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Useful Swedish words for your everyday life

Soon, all you newly accepted students will begin your journey to Stockholm and to KTH! But a new country also means a new language 😱 From my personal experience, I can say that I had no idea of any Swedish word when coming here. On the first evening, I didn’t had any food at home and went to a small bistro where it was perfectly fine to order the food in English, however, I realised that I was not even able to thank the person in their own language … so, that you don’t run into a similar situation, we’re gonna have a small language course today! 💬

Greeting & Saying goodbye

Greeting someone in Sweden is actually super simple, you just say “Hej!”. However, there’s more versions in greeting someone and I learned that you usually don’t repeat what the other person said. So for example, if someone says “Hej!”, you answer with “Hej hej!”, instead of repeating the “Hej!”. Among friends, you can also say “Tja!”.

Goodbye is also quite easy to remember, you simply say “Hejdå!” or you can also just say “Hej!” again.

Please & Thank you

To say please in Swedish works in two different directions. If you for example hand something over to a person, so e.g. say “Here you go!” then you can say “Varsågod!”. But if you order something in a store, you can also use “tack”.

This leads already into saying thank you in Swedish, which is “tack” as well. Or if you really want to thank someone you say “tack tack” or “tack så mycket!”.

Swedish flag

Useful words in everyday life

Tunnelbana: is the Swedish word for subway, you will also see big signs on the street with a “T” symbolising that there is a subway station.

Pendeltåg: is the commuter train that usually runs over longer distances. The sign for the pendeltåg is “J” from the word järnvägsstation (railway station).

utgång: is the exit. Especially useful when you’re commuting by train or plane or if you visit a store.

snabbköp: is the supermarket. However, I have never really heard this word in the daily life to be honest. It’s more likely to just use the name of the actual supermarket. The most common ones are Hemköp, Coop, ICA or Willys. And of course the German supermarket Lidl. So if you go to the supermarket you would say “I’m going to Hemköp”.

kassa: is the checkout in a store or the supermarket.

kontantfri: meas that you can only pay by card, so therefore cashless. This is quite important as there are several stores that only have card payments.

toalett (toa): is the bathroom. Especially important when you’re in a café or restaurant.

I hope these words can help you a bit when arriving in Sweden! Just remember that nearly everyone can also speak English here and is happy to help out! You just need to ask! 😊

Have a great week!
// Maria

The Mecenat card (student card)

In many countries you’re probably used to having a physical card that shows your status as a student. In Sweden, where all processes try to be made as sustainable as possible, you simply have your student card on your phone – it’s called the “Mecenat card”. For everyone, who is now wondering if there is no chance to get a physical version of it: yes, there is the possibility to get a physical card, however, it’s highly encouraged to not get a printed version and therefore contribute to a sustainable environment 🌱 So what can you do with your student card?

First of all, you can show your student status with the card. In addition, the card shows whether you’re a member of THS (the student’s union). In the picture of my card, you can see a picture of Nymble (the building of the student union) in the background. If you’re not a THS member, your card will simply have a white background which shows the difference. On this side of the card, you can also see how long the ID itself is valid, but also how long you’re able to get discounts with it.

Mecenat card with THS membership
Mecenat card with THS membership

In the bottom right corner, you can see a blinking orange circle. If you press that circle, the other side of the card opens automatically in the app. In the middle of the screen, you can see two symbols “SJ” and “SL” which are the main public transportation providers in Stockholm. This means, that the student card also enables you to buy public transport tickets at a reduced price. If you ever walk into a ticket control, you simply show your SL-card/SL-App (which has your ticket) and your Mecenat card, which shows that you’re a student.

At the bottom of the second screen, you can also see which chapter (Sektion) you belong to. If you want to learn what a chapter is, you can read more here. My card for example says that I am part of Medieteknik (which is Media Technology). If you ever want to visit your chapter pub on campus, be prepared to show your Mecenat card, as it shows that you belong to the chapter. To make a small digression here: Usually chapter pubs want to have a balance between people who belong to the chapter and people who are visitors. Some chapters take this more seriously than others, however, you should be able to either show your Mecenat card, or come with someone (as their plus one) to be able to join the pub.

Mecenat card page 2
Other side of the Mecenat card

When do I get my card?

