If you’re reading this right now, WELCOME ON BOARD! This is my first post as a KTH Student blogger (YAY!) and what better way to get this exciting part of my journey started than to let you in on the first few “Stockholm Signatures” that caught my attention.
So, I moved to Stockholm a month ago and it has been interesting so far. “Interesting” feels like an odd adjective to describe the beauty that Stockholm holds but this post is about the first five things that caught my attention in my first week!
Without further ado, let’s get the ball rolling:
GENDER NEUTRAL RESTROOMS
The above icon means the restroom is regardless of gender and to my astonishment, most of the restrooms even at the University have signs like this. I found this very surprising because, in Nigeria, I can’t imagine boys and girls using the same restroom. The thought alone cracks me up! I recall having to use the restroom at the central station and the sign just read “toalett”. I walked in and only saw men! (lol). My natural instincts told me,” Oluchi, you might be in the wrong place” but I had three seconds conversation with myself where I said, “you’re in Sweden; this is totally normal” (LOL!)
CHILD REARING DUTIES
These pictures above are very prevalent in Stockholm. As shocking as it is to see this a lot, I absolutely love it! So, the same way we have maternity leave in Nigeria and in most part of the world, the Swedes have parental leave. Parents can share the 480 days between themselves of paid parental leave when the child is born or adopted.
CLEAN YOUR TABLES AFTER EATING
You know that sense of entitlement about not cleaning up after eating in public and letting “some people who have those set of duties in their job description take care of your mess?” This ideology has to be erased from your mind. Yes, there are some restaurants that you do not need to clean up after yourself but some like the ones in IKEA and McDonalds and most restaurants at the KTH Campus operate in this way. So, after eating, you throw your trash away, stack your dirty tray in the provided area for that. In summary, you clean up your table for the next person. So, why is it on this list? Because even in small school cafeterias in Nigeria, most of us do not clean up after eating. There are actual people who have it in their job descriptions to do just that (LOL!) To me, it was an interesting twist and look at it this way, you just eat and then leave seconds after. You do not need to wait for your check or have to tip anyone.
WOMEN AT WORK
I studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Lagos, Nigeria and during those five years and beyond, it has been glaring to me how unlikely you find women taking technical jobs independently. Let’s get past engineering, you hardly see women as drivers for the public transport system and even when you do, they are in the minority. However, in my first week, I was astonished when I was walking down Brinnelvägen and a lady was working all by herself at the construction site. As I was still basking in my new finding, I got to the bus station and guess who the driver was? A woman! You might say it may be two out of 100 but I beg to differ. I am studying sustainable energy engineering and to the best of my knowledge, we have an equal ratio of boys to girls in my programme. Personally, I love this! It shows Sweden is really on the forefront of gender equality in the workplace.
DRINKING WATER FROM THE WASHROOM BASINS
This is something I had to get used to seeing a lot, especially at the university. Some people just come into the restrooms just to get drinking water from the same sinks you may wash your hand in after using the restroom. So, yes, tap water has proven to be very safe in Sweden and because of this, you find most people with water bottles as opposed to buying bottled water when they are out of their houses.
So, there goes my list of the first five things that caught my attention in the first week. Does my list match yours? I would love to hear from you.
It’s October already, which means that I have been in Stockholm for TWO months!!! Sometimes it feels like it was only yesterday I landed here, while it also sometimes feels like a dream inside a dream.
I arrived on August 1st, the first of the three arrival days. I chose to come here one month earlier to give myself the opportunity to imbibe the feel of the new life. My flight landed at 8.20 PM and somehow I managed to catch the last bus at 9. Coming from a place where the sun sets by 6 in the evening all around the year, It was quite fascinating to see the sky bright and welcoming even at 9. Wowwww!! I couldn’t even believe that it was all happening for real!!
“Welcome to your new hometown!” That’s how our bus greeted us. very warm and apt indeed!
