Matteo wants to be able to independently evaluate new technologies and their impact on society
Matteo Gamba comes from Biella in Italy and studied at Università degli Studi di Torino. He finds that Stockholm has a very international environment, where people are friendly and open minded towards foreigners.
The road to KTH
Why did you apply to KTH?
I decided to pursue a master in Computer Science to strengthen my programming skills and to gain the required knowledge to be able to independently evaluate new technologies and their impact on society. In search of a master's programme, I was looking for a lively and stimulating international environment with a focus on independent research and that would allow me to integrate my personal projects with my studies.
Furthermore, I wanted to build connections with research institutes in the US, as I plan to pursue a doctorate there after my master. After extensive research I chose KTH for my master's as it provided everything I was looking for. The KTH campus is a very cosmopolitan environment and the school provides many opportunities to get to know other students through project assignments and social events.
Students can apply for exchange programmes abroad, internships in tier industries in Sweden and all over the world. If you haven't made up your mind whether you want to work in the industry or perform academic research, you will have opportunities to experiment both!
What is your best tip for a new master student?
A Master of Science course is the moment in your student life where you take the step to become a scientist. To make the most of this time, my advice is to have at least a general idea of what you would like to do afterwards. If you want to continue with doctoral studies, you should have a list of PhD programmes you would like to apply for, and what are their requirements. The master's programme gives you lot of space to select elective courses that best fit your needs, and my advice is to maximize this opportunity. Check the academic background of your future professors, and try to work with the ones that inspire you most.
Living in Stockholm and Sweden
What are your impressions of Stockholm and Sweden?
Stockholm has a very international environment, where people are friendly and open minded towards foreigners. The people of Stockholm are doing a great job in preserving the green areas in the city, and everything is surrounded by green meadows, parks and woodlands. It is very easy to spot wild animals, such as deers, even in the woods near KTH main campus! If you enjoy natural landscapes, then Sweden is the place for you! The city seems to be huge, but once you get to know it, everything is at walkable distance. The public transports are well organized and convenient for students. Finally, bureaucracy is very efficient here, and KTH helps you a lot with everything concerning your life in Sweden, so you will save a lot of time!
Is there something with life in Stockholm and Sweden that has surprised you?
Since my first days as a student in Stockholm, I had the opportunity to rent a flat in the hearth of the city and live with local people. Even though I don't speak Swedish yet, I had the chance to get in touch with the world outside of the English speakers "bubble". Although one may think that people from Scandinavian countries are "cold", I was pleased to find out that it is quite the opposite, and I really like the warmth of Swedish homes and I feel welcomed here. One more thing that really surprised me about KTH is the solidarity between international students. I found many people who helped me in my everyday student life, and I was very happy to do the same for other students as well. You never feel left alone here, and there is always someone willing to give a helping hand.
Do you have a favourite part of Stockholm?
I like spending time with my friends in the city. I really love Stockholm's historical buildings, so when I want to relax I usually have a walk in the area where I live, and then continue south towards Gamla Stan and Södermalm. I really like meeting new people each weekend, and that is very easy if you walk around the city centre.
Are you taking part in any student activities, if so please tell us a bit about them?
During arrival days, I participated in many activities organized by KTH and the THS student union, where I had the chance to meet a lot of fellow international students and learn a lot about student life in Stockholm. I'm planning to start a student group next year to work on free (as in freedom) software and help students organizations integrate the free software ethics and philosophy in their agenda.
What do you do in your spare time?
In my spare time I work on free software projects, mainly offering consultancy to groups and NGOs. In 2007, together with other students, I started a research project to investigate the best practices to promote the ethical values of sharing knowledge and free software in schools and to research their impact on education. From that time, in my free time I've been actively working for the project. Secondly, I really like exploring new countries and get in contact with different cultures, so if time allows I really like traveling.
How do you keep in touch with your family and friends from home?
I usually contact my family with VOIP software. I have a SIP service with a national number of my home country connected to my mobile phone, so people from Italy can call me as they were phoning some number in Italy, avoiding the costs of international calls. Then, I stay in contact with my friends through chat (XMPP) or email, and many friends have come to visit me to Stockholm in the past.
Gazing into the future
What do you want to do after you have received your degree here at KTH? Do you have a dream job?
My final goal is to specialize on communication means and computer networks, and to develop software for applications where privacy and anonimity are crucial. After my Master's degree I plan to pursue a doctorate in computer networks. My dream job is to start my own firm developing exclusively free software and offer consultancy to organizations and educational institutes, with a focus on the ethics of technology.
Is there any advice you would like to give others that will come and live in Stockholm and study at KTH in the future?
Enjoy your first weeks at KTH, and don't stress with learning or deciding everthing in the first days. If you come to Stockholm for the arrival days, take your time to relax, meet new people, and enjoy Stockholm and the nature surrounding it. KTH has lot of expertise with international and Swedish students. They know how to welcome people and will provide you with all the information you need to get started with your studies. You won't have to run from one office to the other to look for someone to answer your questions, as you will have plenty of opportunities to get help during your everyday life. Take your time to explore the city and participate to the activities organized by the student union. Take the first days as a great opportunity to meet new friends and learn more about Sweden and Stockholm!