From entering Sweden on the first day, to now living here for almost 2 years, here is my take on life in Sweden as student in Year 1 and Year 2.
I am doing my Master’s in Engineering, and from my experience, the courses that I took in my first year, especially during the first academic period, seemed a bit hard, since it took a few weeks to get used to the Swedish education system. But after the first period, that rest of the courses seemed easier once I got familiarised with the way things worked. Working in group projects, site visits, individual projects, assignments, and exams became a regular thing, and I didn’t feel overwhelmed after the first period.
During the first year, most courses are at the introductory level, and during the second year, you start to take up more advanced courses. The work, and the level of work might be higher but you will feel more equipped to tackle it. During the second half of the year, thesis work starts, and that not only gives hands on experience, but it also introduces you to research in a large scale.
Student groups, events and unions
In the first year, joining student clubs, organisations, events etc is a good way to build a student network, make friends and maybe even start making some important connections. For example, I worked in THS Armada, the biggest student job fair in Sweden, hosted by KTH Royal Institute of Technology. I got to work with a big international group of students. While it was a lot oh hard work, it was also fun to meet new people and get a feel of the professional life in Sweden. I also was a part of Flavours KTH, the Indian International student body in KTH. That made me feel a bit at home, and it felt nice to spread Indian culture in an international platform.
In the second year, most people not only participate in events, clubs etc, they take up higher positions in the organisations. This gives you a big platform to expand your networks, grow your leaderships skills and also in leading and working with international and diverse groups. For example, I became the President of Flavours KTH, and got a chance to lead and work with some amazing students, and make some professional connections as well.
Living in Sweden
Moving to a new country can bring up a lot of emotions ranging from excitement to fear. You have to learn your way around the city, around living in a new country. From groceries to clothing, to making new friends, learning to adapt to a new education system, surviving the winter etc, there’s a lot of learning to do in the first year.
After spending a year in a city, you now not only know your way around, but you’ll feel like this city is your second home. You’ll know which shops to buy what in, how to live by a budget, the tips and tricks. You basically become an insider. You unconsciously adopt Swedish manners and aspects of Swedish lifestyle, and you dont feel anxious or unsure about anything for the most part.
I personally became more confident and stronger in my second year, and felt more equipped to handle things, and also felt myself grow as a person. You learn to become more health conscious, more calm, and independent in Sweden. The winter and extreme cold also start become less intimidating in the second year.
Friends and experiences
You make new friends in your first year here. New friends from all over the world. You learn more about different cultures, about Swedish culture and lifestyle etc. You will experience new things and adventures as well! In my first year, I learnt to walk on ice, tried ice-skating, built my first snowman, saw cherry blossoms for the first time, travelled with my friends, and had many other adventures.
Your friends grow stronger in year 2. You now have a close set of friends, from all over the world. It feels amazing to be a part of a group of people who grew with you and have stood by you for the past one year. And some of these friendships will last a lifetime!
In the second year, the experiences and adventure continue keep continuing. I tried nordic skating, cooking Swedish food, and travelled more!
Are you planning to come study in Sweden? Have any questions?
Or have you been studying in Sweden and have some experiences to share? Let me know in the comments below!
/For now, your Swe-Desi Seafarer signing off 🙂