Tag archives for Stockholm

House Hunting in Stockholm

Finding accommodation in Stockholm is considered a difficult task, I know myself I was kind of freaking out before I moved here and was lucky enough to find a room in PAX a student housing area in Västra Skogen 15 mins bus ride from the Karolinska and 10 minutes metro from the city. Nearby is another, slightly cheaper student housing area STRIX. Unfortunately on the wider basis of Sweden my info is limited, all I can comment on is my own experiences within Stockholm housing, which as you can imagine is very very crowded.

I received my room through Karolinska AB housing and I signed up within the same hour that I found out I had gotten my masters in KI! I recommend signing up as soon as possible if the university you are applying to has a housing system for international students as naturally, the earlier the better. Once arrived in Stockholm and you have been enrolled in your university you must join the student union, in Karolinska it costs 195SEK to join each semester, once a member of a student union you can continue to accrue days once the limit of 90 days without being a member of a student union is reached on SSSB https://www.sssb.se another student housing website in order to ensure you will have enough days to get accommodation next year. In Stockholm usually over 300 days is barely enough, Thus the earlier you sign up the better. This is important for me because Karolinska housing is only available for 1 year. However if you are a fee paying student you are guaranteed accommodation for the first year. Of course there is also blocker.se which offer housing, all in swedish, but I found my search so unsuccessful. There is a real bias for women and as a guy the chances of finding somewhere is low…at least in my experience.

Once I discovered I had accommodation in PAX, I discovered there was no pictures or virtual clues to what the room would look like and so here is a look at what a room in PAX looks like.I really like my room, it is a great size and it is great I have my own bathroom with shower with free access to the laundry based on a booking system. The kitchen is a ‘share’ kitchen and I share that with 7 other housemates, which is very common at least in Stockholm. We have our own designated areas in the kitchen , complete with locks!

My Room in Pax

Good luck on your house hunt!

Andrew.

 

 

Feels Like Summer ☀

This is my first time in Stockholm, as you all know, for Spring and Summer. I can say that I honestly did not expect the weather to turn so extremely Australian like! Having spent almost a year living in Australia before I moved to Sweden, I must admit it gets confusing sometimes when I wake up and my room feels like a sauna, add this to the constant sunshine, soaring temperatures and the fact I now have a bike (as I did in Australia) it feels all too familiar and unexpected in this Northern country. This is not to say I am complaining, Stockholm is truly at its most beautiful when the sun is out, when the trees and flowers are in full bloom and it is bursting with life. This is either from people cycling, jogging, picnicking or swimming or by the birds in the trees and the rabbits and squirrels running around foraging for food.


About to begin my cycle through the woods


Cycling by the Water


Enjoying the Sun in Djurgården- one of my favourite places here

It is beautiful and I am loving every minute! So this I have decided is a huge advantage of living here- the extremes in weather. In Winter you are treated to pure darkness, cold, snow and rain and vice versa once Spring/Summer hits. In my opinion I really appreciate this shift, it helps me to enjoy each season more readily, as opposed to if it were constantly hot and sunny, as was the Australian situation- as I am by no means a sun person, in fact I prefer rain (Irish remember… :D ). So now I am going for a cycle and a swim before I go to Karolinska for an event ‘How to be the the Best Leader Possible’ organized by a group of my friends who are Harvard Ambassadors here in KI ‘Women in Leadership’. I know how much work was put into this and I look forward to seeing this come to fruition.

Thats all for now, enjoy the weather in whatever country you may be!
Hej Då
Andrew.

 

I feel lucky to be here

Hej everyone! I’m Qianyun, a Chinese girl who has been in Stockholm for one year and a half. Before I came, I have already known that the world’s wireless communication technology is led by Sweden and KTH is famous for its research in Electrical Engineering field. Since I have decided to devote my interests and efforts into the research of wireless technologies, KTH will be an optimal place where I can equip myself for promoting cutting-edge advancements in this field. On the other hand, I was attracted by Scandinavian ancient culture, spectacular nature and easy life. I am craving for bring adventures into my life. After 18 months’ exploring, I found I love Sweden more than I expected, and I have a wealth of experience to share with you. In the first place, I would like to start with my Master’s program, Wireless systems.

