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Study in Sweden for free: SI scholarship application tips

As I already told you, I am studying at KTH with a Swedish Institute for Global Professionals scholarship, and here you can check out an overview of this fully-funded opportunity if you haven’t yet. 

As the deadline for applying is slowly approaching, this time, I’ll share with you some tips for making a solid application for this scholarship, so if you’re interested in studying in Sweden (including KTH, of course) for free, I got you covered.

Mind the deadlines 

As trivial as it may sound, planning your time when applying for the scholarship is crucial to success. Consider it as a work project you’re doing with certain goals to achieve. For instance, I had a workspace in a task management system when I applied for my studies. I applied for several programmes and scholarships, and in fact, won both SISGP and Chevening scholarship, so my approach proved to be successful. I used Trello, as it’s free for personal use and simple to use even if you are not familiar with task management systems at all. 

My admissions workspace in Trello

Moreover, you don’t want to postpone the application submission until the very last moment, as there are always too many people trying to apply during the last hours, and the application website might not be stable under such load. I applied for the scholarship in 2019 and 2020, and both times there were problems with the website, and SI even had to prolong the deadline. So my strong advice is to apply in good time, as it’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

Keep your story logical and consistent 

Ideally, every step in your life and career should be interconnected, with another fact from your biography being a logical step from the previous one. Everything in your papers should work for the big idea you have and the reason why you want to get your master’s in Sweden. It doesn’t mean you need to lie (never do that!); it means putting the focus on the most relevant experiences you’ve had. Just like in the resume: when you are applying for your third job in finance, for example, your old student job as a bartender might not be the most relevant. Of course, it can be different in some cases, you might have gained transferable skills from that, or it was an essential part of your story, but you got the idea, right? 

Let your papers complement each other 

Many applicants make a common mistake in repeating the same facts from their biography and the information they already wrote in one of the application documents. For example, they state their working experience in the motivation letter, when they already told the committee everything about it in the CV and the proof of working experience. Don’t do that! The motivation letter is way too short to restate something you already told about yourself. Every application document should give new information about you, revealing your personality from different angles so that the committee can have a complete picture. 

I hope you’ll find these tips helpful! Let me know if you want some more advice on the SI scholarship application or have other questions regarding it, and I’ll be happy to share some more info in the upcoming posts! 

// Valerie 

Study Spots at KTH

As the end of the year approaches, the focus here at KTH is turning towards studying and working hard for final exams and submissions, the last push before we can all go celebrate the holidays. Around the campus and around the city of Stockholm there are lots of great places that are perfect for studying hard or meeting groups to work together. In this post, I might take you on a tour to some of my favourites…

Entré café in KTH

Campus Cafés

Coffee is a big thing in Sweden. Swedes are actually some of the top coffee consumers in the world, so it’s no surprise to find so many nice cafés around the Campus. Entré, FIKA, The Coffice, Cafe Pausen and Restauranglabbet are just some of them. While these cafés are best for fika and taking a break during the studies, they are also great places to sit for a while and get some work done.

Outside the Student Centre at KTH

Nymble

Nymble is the student centre at KTH and the home of THS, the student union. Here, there is a whole complex of student facilities like a restaurant, bar, bookshop and sauna, and of course, another great café. During the day this place is usually full of students. The nice thing about Nymble is that it has lots of different workspaces, from small cosy rooms to large open halls so you can pick whichever suits your mood.

Inside the U-building at KTH

U-building

Of course there are many study-spots in the university buildings around KTH but one that I particularly like is the U-building. There are lots of large, bright spaces that are free for anyone to occupy. The building is quite new and well equipped too. For me, the atmosphere is just the right mix of focussed and relaxed. If I’m looking for a productive day, I always aim for this spot.

