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Why I chose Sweden: A Canadian perspective

Deciding to study abroad is a significant milestone in one’s life. As a proud Canadian who values access to nature, the excitement of city life, and a deep passion for ice hockey, Sweden emerged as the perfect choice for me. Growing up in Canada, Sweden’s influence was all around me, from the appliances I used to the sports players and musicians I admired, the cuisine I savoured, and even the cars I drove. These shared cultural elements made Sweden feel like a second home before I even set foot on Swedish soil. So, why did I choose Sweden? In this blog post, I will explore the compelling reasons behind my decision and how Sweden met my unique blend of criteria for a fulfilling academic and personal experience.

a statue in a park
One of the many parks located near KTH Main Campus!

Access to Nature and Urban Life

As a Canadian, I’ve always cherished my connection to the great outdoors. Canada’s vast wilderness has been a constant source of inspiration and recreation for me. When researching my options for studying abroad, it was essential to find a place that offered easy access to nature while still being located in a vibrant urban centre. Sweden, with its stunning landscapes and thriving cities, perfectly fit the bill. Whether I’m exploring the serene archipelago in Stockholm, skiing in the northern wilderness, or simply enjoying a stroll in one of the many urban parks, Sweden allows me to maintain my connection to the natural world while living in a bustling city.

A view of a lake surrounded by trees at a nature reserve
The view from a hike we took along the water in Nackareservatet

Familiarity with Swedish Culture and Innovation

The pervasive presence of Swedish culture and innovation in my Canadian life was undeniable. From IKEA furniture to ABBA’s iconic music, Volvo cars to delicious Swedish meatballs, I had unknowingly been surrounded by Swedish influences. This sense of familiarity eased my transition to Sweden, as it felt like I was merely continuing an already established connection.

a plate of Swedish meatballs
Swedish meatballs! Served with mashes potatoes, lingonberries, and salted cucumber!

Four Seasons and English Proficiency

In Canada, I’m accustomed to experiencing all four seasons, each with its unique charm. Choosing Sweden allowed me to continue enjoying the beauty of changing seasons while pursuing my education. Moreover, Sweden’s high level of English proficiency made the transition much smoother, as I didn’t face any language barriers in my daily life.

Christmas market while it is snowing
One of Stockholm’s many Christmas markets on a snowy day! It was so incredibly cozy!

Quality of Life and Work-Life Balance

Sweden is renowned for offering one of the highest qualities of life in the world. The strong social welfare system, comprehensive healthcare, and excellent educational opportunities contributed to my decision. Moreover, the emphasis on work-life balance was a major draw. As a student and aspiring engineer, it was essential for me to be in a place where personal well-being is prioritised, ensuring I could maintain a healthy and fulfilling life outside of academics.

A Hub for Innovation

As an engineering student, it was crucial for me to choose a country that promotes innovation. Sweden, with its cutting-edge research and development, thriving tech startups, and a strong emphasis on sustainability, offered an ideal environment for my academic pursuits.

Sports Culture, Especially Hockey

Being an avid ice hockey fan, finding a country with a strong sports culture was a top priority for me. Canada is known for its love of ice hockey, and Sweden, with its own passionate ice hockey tradition, provided a sense of continuity in my life. The Swedish Hockey League (SHL) is a major league, and the country has produced many NHL stars, making it an exciting place for any ice hockey enthusiast.

Choosing to study abroad is a momentous decision, and Sweden has proven to be the perfect destination for me. The seamless blend of nature and city life, my passion for ice hockey, a strong sense of familiarity, access to four seasons, English proficiency, and an exceptional quality of life all played a pivotal role in my choice. Sweden’s dedication to work-life balance and its position as a hub for innovation made it an ideal location for an engineering student like me. By embarking on this educational journey in Sweden, I am not only fulfilling my academic aspirations but also creating a new chapter in my life that harmoniously combines my Canadian roots with the innovative and inviting culture of Sweden.

Have you had a chance to check out Lorenzo and Sai’s latest posts? Lorenzo tells us about why he loves the KTH webinars and Sai shows us the behind the scenes of KTH labs. See you next week!