Erik is making the most out of his time at KTH

Erik Bader is 23 years old and originally from Pecs in Hungary. He completed his Bachelor's in Bioengineering at the University of Sheffield, UK. Erik is doing his first year at KTH in the joint master’s programme in Polymer Technology and will continue his second year at Aalto University in Finland. When he isn’t studying, he participates in different sports activities and explores the city and its cultural variety.​

Hi Erik, tell us more about why you chose the programme.

I have always been fascinated by the properties of materials and the possibility to apply them in new ways. In my biomaterials class, I was particularly intrigued by the variety of applications that polymers have in the human body. After spending numerous hours browsing the web, I found the Nordic Five Tech programme. I think this is the best programme in Polymer Technology because you can select a specialisation in the second year, such as biomaterials. I also have the opportunity to obtain a master’s degree from not one, but two different universities.

Which university will you attend?

I am currently studying at KTH. For the second year I will move to Espoo, Finland, to study at Aalto University on the biomaterials track. I have chosen this track because I would like to obtain a better understanding of polymer properties and how to better mimic the human bone. In addition, I would like to learn more about the applications of 3D printing in association with polymers and the medical field. Aalto University is able to provide me with these opportunities. Furthermore, I have always thought that Finland was a cool country (just think of Kimi Räikkönen), and I would like to explore it more.

Why did you want to do a joint programme with two Nordic universities?

In my opinion, a joint programme is the best opportunity for someone who is passionate about traveling and being immersed in other cultures. When I chose the Nordic Five Tech programme, I considered not only the advantages of earning a double degree, but also the fact that being able to study at two universities gives an individual tremendous knowledge. This knowledge consists of rapidly growing research and is provided by some of the best professors in the field. As a result of this experience, I will be able to obtain a better perspective of different teaching styles, project assignments, personalities, etc. Overall I will develop the skills necessary to be able to adapt to new situations and to interact with people from all different cultural backgrounds.

What is your impression of Stockholm?

It is hard not to fall in love with this amazing city both in the winter and summer. From December to March, Stockholm is a winter wonderland. You see people carrying their ice skates and skis everywhere, even on the metro. In the summer, the city comes alive with people as they enjoy the sunlight and nice weather they were craving in the previous months.

Stockholm can be small and big at the same time. The city can be easily explored even without using the well-structured public transportation system, but it simultaneously makes you feel like one year is not enough to discover all that it’s classy environment has to offer. Looking at Sweden as a whole, you can find amazing nature all around the country.

The Swedes in Stockholm are very relaxed, organised, and schedule-oriented people. They have a great balance between social life and work life. Swedes welcome diversity and have excellent English-speaking skills. However, it is easy to be initially shocked by the huge amount of coffee and cinnamon buns they consume during the daily coffee break known as ‘fika’.

Do you have a favourite place in the city?

It is hard to pick my favourite place in the city, but Haga Park is definitely on the list. It is only about a 15-minute walk away from KTH and is located next to the water, which creates a beautiful atmosphere. In the winter it is even possible to walk across the water, just make sure that it is frozen enough. In the summer it is nice to have a picnic with friends or go jogging on the park trails. 

Could you describe a regular day as a student at KTH?

At KTH no two days are the same because every class has something new to offer. I typically wake up and go to the KTH Hallen Gym. After breakfast, I usually go to class or lab. If I do not have a class, then I go study in Q building. From 12 to 1 p.m. every day there is a break for lunch, but you can join a lecture lunch where professors and sometimes companies like Scania present their current research. Most of the time I eat at home because I live on campus and doing so saves both money and time. If I don’t have time to make food, I eat on campus at Nymble with my friends. After I am done with classes for the day, I go home to rest a bit and then study some more at the library or in one of the university buildings nearby. At the end of the day, I hang out with the people from my accommodation or go do something fun in the city.

What other activities do you do besides the academic life?

Because I only have one year to explore the city, I have tried to make the most of it. I play squash at the Royal Tennis Club on Sundays, which is free thanks to KTH THS. I also go to the climbing centre, Klättercentret, once a week with a group of friends. Besides participating in sports, I enjoy exploring the cultural aspects of the city. I enjoy going to events like Stockholm Cultural Night or museums such as the Vasa Museum. Furthermore, if the weather allows it, I go hiking in the Tyresta National Park or picnicking in the park behind KTH Hallen. The city offers all kinds of activities and therefore every kind of person will be able to find events that meet their interests. 

Is there any advice you would like to give others who will come and live in Stockholm and study at KTH in the future?

1. Don’t forget to sign up for activities early, otherwise you will miss out on most of the fun offered at KTH.

2. Bring warm clothes.

3. Take advantage of every opportunity offered to you. Doing so will make this the best experience of your life. I wish all of you a wonderful time at KTH, Stockholm.