The Mecenat is directly ordered by KTH and you’ll receive it after you have arrived and registered for your courses. Please make sure that all your details in Ladok are correct, as this will be connected with the details on your card. To access your card, you simply need to download the Mecenat app on your phone, but further instructions will also be sent out via e-mail to you, once your card is available.

Should I become a THS member?

These are some of the benefits of becoming a THS member (and an updated Mecenat card):

  • Eligibility to sign up at SSSB
  • Discounts in the restaurant in Nymble
  • Participation in Chapter events
  • Free entrance to after-exam pubs in Nymble

You can find more reasons why I think joining THS is a great thing to do here!

Have a great weekend!
// Maria

KTH Innovation Award 2021

It’s finally here! With 200 nominations for 138 amazing individuals, only one person will be granted the KTH Innovation award on 01 July 2021. The curiosity is building up as we head closer.

The KTH Innovation award was started in 2020 to celebrate individuals from KTH who have contributed to solving societal problems through innovation. The award is sponsored by Daniel Ek, founder and CEO of Spotify, and KTH Professor Mathias Uhlén.

Collage of portraits of Daniel Ek and Mathias Uhlén
The award is sponsored by Daniel Ek, founder and CEO of Spotify, and KTH Professor and entrepreneur Mathias Uhlén.

KTH since its inception has produced talented individuals who have contributed to transforming industries and impacted the lives of people. This award is to recognise such individuals and celebrate them for their grit, creativity, and courage to pursue their dreams.

The nominees have to be affiliated to KTH and should have founded one or more companies or contributed to existing companies through patents. The awardee will receive a monetary reward of 500,000 sek.

It is inspiring for us as students to follow the life of people who are working towards solving challenges through innovation. It brings a pride that KTH is one of the common things between us.

The event will be streamed live. You can register to the watch the event here.

The student union of KTH (THS)

Did you already hear about THS, the Student Union of KTH? THS takes care of the continuous improvement of the education on campus and trying to make your experience at KTH as great as possible! Being a member of THS has multiple advantages. For new students, it’s probably a big plus that when being a member you can sign up at the housing SSSB and are able to collect waiting days, in case you would like to move into a student accommodation. But also for students who are not looking for housing it’s a great opportunity to be a THS member. You can get for example discounts on the lunch at the Restaurant in Nymble, the Student Union building, and you’ll be able to enter your chapter pub (once they’ll be open again). I have been active in several THS organizations during the past two years and I’d like to share my experiences about this today with you!


During my first semester at KTH I have been part of the organisation THS MAIN, that unites all masters and international students at KTH and organises different events for them. I have been in the communications committee where I was responsible to create social media posts and e-mails for the students to inform them about what is going on in the organisation and what kind of events will be held. This engagement then led to becoming the communications manager in the second semester, where I was part of the organisational board of THS MAIN. Together with the event managers, the treasurer and the president we were then responsible for overseeing the organisation and strategically plan the upcoming semester. But if you would like to only check out some of the events, you don’t necessarily have to be involved in any committee or the board. You can simply become a THS MAIN member by joining one of their introduction meetings and take part of great and fun events!

Taking photos as Marketing Manager
Being responsible for the Marketing gives you the chance to take many great pictures!

THS Armada

THS Armada organises KTH’s annual career fair. During the autumn many companies come together in Nymble and present their work, answer the students’ questions and some also offer part-time jobs or thesis positions. During THS Armada 2020 I have been part of the Marketing team. This Armada year has been special, as the fair has been held digitally for the first time. Usually, the fair stretches out over the whole student union building. However, last year was completely different. This is also why it was not possible to get to know the whole team, which of course was quite sad. Nevertheless, even though held digitally, I had a lot of fun creating and scheduling Marketing activities to promote the fair and different webinars. THS Armada also offers different levels of involvement, from being in the core team (project group), being in the operations team or just working during the event itself.

THS International Reception

The THS International Reception has accompanied me basically from day 1. This organisation arranges the Welcome Weeks during August (but also for exchange students during the spring). So when I arrived in autumn 2019 I have been taking part in the events as a student myself. Afterwards, I was convinced that I wanted to be a part of the team as well and joined the Project Team in spring 2020 & autumn 2020 as a Marketing Manager. This position was great to get in contact with the incoming students and answer all the questions they had regarding their arrival and THS. In October 2020 I decided that I wanted to try out another team and changed to the IT team of the group. Since then, I have been responsible for the UI/UX design of their new sign-up system for their events. The THS International Reception has also different levels of involvement. You can either be in the Project Team that plans all the events, or you can help out as a Buddy during the Reception weeks in Spring or Autumn.

cutting carrots for the International Reception
Cutting carrots for an event during the International Reception

These three organisations are of course only an extract of what you can do within THS. All of them have been great fun and I was able to get to know so many new people! I can definitely recommend to check out what else THS is offering. Personally, this was completely new to me, as I didn’t know student unions could be this big and this active on campus. If you would like to get to know more about the student union join the next webinar on June 10th at 4pm! You can sign up for it here.