We reached KTH Entré, the arrival site at KTH campus, where we collected our accommodation keys, activated our KTH IT accounts, collected the arrival day bedding kit- a pillow and a duvet, a free Sim card from Halebop and finally, we registered with the THS for the international activities. We even received a THS wristband that was to be worn for one month straight, that was basically the ticket to participate in the activities throughout August. In the coming posts, I will write about the interesting things I did in my first month, of course, they were all organized by the THS. So, stay tuned!
I was super excited and super drained on the arrival day. It was almost 12 AM when I reached my room, and due to my late flight, I even missed the arrival day BBQ, so, I was starving too. Two amazing THS guys helped me navigate to Lappis that night, which is where my accommodation is. They even helped me in pushing my trolleys. Thank you, guys!!!
I hope they Give a snack kit to the next year’s new students. It will be quite useful. What do you think?
Whoa!! It took me half an hour to figure out how to use the cooktop. It’s LPG gas stoves back home, and cooking was a task that night. Besides, eating out at 12 AM wasn’t a practical thing too. Anyway, it was one exciting day. The beginning of a new life. The day I had been waiting for since January! I’m super glad for everything 🙂
Btw, It was my first ever International trip 😀 And guess what, I was super lucky that day! I The captain of my flight allowed me inside the cockpit and even clicked a picture of me. He gave me his cap too for the picture 😛 British Airways <3
Here are some pictures from the arrival day at KTH Entré
Do you recognize the bus stop in the above picture? Comment below! One lucky winner will feature on my blog!
Warm welcome from cold Sweden! As my first entry in this blog, I would like to start by asking you some questions…
Have you ever thought about how environmental-friendly your country is? For the ones who already had, are you doing something that actually makes it “greener”? For the ones who haven’t, well, today is a good day to start!
Currently based in Sweden, the top sustainable country in the world according to the Swiss green investing company RobecoSAM, each day I learn, read, or discover something new about how green Swedes are! For example:
Swedish fashion giant H&M is the world’s largest user of organic cotton.
SJ trains, the government-owned train company, run only with green electricity from hydropower or wind power.
2 out of 5 Swedes prefer to buy organic-labeled food in supermarkets.
Stockholm’s Public Transport (SL), a company that operates the city’s bussar, has the target of running 100% on renewable energy by 2025.
With a population of almost 10 million people, 7 out of 10 Swedes want to live in an eco-labeled house even though it would cost them more! (This society is really self-aware about taking care of the environment).
By 2050, Sweden is targeting to become the world’s first fossil-fuel free nation!
Sweden has 99% efficiency when it comes to waste management treatment. This means that they have barely any waste that ends in landfills.
So I ask to you again, have you ever thought about how green your country is? It all comes from the policies you support, the things you are eating, the way you transport yourself within your city, the things you are buying and so on…
Now come and see the video I posted down here and remember that we need more from our planet, than what the planet needs from us #FoodForThought.
If you have read my previous post, then you probably already know how I ended up preparing for KTH Master’s Challenge. In case you haven’t, you can read about it here- “My Road to Sweden”.
But, if you’re wondering what am talking about, well then here it is. KTH Master’s Challenge is a competition that’s being conducted in India for the past 4 years. The competition has also been conducted in Indonesia during the past. The contest aims to seek the brightest minds in the country to pursue a Master’s degree at KTH Royal Institute of Technology with a complete tuition-fee waiver of worth approximately 2,300,000 INR.
In 2017, The competition was powered by Sqore, in partnership with Formulate IP who offered a 6-week internship opportunity to the winners. The contest was conducted for three programmes and one winner was chosen per programme.
Cracking KTH Master’s Challenge gave me the golden ticket to Sweden. I am truly grateful to KTH and Sqore for giving me this opportunity of my lifetime. Life went for a complete changeover after winning this prestigious award!
Exactly a year ago, I was preparing for KTH Master’s Challenge with about a million questions on my mind. Time flies indeed, the next version of the competition is just around the corner. And, I have already started receiving questions on my Facebook and LinkedIn, from the 2018 aspirants. Well, I was exactly in the same state a year ago, foraging the internet for some direction. So, I thought why not write a blog post about it. I hope you will find my experience useful. I will truly be glad if this post brings you at least one bit closer to winning KTH Master’s Challenge.