Inside the library at KTH

KTH Library

The library at KTH is one of the main centres of the university. Here, you can also find a great diversity of spaces to study whether you like to sit up high, looking over a vast hall or squish into a small space where you can’t get distracted. The café library is great for taking a fika during the day and you also have the advantage of having all the printers and computers there if you need them. Make sure to come early though if you want to get the best spaces!

Kulturhuset Café

Into the City

The coffee culture is not only in the university, the density of cafés continues out into the city. It’s very ordinary to see lots of students with their laptops in these cafés, studying or working in groups. Some of the best spots are in the big public buildings, like museums, galleries and train stations. My own favourite study haunts have been around Norrmalm and Sveavägen, with my absolute favourite being up high in Kulturhuset, looking over the busy city below.

~ Declan

Mental health matters here

This time of year can be a struggle. The holiday break seems so close, and yet there are still course assignments, projects, and exams to stay focused on. I’ve definitely felt a bit of burnout creeping in this week, and I know I’m not the only one. 

I originally planned to write a chipper blog about my snowy day-hike in the national park south of Stockholm last weekend. But honestly, I went on that hike because my eyes hurt from too much screen time, and I needed the mental break; that’s a reality of being a student sometimes.

I always consider my mental health important, but I find that feeling well requires more attention and maintenance during the winter months or the busy end of a study period. Lucky for us students, KTH also takes mental health seriously. Since I started studying in 2020, there has been a big emphasis on student wellness, especially in the context of the pandemic and remote learning: 

Course instructors have been proactive about avoiding Zoom burnout and have incorporated our feedback along the way. The student union, THS, has been offering students up to five calls with a psychologist, for free (it’s guaranteed through January 2022, though we’ll see if they extend it). Mental health is common knowledge: Osqledaren, the student union’s official magazine, often features raw and honest articles on topics like mental health struggles, imposter syndrome, or eating disorders. 

At KTH, the talk about mental health is also backed up by resources for students. Vivek, a previous blogger, has written about this Mental Health Support, which includes things like Stockholm Student Health Services, confiding in chaplains, and psychological support through the Swedish healthcare system. 

An unofficial resource I’ve also found to be really important for my own well-being is nature, and living in Stockholm means having tons of access to it. Sometimes, a lunchtime walk on the trails behind campus does wonders. Other times, taking a Saturday afternoon off to hike through Tyresta and drink hot cocoa is warranted. 

Mental health is, of course, personal. Whether a student seeks out “official” resources or not, it’s reassuring just to know they’re there.

// Claire

Travelling in Sweden (and beyond)

One of the best things about coming to study in a new country is sometimes getting away from those studies and discovering the new land around you! In the last year I have been lucky enough to explore some great places around Sweden. I thought I might share some of these trips with you, and some of the travelling tips I’ve learned along the way. 

Trains at Gothenburg Station

Gothenburg by Train

Trains are my favourite mode of transport, so much so that I travel sometimes just to spend time onboard. From Stockholm it is quite easy to get a train anywhere around the country. The tickets are usually cheaper if you book well in advance but if you’re lucky, you can also get good prices at the last-minute. Buses are a cheap option too, but you’ll realise that Sweden is a large country – as long as you’re okay with spending five or more hours sitting on a bus, go for it! 

For the four hour train to Gothenburg I spent about 350SEK, and my hostel cost about 250SEK for a dorm room per night. It was a very special place, a big, exciting city that was still quite easy to get around to see. My top tip to see would definitely be to walk around Haga and get a view over the city from Skansen Kronan. 

A view of Gotland landscape

Gotland by Boat

Gotland is one of those beautiful islands that the city-folk dream of visiting. Luckily for Stockholmers, the island of Gotland is not too far away. With a regular public transport ticket you can get a train to Nynashamn for 25SEK and from there it’s a 3 hour ferry to Visby, the beautiful main city on Gotland. The accommodation was particularly cheap on this trip, we just brought some tents and went camping! The KTH Outdoor Club rents out gear to students, so we got all the gear needed and had a great hiking trip along the northern coastline.

