Tag Archives: StudyinSweden

Why I chose to study 9370 km away from my home country.

I’m writing this at 10 km of altitude, while listening to Arctic Monkeys in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean inside of an Boeing 747-8, and it is until now that I realize how far is Mexico from Sweden (this is kinda obvious, it’s geography not rocket science right? but still…).

A lot of people have asked before why I chose Sweden? Why I chose a place to study so far from my home country?

DelsjönPhoto credit: Flavien Daussy.

So, let me explain to you guys why I chose Sweden.

Challenge accepted

Studying in Sweden represents a challenge, first of all because they speak another language, although everyone (literally everyone) in here speaks English I wanted to go to a place where I could experience something different, a different continent, a different culture, a different way of seeing things, a different everything.

Probably you have heard that great things are accomplished outside our comfort zone, and now I understand why.

Let’s put it like this, imagine your life is an experiment, if you do the exact same thing over and over again the results won’t change, if you control every single variable your outputs will be the same, this doesn’t mean that you should immediately start doing random stuff. But, I believe that everyone has some crazy idea; maybe trying a new sport, or learning something new. Einstein once said “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

I agree.

Now picture this: new country, new city, new class mates, new educational system, new food… I could go for hours but you get the point. A lot of new inputs will result in a buttload (buttload is actually a unit of the imperial system) of new experiences.



Fresh start, new possibilities

You will put into practice new skills that you didn’t even knew you had, you will dedicate 3 hours to do laundry just because you don’t have idea of what are you doing, you will have the opportunity to join a student society or committee, and so on.

The possibility of new experiences increase linearly in function of how much we change the input variables this means that life is a function of new experiences and new adventures (at least that’s how I see it). Just like Elke said in her post (you can chek it out here), going to Sweden is a new shot for just about anything.

I also agree.

IMG_5333A lot of people asked me before, “aren’t you afraid of going to a place so far from your home, to a place where you don’t know anyone, to a place where you don’t even speak the language, to a place where during winter you only see the sun a couple of hours, where in some parts of the country the temperature is so cold that your eyelashes freeze?” and the answer is simple: of course I was afraid, but that was the idea, and I can tell you that after just 3 months of living in Sweden this was the best idea I’ve had so far. And just by the simple fact that in the last 3 months I’ve lived a lot of new experiences, and this is just the beginning…

To be continued…

Malmö University 101

Dining at the City Hall, singing Britney Spears karaoke at the Student Pub, questioning policeman Mike about Swedish law, eating hotdogs at the beach and staying for 24 hours at an university building… a regular first week for Malmö University student. Let me briefly introduce you to the Malmö högskola!


                                                                    Source: GIPHY


“Hey mom, my university is younger than me! “

Malmö University was founded in 1998, which makes it younger than most of the students. It also means that since at that time nearby Lund University already offered traditional programs like law or architecture, at Malmö University you can get a degree in  Interaction Design, Criminology, Human rights or Leadership for Sustainability. How cool is that?




Credits: Kentaroo Tryman/Folio/imagebank.sweden.se


Most university buildings are located in the northern part of the city, where old industrial harbour was transformed into the nest for education, entrepreneurship and innovation. Especially innovation – did you know that Forbes ranked Malmö as fourth most innovative city in the world? The newest building of the university looks like a headquarters of an important company.  And we are only a few steps away from Västra hamnen, famous neighbourhood that is sometimes described as the first carbon neutral district in Europe.





Let’s get to the point! What happens when you come to Malmö as an international student? For sure you are not alone. On the contrary, together with me in the Introduction Programme participated over 500 international students from 84 different countries!  Coming two weeks earlier is not obligatory but I would recommend it to anybody – it is essentially 9 days of fun and getting to know people from all over the world. I prepared a calendar summary of my first days in Sweden to get you the idea. I had numerous fikas (traditional swedish coffe breaks with mandatory cake!), had a chance to talk to the Mayor at the official reception at the City Hall, enjoyed  last summer days at the beach, got to know all the university services, danced to Swedish tunes, met my future teachers and much more!




aka Seeking the Holy Graal of a Swede

A running joke among my classmates is the general difficulty of meeting a Swede here. Most of the people I know in Malmö are international students. We were quite surprised to discover that the total number of Swedes attending our program is a grand 1. The more excited we were about Insparken – the first two weeks of the term which are somehow an equivalent of the Introduction Programme but for Swedish students. This time it is only about fun: teambuilding with your faculty, karaoke, theme parties, boardgames… All in the spirit of rivalry between faculties (go sports!). The epic final of Insparken is a 24h race with a new activity announced every hour. Tasks varied from dance competitions to baking cake… and decorating christmas trees. All this in a great atmosphere. And by great I mean several-dozen-Swedes-singing-Pokemon-theme-song-aloud-and-toasting-every-hour great.



