Tag Archives: Chalmers University of Technology

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part III

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part III

From North to South we have (Top left to right): Mahmoud Hanafy from Egypt studying Systems, Control and Mechatronics at Chalmers. Tebkew Shibabaw from Ethiopia studying Environmental Science at GU. Sussy from Cameroon studying Social Anthropology at social work and human right at the GU. Ronald Byaruhanga from Uganda studying Social work and human right at GU. Blessing Kabasa from Zimbabwe studying Electric Power Engineering at Chalmers. Nomsa Kgosietsile from Botswana studying Social work and human right at the GU. Thato from South Africa studying Leadership and Management in International Contexts at Linnaeus University

                  Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part III

Here is the final installment of Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part III

I’m back with the amazing students from Part II to let you in on what they think. This last one is about the Swedish language and Tips for students from their home countries!


What were your first impressions of the Swedish language?

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part II

Mahmoud: It contains a lot of Ups and downs. (smiley face)

Tebkew: For me it’s a difficult language to understand. The way they pronounce some words is quite hard to mimic.

Sussy: My first impression about the swedish language was funny yet interesting. I also discovered words in French and English having similar meanings in swedish.

Ronald: It a hard and difficult language. I thought I would never speak even a word but now I can try making a few phrases like: Hur mår du? . meaning how are you?. Thanks to SFI (Swedish for Immigrants)

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part III

Blessing: I thought I would need at least five years to master the language

Nomsa: It sounded so difficult, I wondered if I will ever get to speak Swedish, let alone understand it.

Thato: I started learning to speak Swedish before I left home. It wasn’t extremely difficult, but of course the alphabet system is very different. On a daily basis I have been able to learn some words and expand my vocabulary.


Have you learnt or are you learning Swedish?

Mahmoud: Yes I started to learn and follow duolingo.

Tebkew: I am learning it now.

Sussy: I have learnt up to the SAS 3 ( swedish as a second language)

Ronald: Yes, I am learning Swedish at SFI. I have been learning for the last three months.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part III

Blessing: I am currently taking SFI (Swedish for Immigrants) lessons

source: allacronyms.com

Nomsa: I have on completed the first step in learning Swedish language at university.  I am currently on a break, hopefully I will get the strength to continue the next level soon.

Thato: I am still learning, although it’s great that most people know how to speak English and willingly switch to accommodate you. The town has a large international community, so it’s easy to communicate and navigate around because English is spoken wherever you go.



Do you have any tips for students from your country who would like to study in Sweden?

Mahmoud: I would advise them to: Know exactly what they want from continuing their studies and to be specific, Search for all available scholarships, Be open to all cultures, Prepare themselves for many changes in studying and life systems.

Tebkew: My tip is for future students of my country are to prepare themselves and set their mind for the winter season which I got very challenging.

Sussy: They should be prepare to learn the Swedish language if the must work here especially after their studies.  The cold in Sweden is more than that of the biggest cold store you’ve ever visited. Come with extra money for warm clothes . Make sure you come along with your food stuffs as they are pretty expensive here compared the prices at home

Ronald: I would advise those who wish to come to Sweden to try several scholarships such as SIDA, Swedish Institute Scholarships among others, since is quite expensive to study in Sweden on self-sponsorship.

Blessing: Swedish style of learning exposes you to the real world thereby allowing you to solve real problems. In as much as it is more practical with lots of fun activities, it is so intense that one must be prepared to be pushed to the limit.

Nomsa: Be open minded, be brave enough to take opportunities presented to you, to come and explore, have fun and enjoy the experience of being in a different country. If you are a change agent, then Sweden is the best country to benchmark.

Thato: It’ll be a wonderful adventure, but you must be prepared. Do your research. Read a lot about the university you want to study at and the town you will live in. Secure a scholarship or private funding, tuition and living expenses are high unless of course you can afford it. Get to know the practicalities required to move to Sweden. For instance, opening a bank account, what access your residence permit gives you, whether you have to find accommodation yourself or the university assists you.  Studying in Sweden is likely to be one of the best experiences you’ll have so if you’re thinking about it then pursue it! There are also great traveling opportunities to go around Europe when you have a break from your studies.

