Tag Archives: göteborg

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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…

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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.

CHALMERSHOUSING


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…

cheatsheet


 

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…

Shooting


 

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!

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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!

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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).

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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.

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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.

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The hallway, one person per door.

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

 

löv,

 

gimmygöteborg

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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.

 

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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.

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Slide4

 

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

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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.

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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!

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löv,

gimmygöteborg

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Work Cited:

http://www.indexmundi.com/commodities

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Moving to Sweden with Less-than-Container-Load Freight

Congratulations to all of you who were offered a placement in a Swedish school!

Exciting! I hope you have packed your bags and ready to jump on the first plane to Sweden…wait

Now, “packing” is quite a dirty word! I recommend packing an efficient suitcase and buy things as you need locally. But see flowchart below.

moving to sweden flowchart

I was in a different situation. My family didn’t live in Canada while I was planning my move to Sweden (rather silly… right after I settled my move, my father got a job transfer to Canada. Otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this blog now). Så, I had no where to store my stuff…

I have a ton of stuff (literally, 102kg): snowboard, 2x skis, car, 4 winter tires, kitchen stuff, desktop computer, bedding, sleeping bags, books, camping stuff, bike (got stolen, thank you thief)…a lot of cloth for 5 seasons and apocalypse…

 

Medium value goods:

It would cost approximately the same as buying it in Sweden.

After a few hours of detailed MARR (Minimum Attractive Rate of Return), Engineering Economics, and beer drinking (mostly beer drinking), I came up with three solutions.

1/ Throw away all my stuff & buy new in Sweden.

2/ Drive to Sweden with a fully loaded car.

3/ Ocean Freight (like the big containers you see trucks hauling around, yep)

4/ Pack dense things into boxes and mail it to myself.

packing

Ok, I had at least $2000 worth of goods. 1/ Throw away all my stuff & buy new in Sweden. I don’t want to have a car in Sweden. Period. 2/ Drive to Sweden with a fully loaded car. Mailing it to myself? The cost is a function of volume. I have too much low density stuff (like cloth and blanket, etc.) The size of boxes is too large… not cost effective. 4/ Pack dense things into boxes and mail it to myself.

My Spanish and Italian housemates all mailed stuff from their home countries.

SHIP OR NOT TO SHIP

Upon research, I found this thing called Less-than-Container-Load (acronym LCL Cargo). Terrific. That is EXACTLY what I am looking for.

Definition: Less-than-container load

 

How to LCL Ocean Freight?

 

Step 1: organize

Figure out how much stuff do you ACTUALLY need to ship. Ie. Volume, weight

Then get an instant quote from a local shipping company. (google it)

$250 bucks for 1 cubic meter 100kg of stuff, DEAL!

canadian shipping lcl cost

Step 2: find a skid

Usually around supermarket…

NB! Make sure it has a “HT” (heat treated) mark on BOTH side of the skid. Otherwise they won’t allow it (preventing bugs from traveling without visa).

Step 3: pack & play Tetris

Get some big plastic container and start filling it up.

Get all your boxes to fit within the volume given in the quote.

skid

Step 4: book your shipment

Inform your shipping company about 2 weeks ahead is fine.

Step 5: pay

Swedish side: cost depends on the receiving company in Sweden. The shipping company in Toronto was not be able to tell me. Ok, can’t cost that much € I thought.

cost-breakdown

Step 6: fly to Sweden

It took about 2 weeks to sail across the ocean, but it took about 4 weeks from handing over to the company in Toronto to receiving it in Sweden.

Step 7: the company will contact you once your stuff is here, but your phone number is…

No worries, once I received my Bill of Lading, I called the Swedish shipping company to update my phone number to the Swedish one.

Step 8: pay the Swedes

Så, about 400 SEK terminal fee, 500 SEK handling fee, if you want them to deliver it to your doorstep: 600 SEK (I didn’t have a car, I could have called a taxi and saved a little bit there…not worth my time)

That is almost as expensive as shipping across the Atlantic.

If you want the shipping company to do your “import customs” work that is another 500 SEK. Nej tack!