Have a great week!
// Maria

Proud Alumni of KTH

KTH has a global alumni community contributing to the world in different areas of interest. KTH alumni office actively works towards maintaining the relationship with the alumni and links the alumni to the university. Students have the opportunities to meet up with the alumni and interact with them while learning about their experience at KTH. In this blog post, I write about some three alumni who I adore and admire for their accomplishments in fields like entrepreneurship, automotive industry, aerospace etc.

Daniel E K – Founder of Spotify

Daniel is the CEO and founder of Spotify that pioneered the music industry at the age of 23. Daniel along with his other co-founder Martin Lorentzon started Spotify in 2006 which is currently valued at 67 billion dollars. Daniel was a student of computer engineering at KTH. He went on to become the CEO of µTorrent before starting Spotify. A lecture and discussion with Daniel were recently organised by KTH innovation. Daniel is also one of the two donors of KTH Innovation Award.

Daniel Ek, Spotify's tenacious and taciturn CEO
Daniel EK: Co-founder of Spotify which disrupted the music industry

Christer Fuglesang – Astronaut

Christer Fuglesang is the first Swedish citizen to go to space aboard the STS-116 to the International Space Station as a mission specialist. Christer is a graduate of KTH and also works as a professor is responsible for the aerospace Master program while teaching a course in human spaceflight. KTH regularly organises lecture sessions for students to listen to Christer’s spacewalk experience and get inspired by his adventures.

Christer Fuglesang – Sweden’s first astronaut!

Gustaf Larson – Founder of Volvo

If there is a well known global brand for cars, then a name which commonly comes to one’s mind of Volvo. Gustaf Larson along with Azar Gabrielsjon started Volvo in 1927. Gustaf was responsible for designing the cars and developing the investment plan for producing 100 cars before January 1928. Gustaf was a student in the department of mechanical engineering and mechanical technology at KTH.

Gustaf Larson along with Azar Gabrielsjon

KTH alumni are truly inspiring through their work in various fields. I feel proud that we are now holding the same baton as they did a few years ago. I hope this blog was inspiring to you as well.

Finishing off the thesis ride

What a ride it has been! The past semester, I have been writing my thesis and yesterday, I successfully presented my results! 🤓 Of course, we’re still having online classes and so the presentation was also held digitally. In my programme the presentation is held in front of the examiner and the opponent, who is a fellow student as well as an audience who is interested in the topic.

The presentation started at 10am in the morning and first it was my turn to give insights into my work and what conclusions I have drawn. After this, the opponent took over – this is a system that was actually new to me. The opponent is a fellow student who has read your work beforehand and then has the task to ask questions on the work, the results or any other insights into the topic. These questions took around 10 minutes. After that, my examiner took over, gave comments on my report and asked questions as well. As my topic was “Fairness in AI” and I have been discussing different approaches on responsible AI development in my work, there were quite some questions also coming from the audience. I got a lot of nice feedback on my work and everyone was thankful for giving a great overview on this regulatory topic as many of them haven’t been deeply involved in the area of AI technologies.

Thesis presentation
Presenting my thesis work digitally from home

Now, I have the chance to enhance my work during the next two weeks based on the feedback I got from my examiner. However, to me, yesterday already marked the end of my master studies which is quite emotional. Two years at KTH have passed by sooo quickly! I’m very thankful for all the people I got to know and all the new insights that I got 💪 But this does not mean goodbye yet! I’ll stay in Sweden and Stockholm over the summer to hopefully being able to enjoy the sun and explore new places I haven’t been too!

In front of KTH

If you’re starting your thesis project soon, I can recommend checking out mine and Vivek’s posts on how to find a thesis topic! Even though you might have some time left and are right at the beginning of your summer break, I can only encourage you to start looking into this early enough! Do you have any questions about this? Feel free to leave a comment! 💬

Enjoy the sun!
// Maria