For new students coming to Sweden from your country do you have any tips? (what to pack from home, weather advice, fun information and practical tips?)

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part III

What to pack

Mahmoud: Bring Router, Swedish weather is not as bad as you hear in Egypt, Learn to cook, Study hard in weekdays but have fun in weekends.

Tebkew:  I advise them to bring ‘berbere’ which is prepared from pepper mixed with different spices and ‘Dirkosh’ which is dried form of Injera. 

Ronald: Regarding food, it may not be easy to carry lots of food from home but one can try to pack local spices such as Royco and others as you may not easily get them here and some cosmetics and hair accessories such as reusable wigs and weaves for the women. Do not forget to carry some winter wear! Though I would recommend that you buy your winter outfits here.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part III

Blessing: If you are coming from Zimbabwe, do not forget to bring your own mealie meal for sadza. A 5Kg packet will do. Temperatures are lower than in Zimbabwe but they are not that bad and all indoor temperatures are controlled.

Nomsa: Don’t carry many clothes, just bring a few warm clothes for the first few days when you are still settling in. Carry African attire, to represent Botswana. For the food, if you are into spices, then carry your favorite spices from home. Hair and skin care products are a must, don’t make a mistake of leaving those.

Coming to Sweden: African Edition Part III

Thato: Keep track of all the arrangements when you’re moving your life from South Africa to Sweden. Although it’s very exciting, it’s a big task so keep a journal of everything you do including contact numbers of key persons from the embassy and university. It is advisable to also leave a copy of your passport with a family member should anything happen with your documents.  Of course you’ll protect them with your life! You may also have to bring all the originals of your qualifications from home, so check this with your Swedish university before you leave.

You are likely to get support from the international office at your university, but take ownership of everything you need to do so that you are well-prepared. Oh, and don’t shop for boots and coats at home. Lol! They’re not suitable for Swedish winters, you’ll shop when you get here for the real snow-resilient stuff! It can get quite cold, but you’ll survive it, maybe even enjoy it.  The summers are wonderful, the winters are dark, but fear not because plenty of chocolate and coffee (what the Swedish call fika) will get you through! Do yourself a favor and learn how to ride a bicycle before you leave, chances are that’s going to be your main mode of transport! You don’t want to be a twenty-something-year-old crashing into poles in broad daylight like I did. Enjoy Sweden, study hard and represent our country well!

Take Away

The purpose of the the Coming to Sweden Edition is for the readers to get to understand a little more how it feels to live and study in a country so far away from home. However, it also seeks to be a how to guide of what to pack when coming from home, basic first steps and how to adjust to winter (smiley face)

A big thanks to the six students who allowed me to interview them! Can’t wait to FIKA after the summer break.

Follow Study in Sweden on Snapchat for more updates

From Sweden with Love

NB: Disclaimer: This post is based on perspective and experiences of the students interviewed. It is not meant to generalize all African students in Sweden perspectives.

How exams work in Chalmers?

Let me begin with the fact that I hate exams. I get nervous, stressed and my mind goes blank as soon as I read the first word written in the exam. In Chalmers exams are slightly different (Sweden vs. Mexico), now that exam week is just around the corner I thought it would be a good idea to write a guide/list on how exams work:

This is intended to be a general informative guide to illustrate some things you should know before taking an exam.

1) Register for exams.

You need to sign-up for taking the exam, this can be done thorugh the Student Portal (“Studentportalen”). Each and every student needs to register in order to present the exam, the registration portal usually opens at least four weeks before and closes about two weeks befor the exam week (week 43, Swedes use week numbers don’t ask me why).

Sing-up for exams

2) Anonymous examinations.

Examinations at Chalmers are anonymous. The student’s personal information stays unknow and may not be revealed on the answer sheets. The main reason behind this is to protect the students from being graded inequitable, so the examiner will grade in the same way the people he/she likes and the ones he/she dislikes. Oral examinations are not protected by anonymity (this would be weird, like when news channels are interviewing someone and they distort the subject’s voice and blurry the image).

3) Aids permitted.

