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KTH (and Sweden) has a welcoming environment that will be difficult to find elsewhere

Larissa comes from Brazil. Before coming to Stockholm, she did her bachelor’s in chemistry at the University of São Paulo (USP). In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading romance novels and watching Netflix. 


Why did you choose this master’s programme at KTH?

For the research area that I want to follow in my future career, it is almost mandatory to have a broad set of skills. I believe that at KTH I am able to freely choose the subjects that fit most of my interests, deepening my knowledge not only in one field of study (e.g. Organic Chemistry), but also combining subjects in such a way that they connect and complement each other. Besides, KTH is among the best universities in Europe, particularly in Engineering and Technology.

Also, after doing an internship in Copenhagen, it became clear to me that I wanted to live in one of the Nordic countries. The quality of life, the general philosophy of life – everything amazed me during those six months. So, as I enjoy hiking, and spending time in nature, Sweden appears to be the obvious choice as it combines everything I like and want.

What are the best aspects of your programme?

One of the best aspects of my programme is the freedom we are given to choose our subjects, making it easier to tailor the master’s programme to your own interests.

Have you chosen a specialisation track within the programme? If Yes, which track and why?

There are no specialisation tracks within this programme.

What are your favourite courses thus far?

The Spectroscopic tools for Chemistry and Analytical Separations courses are by far my favourite. Both courses were very balanced regarding theory and practical work and the professors from both courses were very good and approachable.

How do studies at KTH differ from your previous studies?

The main differences are the pace of study and the international environment. In my previous university we took more courses simultaneously, so students had no free time to study or engage in other activities after class. Here the semester is divided in two periods, so you end up with less subjects per period, consequently less hours spent inside the class, and more free time to balance other activities with studying. About the international environment: my previous university did not have many international students, so I feel that being able to study in such an environment is an enriching experience.

How is student life in Stockholm?

Stockholm is quite a large city, but it has a good balance of buildings/constructions with green areas. Thus, it is easy to connect with nature, which helps you to relax after a long week of studies. This makes a huge difference, especially during the exam week. Also, it is very easy to get around the city, particularly by bike, which makes exploring the region less expensive. It is also possible to get several discounts as a student, which is a huge advantage considering that the cost of living in Stockholm is quite high.

How would you describe your time at KTH so far?

I struggled at the beginning because the system here is quite different from the one I was used to, and also because moving to another country is not always an easy process. But after the adaptation period, I started to enjoy being able to focus on only one to two courses at a time, and the close contact with the professors really helps. Regarding KTH in general, I am truly impressed about how friendly everyone is, not only the students (both local and international), but also the faculty staff. Everyone seems to be willing to help you in whatever way they can. This creates a warm and welcoming environment, so spending time at the university is a pleasure.

What do you want to do after graduating?

With my master’s at KTH I am hoping to deepen my knowledge of molecular detection tools. My goal is to do a PhD in research related to detecting biosignatures, within the field of Astrobiology.

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

KTH (and Sweden) has a welcoming environment that will be difficult to find elsewhere. This is an important aspect that you should consider when choosing where you will take your master’s studies. Also, if you decide to come, start looking for accommodation early (in case you are not eligible to receive it via KTH Accommodation) ! And do not miss the Welcome Reception.