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Learning Swedish

Hejhej,

As promised this post is all about learning the Swedish language,

When I arrived the Karolinska Institutet provided a 3-day intensive Swedish language course for all new master students free of charge. It consisted of Swedish classes the week before classes began and continued once a week from 6-9pm for 4 weeks. We were split into groups and assigned to different teachers. This was a great introduction and I was very lucky to get a great teacher who had a lot of passion and energy. However, now this course has ended, I have already enrolled in SFI (Swedish for immigrants) a free language course with a good friend from my class.
In order to enroll you need a personal number. This is attained from the tax office. However you need to be staying/studying in Stockholm for more than 1 year to be eligible. I have already started my classes which I attend every Tuesday and Thursday. In addition to swedish classes I have in the Karolinska on Wednesday nights, a very fun student initiative with swedish students as our teachers. The very first time I went to SFI it was was quite the experience, every new student arrives 1 hour before class begins. Every new student is tested on their level of swedish, this is achieved by having a chat på svenska in front of everyone :/ Thankfully I was placed in the intermediate class along with my friend. This is exactly my level of Swedish I feel. What I liked about this class was that it is taught primarily through Swedish and very little english is spoken. While it was tiring having to concentrate so much so that I understood it was very reassuring and satisfying that I found myself.. actually understanding.

I will now give some small tips which have worked for me and which may work for you in your home country or when you arrive here. I have found very kind friends (native swedes) who are willing to converse with me if I ask, who also correct me and answer any questions I may have. However be careful.. previously I was speaking with a swedish friend and asked her ‘du är sjuk?’ which I intended to mean ‘you are sick/feeling unwell?’ I had mispronounced ‘sjuk’ and said ‘tjock’ which meant I had just said ‘you are fat’, never a more awkward moment or a better way to learn :/ It is ingrained in mind now and I will never make that mistake again… thus you learn from your mistakes! (förlåt Malin!)

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många nya ord :)

I also have a beautiful notebook which a very close friend gave to me, I write every new word or phrase in there and carry it with me at all times, this way I can look over each new word while on the metro or walking to and from classes if I am alone.

Another way is to speak swedish whenever you can, I always speak swedish when in a shop or ordering a coffee or food. It is important to try, before i came here I was told and had read that swedes will immediately switch to english when they sense you are not a native swede. In my experience this has happened only once. I think they see I am at least making the effort and so respond in kind.

However one of the most helpful is finding friends who also want to learn, in my class I have 2 good friends who I always speak swedish with. Every morning myself and classmate read the ‘metro’ a newspaper here in Sweden which you can find at every metro, we pick five words we don’t know  and use them in conversation. It is a very good way to use new vocabulary and really learn through using the word or phrase in context.

Additionally, we send each other weekly emails in swedish, for example he will correct my email of any grammatical/spelling mistakes and send it back to me, and vice versa. In this way he learns and so do I. A great idea which was not my own (tack Paul!)

In regards to learning from abroad, watching swedish tv on my computer has also really helped, sites such as SVT or swefilm are great. Klartext is another great site for listening to swedish radio in easier swedish with clearer pronunciation and much less ‘slang’. A movie in your native language but subtitled in Swedish is another good way to learn.

Well that is all I can think of right now. I will leave with one word which you should always follow, perhaps not just in learning Swedish but also in life,

Try.

Thank you for reading,

Hej då

Andrew.

Family Vacation

After months of planning and e-mailing back and forth, my family finally arrived last week for their vacation to visit me here in Sweden. I roughly planned the itinerary so that our destinations and activities would be a mix of things I both had and hadn’t seen before (my family had never traveled to Scandinavia before this trip). Due to their busy schedules and also partially because Americans don’t enjoy the same vacation benefits as Swedes, they could only visit for a week. In order to maintain a semi-relaxed schedule we decided to just stick to Stockholm and Copenhagen. It would have been nice for them to have been able to see my home city of Gothenburg, but I don’t regret our choice to avoid incessant traveling from city to city nearly everyday.

The view of Stockholm from Södermalm. Photo by Brett Seward.

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