Ask Eileen questions about KTH and read more about her decision to study at KTH, thoughts about Sweden, advice to prospective students and her plans for the future.
Hej! my name is Eileen, and I come from Bogotá, Colombia. Currently, I am pursuing my master’s in Sustainable Energy Engineering. I completed my bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering at Universidad de Los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia. In my free time, I enjoy running and walking in the natural areas of Stockholm. Fun fact, I am a birdwatching enthusiast, and I have found that Stockholm is a great city to spot birds during spring.
Why did you choose this master’s programme at KTH?
Today, more than ever, it is not a secret that our planet needs actions to mitigate climate change. After some years of gaining professional experience, I wanted to start a master’s where I could gather tools to aid climate change mitigation from engineering by learning how to make energy-intensive activities efficient and thus decreasing their impact on the planet. When I searched for a master’s programme, I looked for a balance between the academic context, the environment, the industry, and the society. The master’s programme in Sustainable Energy Engineering does not only consider the interactions between all of these systems during the whole programme, but also has a genuine inclusion of the Sustainable Development Goals in all the courses and projects. Few educational institutions have in all their master’s programmes the involvement of the Sustainable Development Goals. This made it clear to me that KTH was where I wanted to study.
What are the best aspects of your programme?
Since day one, the professors have made the learning experience close to real-world issues. All the topics are actual and have relevance to accomplishing the 2030 Agenda. One of my favourite things about this programme is that all courses intend to connect the impact of different energy-intensive sectors. What I like the most about my programme is that we are encouraged to think and speak critically of the interactions the energetic sector has over land, water and food systems. I never expected to find so many relevant connections and get inspired with ideas to make a positive change.
Have you chosen a specialisation track within the programme?
I chose the Transformation of Energy Systems: Policy and Management track. In my opinion, it merges the best of the technical, social and environmental approaches, which is useful to help me reach my target of being involved in policy creation in the near future. Another motivator for choosing this track is the opportunity of learning how to use tools for decision making to later advise decision-makers and policy creators.
How do studies at KTH differ from your previous studies?
I would say that the study load I was used to in my home university has helped me to handle the individual study, group projects and exams. As a curious fact, I have been calling my professors by their first name, and I have felt very comfortable with this since the beginning. On the other hand, I find it fantastic that at KTH, there is a sense of collaboration between classmates rather than a feeling of competition for having higher grades. This helped me feel comfortable during my first semester because all students are more committed to learning and competing with each other for better grades.
How is student life in Stockholm?
Even during a challenging year as 2020, Stockholm has been the most welcoming city in the world. I live in a shared corridor in Lappis. There I have made the best friends I could have ever asked for. Together we have made sort of an international family, and that has been great to experience. During my first year, most of my courses have been conducted online. This has not been an obstacle for meeting my classmates, working in groups, and creating exciting projects, even if we do it via Zoom and have not met in person yet. I really look forward to the 2021 autumn semester to starting to meet more friends.
How would you describe your time at KTH so far?
I would say it has been a period of self-rediscovery and awakening, both personally and professionally. Apart from the academic responsibilities, I love how KTH opens spaces for diversity, innovation and for having fun! During my first year, I participated in sustainability-oriented activities, approached KTH innovation, took part in an activity arranged by Malvina (KTH’s female and non-binary network), and joined some sessions of KTH’s library book club. Similarly, last winter, KTH’s Student Union created many activities to help all students to feel connected during the season. Together with fellow international students, I was able to ice skate (without falling) for the first time in my life, bake my first bread and even cook an Indian dessert (these two activities happened live via zoom).
What would you like to say to students thinking of choosing KTH for master’s studies?
Whichever programme you choose, if you look forward to enrolling in a master’s programme where sustainability is taken seriously, have courses that go beyond the classroom and include hands-on projects with real-world issues in the curriculum, KTH is for you. It is not a coincidence that KTH is ranked as the 89th most prominent university in the QS World University Rankings 2022.