When it comes to writing thesis, many students have the option of writing from home or anywhere, thanks to online resources and virtual meetings. This means students do not need to be in the university or in Sweden.
Although I’m writing my thesis in Sweden, I’m not anywhere near the campus and I have difficulties accessing the library books at my university which are not available online. I also find it challenging when I cannot have spontaneous discussion with my thesis supervisor in person to physically and visually present my research and thoughts.
From an international student perspective, is returning home a better option for writing thesis?
Here is the compilation of the experiences from my classmates and myself when it comes to writing thesis back home or off-campus.
Savings on rentals and expenses in Sweden
Get to return home or be anywhere
Opportunities to write or collaborate thesis with companies back home/outside Sweden
Convenient with the use of free online tools
Cannot meet the lecturer or the thesis supervisor in person to facilitate discussions
Accessibility issues such as university’s resources and library books
Re-establishing rental agreements and/or the need to search for new accommodation
Distractions from families and friends, inability to focus
Inconvenient for discussions and meet-ups, especially for those writing thesis in pairs together with another student
According to most of my classmates, the main driver for returning home is the savings from rentals and expenses in Sweden. Although virtual meetings and online resources help to facilitate writing thesis from home, the main hurdle is not able to meet the thesis supervisor and/or the thesis partner (for those writing in pairs) in person for in-depth discussions.
It can get very stressful towards the deadline. That’s when students receive feedback from the thesis supervisors and have to make adjustments or re-do certain sections. Some of my classmates find it challenging to have virtual meetings with their thesis partners due to different time zones and some find it frustrating of not being able to reach the thesis partners in time for urgent matters, especially towards the due date.
For my classmates who stay in Sweden and write their thesis on-campus, they find it more convenient to make use of the university’s resources such as study rooms, labs, equipment and access to physical library books which are not available online. It is also easier to have in-depth discussions in person with the thesis supervisor and/or thesis partner. At the same time, it feels good to get the support from the classmates at school, checking in on each other’s progress, having discussions and sharing thoughts.
No matter where you write the thesis, it requires a lot of discipline and effort. Most importantly, do consider whether you have access to the essential resources if you write thesis from home/off-campus. Be prepared, think about the potential challenges you might face when writing thesis and have a ‘game plan’ to overcome these challenges.