Pencils, erasers, rulers and dictionaries (but not electronic ones, just the heavy ones that no one has) are authorized at all examinations. Depending on the examinations different aids are permited, in my program we are allowed to use a calculator, but just the ones approved by Chalmers. Such a calculator may not be capable of drawing graphs. The approved calculators for the academic year are: Casio FX82…, Texas TI30…, Sharp ELW531…(the first part of the type designation). I have a Casio FX82ES PLUS in case you were wondering.
Plumas, lapicero, goma y calculadora

4) During the examination.

Long story short story, be prepared to show a valid photo identification card, as well as your membership card in the Student Union otherwise you can’t take the exam. Make sure to write all your information in every answer sheet, this includes your anonymous code, course code, and the page number. Another thing to remember is to order your questions and pages in the order which they were given and not in the order you made them. Sometimes multiple persons grade your exam, thats why every answer should be on a different answer sheet, so they can split the exam and review it at the same time.

Interesting fact, you are allowed to bring snacks to the examination room, except nuts because of allergy reason (they don’t want people dying in the middle of the exam)

5) Taking breaks during the exam.

During the first hour of the exam you are not allowed to leave the room. After this time, you may take one or two short breaks to fika or just visit the toilet. Although smoking breaks are not permitted during the examination, it takes a lot of time to go outside have a cigarette and return.
Credits: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

6) Complete the exam on time.

This one is pretty much straight forward, but I think its worth to mention. The exam supervisor will announce when only 15 and 5 minutes remain until the end of the examination. At that point, first you must have finished your exam, otherwise you are screwed, then you need to check that you have written your anonymous code and numbered each page.

7) Taking the exam all over again.

If you fail an examination (let’s hope this is not your case), you will be allowed to re-take it again the next exam period. There are multiple dates throughout the academic year.

8) Examiation results.

After a waiting period of 15 working days you will recieve your results by e-mail as well as through the Student Portal.
so close

9) Students with disabilities

Chalmers takes into consideretion everyone, even when it comes to presenting an exam. Thereby students with a disability may be granted extended examination hours. All students with special needs will take their exams in rooms dedicated to this purpose and are monitored by a supervisor. Again this all depends on the kind of disability and on the examination type.

10) Cheating

It doesn’t matter if you try or if you succeed, for Chalmers any and all attempts at cheating are taking very seriously. You yourself have chosen your programme, so it makes sense that you master a minimum knowledge that may be helpful to your future career. Any suspicios of cheating will grant you a one way ticket to the disciplinary board.

you can do it

So now you know the basics, good luck on your exams and don’t be stressed about it, it’s just a piece of paper with questions.

Student Housing? Relax! You are in Göteborg [UPDATED 2016]

To keep things short, for the best balance between cost, location and space when looking for housing in Gothenburg = pick SGS Rotary. I live there.

Now, exactly one year after I published this post I made some updates for you.

I’d like to thank CHALMERS KINAGRUPP for letting me share their videos with you!

Table of Content:

  1. 3 x ProTips
  2. Don’t get shot! (a sensitive issue in Göteborg still, but we are baring lokal situation all out)
  3. A little on Frolunda
  4. Why Rotary?
  5. About Kjellmansgatan

I don’t think housing in Göteborg is as bad as Stockholm.

My friends complain a lot about the housing here. Don’t be tempted thinking there are many options available. Just play it safe and get a place to stay first (beggars can’t be choosers). I know every August the hostel is full of Chalmers international students looking for housing… Don’t be those guys.

Most common complaints are:

1/ Internet not working

2/ Old building, not clean enough

3/ Expensive…

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 10.32.45 PM

Looking back a year ago, I just applied to whichever housing that was the cheapest available. I lived in Frölunda. It was cheap, yet relatively far from school. But, it worked out for me.


Tip #1: Where to Start Your Search?

FIRST, I went to the SGS website. SGS is this housing agency for students. I think most foreign students use their service. Many of my friends have grunges with this company, not satisfied with their services (see top three complaints). Beggars can’t be choosers.


Tip #2: What Are Your Options?

Out of the 24 places, I didn’t recognize most of the places…

Why? Because the Swedish students scoop out the “good” places long long long ago, after having queued for a long long time, and moved in for a long time…



ProTip #3: Pick a Good Neighborhood, it is worth the money!

