Felipe says Swedish universities stand out among other schools in Europe
Felipe studied the master's programme in Architecture at KTH between 2014 and 2016. Originally from Bogota, Colombia, he has previously studied both in Italy and Germany. Felipe loves his time at KTH and believes that the study pace and work load are overall very well distributed with a great mix of theory and practice.
What made you decide to start studying at KTH?
Before coming to Sweden, I did my bachelor's degree of Science in Architecture in Italy and Germany; after that, I started looking for options to continue my studies in a new country. Swedish universities stand out among other schools in Europe -and the world, because of their excellence in preparing talented students. KTH ranks high among technical universities, and it is easy to recognize its contributions to society. Moreover, I always felt attracted to northern Europe, so coming to Stockholm, the capital of Scandinavia, seemed to be the right choice for my master's studies from the very beginning!
How did you decide which programme to choose?
Mine was an easy choice. My professional purpose is to be involved in the design of residential and commercial projects, and I am also interested in city planning. The master's programme in Architecture provides a strong theoretical basis and excellent tools to develop design skills as well as a critical point of view about the current situation of architecture, both locally and worldwide.
What do you see as the greatest aspects of your programme?
In my master's programme, we are basically concentrated on a main subject -the Studio- in which we apply all the knowledge we have and focus our work and efforts to carry out architectural projects. I have found it very encouraging that the teachers are very involved in the development of our design projects and are definitely interested in obtaining an optimal result. The study pace and the workload are overall very well distributed, with a great mix of theory and practice.
How do studies here at KTH differ in comparison to your previous experiences?
In my programme, students are expected to take control of their own projects and develop them in a very autonomous way, reflecting on the adequate criteria in order to make proper decisions. Within established frames and limits, we have a lot of freedom to choose what we want to do and how. We have the possibility to use our building 24/7, which is very appreciated by an architecture student, and the school provides all the necessary equipment to carry out every kind of job, so everything is set up to do high-quality projects. Furthermore, teachers and staff at the school are always available to listen and give a hand when needed.
What are your impressions of Stockholm and Sweden?
The city and the country are amazing! In Sweden, quality of living is incredibly high, and life goes on very calmly. Stockholm is a very beautiful city full of enchanting places to visit and relax. Winters are long but are not as difficult as they are usually depicted, especially when you have the right company to spend your time around a cup of coffee or, on the other hand, taking advantage of the incredible outdoor scenarios that the snow brings. Stockholm is definitely an amazing place to live and work.
Is there something about life in Stockholm and Sweden that has surprised you?
I didn't expect that finding accommodation was so difficult in this city. It might take years to get an apartment for renting! I have even heard that it is easier to get a job than finding a flat! This is a very particular housing market, and foreigners might be shocked by the way it works.
Do you have a place in the city which you especially enjoy?
The city itself is full of very nice places; beautiful gardens and squares, great museums and even smalls spots that, while living here, sooner or later you will get to know. My suggestion, anyway, is to get to know also what nature offers right outside the city! The Stockholm Archipelago is a stunning natural marvel that is worth a visit in every season. You can take the ferries or buses to visit it, or go hiking as well, do some camping, etc., and you can even ice skate on the sea! Take advantage of both the nice weather and the winter.
Could you describe a regular day as a student at KTH?
Our school might work differently from others at KTH. We don't have "lessons" every day. Actually, we don't have "lessons"… We meet up with our teachers regularly, usually two days a week -but it might be more, to talk about our project's development. Nevertheless, our building is always full because we always have something to do. This means that, mostly, we go every day to school! Generally, days start at 9 and end at 5, but by the end of the semester, you never know what time you are going back home.
Are you taking part in any student activities?
The city is full of student-related activities. Particularly before the start of every semester, there are introduction activities for the incoming students, so that they get to know the university, the city, and the Swedish culture. There are also many activities carried out jointly with other universities. Of course, there is always space for partying! A very important event is "Armada", a job-opportunities fair that takes place at KTH Campus. Do not miss it!
What do you want to do after you have received your degree from KTH?
I would like to find a job opportunity in Stockholm to gain some experience in the local market of architecture. In order to do so I am learning Swedish, which is definitely a plus, if you are planning to find a job in Sweden after finishing the studies.
Is there any advice you would like to give others that will come and live in Stockholm and study at KTH in the future?
Stockholm is a city that offers everything! And the experience of being a student at KTH will never be forgotten! Get ready for a beautiful summer and for a great winter, and make sure to make some contacts that might help you find a place to stay if KTH cannot provide accommodation.