Tag Archives: studying in sweden

Pomodoro Technique. What is it, and why you should use it!

If you are like me, then you struggle A LOT to focus on one thing at a time. This is exactly why the Pomodoro Technique will be perfect for you. I don’t consider myself the best student, not even in the top of my class but I also don’t believe in comparing people, I’m more of a “everyone has different skillsets”, and “everyone can learn whatever they want if they put enough effort” kind of guy. Anyway, I’m already getting off topic (just proving the point that I get distracted easily).

Studying is something that comes in different forms and sizes, some of us just do final exams, some others do home exams and some other do projects and presentations. At the end, everyone puts effort and time into preparing either for the exams or into a project; so, I believe that every student or/and prospective student will find the Pomodoro Technique very useful.

Let me tell you a little bit more about this technique. The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, where the idea is to use a timer to break down a task into work intervals separated by short breaks, that is essentially what it is. Now, to do it properly there are some objectives to accomplish.

Pomodoro Technique StudyingCredits: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

#1 Task to be done.

The first thing is to find out is what is the task to be performed; it can be very simple like answering emails, to something complex like working on your master’s thesis. It really doesn’t matter what is the task, what matters is that it’s something that deserves your full, undivided attention.

#2 Set the pomodoro.

Set your timer to 25 minutes (some people do it with 30 minutes, even 35 minutes), define what you want to accomplish, and start working. The important part here is focusing in your goal without getting distracted, whether it’s a friend calling you for a beer, a Instagram notification, or the sudden need to watch videos about cats in costumes (been there, done that), many distracting thoughts and events come up when you’re at work.

#3 Work until it rings.

This one is pretty much straight forward. Work EXCLUSIVELY in your task until the time runs out. Spend some time doing a pre-study, or a recap and some time to do a review of the work you’ve done.

Credits: Giphy.

#4 Register your pomodoro.

Once the pomodoro ends, write a checkmark in a notebook, or a piece of paper to keep track of the time you spent on a specific task. This will help you to calculate in the future the amount of time that it takes to finish the task in question, and at the same time it will be easier to keep track of the time dedicated exclusively to work.

 #5 Take a break.

Grab a coffee, stretch your legs, go for a short walk or whatever you want to clear your mind. The idea of the pomodoro technique is to work in cycles, and between each cycle take a short break of 4-6 minutes. Your brain will thank you later.

#6 Set your timer. Work. Register. Repeat.

After 4 pomodoros the idea is to take a longer break (I like to go outside and walk for a while), 20-30 minutes is perfect for your brain to assimilate the newly acquired information and to have time to rest for the next cycle of pomodoros.

Credits: Maskot/Folio/imagebank.sweden.se

So far it has worked for me, even though sometimes is hard not to get distracted. Let me know what you guys think about this technique in the comments.


Sweden Survival Kit for Students

Winter is coming and it’s getting darker and colder. Hopefully this basic Sweden Survival kit will make your stay and studies in Sweden a little brighter. All set for winter?

Getting through the cold and darkness

  • Layer up! Not only its better for insulation, it is easier to remove with the layers when it gets warm indoors as compare to wearing one thick layer. Check out Gimmy’s dressing for winter guide!
  • Invest in a functional jacket. I know nothing about functional jacket before moving to Sweden. I always thought the thicker the coat, the warmer but yet I was still freezing. In the end, I bought a functional winter jacket, not only it keeps me toasty warm, it is also much lighter and 100% water-and-windproof with high breathability. 
  • Use a reflector. Hang it on your jacket or stick on your bike, it’s all about safety in the dark. It’s available in supermarkets.  
  • Candles can create nice and cosy ambiance but do beware of fire hazard.
  • Don’t let darkness get to you. Taking vitamins may help such as vitamin D since there isn’t much sunlight. If you feel down, stress and/or homesick, visit the student health center and talk to a nurse or the health counselor at your university. There are also many things to look forward to – a white winter, Lucia celebration, semester break, Christmas markets and food, Christmas sales and shopping … 

DSC03946Former digital ambassador, August Liu and me on a frozen river in Umeå

Getting through wet & snowy days

  • Again, the functional jacket. The water-and-windproof features can prove handy. I hardly ever use an umbrella in Sweden.
  • Waterproof mascara. Not exactly for survival but ladies, we all know mascara smudges can be annoying especially with the unpredictable Swedish weather from short intense summer rain to snow storms. 
  • Keep your feet dry. No, you don’t want freezing toes or slippery soles. A good pair of winter shoes can be beneficial or simply layer up your socks.

DSC038491859My all-purpose functional jacket.

Getting through studying in Sweden

  • Shop and save. Utilize your student discounts when shopping/buying books with the Mecenat card and/or the free Studentkortet card. Visit secondhand stores for unique finds and bargains. I bought my vintage oak chairs at the secondhand store for 50 SEK each and the wood also ages beautifully with time, amazing finds.
  • Networking. Raghu said it best. Networking is out of my comfort zone in the beginning but it gets easier with more practice. One way to kick start is during university events such as career days or company days. Be proactive and keep in touch with external speakers who are invited to give a workshop or lecture in your university. This is how I get my internship at IKEA.
  • Use old bike. Some student towns are notorious for bike thefts so don’t invest too much in a fancy bike. If you do, park it somewhere safe.
  • Start early! Whether it is about accommodation search, internship search or thesis collaborations with a company. Many companies have early cut-off dates for internship/thesis opportunities as they make plans for their upcoming business calendar. I apply for my internship the season before, about 4 months in advance.
  • Have FUN and experience Sweden. Not only during student events/parties but also get in touch with Swedish traditions such as Easter, Valborg, mid-summer, crayfish party, Lucia celebration, Christmas markets, julbord and more. Don’t miss out Swedish food. Keep a lookout for events and festive activities in your university and local kommun. 