There is no substitute for hard work. – Thomas A. Edison
This is my most favorite quote, so much so that I have this stuck on the wall by my study space and yes, I do take the efforts to live by it. The feeling of that immense satisfaction and happiness you get after completing something with hard work and sweat is definitely incomparable. Moreover, when hard work goes in, success follows, or even if it doesn’t, you would have gained the learning and the invaluable experience. Likewise, just participating in KTH Master’s Challenge will give you a very enriching experience, because the competition not only gives you the platform to prove your skills across every sphere but also an opportunity to look deeper in analyzing your potential and interests.
Apart from the general registration and the final application procedures, the competition in 2017 had 3 tasks. Firstly, we had to take up three quizzes that tested our knowledge and skills in logical reasoning, knowledge of Sweden and KTH, and our academic background. Secondly, we had to write a case study, following which was to submit a motivational statement. Based on our performances in these tasks, five finalists per each programme were selected. After an interview process, three winner nominees were announced. The final winners were announced during the nerve-wracking award ceremony.
Like I mentioned, there were three quiz sections. Each section had a time constraint and we could only answer a question once. There was no option to go back and change it.
Section 1: Test in Logical Reasoning Skills
Since I had given my GRE exam around that time, this section seemed pretty easy to me. The questions mostly tested our quantitative aptitude, verbal reasoning and logical reasoning of course. I think the main aim of this section was to gauge if you had the critical and analytical skills to just take up a Master’s course. The standard was definitely not like the ETS GRE, so you can relax about it. But don’t take it lightly, because this section can give you a full score like a breeze. 🙂
Section 2: Test in Knowledge of Sweden and KTH
Just as the heading suggests, the quiz simply tested us on some facts about this wonderful country and KTH. So, some simple googling will be just fine. Besides, it only makes sense to know the good things about your new home!
“Study in Sweden” website has some amazing information to know more about Sweden in general. And trust me, I am so glad to have gone through it. Do explore KTH website to read about KTH, our sustainability goals, your programme etc. This will come of great help during the interview as well.
Here is the hard part! This section had mostly numerical questions from the chosen programme. Most of the questions were easy and involved just some fundamental concepts. But, as I always tell, the tough ones decide the winner! So be prepared to tackle some difficult problems too.
Well, I think, one thing can be kept in mind is that these quizzes have a time constraint and are meant to be solved in a short duration. So, the key is to be sure that they can indeed be solved in an easy way. Just in case if you’re having a complicated way of solving it, then I advise you to take a step back and approach it a bit differently.
Approximation of numbers can get you closer to the answer much faster! Because they are all multiple choice questions, well mostly and also, I did notice that most of the options were numerically spaced apart. so approximation must work for the majority of the questions. It’s so much easier to calculate 10,000 x 10,000 than calculating 99,345 *98789, don’t you think? 😉
If you get stuck up in something, give a random entry and move on. The clock is ticking!
Last but not the least. If you have no clue about a question, then please do not skip it. Think intuitively and trust your instincts in choosing what you feel can be conceptually right. You never know, Luck might just favor you. 🙂
But, don’t bank much on the luck factor. The competition has a case study and an interview too! 😀 If you have a formula book, I would advise you to brush up your fundamentals and basic formulae before the exam. Do not give the test without any preparation. Take a good one week to analyze the competition structure for this year and prepare accordingly before giving it the shot. Plan it well and stick to the deadlines, please.
The Case Study
Case Study is the most interesting part. I got a really interesting topic, I bet you’d too. Do you know that examination system is quite different here in Sweden? you can actually carry a formulae book and even a handwritten note to the exam. Few subjects might not even have a final exam, they will be graded by home exams, assignments, and labs. They do not test us in our ability to memorize but rather in our cognitive ability to analyze, to think critically and to apply the knowledge.
