Timon Niedecken comes from Gießen, Germany. He got his bachelor's degree at KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany. He likes learning Swedish in his spare time. He has 5 siblings and he's never been so far away from home for more than two weeks as he is now in Stockholm.
What made you choose KTH?
I was looking for Railway Engineering, and apparently only here at KTH could I found what I was looking for. Easy as that. One could say that I always liked Sweden before (I was here twice in my life before) and that KTH is considered as one of the best universities in engineering. But I chose to apply mainly because of the Railway Engineering programme, which is unique in Europe.
What do you like most of KTH?
I like the system of having two periods per term. It forces me to actually do something during the term. In Germany I usually only studied shortly before the exams. I was also impressed by the Welcome Reception in the Stockholm City Hall. I am looking forward to completing the cycle by finishing my studies with the graduation ceremony at the same place again.
What are your impressions of Stockholm and Sweden?
First of all, Stockholm is by far the biggest city I have lived in so far. The amount of people using public transportation, especially during rush hour, is crazy. As a Railway Engineer, it is a very good opportunity to observe the operating rail system. This in fact works pretty well and connects even far away places with short travel times with trains running every 15 minutes at least. Most Swedes speak English fluently, so it is easy to communicate even without speaking Swedish. As in most big cities in Europe, cheap accommodation is rare. This doesn’t affect you, of course, if you are a fee-paying student.
Are there any differences between KTH and your home university?
Yes. Studying in English is the biggest factor. The different schedule (Two periods per term) is also new. Due to our partner University UIUC (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign) we also have a lot of video-lectures taught online. These are held over the complete term, but they include graded homework and midterm exams. So overall I have more relevant work to do during the terms than in Germany.
What is your best memory from your time at KTH so far?
I still think it’s the welcome reception in the Stockholm City Hall. We also had a Railway Seminar at KTH with a lot of people from all over Europe, that I enjoyed very much.
Since we have all arrived now at UIUC in USA, I’ll add my first impression from here as well:
The professors here are very happy to finally see us after 8 years of planning the program. I feel very welcome here and believe it will be a great term as well!
What would you like to say to students thinking of choosing KTH for master´s studies?
You are on the right track. Now just do it! That would be the basic answer. To be able to give more specific advice and to answer personal questions in order to dispel doubts, you have to make the first step by contacting me ;)
What do you see as the most significant aspects in your programme?
Railway engineering combines mechanical, civil, and electrical engineering with transportation and architecture. This unique combination with the railway always in mind helps to understand all aspects of the rail system and their correlation. There is a huge innovation potential waiting for us. The railway sector needs new people to improve the system, especially in times of urbanization and climate change.
Are you taking part in any student activities?
I am a member of the THS, but mainly in order to be on the waiting list for the SSSB accommodation. This will be helpful after the exchange semester in Illinois.
We just had a special day here at UIUC where all student organisations introduced themselves. I contacted some of them but haven’t decided yet where I’ll invest my time. But we get encouraged to join social activities a lot.
Do you have a dream job after graduating from KTH?
With the knowledge I earned over the last year, I see huge potential in optimising the freight train service in Europe. There are multiple aspects that need to be changed, but I won’t be able to work on all of them at the same time. I am thinking about improving:
-freight wagons (new couplers, electricity and data connection?)
-changing the tracks to enable longer, bigger (in height and width) and heavier freight trains
-transport policy more freight train friendly
I guess I’ll be busy for a long time, unless you will help me with it?