As you can see, international students are never bored during their first weeks at Malmö University. There are countless opportunites to get to know the school and future classmates.This is not unusual in Sweden – here you can check out how Dena described her introduction experince in Lund University. What about you? Do you have some special events at the beginning of the term at your universities?


Would you like to know more about Malmö University, my faculty or Interaction Design Master Programme? Feel free to suggest topics that interest you. I have just came to Sweden from Poland to study interaction design and from now on you can follow my student blog for stories about my time here. Stay tuned!

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.






Julmarknad – Christmas Market

Coming from England, I thought our homes, towns and shops looked Christmassy – but then I came to Sweden. Here, every window in every house has a Christmas star or candle shining onto the streets below. Every street has stunning Christmas lights hanging between buildings, and every building has a beautifully decorated Christmas tree inside. Also, not to mention it’s almost impossible to go a day without someone offering you a few of the Swedish Christmas biscuits – pepparkakor.

It also appears that there’s a new Chistmas market (julmarknad) every few days here in Stockholm. Last weekend I popped along to my local Christmas market on the island of Stora Essingen.

23696097956_1852ea7a3d_kThe wonderful florist on Stora Essingen had beautiful flower arrangements perfect for decorating rooms with some Christmas foliage.
23354240289_a6e6fa6e6c_k23095122683_d4eb1cf67e_kSome not so Christmassy Spanish meats were available to taste and buy! More traditionally Swedish is glögg – a warm spiced and sweet red or white wine, similar to the mulled wine we have in Britain.
23639660411_a4aadc0d18_k23613679212_a5ed92f62f_kLots of handmade and carefully crafted decorations from artists living on the Stockholm island.
23639648331_57aa761729_kMy favourite part of the market was the dog sleigh (see top image) which pulled the local children around the market.23696100106_a4df7b0928_k23613688012_e2fe60171e_kThe market was a prime example of the community spirit I love in Stora Essingen. Everyone coming out on a cold Sunday to have fun and support local businesses.


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:


Welcome to Stockholm.

I guess my curiosity towards Scandinavia started as a child after my Mum described driving a VW Beetle around Norwegian fjords during her early 20s. During this trip she got hold of a Norsk yahtzee set which often made appearances on family holidays; weirdly I thought it’d be super cool to write my name Alex with the letter Å instead. Since then the Nordic countries, culture and people have always intrigued me, but it wasn’t until 2013 when I visited Reykjavík, Iceland that I really felt a connection with the region in general. Whether it’s the nature, landscapes, political model, fashion, foods or innovation that I love, I’m not sure but I just feel at home here. Studying in Sweden was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Anyway, enough of the sentiment.

I’m Alex from England, the United Kingdom studying the Global Health Master’s Programme at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. For some reason, I’ve been trusted to be a Digital Ambassador (AKA blogger), so here you can follow my Swedish adventure in text, photos, Instagram #alexsthlm and the occasional YouTube video.

I thought I’d start by quickly rounding up the highlights from my first week in Stockholm.

Learning Swedish

At Karolinska all international students were offered a free 3 day intensive Swedish course during introductory week. It was a brilliant way to get a head start in learning the language and meeting loads of people also new to Stockholm.

Although literally everyone speaks fluent English, it is nice to learn some useful phrases in Swedish – and personally I’d really like to get to a grasp on Swedish throughout my stay.

Popaganda 2015

This festival in Södermalm is the closing of the summer music scene here in Stockholm. Taking place in Eriksdalsbadet, around a giant outdoor swimming pool, the setting was amazing. Seeing Robyn, MØ, Jungle and James Blake live at the end of the Swedish summer felt like the perfect intro into the academic year.


Starting University

Recovering from the festival was a challenge but fortunately the work-life balance in Sweden aided my level of tiredness. I’ve found this to be a general theme so far (compared to my previous studies) that most courses will cover the required content during lecture time and that the reading outside of school is minimal. From what I hear this applies to the work place as well – with a ‘late night at the office’ translating to leaving at 6pm…

Water in Stockholm

Stockholm Fashion Night

As part of the annual Stockholm Fashion Week at the end of August, a free evening in Östermalm was held to promote Swedish brands and designers. Starting at Sturegallerian, the high-end mall in town, we watched a catwalk show parading the latest trends in Scandinavian design. Complimentary food, goody bags, late night shopping, street DJs, and importantly free beers rounded off a brilliant first week.

Fashion Night