Monthly archives: April 2013

Acute Dentistry

Last month I found myself sitting in class and minding my own business when all of a sudden I started to have an incredible toothache in the back of my jaw. It was my wisdom tooth pressing in as it usually would once a month or so. I had stopped being surprised by the pain and started learning the best way to endure it. However, this time was especially painful. I felt that I had to see a dentist.

The dental system in Sweden differs a little bit compared to the States. Back home if I had an emergency with my tooth (that was not bad enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room) I would make an “emergency appointment” with my local dentist and they would usually move their schedule around a bit to fit me in right away. That is not possible in Sweden. Though there may be exceptions, the appointments set by the local dentist are rigid. I cannot simply walk in and demand to by seen right away. Instead I had to go to an “Akut tandvård”.

When I arrived I went up to the welcome window to present my information, and they gave me a number and pointed to the waiting room. I sat down and waited along with about 5 people ahead of me in the queue and I was to wait until my number was called. Waiting took 2 hours, though I have heard when the clinic is busy you can be waiting for up to 4+ hours, so make sure to bring something to do if you ever find yourself in that situation. The trick is to come early. The earlier you show up, the less waiting time you will have. When it was my turn to see one of the dentists, I told him about my pain and he took an x-ray. This showed us that my wisdom teeth were impacted and I had to take them out sooner rather than later. Though there was not anything he could do for the pain (I guess Sweden is much stricter about handing out pain medication compared to the States), we made an appointment for me to come back and extract my wisdom teeth once and for all. For anyone’s reference, the full price for the extraction range’s between 1000-2500 SEK depending on the complexity of the extraction.

The quality of dental work here is similar to the States. It really will depend on the dentist him/herself and how much effort is put into the work. I was lucky to have a very skilled and engaging dentist.

After a month I am happy to say I have taken out the trouble makers and never have to worry about the random pain events again.

If you are interested in making an appointment or visiting a dentist I recommend you start here:

The akut tandvård by St Eriks sjukhus – Photo by: Kazem Behbahani

The cost of living in Sweden

Being in Sweden is one of the most satisfying experiences to have. There are plenty of attractions throughout the country and an abundance of culture to take part in. However, as a student, staying in Sweden can be challenging. Coming from the US everyone was under the impression that Sweden was a “more expensive” country than a America. To a degree that is true. So for anyone out there who is thinking of moving to Sweden for whatever reason I would like to go over the monthly costs that you will have to face:

  • Accommodation: 3000+ SEK. Accommodation is the hardest thing to find when coming to Sweden because it requires you being in a queue for some time and may be the reason that some people won’t come. So if you are able to find a place to stay consider yourself lucky. On the low end you can be paying about 3000 however you will probably will be sharing a flat or a corridor. The more you are able to pay, the better your accommodation will be.
  • Transportation: 560 SEK (student price). Getting around Stockholm is very easy with the public transportation system. You are able to buy a monthly SL pass that will give you unlimited access to that system for the month. For anyone new to Stockholm I recommend getting it so that you have a good chance to explore. If you are looking to save money though you might not have to get this pass if you live close to school and perhaps a grocery store. Some people also buy bikes a ride those around during the warm months and only buy a pass for a month or two in the winter.
  • Food: 1200 SEK. This amount will depend on what exactly you eat and will vary. 1200 is the value that I spend on average a month for food.
  • Insurance. Remember you have to get insurance, both home and health/dental. If you are a student find out what insurance you can get abroad.
  • Phone: 150 SEK. I have a smartphone and use Google Maps a lot to get around so I had to make sure I got a plan with data on it. There are plenty of companies to choose from. The most popular one for students is Comviq. I have a prepaid plan from Telenor. I pay 150 SEK for 3000 minutes, 3000 texts, and 500 MB of data for 30 days. I have never reached any of those limits so I though this was the best plan for me.

Putting everything together, at the very least you will be spending about 5000 SEK per month living here. That does not include things such as: eating out, buying books, or any extra expenditures that you have. I hope this information is useful for anyone considering on coming over to Sweden.

Photo of an ice cream cone and Mehsum Rupani at Kista Centrum – Photo by: Kazem Behbahani

An All-Nighter & the Archipelago

A lot has happened in my life in the last month or so. I’ve been to three different countries (Germany, Hungary, and Serbia) and finished one class (Human Response to Sound & Vibration) and one major project, which is the bulk of what I’m going to pontificate about today.

As I have mentioned in previous entries, my Room Acoustics class had the challenging task of designing a hypothetical opera house for a competition in Montreal. The two architecture students I was teamed up with produced the layout, CAD drawings, and renderings of the entire complex, while I focused primarily on the acoustical design and analysis of the various rooms. We spent the week leading up to the submission deadline completely engrossed in the project in the architecture studio since it was a re-exam week and we didn’t have any other scheduled classes or assignments. [Tangent: The idea of re-exams was novel to me when I first started studying at Chalmers. I personally don’t agree with the concept of a re-exam because I believe that it makes more sense to retake an entire course and not just the exam over and over again until a passing grade is achieved, but that could just be because I wasn’t used to this system before moving to Sweden. Regardless, I don’t plan on having to take a re-exam any time soon. I probably just cursed myself by writing that!] But anyway, despite spending the entire week working on the project, we still had to pull an all-nighter in the Architecture building the day before the project was due. Apparently this is a regular occurrence for a lot of architecture students around deadlines, but for me spending 30-some straight hours in the same building was a bizarre experience – fun and team building in some ways, yet hellishly exhausting and frustrating in others.

The war room for the week. Photo by Brett Seward.

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Ups & Downs

Studying abroad is not for the faint of heart. This is something that I’ve felt compelled to touch on before now, but I felt more motivated to add some of my views after observing the recent chaos in Boston from afar. I suppose a quick 3 or 6-month semester long stay can be pretty manageable mentally since it’s such a whirlwind, but a program of a year or more can be more emotionally taxing at times. Not only are you trying to do well in your courses, but you’re also trying to learn a new language, establish yourself socially in a new culture, and travel on weekends and during breaks from school – all while attempting to maintain a link back to your life in your home country. For me personally, adjusting to life in Sweden has gone pretty well, but there have been a few valleys to go along with the peaks. In all honesty, the standard of living here is quite similar to the American way of life, so I haven’t had to undergo any large paradigm shifts or anything like that. The Swedish language is probably the single biggest factor that occasionally isolates me from my surroundings, but I am sincerely trying to improve my aptitude (probably to the chagrin of my friends who gracefully put up with my constant questions about spelling and pronunciation).

Cortège is coming… more information below. Photo by Brett Seward.

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The Little Mermaid

When I was a little younger, I used to wake up bright and early on Saturday mornings, rush down the stairs, dash into the lounge, where my Mum and Dad would be sitting enjoying a hot cup of Indian masala chai on our very comfy brown sofas. I would perch myself next to my Dad and a few minutes later we’d be watching “my programmes”. When I say “my programmes” I mean children’s Saturday morning TV! And what fun it was! One of my favourite cartoons was The Little Mermaid! I don’t know exactly what it was about The Little Mermaid, in fact I could certainly watch it now on Saturday morning’s with my own cup of tea! It just let my imagination run free!

Nyhavn in Copenhagen. Hans Christian Andersen author of The Little Mermaid lived in a number of these houses during his lifetime. Photo: Naieya Madhvani.

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