amazing! I had the chance to be part of the Nobel Dialogue week, where I listened to incredible scientist, leaders, and Nobel Prize laureates at the Stockholm City Congress Hall. This was a full-day event free of charge and it aimed to stimulate discussion among the panelist in different topics related to water.

Banner from the event.

As you may know, in 1895, Alfred Nobel’s testament stated that his fortune should be used to create what it is today known as de Nobel Foundation to award and give prizes to the brightest minds each year in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace. Moreover, in 1968, Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden’s central bank) established The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel; hence, every year during these dates, the Nobel prizes are awarded in Stockholm’s City Hall by the King of Sweden except for the Peace Prize that is awarded in Oslo, Norway. Now, going back to this Nobel week, the talks at Water Matters left it clear, our oceans and water cycles are being the first victims of climate change, as Johan Rockström, notable Swedish scientist and leader of the team that developed the planetary boundaries framework.

From left to right, Lisen Schultz (moderator), Johan Rockström (Professor at Stockholm Resilience Center), Steven Chu (Nobel in Physics 97′), and Julian Dowdeswell (Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute). 

Why water matters? Let me list you some facts heard in the talks about the importance of water and how we are disrupting this system.

  •  In many developing countries 90% of waste water and 70% of industrial waste is discharged without treatment and more than 200 dead-zone areas are known around the planet. Don’t know what a dead-zone area is? Well, the Baltic Sea is a pretty clear example of nutrient pollution, minimal O2 levels, and almost cero marine biodiversity.
  • 25 % of global CO2 emissions are absorbed by the oceans waves making the water more acid. You know what acid what does? Destroys the coral reefs. Why are coral reefs important? Well, nutrient recycling for marine food chains (yes, we eat some of these species too), species diversity, protect coastlines from the damaging effects of wave action and tropical storms (yes, they help when storms strike), and many more.
  • A report showed a list of cities around the glove that are most likely to run out of drinking water soon – they include London, Jakarta, São Paulo, Tokyo, and Mexico City. Pretty sure you know that these cities have a highly dense population. Have you heard about Cape Town water problem? The first city of many more in the list.

And I could go on with interesting facts and numbers that show how important this FINITE resource is to us. And I mean all of us, as the conference I could notice that an international audience was involved from the languages they spoke… even the Crown Princess Victoria was there! 

Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden.

As you can see this event was THE EVENT for water-related issues. Moreover, the panelist offered a great time for the audience as they clearly knew what they were talking about; what I mean with the last one, is that I’ve been in talks with the private sector and “sustainability leaders” from big international companies, and you can clearly notice how the information they share is just to promote the company and to do some kind of green wash using trending words as sustainability, climate change, and plastics. The people talking at this conference knew the real deal and knew how to transmit “easily” the key information of their work.

Finally, as you can see in the image above, panelist were mixed from different organisations and encouraged to talk about what we could do to positive contribute in the matter and reduce our water footprint. Some of the key messages were,

  • Reduce consumption of goods. This means stop buying things we don’t need. Those jeans, that sweater, that new iphone every year has an environmental (water) impact associated.
  • Change out diets. Be flexeterian/vegeterian more days per week than a meat eater. Not only livestock production contributes to 15 % of global GHG, but it has a huuuuge water footprint (yes, we are talking about thousands of litters to produce 1 kg of beef).
  • Raise our voice. Demand to our politicians to work in sustainable solutions. Let’s remember -personal opinion- that most politicians think only within their terms limits and how to get votes. Environmental issues don’t appear from one day to the other, so we need long-term solutions, and I mean 5, 10, 50 years based plans!

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KTH Faces | Dhruv

 

“Finalising KTH to pursue my Master studies was based on deductive logic. Back in India, I was working in ABB, which is a Swiss-Swedish company. During my tenure at the company, I could get valuable insight into European culture. While scrutinising the universities to pursue MS, I came across KTH Royal Institute of Technology. In addition to the good international university ranking of KTH, I chose this Master’s program in KTH because it is unique in its kind. Having work experience in techno-commercial profile, I was looking for a program which has the mixed flavour of technical and commercial aspects. This program offers courses starting from technical aspects of a conventional power grid to smart grid along with their economics. It also offers seminar courses where one gets an opportunity to interact with professionals from the industry regarding ongoing development trends. Some of the courses offer study visits as well that enable one to correlate concepts with its practical application. I felt that the program at KTH was constructed to address the future challenges and is closely collaborated with industries. After finishing a year of studies at KTH, I feel that I made the right choice.

I am inclined towards planning and operation of the power grids that include but not limited to the design of electricity markets, efficient operation of the power plants, asset management, the impact of renewable generation on the conventional power grid infrastructure etc. Soon, I am going to start a project based on the asset management of a power system for electrified transportation as a part of one of my project courses. It is about studying the interaction between EVs and energy infrastructure. I am looking forward to starting working on it.

