Nicholas Smart

Nicholas grew up in Houston, Texas, and is studying in the Sustainable Urban Planning and Design programme at KTH’s Campus Valhallavägen. When he gets the chance to, he loves to go for walks in Lill-Jansskogen, explore new scratch recipes with his sambo, tinker with his Frankenstein-bicycle, and do plenty of other things he doesn’t have time for!

What made you choose KTH?

I chose KTH because I wanted to extend my education in a programme and at a university that are abuzz with sustainability thinking. I remember taking a look at all the fun classes offered in the program and thinking how great it would be to get to take them. Also, I have always been a language junkie, so getting the chance to live in a new country with a less-than-common language was a dream to me. After I had the opportunity to speak with a student myself and to hear about their experiences while studying here, I just couldn’t say no.

What do you like most about KTH?

I love how lively and warm our campus can feel. It’s full of students who are always planning activities, professors who are so friendly, and cozy spots to have lunch (or fika) with your classmates. The historic buildings surrounding Borggården have to be my favorite architectural piece on campus! They make me feel like I’m studying somewhere with a long history.

What are your impressions of Stockholm and Sweden?

Stockholm at large is a great place to live if you want access to an urban lifestyle and plenty of greenery. While no Swede is the same, I know plenty to say that they are lovable. And they say that people make places, so I have to say Stockholm is lovable too. Here in Sweden you can get around fine with English, but I really mean it when I say that I would encourage any new student to fall in love with the language and use it as much as they can.

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

My favorite basket of memories is from when autumn set in during my first semester. I got to know a couple of international students who liked running, and we would go out in the forest near KTH’s campus and then come back and have breakfast at one of our apartments. The air was so crisp, and the leaves were beginning to turn—I’ll never forget how much I felt at home.

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

I would call KTH my home university!

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

Looking back now, I would offer one piece of advice to prospective students: it would be to not worry about your prospects for getting in. Continue with the things that make you both happy and feel as if you are learning. That thing could be a robotics club or a community garden, or anything else! Things will turn our alright if you are passionate about your bread and butter. If you want to study at KTH, know that it is an excellent place to meet inspiring people and to continue exploring your passion.

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

From my experience in the Sustainable Urban Planning and Design program, collaboration is an important element of the learning process. Working with students who have different opinions and unique sets of experiences has been both a challenging and a fruitful experience.

Have you taken part in any student activities?

The most fun student activity I got to take part in was LAVA, which is the career fair for the S-chapter on campus (S stands for sammhällsbyggnad). Each student who volunteers has the opportunity to be the host for a company that will have their stand at the career fair, which is a full two-day process of set-up, networking, and then cleaning-up, followed by an after-party.

Do you have a dream job after graduating from KTH?

I’d love to work for one of the municipalities in the Stockholm Region—especially as a comprehensive planner. I think it’s exciting to dream up ideas with the community in relation to sustainable development goals and to put together a piece of work that says this is where we want to go!

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Master's programme in Sustainable Urban Planning and Design