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"The academic system at KTH is superior and is of a really high standard"

Srihaarika is hailing from the state known for its hot spices, Andhra Pradesh, in India. Her passion includes robotics, control systems, and artificial intelligence. She did her bachelor’s at the SSN College of Engineering in Chennai, India, in the field of electronics and communications. She is social, outgoing, energetic, and always willing to explore.

What made you choose KTH and your programme?

Because my main field of interest is robotics, I was actively looking out for universities with good robotics research, faculty, job opportunities, and overall good rankings. KTH ticked all of these boxes for me, and I really loved the Systems, Controls and Robotics programme for the way it seamlessly brings together the control systems and artificial intelligence aspects of robotics. For this reason, I applied to KTH.

Upon receiving admission from KTH, I attended the Destination Sweden event held in Chennai (my home city) where I got a lot of information about life in Sweden and KTH. This event helped me develop a clear perspective of what to expect at KTH. I was instantly attracted to Sweden because it is commonly among the top 10 happiest countries in the world and boasts of great public security and infrastructure. Being from a tropical nation, I was also fascinated by the winter in Sweden because I had never really seen a cold winter before. I went on to talk to the then Student Ambassador, Anand Narayanan, from my programme. I asked him several questions about my programme and about life in Stockholm, accommodations, expenses, social life, etc., and I was convinced to go for it.

What do you like most about your programme?

I am very satisfied with my decision, and I am enjoying my programme. I strongly believe that the graduate programme in Systems, Controls, and Robotics is highly competitive and is providing me with an intellectually challenging environment and equipping me with the skills and knowledge necessary to establish a strong career in robotics. I love the flexibility in selecting our courses and tracks. There is a wide variety of project courses, and this allows us to do a project in our desired track and prepare ourselves for our master’s thesis. 

What do you like most about KTH?

KTH has become like a second home to me. My good times with KTH began with the welcome-day events and the international reception events. The welcome kit of an SL card, SIM card, and bedding set were really helpful and made things easier for me in my new place. Right from then, I have loved the fact that everything is neatly organised at KTH, be it the classes or exams or even student-organised events. I have found the people at KTH to be considerate and accommodating. I am pleased by the industry-academic tie in that exists at KTH. This can be especially seen during events like Armada. Such an industry-academia relation makes it easier to find projects and internships in companies. The multi-cultural environment at KTH has helped me meet several new people from diverse backgrounds and to broaden my perspectives. The academic system at KTH is superior and is of a really high standard. The amount of learning that I did in the last year is tremendous.

What are your impressions of Stockholm and Sweden?

I was excited to come to Sweden because it was the first time I was coming to Europe. When I landed in Stockholm in August 2017, I was taken aback by the beauty and cleanliness of the city. It was a completely unfamiliar city for me initially, but it didn’t take me long to fall in love with the place. I found the people to be extremely helpful. I was pleasantly surprised by how good the public transport system is. I was amused by the concept of Fika, which is especially meant for socialising and not just for drinking coffee. I loved walking around places like Gamla Stan and going ice-skating in Kungsträdgården during the winter. I was overjoyed when I managed to get a glimpse of the magnificent Northern Lights from Monteliusvägen near Slussen. Around Christmas time, I enjoyed visiting the calm and peaceful city of Uppsala, which was beautifully decorated for Christmas. Stockholm, as a city, has a lot to offer for the explorers in terms of natural beauty and culture. It is fascinating that the same places look beautifully different during different seasons of the year. Some of my favourite discoveries include the beaches in Lilla Essinge near Fridhemsplan and Järfälla Kommun in Jakobsberg. In terms of culture, I thoroughly enjoyed the 5-day-long Stockholm cultural festival that took place in Kungsträdgården and the midsummer celebrations in Skansen.

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

My best memory at KTH so far would be of my participation in the F1-sponsored 10th Autonomous Racing Car Competition that took place in Porto, Portugal. I was a part of an 8-member representation from the Smart Mobility Lab of the Integrated Transport Research Laboratory at KTH. The team was a mix of people from various academic and cultural backgrounds, and we had a great experience during the preparation stage of the competition and the competition days as well.

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

KTH is a truly international and multi-cultural university with extremely high academic standards. Having done all of my previous education in India, I found a lot of differences in the academic style here and there. We followed a semester system in India where we studied 6 courses in the span of 6 months. Thus, the period system here is quite new to me. The level of exposure in terms of academic opportunities is quite high. The amount of learning I have done at KTH is significantly higher than what I received during my bachelor’s studies. The courses here are more application oriented. The assignments, labs, and projects ensure that we thoroughly understand the concepts and the subject over all. Because a large portion of the projects is done in groups, we get to learn from each other, make friends, and develop our skills.

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

My experience at KTH as a Master’s student has been thoroughly exciting, supremely joyful, occasionally challenging, and overall, rewarding. Each day in Sweden and KTH has surprised me in some aspect or the other in terms of its culture, people, places, academic research, industrial innovations, or even the public infrastructure. I would like to share these experiences with prospective students. As an international student ambassador, I see it as an opportunity to invite and encourage new students to the life and experience at KTH and to help them make informed decisions and overcome their fear and doubts. I would try my best to make the new students feel welcomed and comfortable at KTH and in Stockholm.