What were your expectations for studying at Chalmers before arriving here? You are almost done with your first year, so how satisfied are you now?
“I had attended a couple of seminars organized by Chalmers in Mumbai and gained lot of information about the university through them. I had also heard through different sources that Chalmers is a good university and its research is industry oriented. I wanted to pursue Biomedical Engineering at the time of application and knew that Sweden has some very good prospects for biology related fields, so my expectations from the university were very high. I hoped to get a positive and friendly environment for studying, as is the case with most of the universities in Europe and US. I expected the education and administrative system to be more relaxed as compared to India. I wanted to get some good research experience from Chalmers with its world class facilities and hoped the professors would give us good inputs and help shape our future goals.
I must say I have been quite satisfied with Chalmers over the course of study so far. It has really lived up to my expectations. My professors and classmates have shown a professional yet friendly behavior, and this has helped me cope with my academics. I have been able to strike the right balance between academics and social life, which is a very important factor in living a fruitful life.“
What was the first thing that impressed you here at Chalmers?
“The first thing that impressed me at Chalmers was that more focus is given to projects and assignments as compared to the final exams. I believe this is quite important for a good learning curve. Students are kept involved through continuous assessment and they are motivated to put in more efforts. Getting good grades in final exams is always appreciated but students tend to forget things once they are done with the exams. But knowledge gained through assignments and projects gets registered permanently in the brain.“
Besides student life, how is living in Sweden?
“I would say that living in a place that is miles away from your home is always tough. There are a lot of responsibilities. One needs to manage home and also take care of academics. But I think I have managed everything well from the time I arrived here. Talking about Sweden, I feel it is a very nice country to stay in. People are very nice and helpful. They make outsiders feel at home. I would also call Sweden a “Party Place” because I see people partying almost every weekend. It is a good way to release stress after a week of hectic work. There are quite a few Indian restaurants and Indian stores that do not let us miss India to a great extent. Students are able to live a self-sufficient life. Slightly expensive but worth an experience!”
The weather is quite different from India. I think you should give new students some tips about how to survive it?
“Weather is a killer! I am used to the hot and humid weather conditions in India, but here I have faced extreme winters with temperature going as low as -20 degrees. I feel the scenario is same all over Scandinavia. The most important tip that I would give to the new students is layering up properly. Use 4-5 layers of woolen clothes if your skin cannot withstand the cold. Clothes bought from India won’t work here so it is good to buy the woolens here as they are best suited for this weather. It is good to keep stock of groceries at home so that one does not need to go out time and again to purchase them during bad weather conditions. Finally I would say that one needs to have the grit and determination to survive this weather. If one is mentally prepared to deal with the weather, then one can actually survive quite well!”
And my final question is that do you want to say something about “fika” and “semla”?
“Fika is the best thing that has happened to me in Sweden! Swedish people are crazy about coffee and kanelbulle! I love the taste of sweets here. Fika is also a good way to take a break from work and communicate with your mates. One can spend some good amount of time to chill and then get enthused to work again. Sweden celebrates a “Semla Day”, which according to me is quite an interesting day. Having mouthwatering Semlas and sharing some good moments with family and friends make it a very eventful day. I would certainly recommend everyone to relish the Swedish culture through these delicacies!”
Written by: Seren Necla Sevim