Travelling to Sweden was my first international travel. Being from India, the very first difference I felt was the different climatic conditions. Back in India, I had never seen such a visible change in the climate throughout the year. It was Autumn when I arrived here, and the colourful season was followed by the beautiful fall and then the dark winters. However, being a photographer by passion, the best part about the dark winter was that I did not have to wait for the sunset in order to capture beautiful city lights. During the winters, I realised that how I never appreciated the importance of sunshine back in India. Believe me, after the dark winters the sparkling spring with beautiful flowers around and a bright sunny sky with comfortable temperature is just like a cherry on a cake.

The lifestyle of Stockholm amazes me on a regular basis. I really appreciate the way it promotes the equality in a true sense. I was really surprised to see the infrastructure to support physically challenged people to a mother carrying her child in a trolley. On weekends, I could see one different aspect of lifestyle that is work hard, party harder. People go for winter sports, they do basking under the sun. Once I saw a family of four, all with their bicycles. To me, it reflects an excellent work-life balance.

Being a student, I was always loaded with my work deadlines. However, if you plan your work in advance, you will always have time to pursue your hobbies. During past one year, I have travelled around Stockholm and could capture some nice photographs. I always wanted to try winter sports, so I learned ice-skating during my first winter here. The bucket list is long but nevertheless, there is always a next time, next winter in this case. I also found a way to continue my interest in badminton in a nearby sports complex in SU. In the summer, taking a bath at Lappis beach is truly a refreshing experience. I would suggest everyone try it in some nearby water body.”

Dhruv Bhatt comes from India. He is currently studying the master’s programme in Electric Power Engineering at KTH. He is also one of the international student ambassadors for the programme, and you can contact Dhruv for any of your queries regarding this program.

That time of the year

Hey peeps! Here in Sweden is time to bring the thick blankets out (like since September I’ve been doing that lol), prepare some hot chocolate, and listen to Christmas carols; but that’s not all of it for this season, decoration time begins in Stockholm! Rare pokemons (not literally pokemons) have appeared all around the city in for of Christmas trees! In the pic below you can appreciate two of the three Christmas tree that I tend to pass by on a normal day. The one in the left is located near Södra Station and the one in the right is located in Medis (go check them out).

Of course there are a lot more trees and decorations all around the city; for example, the ice skating located in Kungsträdgården, the light deers located outside Stockholm City station, or the other amazing Christmas tree located in Gamla Stan. If you are living here or planning to visit Stockholm during this time, you’ll find yourself wondering around a beautiful city full of decorations; of course, the Christmas markets are a MUST during this time of the year. Check out this video so you get an idea of what’s happening here!

But well, do you think I’ll leave you with out an environmental/you should be more conscious fact? 🙂 Now that we have talked about these huge Christmas trees popping all around the city, what about those millions of trees that we buy/chop down for our own house decoration, are these practices bad for the ecosystem? Should we buy instead a plastic tree? Well, let’s evaluate this questions because there is not conclusive answer as each one of us represents a specific case. How is that, Fernando? Well, imagine that I buy/chop down a tree here in Sweden, but I do it with a company that plants 2 trees for every tree they chopped down (balancing the scale). Now imagine, someone else buys/chops down a tree from a random company/place that doesn’t take care of reforesting the area… not so sustainable right.

Related image

Well, it all comes down to how much information you get from your tree dealer by means of, are they reforesting the area, do they have a recycling program for dry trees, etc. The thing with plastic trees (and generally speaking on the study I read) is that they are mainly produced in China (their energy mix is mainly from non-renewable resources for example) and they use lots of chemicals, so it is not so good for the environment. On the other hand, if a natural tree is harvested properly, it could have a lower environmental impact as it could come from a “tree farm” for example. Want to know a little bit more on the topic? Watch this video, you wouldn’t believe how many trees are chopped down only in the US each year for the season!

Sustainable Production Development at KTH

Hey guys hope you enjoyed your weekend! How is the application process going on? Still gathering together all the papers for your application? Well, you still have some time left before the application date closes so, if you are still undecided about the future of your Master’s degree, fear not! KTH has just open recently an amazing program in Sustainable Product Development at its Södertälje Compus. Just as a fyi, this is the first Master’s program taught in english at Södertälje 🙂 so, want to know more about the program? Watch this video…

As you can see, it seems like an awesome program if you are keen in product development; even though, we have the sustainability twist here! As economic models moved from an unlimited-based consumption and production towards more sustainable practices, these type of programs aim to internalise negative externalities caused by the status quo of how we live; hence, Sustainable Production Development will give you the necessary tools to understand and develop efficiently manufacturing, production, and logistics systems just to name some.

As a future student at KTH’s Södertälje campus, you’ll be part of one of Sweden’s most important industrial complex, which has a long history of outstanding collaboration with companies such as Scania and AstraZeneca. Want to get more information about this program? Click here

Don’t forget that you have till January 16th 2019 to finish your application to most of the programs at KTH (and Sweden) so, gather all those recommendation letters, your CV, and other specific entry requirements and apply ASAP! 😀