Tag archives for study

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

Let us help you!

Many of you who applied for a Master’s at the KI may have been accepted to a programme and may now be preparing for your journey across to Sweden. Many congratulations, I hope you’re very excited for this new phase in your life! You have much to look forward to! For those of you who unfortunately didn’t receive a place, many commiserations. Please keep in mind that the process is very competitive and that there are many opportunities out there to fulfil your ambitions.

Whether you have a place at the KI or not the sky’s the limit! Photo: Oscar Eriksson.

Whether you have a place at the KI or not the sky’s the limit! Photo: Oscar Eriksson.

Throughout the last couple of weeks I’ve received and been in contact with a number of you who have had questions and concerns about your move across. No doubt many of you have similar questions so here I thought I’d outline some questions and answers…

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Currently in my toxicology course, along with the students from biomedicine, am taking a laboratory animal course. It is a three week course that entails a few segments. During the  first week, we don’t have any classroom time however we are meant to complete an online course that will certify us to work with laboratory animals. This certification is standard for all researchers in the EU and was just revised at the end of 2012. We were told that it would take us 40-50 hours to complete this course (hence the extensive time away from the classroom). With one week left, most students have already finished their certification. The consensus was that the information on the course was very practical and useful, however the assessments were horrific. With an infinite number of tries with each assessment, the most I attempted on one was 70. Between all the stories I had heard, one student had gone up to 150 tries! It was a relief to put that part of the certification behind us.

On the second week, our time was split up between lab segments, where we would practice techniques on live animals. The toxicology students worked with rats, and the biomedicine students worked with mice. As a tox student I think we were fortunate with this distinction because while rats are bigger, they are very docile and rarely bite. On the other hand, mice bite a lot. It was common for a biomed student to show up after lab with a few bandages on their hand from the biting. The lab training focused on us learning how to hold the animals, to train them, to feed them, to inject them with substances, and finally on the last day to euthanize (to kill them in the most humane procedure available) them.

A toxicology student calming a rat down – Photo by : Kazem Behbahani

The other half of the second week was spent working with assigned groups to design a hypothetical experiment using lab animals. We were assigned different diseases to research and create an experiment where lab animals where used, yet try and justify the necessity of animals in experiments to begin with. As researchers, if we can reduce or even replace animals in experiments we choose that route. My group was assigned to “cure” tuberculosis. We invented a miracle drug, and set up an experiment where we would hypothetically test the substance on mice with other leading treatments as well.

With one more week left in the course we have two objectives left. The first in to present our group task to all the biomedicine and toxicology students. The second is to take a final exam. This was a short course but overall I would say that it was my favorite in the program so far. This was the first time we received practical experience and studied “hands on.” Hopefully we will get more opportunities like this in the courses to follow.

The rats were always friendly and curious – Photo by: Kazem Behbahani

future + me = unpredictable but optimistic

Happy New Year!

Where my 2013 began... Photo by: Oscar Eriksson.

Where my 2013 began. Photo: Oscar Eriksson.

How are you all? A good Christmas and New Year I hope! I had a great few weeks and am now raring to go! Ready for whatever this year throws at me…well most things…though I don’t want to think that we’re half way through the year and that the future I’d rather not think about is creeping up ever closer!

A few nights ago, I was still at home in England, lying in my bed, thoughts rushing through my head, what will I do tomorrow, what must I get done before next week, which weekends do I have free this month…what will happen this year? For me, it’s a million dollar question which I really wish I knew the answer to! I know that many of you have applied or are thinking of applying for a Master’s and that the deadline for applications is drawing in! I wish I could impart some real wisdom, but as my future is as always unpredictable, instead I’ll use this blog to give you some pause for thought. (Please note the information here is merely based on my experience and opinion and by no means fact!)

To me, the Master’s in Global Health is not a means to an end, it is a path to gaining further knowledge. The Master’s is not merely a number of modules followed by a period of thesis research and writing, it is much much more. The Master’s programme is not only global in content it is global in the people it attracts! For me, the students are a wealth of knowledge, everything they say and do is influenced by their culture! And I love this! Crucially, for each student the future is somewhat different…

Returning home
For some, the future will be a return to their homeland, possibly returning to their previous job or seeking a new job taking with them, a newfound insight into global health.

Maybe I will return to England, the green pastures that I call home. Photo: Naieya Madhvani.

Working in Stockholm
Some will possibly stay in Sweden and carve out a new life here. Stockholm, for me, is already like a home away from home, it certainly helps that I have a great network of friends that I can call family but I do feel that within weeks you really feel like the city has become your home. During the year, the KI organise numerous career evenings with people from different backgrounds explaining their road from being a Karolinska student to now working for a company that they really enjoy! My advice here is to be confident and talk to these people, they are an invaluable source of information.

Photo taken in the outskirts of Stockholm, I’m looking onwards and upwards. Photo: Oscar Eriksson.

For others, it will be grasping any chance to do a PhD. This is a well known option, with many previous students taking this route, it is my understanding that this pathway is somewhat unpredictable, though a definite possibility with a little perserverance. There are a number of ways by which to obtain a PhD position…the take home message here is that a PhD is an option and taking an active approach is better than sitting back and hoping the door will just open.

How about being unpredictable?
Of course, there are many other options, options which I cannot predict! As I’ve mentioned before I don’t know what the future holds for me! I’d describe myself as a person who likes to plan ahead, so this feeling of unpredictability slightly unnerves me but I’ve started making plans, which is the first step! The second step is closing in on the plans and deciding on something that will make the future more concrete. It is impossible to say what the future will hold but I’m optimistic that it will be something I will be passionate about and will in some way encompass what I have learnt from this year.

A poem I noticed on a wall whilst travelling in New Zealand. It reminds me, that wherever I go, I will call that place home. Photo: Naieya Madhvani.

How to survive at a Swedish university.

The end of the scholar year is approaching and I realized  that I hadn’t written anything about the university system in Sweden. So let’s talk about studies before summer holidays start.

When I arrived from France the first thing that surprised me the most was the fact that I had only about 6 hours of class per week, whereas back in Dijon I had more than 30. “6 hours?! Wow!” I was delighted and made a lot of plans for the free time that I would have. But I shouldn’t have been happy too fast: in fact this time was supposed to be spent on reading the abundant course literature. For each course I had in average 3 books to comprehend and when you’re not used to read in English… well, these 3 books can seem to be veeeery long.

Another thing was that the books are quite expensive. So, 3 books per course, 4 courses per semester, 24 books per year..  can turn to be harmful to your student budget.  Read more » >>