A car-window view

Öland by Car

Renting a car is a common way for students to travel around too. If you are going with a group and splitting the cost, it usually works out as cheap as the train. There are a few advantages to travelling by car, like being able to blast your own music on the way or the freedom to stop whenever and wherever you like. When we went to Öland we were so happy to have a car. It meant that we could wander through the countryside and stop at all of the nice small towns.

There are many more great places to visit around Sweden. From Stockholm, it is also an exciting trip to get the ferry across to Finland or Estonia. With enough students these ferries turn into party-boats and a few times every year you will hear of large groups of students booking this trip. 

Hope this helps you on your travels around Sweden! If you check through these blogs, you’ll find even more tips and inspiration about travelling from Stockholm, trips to Uppsala, Kalmar, Öland and hopefully more to come!

~Declan

A Day in the Life: Valerie

As my fellow bloggers, Claire and Declan, already told you about their typical days, it’s now my turn to give you a glimpse of my life as a Media Management student at KTH. 

My schedule varies from day to day, and in this post, I’ll tell you about my Friday last week, so here we go! 

8.00 Waking up in Östermalm 

I usually wake up a bit later, but today is a busy day, so I get up early and wake up while taking a morning shower. Today, I have a couple of sandwiches for breakfast with some vegetables on the side and green tea with no sugar. 

Sunrise view from my place

9.00 Work stuff 

I’m working part-time in communications at an automotive/IT company headquartered in London. I work remotely from here, and my manager is based in St. Petersburg, so I work both in English and Russian, collaborating with the local team in St. P. and the global team in the UK. December is pretty tough, with a lot of work and several projects to finish. Currently, I’m working on a company-wide event that is taking place in the middle of December, so I regularly meet up with my colleagues from London and St. Petersburg via Zoom to discuss some stuff and make everything work. 

10.00 Time to manage digital transformation 

It might sound ambitious, but it’s actually a class named “Managing Digital Transformation”. It is offered to our programme jointly by KTH and Stockholm School of Economics. During the course, we dive into various cases from the industry to understand current trends and perspectives on digitalisation and how it enables global innovation. The class is based on group projects. In each seminar, 5-7 people present one of the topics engaging our classmates using interactive formats like quizzes, tag clouds and polls. My project group topic was the digitalisation of retailing, so we had a presentation earlier this week, and we rocked! The final grade will be based on the group presentation and two literature case tests, so we’ll see how it goes. 

In case you ever wondered how does a Russian keyboard look like

12.00 Lunch + Dressing up 

After the class I have lunch. Today it’s some chicken stewed in cream fresh and garlic fried rice. 

13.00 Commuting to Södermalm 

It usually takes me around 30 mins to get there. Still, I’m leaving early this time because I am heading to a documentary film shooting. I also need to print consent papers for the people we’re interviewing and grab some matcha latte on the go, which I absolutely love, especially with a student discount. 

14.00 The interactive documentary shooting 

My filming crew of 6 of my classmates and me is filming an interactive documentary on second-hand shopping for our Media Production class. We all have different roles in the project, and for instance, I’m a scriptwriter and a producer for the film. Stockholm is probably one of the best cities to make a documentary on the topic, so we’re trying to convince more people from all over the world to choose second-hand clothing. In our iDoc, we’re giving several reasons for that and talking to people who decide to buy second-hand clothing regularly, telling about their perspective. So today, we’re shooting at Humana, a popular second-hand store, and interviewing a girl who chooses thrifted clothing because it’s better for the environment. 

Shooting iDoc at the second-hand store

17.00 Going home 

The film shooting is done, an amazing job at the set today. I am really lucky with my crew, all of them are professionals. Can’t wait to see the final result, but we have to do a lot of post-production work before that. 

17.30 Some more work 

Yay, more work! My life can be boring sometimes, but I do work a lot, that’s just how it goes. 