Step 9: customs & import tax

Since these are my personal effects and I am a student, I brought proof of my residency and student status to the custom office. The office is difficult to find, it is about 45 mins outside of Göteborg, near the Volvo museum. Cliché.

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Step 10: wait for delivery

Welcome to your new home swede home!

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Conclusion:

Since I used my airline points and paid only €2 for my flight from New York City to Stockholm, the LCL freight cost was neutralized.

I hope I will NEVER have to move again.

 

see you soon!

 

Löv,

 

gimmygöteborg

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CNC machine, max. feed, 5000 rpm, no big deal

I mentioned Chalmers workshop last time. Today, I’ll say a few words about students that are running wild in the CNC workshop.

(photo: I am learning how to write G-Code on the CNC lathe machines)

Yes, students operating CNC machines. CNC stands for Computer Numeric Control. You are probably not so impressed, if you have no idea about CNC machines.

  1. They are freaking expensive (an inexpensive HAAS lathe costs about half a million SEK, or $100,000 USD)
  2. They aren’t easy to operate (people go through three years of college training)
  3. It is really easy to screw up the machine (if you clash two moving components, you will hear the loudest bang in your life…and then your wallet shrinks into a black hole)
  4. A nice Sandvik Coromant carbide tool cost 10,000 SEK, and it breaks easily when misused.

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Photo: a typical CNC milling machine. 

Ok, the students are not running “wild” in the “irresponsible” sense. They are operating the machine at its performance ceilings (meaning the machinists know what they are doing). IMG_1149

Photo: Niklas & Marcus on the CNC lathe.

I have never seen & heard a lathe running at 5000 revolutions per second. It sounds like an aircraft engine. Not exaggerating.

Of course, not anyone is allowed to fool around with these machines. The Chalmers Formula Student (CFS) machinists operating these CNC machines are extremely talented.

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Photo: Göran from Sandvik Coromant visiting the CFS team and showing Victor how to realise a tool’s full capability.

Let me list a few:

  • Isak from CFS 2014: he is probably born inside a CNC machine. Even the engineer at Sandvik Coromant (a Swedish tooling manufacturer) is impressed by his knowledge and ability.
  • Johannes from CFS 2015: he is probably born with a welding gun in his hand. After seeing him laying down a perfect bead of aluminium weld, he goes into the CNC lab and mills out quite complex geometries.
  • Niklas from CFS 2014 is a man of the north. He is from Umeå, where the SI bloggers visited last year. He is so familiar with the CNC lathe that the machine shop head comes to him with questions. (The flat hierarchy in Sweden also means the student-teacher relationship is quite sincere).

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Photo: Johannes tooling around the CNC mill

Lately, Niklas is investing a lot of his free time to teach CNC lathe to Marcus and I.

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Photo: Carefully running the program in “single block” mode, baby steps, one block at a time.

I can’t fly on my own yet. I don’t think I will have time to practice enough on the CNC lathe to earn my “license”. Nonetheless, I feel quite privileged to touch the CNC machine and rev it up to 5000 RPM (under Niklas’ presence).

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Photo: Trying to understand which tool goes where and does what…

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Photo: Taking baby-steps, learning each tool and figuring out its “cutting position”. It’s not a selfie. I couldn’t determine the position of the tool that is oriented upside down…. position 3, matching?

Ok, back to the workshop.

 

Löv,

 

gimmygöteborg

 

somebody is in charge of 3D printing… was it you Josue?

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Swedish students and their spelling mistakes

I have praised the Swedish students in the past about their wonderful English. When it comes to report writing, the written professional English is (sometime) a nightmare.

I have been warned by a fellow Canadian during the first few weeks after I arrived “don’t proofread their reports, because it doesn’t matter”. I can understand the warning. After the young Swedes earn their bachelor degree, the master’s education switches to English. The students are new to English writing. It is difficult to write well even for native English speakers.

I had the opportunity to proofread some writings at Chalmers Formula Student for external communication purposes. Man! I’ve seen some serious typos.