Recently, there are lots of news about shootings in Gothenburg. I just want to say that shootings happen in “rough” neighborhoods on the other side of the river (north side). Gothenburg is still really safe at all times of the day…

Map of shooting locations: Red guns represents shooting in 2014…



A Little About Frölunda

I lived in the Frölunda neighborhood for four month. It is not the most “posh” hood in town… People EXAGGERATE about its conditions. It is not that tough as you imagine. Sure it is populated with immigrants. Sure people warn you about locking your laundry (apparently people steal laundry???)… But it is safe. Really!

Story goes… there’s a deadly shooting in the building adjacent to where I lived 2 years ago. End of story.

But shooting can take place anywhere…

Balance Sheet

Downside to Frölunda is the distance to campus: about 25mins by tram

more downside: SGS owns 5-6 apartments in this large apartment building. Not a strong student environment.

Upside: cheaper housing (I paid 3200kr for this tiny room, see pic below.), and you get a MASSIVE shopping centre at your door step!

Upside +1: the parties there are great!


haha, no I didn’t have a roommate. My friend was just visiting me for the weekend! But you can see how tight the room was!


Occassionally you get 2 month of green water, because the copper pipe is old. People really complained a lot about it. We even had a “green water” party.

Finally, my time at Frölunda was over. The building management decided it is time to renovate this old building. And I got moved to a new place. I had several choices. I choose the one that is closest to school (that one hour of commute took away a lot of my time).


View outside 11th floor at the Frölunda SGS apartment.

A Little About Rotary

I live at the SGS Rotary now. I löv it!

It is almost too spacious! 3800kr. (For an additional 600kr, I get my own bathroom and a much larger room! 10 mins walk to school. Large shared kitchen (reminds me of hostel kitchens)). I FEEL IT IS REALLY WORTH IT.


If you want to enjoy your time in Sweden, having a good nest is important.


A Little About Kjellmannsgatan

My buddy Sid had enough of his old crappy room and requested for a new place. BOOM! one month later he moved into his own room at Kjellmannsgatan. It is around 3800kr as well. Really nice neighborhood.

Pics of the room in virgin condition. I took them as I helped Sid move in.

IMG_1245 IMG_1246

The hallway, one person per door.


back to my kitchen, a picture of the last dinner party…. benefit of having a large common kitchen.






Eat Salmon!

Eat Salmon!

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to Gothenburg, Sweden, world’s capital of salmon industry. I am joined by my friend Fillet the Salmon. Today we will give you access to the inner workings of the meat industry in Sweden, and we will share with you our passion for Salmon.

In order to create common starting ground for our view of the future, I will first share with you what has happened since 2004.




Since 2004, the price of beef has grown most significantly, followed by the price of salmon and then chicken. The price of salmon was largely unaffected by the economic slowdown of 08′. You can rest assured that the price of salmon will continue to grow. So you better eat it now!

Salmon also outperforms its competitors in the meat category. It offers rich nutrition, such as Omega 3-6-9, which is vital to survive the dark and cold Swedish winter.




Below is an example Salmon + Rice, prepared in under 15 mins.



Above, a sample brunch at Chalmers Student Union bar – J.A. Pripps. Salmon is offered during Sunday’s brunch. 117 SEK per person.

Below: an Asian noodle soup with Swedish meatballs somehow mixed in. Takes about same preparation time as Salmon.

IMG_4939 IMG_5471

Above: a stingy piece of steak (depending on the cut) cost almost twice as much as salmon here in Sweden.

Below: Den Svenska Pizza Salad, a Swedish national dish. Yes! Pizza is finally healthy!







Work Cited:


Bonjourno, Sweden!

Milan, 26C, partially cloudy


I have a motto for life – “the more I move, the luckier I get”. Perhaps I become a more interesting person, or maybe I become more open minded.

Several Master’s programmes at Chalmers have double degree exchange deal with Stuttgart University and Shanghai JiaoTong University. I thought how cool would it be to spend the second year of my Master’s in Germany (drinking beer and eating bratwürst)… especially for an Automotive Engineering student at Stuttgart.


