Ask Ibrija questions about KTH and read more about her decision to study at KTH, thoughts about Sweden, advice to prospective students and her plans for the future.
Hej! My name is Ibrija and I come from Assam, India. I am 26 years old and am studying the master’s programme in Chemical Engineering for Energy and Environment at the School of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health (CBH) at KTH. I did my bachelor’s at NIT Allahabad in India and then worked for two years at the Suzuki Motor Corporation before coming to KTH. My hobbies include dancing, trying out new recipes, and good networking.
Why did you choose this master’s programme at KTH?
I choose this master’s programme because I am keen to further explore the field of energy and environment, including from a sustainability perspective. Sweden ranks quite high in terms of sustainability and I saw it and experienced it myself when I came here. KTH offers courses that are relevant to my interests and I really like the fact that we can choose our courses from among many options. And all the courses are in English!
What are the best aspects of your programme?
The best aspects of my programme are that the courses are flexible and the professors are very friendly. There are many options for courses and the best part is that the schedule is made in such a way that the timings of the lectures and labs never clash. At least, it hasn’t happened on any of my courses – so that’s good! Moreover, everyone is treated equally, which is another great thing about KTH. There is no hierarchy and we call the professors by their first names, with no salutations such as Sir/Madam.
Have you chosen a specialisation track within the programme?
I have chosen the Energy and Environment track as I personally wish to work in this sector. The research I am conducting is about making sustainable fuels (energy) from biomass (which is a form of waste) by performing gasification experiments. The division of Process Technology in our department at KTH has excellent collaborations with the Swedish Gasification Centre and several industrial companies.
What are your favourite courses thus far?
All the courses I have taken are helping me in one way or another. My first favourite course would be Sustainable Systems for Heat, Material and Power Production. This was the first course I took at KTH. Also, we did a project to calculate how Swedish forest resources should be best utilised to meet the needs of 2050. It was quite interesting to work on this topic. The Separation Processes course is my second favourite as I learnt about major techniques of advanced chemical separation such as crystallisation, solvent extraction, membrane separation, etc. The knowledge from this course helped me get a summer internship to work on the recycling of batteries, which is very important for closing the loop on batteries, as we see electrification emerging in almost everything.
How do studies at KTH differ from your previous studies?
Studies at KTH differ from my bachelor’s studies in some ways. For example, KTH divides one semester into two study periods. So, if we are taking four courses in a semester, we study two courses in the first study period, which lasts two to three months. We then study the next two courses in the next study period. This is different from my bachelor’s studies in which all five courses ran simultaneously for a period of five to six months. Moreover, there is equal emphasis on the project part and the exam part at KTH so we learn things better and in a more practical way. For example, if we have a course comprising 7.5 credits, it is distributed in such a way that both the exam and the project have three to four credits. Also, every project is conducted in groups, so we learn group dynamics as well, which is another good thing.
How is student life in Stockholm?
Student life in Stockholm is wonderful. I have made such good friends here over the past year. I live in a student room in one of the corridors and I think this is the best way to enjoy student life here. My corridor has international students from all over the world and we have potluck dinners where we cook special food from our own country and share it with each other. We also celebrate festivals together. THS organises many events so that students can socialise and party, and it is always fun to be in Nymble at KTH (We missed some of the events this year due to the coronavirus.)
How would you describe your time at KTH so far?
So far, I’m having a great time at KTH. Besides the regular studies and projects, I have been part of many student organisations and it has been quite enriching, personally. I am part of the Student Sustainability Council and we have organised events such as resource sharing, climate strikes and waste management events. I was also part of THS Armada in 2019 as a host and it was great to be a part of Scandinavia’s largest career fair in which over 182 companies participated. I am also joining THS Armada in 2020 as a team leader. In addition, I am a board member at CHUST, which stands for Chemical-US Travel. We are four members at KTH, working to create internship opportunities for KTH students in top universities in the USA. We collaborate with most of the highly ranked universities such as Stanford, MIT, Columbia, Michigan, Brown, to name a few. I am also working as a research assistant in my department.
What do you want to do after graduating?
Well, this is a difficult question. After graduating, I am open to opportunities and I want to work in sustainable production and using the available resources in the world, in order to achieve carbon-neutral energy. Electrification is gaining momentum and we need to find ways of using resources sustainably and by not harming the planet. I also wish to continue working in the field of batteries and fuel cells in order to identify the most optimal ways of recycling them cost effectively because in the next 10 years, there will be a great amount of electronic waste and disposing of it is not a good solution, particularly when we have the technologies to recycle it.
What would you like to say to students thinking of choosing KTH for their master’s studies?
I would say, go for it! If you are leaving your comfort zone, just plan well beforehand. It will be a different experience and there are many opportunities – you just need to grab them! Welcome to Stockholm and see you at KTH!