I come from Mexico City which is close to reaching 23 million inhabitants. You would think it is chaotic and overwhelming, and you are right, it is. That was one of my main reasons to study my master abroad and try to live in a different part of the world. When I was deciding where to go I was looking for a city that was spacious and easy to get around. A place that had a rich culture, unique food experiences, nightlife, many outdoor spaces and where it also was affordable to live.
Because let’s be honest, when you are a student, this is important to be able to live on a budget. Another thing I was looking for was the size of the university. I remembered a friend of mine who lived in Gothenburg and was studying architecture at a university called Chalmers. I decided to do more research and found out that this place was exactly what I was looking for.
Gothenburg (Göteborg – as how we call it in Sweden), the second largest city in Sweden, has the perfect balance between indoor and outdoor activities. It has also an ideal size for riding your bicycle around and it is close to the ocean. Swedes would call it “lagom” a term to describe something that is just right, it can be in size, price, distance or basically everything. Another aspect I experience lagom in is my everyday life at university. Chalmers has a large campus area with sports facilities, laboratories, science parks and business incubators among many others. But it is nicely spread and surrounded by many outdoor spaces. I also find the size of my master program, Design and Construction Project Management
to be lagom, my classes are in average for 30 students which means they are small enough for teachers to offer a more personal education but also big enough to organize groups and workshops.
I have not only experienced lagom studying at Chalmers but I have also started to adopt it in my personal life. I have always considered myself to be a hardworking person whether it was for a university project or in my job. My concept of hard work was used to tie to long hours of labour, which isn’t necessarily the smartest way of working. With the lagom concept in mind, I now try to find a balance between my studies, my job and my personal life. This requires to be fully focused on the activity I am doing at that moment which helps me to obtain better results, develop my skills, and feel good about my life afterwards.
One of Chalmers’ focuses is the link between academia and the industry. I would dare to say that all of Chalmers bachelor and master programs are somehow involved with key individuals or companies in their respective fields. That is also a lagom balance between theory and practice, which is key for my student and professional development. Every day I realize more about the importance of lagom and the role it plays in every Swedes life. The key is to find balance in pretty much everything. When I travel back to Mexico, lagom will be one of the things I will bring back with me, not only as a way to find more time for family and friends but also in the pursuit of a more stress-free life.