But I turned down this opportunity… for several reasons.

1/ The Swedes, young and old, speak English near native level… it is easy to forget that I am studying in Europe.  You might not be able to say the same about all German professors. Was ist das?

2/ The Swedes are pretty open to immigrants… the Swedes are generally open to different cultures, religions, sexual orientations, etc. I don’t feel like an alien in Sweden!


Third, my mother told me to stay in Sweden.


4/ I changed my mind. I am satisfied with Chalmers education. “if it isn’t broken, why fix it?”

5/ I met a girl from Italy at Chalmers… Life is full of unexpected surprises. I tried to find an internship position, but failed. When I devoted my life to the machine shop, this happens.


I spent the weekend in Milan with her majesty Eva. I also managed to catch up with Camilla, a Polytechnic Uni. of Milan exchange student I met in Canada. What a beautiful city. Why would anyone leave Italy for Sweden?!! The Milanese explained the education in Italy is much more “theoretical”, whereas Sweden focuses more on the “practical” aspect.


Eva is striking luck up here in Sweden. She managed to settle a one-year biomedical engineering master’s thesis project at a local artificial limb company. I think her “receipt for success” is her über proactive approach to opportunities.

After taking lessons from her, I managed to grab a part-time lab technician position at the Chalmers combustion dept. starting in September. Looking forward!


Midsummer at IKEAtemporary exhibition in Milan


I am rather sad leaving the summery Milan, even though I had a year’s worth of mosquito bites in just one weekend.


Greatest life lesson – ALWAYS remember to bring mosquito repellent!


“the further north I move, the luckier I get!”… back to the wonderful Swedish summer!





Sweden’s Greatest Cultural Achievements

No one knows you better than Google…

Somehow I came across this conversation in the computer lab one night…what does “Swedish” mean to you.

No need to lie, when I think “Swedish”… meatballs pile up to the top of my list.

Now, what on earth is “Swedish massage”… upon “googling”, a Swedish massage is a massage that makes you feel good. Is there a massage that is suppose to make you feel worse??




What are other “Swedish” things on my list?


1/ Volvo

Every model from the late 70’s to the brand new XC90 test vehicles, you will be amazed by the sheer number of Volvo dominating the streets of Göteborg.


Illustration by Ib Autoni.


2/ Smelly fish

Have you played a prank on someone who has never tried sushi by telling them Wasabi is “green tea ice cream”?

Ja, you have to try surströmming!

Screenshot 2015-04-16 14.15.09


3/ The ladies

SHOCKING FACT… apparently, many/most of the blonde girls in Sweden aren’t blonde. Chemicals…  but would you really care?

Swedes - Expedia

While watching the 2015 World Junior Championship (hockey) in Canada over Christmas break, according to the Expedia commercial, this is what Swedish stereotype looks like to Canadians.


4/ Snus

The locals love this stuff… while socializing, during a lab session, or in class. Everyone uses snus, which is essentially chewing tobacco. There are two versions of it: the amateur version, which is a small tea bag filled with tobacco, and then there is the expert version, which is lose tobacco and you will have to pack it into a small ball.


Have you seen an Indian person neatly eats with his hands? Being able to pack snus requires a lot of finger coordination/motor skills.

IMG_2609 IMG_2762


3/ Blue/purple plastic bags of happiness

Every Friday afternoon you will notice people making happy strides with a purple or green plastic bag in their hands.

In Sweden, beverages higher than 3.5% alcohol content are only sold in the State Monopoly Liquor stores called Systembolaget. If you want “normal” booze for the weekend, you have to dash there before it closes super early Friday night, and it remains mostly closed the entire weekend.

This is the way the Swedish government discourages drinking.

DSC08574 DSC08575

This is what Systembolaget looks like… super “noticeable”.

IMG_2568  IMG_2573

Liquor is really pricy in Sweden. High alcohol percentage beer (4.5%) is also more expensive than 3% ones.

I can afford the 3% light beer. It tastes the same as the 4.5% ones, more or less.

Wine is well priced in Sweden. Very comparable to Canada and the Netherlands…as far as I know.