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Friederike chose KTH for its focus on sustainability in all aspects of science

Friederike comes from Germany where she studied Molecular Biotechnology at Heidelberg University in Germany. She loves strolling through the various art museums in Stockholm, visiting theatre plays, concerts, and operas and reading novels in the sun. She studied at KTH between 2017 and 2019.

What made you choose KTH?

When I was looking for programmes that combine my scientific interests with my wish to contribute to environmental protection, I found very few universities offering what I had hoped for. Among those universities, KTH had an excellent reputation and focused on sustainability in all aspects of science. Within my programme, I had the chance to choose subjects that would expand my interdisciplinary knowledge. KTH offers an enormous selection of courses that will surely enrich your personal and professional skills, such as Global Competence, Decision Making, and other tech-related topics. As KTH connects cutting-edge science and sustainable technologies, it became my future university.

What made you choose Stockholm/Sweden?

Sweden is a leading country when it comes to environmental protection. I wanted to learn how Sweden manages its sustainability goals with regard to its economic growth and several cultural aspects. Furthermore, Stockholm is a vibrant, nicely sized city that perfectly feeds my cultural soul and invites everyone to sit down in a pretty café for a minute and soak up the city's spirit.

What made you choose your program?

Even before starting my bachelor's degree in Germany, I had already been pursuing the intention to learn more about the distinct yet innumerable pathways keeping us and nature in motion. I wanted to gain deeper insight into possible interference with these networks to achieve a healthier environment using the laws of nature itself. My Bachelor in Molecular Biotechnology provided me with excellent knowledge of many fields such as molecular biology, bioinformatics, and biophysics, but the environmental aspect, the aim of it all, was somewhat missing. Therefore, I began to look for alternatives. Industrial and Environmental Biotechnology offered the chance to expand my knowledge in my favourite fields of study while building the bridge between my personal attachment to environmental protection and my scientific background. Some of the subjects seemed not to go into scientific details but rather focused on engineering. These were precisely the add-on tools that I wanted and needed.

What do you like most about KTH?

At KTH, ideas become a reality. There are numerous departments that focus mainly on your ideas becoming a business project. If you need any help with coming up with a great idea or a fundraising strategy, it is provided here at KTH! If you are looking for someone to join you and think big – they will be at KTH. Talks and panel discussions covering topics from gender equality to effective altruism are meant to be linked to reality and not to remain just a matter of words.

What are your impressions of Stockholm and Sweden?

Stockholm is a very calm and quiet city. Just like Sweden, it is full of rough-looking nature, trees, and rocks. The air smells like bark and saltwater, and you will always hear the sound of water rushing to the shore. This incredible beauty within, or at least not far away from town, makes Stockholm particularly unique. Whenever you want to take a break, you can choose between the forest or a café, water or art, and sometimes, everything together.

What is your best memory from your time at KTH so far?

Organising the TEDxKTH conference was a great experience. Everyone I met was incredibly enthusiastic and smart. We worked for months to have a full day of inspiration! KTH, especially the amazing people from Excitera, was very helpful and inspirational. I can only recommend joining the team (on time!) or at least experiencing the innovative genius of KTH on the night of TEDxKTH.

Are there any differences between studying at KTH and your home university?

KTH teachers try to make sure everyone has understood the course material, which was not the case at home. In Heidelberg, you yourself had to make sure to keep up with the material, while the pace of the classes was much faster than at KTH. Here at KTH, you are therefore encouraged always to ask questions and not to keep quiet trying to work on your own! Every student at KTH knows exactly what the course will be about and what he or she needs to do in order to get a certain grade. We did not have such detailed descriptions before, and I think it helps immensely to maintain a certain structure.

The courses usually comprise practical and theoretical parts as well as different examinations. At home, practical courses were more or less detached from lectures, and most lectures did not have an equivalent practical course. Students have two or three courses at a time, which are very extensive but not overloaded. At home, we used to have many courses at the same time, which could become confusing, especially during studying. KTH has four periods instead of two semesters, and these will last for almost one year with only minor breaks. The summer break is very long and mostly used for summer internships or jobs – in a nutshell, that means hard work and little vacation, but a deep understanding and a supportive atmosphere.

What would you like to say to students thinking of choosing KTH for master's studies?

If you would like to work in an environment that challenges you to come up with your own ideas and to think globally on an industrial scale, and push your career as early as possible, choose KTH.

If you are interested in scientific discussions about nature and society, international experts stimulating your mind with their theories, and if you are maybe a little idealistic, KTH might not be your best choice.

What do you see as the most significant aspects of your programme?

Industrial and Environmental Biotechnology prepares you for a career in industry. Teaching project management, international and interdisciplinary communication, as well as industrially-relevant aspects of the biotechnological process, are central parts of every course. In this programme, you will surely acquire important competencies beyond scientific knowledge.

Are you taking part in any student activities?

When I started at KTH, I joined TEDxKTH because I had organised TEDxUniHeidelberg that year as well. It was great fun and an awesome chance to meet new friends. Shortly after, I joined Jämställdhetsveckan, which focuses on gender equality in local companies and the Swedish government, which I highly recommend to everyone. Right now, I am organising React!, where we try to encourage female tech students to become future leaders of a sustainable economy.

Do you have a dream job after graduating from KTH?

My dream job right now is to do a PhD in science. There, I hope to engage in many enlightening discussions that might lead me into the industry. Hopefully, it will be a place that works towards environmental protection, where my colleagues and I support each other and where science is lived. Finally, I want reach my goal to contribute my personal skills and knowledge to a global and sustainable society.