CIMG0621Getting ready for crayfish party.

Simply for convenience

  • Know the closing times. Shops, supermarkets and especially Systembolaget! As you know Systembolaget is closed on weekends, so get your stash ready on weekdays.
  • Learning Swedish. The most effective way for me to learn Swedish is SFI in the local kommun. Some kommun offer evening classes which may be easier for students. Many of my SFI classmates did not speak English and this is what makes learning Swedish more effective. It is one good way of meeting new people and learning different cultures.
  • Swish! It is an app that allows you to send payment using your mobile phone by entering the payee’s mobile number. Very convenient for splitting bills when you are dining out with your friends. Splitting bills is common in Sweden. If you already have a Swedish bank account, you can download the app for free. I was in a restaurant buying take-away last week and I placed my order and totally forgot I left my wallet at home, but guess what,  I swish!

simon_paulin-dinner_with_friends-4961Image: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

Christmas is around the corner, do you know the Swedish Christmas Spirit Essentials? Have you got your glogg and julmust? I’m really looking forward to a white winter and the Christmas markets. Now it makes me hungry thinking about Christmas food.

Featured moose image: Folio/imagebank.sweden.se

Why Swedes wear Boxer Briefs? and you should too.

When you take off your pants (in a changing room or any other occasion), it is quite a solemn act (or at least it shouldn’t be a stand up comedy).

[Disclaimer: this blog is written for those with a great sense of humour. Reader discretion advised. Please take these advise seriously when you move here next year…or suffer the grave consequences. And no, I don’t work at Björn Borg. But our blogger Angelina did something there. She actually understands fashion.]

While sipping beers with a female colleague the topic of boxers sprung up as we discussed cultural differences… with female perspectives. Her story goes: a Swedish guy moved to the US when he was 12. The kids in his gym class made fun of him for wearing boxer briefs. Poor guy. Americans like boxers. Cultural differences. You guys know the definitions of the different types of underwear right?


[Source: http://www.mylespaul.com]

She mentioned most foreigners wear boxers and most Swedes wear boxer briefs. Remember last time, I mentioned how the Swedes like slim-fitted jeans, while the rest of the world is “relaxed fit”. Today I want to talk about why wearing boxer brief will save your life!


So, Swedish guys wear boxer-briefs.


The most famous Swedish designer underwear brand is Björn Borg (have you read Fashion expert Angelina’s blog?). You often see Björn’s name hovering over people’s butt cracks.




I will give you two motivations with solid engineering proof why you should switch to boxer briefs… especially for Sverige.

#1. Insulation

See comic below & Agreed… (No, you don’t want the breeze, not in the Swedish winter)2009-03-26_LOB_BOXERS OR BRIEFS

[Source: http://legendofbill.com]

#2. Better pressure distribution/ Lower load transfer/ Lower acceleration

I learned about physical forces acting on a human body during car crash in my Vehicle Traffic Safety class. Important to note, the slack in the seatbelt increases deceleration (bad news). So tighten up those seatbelts.

Like seatbelt, tighter next-to-skin underwear system reduces the maximum deceleration of a man’s reproductive system. That’s desirable.

Screenshot 2014-12-31 18.15.36

[Source: http://www.directindustry.com]

Don’t believe me? We also learned to use simulation software called LS DYNA, where you can visualize stresses in a structure and deformation of a vehicle structure during a crash. Normally it does this… Silverado-sm

[Source: http://sun1.eta.com]

But it also does this…(red and pink indicate high stress)

Screenshot 2014-12-31 18.17.55

[Source: http://www.oasys-software.com/dyna/en/software/ls-dyna/applications/other.shtml]

I promise I came across this by accident! I couldn’t find anything for men’s underwear. But I imagine, like a sports bra, boxer briefs offer better support… umm maybe I will propose this for master’s thesis… don’t steal my idea.


If you are still uncertain about the switch, this is what celebrities wear: (this made me laugh! I had NO idea where they got this info from)

Bono – usually commando, sometimes boxers

Chris Brown – boxer briefs

Michael Buble – briefs

David Cameron – boxers

Gimmy Liu – x3 thick thermal boxers with polar bear claw resistance fabric (Kevlar)

Bill Clinton – briefs

Russell Crowe – boxers

Tom Cruise – briefs

Jonas Brothers – boxer briefs

Michael Phelps – boxer briefs

Brad Pitt – seen in boxers but admits to liking briefs

[Source: http://thotlady.com]

To all the engineers out there, here is a flowchart for you!


[Source: http://www.esquire.com]






Next time I will talk about benefits wearing of high heels for you ladies.

Screenshot 2014-12-31 18.14.24

[Source: http://www.arupassociates.com]