I hope now you know about what is expected out of you in the case study. So, give it enough time to read thoroughly about the topic. It will be a wise move to go through recent journal publications. Analyse different solutions, advantages, and drawbacks wherever possible. A diligent preparation is mandatory if you want to present an awesome case study.
Stick to the rules, the word limits etc. Remember, if you want to win, you got to submit a winning case study, so give it that much effort. Be crisp in your points, yet comprehensive as well. All the best!
The Motivational Statement
This is probably the easiest part.
You can point out few things like …
why are you planning for a master’s degree?
Why choose this particular programme?
What are your achievements?
What are your short term and long term goals?
Why do you think you need this scholarship?
What difference can this make to your life?
Again, Stick to the rules. Don’t exceed the word count. Keep it honest and persuasive. The judges will have to easily read 1000 essays I guess, so make it sound interesting 🙂
Attending a skype interview with a foreigner can be a very different experience. It was very new to me. I was nervous and excited at the same time. The cocktail of emotions can be a bit overwhelming but try to stay calm and collected during the process. Be prepared to face questions from your quizzes, case study, and motivational statement. Do read about recent technology advancements in your stream. It’s up to you to drive the interview to be interesting or downhill 😉 Well, it cannot be downhill because the programme directors will make sure you feel comfortable and the environment will be quite easy and casual.
I really think that this is the part where they are looking forward to seeing the person in you beyond academics. For the reason that your technical skills have already been graded, so, it is important that you be yourself and honest in the interview. It will just be a half an hour to one hour interview. Use the time well and show them that you’re passionate. 🙂
There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure -Colin Powell
Well, that’s about my experience and the tips I can share with you to win KTH master’s Challenge. Forgive me for such a long post. I hope you will benefit. Leave your feedback in the comment section 🙂 If you want me to write about anything more, you can mention that to me in the comment section as well. All the best and good luck!!! May the prestigious Scholarship be yours! 🙂
Below are the links to few other blogs where you can find more useful information about KTH Master’s Challenge
My exhilarating journey to KTH started six years back! Unbelievable, right? Yup, I feel that way myself! Six years ago, I met a friend at a one-month crash-course that I attended for my Bachelor’s entrance exam. Little did I know that meeting her would impact my life 6 years later. I added her on Facebook and that was all about it. I had absolutely no idea of doing a Master’s degree when I was in my bachelor’s. Four years later, I saw her status on my Facebook newsfeed about her KTH Master’s Challenge award, that’s when I got to know about KTH, about this scholarship and even about Sweden as a destination to do Master’s. That day onwards, I started googling about Sweden, about the city and KTH. Slowly along two years, I acquired a lot of knowledge about this wonderful place that seeded in me, the love for Scandinavia.
After working for two years, I decided to pursue Master’s degree. Studying abroad was a little too expensive dream for me. So, I was eyeing various scholarships and started preparing for them. KTH was my obvious choice, particularly for the reason that the Electric Power Engineering programme here is unique and flexible. It gives the freedom to explore different courses and the latitude to specialize in our area of interest. My experience as an employee in an industry taught me that any project is a conglomeration of ideas from multidisciplinary streams and the person with the knowledge beyond his specific domain can think and contribute broadly to the practicality of the project. This exact opportunity to widen your spectrum is the specialty of this programme. So, KTH Master’s Challenge seemed like that magical door to the heavens!
A series of quizzes, case study, motivational statement and an Interview to crack, I finally bagged the prize that gave me a complete tuition fee waiver to study the Master’s programme in Electric Power Engineering at KTH. Hard work finally paid off and an exciting journey began on that day that brought me here to Stockholm!
The friend I told you about in the beginning, well, we became great friends now. She was surprised to know where it all started. Indeed, life never fails to amaze us. I realize, how much important it is to talk to people and to make friends.
“Nothing happens in a vacuum in life: every action has a series of consequences, and sometimes it takes a long time to fully understand the consequences of our actions — Khaled Hosseini”
That’s my story behind the journey. Do you have one? You can share with me in the comment section 🙂
Are you aspiring to win KTH Master’s Challenge 2018? Follow my blog to know how I won it 😀