19.30 Commuting to Solna 

Okay, my work for today is done, so I better hurry up, as I am already late for the party I have been invited to. 

20.00 Housewarming party

My friends just moved to a 3-room apartment in Solna, so they are throwing a housewarming party. The thing that I love about parties in Stockholm is that you get to meet a lot of internationals from all over the world. Today I had a conversation with a biomedical student from Italy doing his PhD in Stockholm about public transportation in London, as he just returned from the trip. I also spoke to a Russian girl who studied investment law and is dating a guy from California, and finally to a Lithuanian girl and a couple of German guys about fake news. I’ve been here only for a few months, but I have already met many genuinely interesting people from many countries, and I’m always delighted to exchange our perspectives on random topics like this. 

00.00 Time to go home

Unlike St. Petersburg, public transport in Stockholm works well during the nights, especially on weekends. Taking a pendeltåg, which is a Swedish name for commuter rail, and I’ll be home in 30 mins. 

00.30 Evening routine 

A relaxing evening shower and my four-step skincare routine: cleanser, toner, serum, moisturiser. I’m a total nerd when it comes to skincare, can’t really call it a day without it. 

1.00 Goodnight 

That was a looooong day, and that’s it for today! Bedtime. 

If you enjoyed my story, check out Claire and Declan’s blog posts on their days, as their lives are pretty amazing too. 

Stay tuned! 

// Valerie

A Day in the Life: Declan

To give you a little peak into what it’s like to be a student in Stockholm, we bloggers are each going to describe our typical day studying at KTH. Last week Claire shared her typical KTH-day, so this week it’s my turn! Here’s what a normal day looks like as an Architecture student (If a normal day ever existed..).

The architecture studio at KTH

7.30 / Wake up with Music

I wake up early to prepare for the day. Sometimes I’ll join some of my housemates for breakfast, but usually I just grab a quick bowl of cereal and a coffee before I run out the door.  

8.30 / Getting to Campus

On sunny days I like to cycle to campus. It’s a nice, easy journey on the bike and the little exercise is great for waking me up. On winter days (or if it’s rainy, windy, or if I’m a little tired), I can also take the metro. Either way, cycling or metro-ing, the commute only takes about 20 minutes from Bergshamra.

Lecture Hall at the Architecture School

9.00 / Architecture Building

Luckily for me, all of my studies are based in the Architecture building at the centre of campus. Here, there is a host of facilities; lecture halls, studios and computer labs as well as workshops with all the machines, materials, and robots you could ask for. Lectures, meetings & seminars are usually organised for the mornings. Normally we can find time for a fika break around 10 or 11. I have learned that in Stockholm, drinking coffee is a very important ritual for both staff and students.

12.00 / Lunch

Most days I have lunch with some classmates in the studio kitchens. These kitchens are on each floor of the architecture building and have all the equipment you could need. On sunny days we might take a walk to one of the restaurants around campus, and on really nice days we go up to the roof. The view from the rooftop of the building is one of the treats of being an architecture student. Stockholm is quite low-rise and so from this height you can see clearly right over the city.

View from the rooftop of the architecture school

13.00 / Studio 

Afternoons vary, but most of the time you will find me drawing in the studio. These studios are as much a social space as they are a work space, and groupwork happens naturally. They are always a hive of activity, with each group of students focussed on a different aspect of design. Some could be researching the postmodern history of Stockholm, while beside them others are creating point cloud maps from photogrammetry. If I need focus, I usually go into the main library next door, or sometimes I like to find a nice café in the city.

17.00 / After School

The architecture building clears out around 5pm, and so this is the best time to go do some extracurriculars. This could mean club meetings and events in Nymble, the student centre, or it could mean getting in some extra reading, or some days just going grocery shopping!

19.00 / Evenings

I will usually get home around 19 and spend some time cooking food and chatting to some of my housemates. This is also the time I get to chill, watch some movies or play guitar. 

23.00 / Bedtime!