What, it’s been nearly 6 months at Chalmers already?! Finding your feet at a new university can be quite the experience, time has flown by. I’ve felt nervous, excited, curious and occasionally a little lost. So what have I noticed in my first 6 months? Here are some things that stand out about Chalmers for me:
Studying at university means you have to “pull all-nighters” pretty often, yeah? At my previous university, staying on campus and studying until late (beyond midnight) was common. But it’s a bit different here, by around 20:00 campus is usually really quiet and almost everyone’s gone home.
When I saw my first schedule I realised I had no classes on Mondays. Awesome, long weekend every week?! Well, as the weeks went by, I noticed that I would go to campus on Mondays anyway. Usually to work on assignments, projects, or even just do some readings. I normally have about 2 assignments to complete per week, so why not at least get started on Mondays? I can set my own schedule, work where I like, and just have a more relaxed day of studies. A lot of people I know do something similar if they have free days, perhaps that’s why all-nighters are rare here?
There is a lot of group work at Chalmers! Of course, there are pros and cons to this. It can be tough to schedule meetings, you might not get along with someone. On the other hand, you could get to know your classmates better, make new friends, learn from others, and complement each others’ strengths and weaknesses. A lot of emphasis is placed on the importance of group work at Chalmers.
Lecturers at Chalmers (and Sweden generally) are generally quite approachable. All my lecturers so far have been happy to help with answering questions about course material, or project work after class / during office hours. Lecturers here will usually insist you call them by their first name. You’ll rarely hear titles like “Professor” or “Doctor” in class, but you might at more formal events, like keynote lectures.
The way exams are run here is quite different to what I’ve experienced before. You have to register/sign up ahead of time in order to take an exam, for example. However, I think the more interesting difference is that at Chalmers, you can take exams multiple times! You can sign up for a re-examination if you failed the exam, or even if you would just like to try improve your grade. I have not needed to use this yet, but just the fact a re-exam is possible helps calm the nerves – and personally, I study much more effectively when I’m not stressed!
Alright, we know fika is a big thing in Sweden. Combine that with being a student with early morning lectures, and some serious coffee action is surely brewing. If you’re lucky, you might encounter an event or company showcase on campus, and they love giving out free coffee! But when I’m paying, there are some really nice spots I like to visit. I really like Cafe Bulten for their good coffee and pastries, and nice, comfortable interior. Bra NyFiket great too, especially if you prefer somewhere quieter or to have the option to sit outside.
There always seems to be something happening on campus, from bridge building competitions, riding a sled down some ice, to lunch time concerts. It’s always a nice surprise catching one of these events!
Want to hear more about student life? Feel free to email me at usisipho.studyinsweden [at] gmail.com!
Until next time!