Emirhan finds Stockholm to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world
Emirhan Ilhan is studying the joint master's programme in Computer Simulations for Science and Engineering. He is originally from Istanbul, Turkey, and has settled into life in Stockholm. He describes it as a city that is almost too easy to get around and live in.
What made you decide to start studying at KTH?
Academic reputation and the international outlook of KTH were strong factors in my decision as well as the prospect of living in stunning Stockholm.
How did you decide which programme to choose?
My programme is called Computer Simulations for Science and Engineering or COSSE in short. It is a joint initiative of four European universities coordinated by KTH, offering a dual-degree at the end of the two-year master's studies. In a nutshell, you get to study in two of the best universities in Europe, in my case, KTH and TU Delft, and experience different cultures, with a stipend. What's not to like?
What do you see as the greatest aspects of your programme?
I was a mechanical engineering undergrad and in my senior year, it was more or less clear for me that I wanted to work in computational fluid dynamics (CFD). CFD is a wide field where different disciplines coincide. My programme brings students from different countries and academic backgrounds together to promote this interdisciplinary nature of computational sciences.
How do studies here at KTH differ in comparison to your previous experience?
I would say that courses are more demanding and they are based on self-studying more than I'm accustomed to. What you learn in the lectures is almost never enough to do the given assignments which force you out of your comfort zone. Even though this situation can be a bit frustrating at times, I do think it also promotes learning.
What are your impressions of Stockholm and Sweden?
It is almost too easy to get around and live in Stockholm. Everyone speaks perfect English, transportation is punctual, and people are kind and helpful. The city is gorgeous. It is tough to beat the beauty of Gamla Stan. One bizarre thing I'm currently complaining about is that the city seems too stress-free, if that makes any sense. The rules are followed by everyone and the city is tidy and organised. This non-existence of chaos annoys me sometimes. I haven't seen other people complaining about this though. [laughter]
Is there something about life in Stockholm and Sweden that has surprised you?
I knew Swedish people had a reputation as an English speaking country, but I guess I didn't expect this much. Literally everybody is fluent and almost without an accent.
Do you have a place in the city that you enjoy spending time at?
Walking around Gamla Stan, Old Town in English, and finding little old shops with all kinds of interesting things is quite exciting.
Could you describe a regular day as a student at KTH?
There are about 6 lectures a week; a lecture is 2 hours. There are regular assignments for all the courses. One nice thing about them is that the deadlines of all assignments are decided when the semester starts. When you don't have lectures, you can use your free time for self-study or leisure. Hopefully, both.
What do you want to do after you have received your degree here at KTH?
I have vague plans to pursue a PhD degree in my field after graduation to then become a professor. But to be brutally honest, I do not have a clue just as any other first year master's student. It is difficult to have a fixed goal when I can't anticipate what I'll experience in the following two years. What I wanted to do with my life is a question that I answer differently whenever someone asks. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to experience different cultures and study in different countries in the first place, so that I could eventually decide where I wanted to live and what I wanted to do.
Is there any advice you would like to give others that will live in Stockholm and study at KTH in the future?
Financial concerns are generally the most upsetting ones. Yes, Stockholm is a bit expensive. No, it really isn't going to be a big problem. If you have the slightest desire and means to study at KTH (and I think you should), do so. Get out of your comfort zone. You'll be in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, will be meeting with new people, doing exciting things, maybe figure out who you are in the process.