The Swedish students write with a “Swedish keyboard” setting. This prevents Microsoft from performing automatic spellcheck. When you open a document, your heart stops beating for a moment, as all you see are “red” squiggles. Then YOU change the language setting in Word to English. You face-palm and start with corrections. “S” and “Z” are often mixed up. Swedish language tends to staple a few words together into one long word. This is a very common English spelling mistake.

Then what did my fellow Canuck mean by “it doesn’t matter”?

I randomly opened a formal Chalmers publication. I opened three pages and I spotted three spelling mistakes. I was quite disappointed to be honest. But maybe typos are not as sinful as it is in an English speaking country? Perhaps people care about the content more than formality?

A typo is a typo. That’s my view.

I really cannot blame the Swedish guys as English is not their mother tongue.

But for non-native English speakers, they are probably still the word’s second best… well, that’s controversial. We can’t forget about Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands. They speak well too!

 

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Pro Tip:

If you want to change your keyboard setting to e.g. English (UK) while still being able to use “äöå”, add an English keyboard with Swedish configuration:

keyboard

I also have a “Greek” keyboard to write engineering equations.

If you want to change your decimal point from “, – comma” into “. – period”, follow the instructions below.

 

point0 point1 point2

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Money, money, money! Must be funny! In the Swedish world!

Så, banking in Sweden

If you are going to stay in Sweden for two years, then don’t hesitate opening a bank account. It’s just easier. Do yourself a favor.

Unlike other countries, opening a bank account here in Sweden is rather difficult. I thought banks would welcome me with open arms and yelling “gimmie all your money!”

Nope

 

Before you even start, you need to gather a bunch of necessary documents:

  • Residency
  • Housing contract
  • Passport
  • University acceptance letter.
  • Swedish residency card…
  • SWEDISH PERSONAL NUMBER/ SWEDISH IDENTITY CARD
  • List goes on…

 

First, the bank open for short periods of a day… Something like 10:00 to 16:00 (or earlier). So you really need to make a conscious effort to go to the bank. You don’t “happen to pop by the bank”. Also prepare to spend two hours at the bank (waiting time included).

Second, you can’t really deposit a foreign cheque to a Swedish bank account. I took a traveler’s cheque with me before leaving Canada. Bad idea. I got told here that the Swedish bank needs to verify my cheque, which costs around 300 bucks, and they charge 1~2% service fee on top. Hmmmm…

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Proverbial don’t put all eggs in one basket, bring some cash, your debit card, your visa card, and have ways for family back home to wire you money. 

 

Thirdly, if you need to take out money from a foreign debit card, you can only perform such acts on an ATM machine. The maximum limit is 4000 SEK (some are 3000 SEK). What does this mean? If you want to pay for rent AND groceries, you need to visit the ATM on two different occasions. What a pain.

Finally, now you have the cash in hand and you want to deposit into your newly opened Swedish bank account, you still need to do so at the ATM machine. Banks in Sweden just don’t work with cash!

To make things worse, there are only a handful of ATMs around town that allows cash depositing. These machines are also nuisance. It draws in the money, counts it, scans it and most likely spits out a few notes. Then you have to flatten every crease on the bill. (wait, did I mention I am trying to deposit the money I just took out?) agh! Of course there is a long queue of eager people waiting behind you. (music) under pressure!

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You can pretty much barter in Sweden using coffee coupons… trick of the day!

 

Now I will tell you what that calculator-looking thing is… It is your personal security passcode generator. It produces a unique code each time you try to login to your web banking. So don’t lose it. The security (at least the way it seems) is pretty strong. Every time you make a transaction, you also need to get a randomly generated code.

 

My biggest complaint by far with banking is that everything is in Swedish. I choose to go with Swedbank because their home page have an option for English. But once you log in, everything is in Svenska.

 

I think Chalmers have some sort of deal with SEB. But I am ok with Swedbank right now. I also heard good Forex bank is good.

 

Food for thought…

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ribs! yummmm

 

 

Löv,

 

gimmygöteborg

 

Most importantly, remember to wash your own coffee cups! Swedish proverb: your mommy doesn’t work here!

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