My hotspots at KI Solna campus!

Hello world! Stockholm had finally embraced the spring, welcomed it with open arms and with temperature peaking over 15 degrees for weeks now life was good. Too good. As the Friday evening arrived, a horrible storm swept over the city and so it began. Snow, snow and snow. Yes, we are almost reaching April yet Stockholm seemed to misunderstand the concept of spring (plus degrees, blue sky, sun shining and Swedish people being overly nice now that they feel like humans again). Fortunately, mother nature took care of it and the snow melted and was no where to be seen by the end of Sunday evening!

With that said, let’s stick to the main purpose of this post: what i think are the 5 hotspots at Solna campus today! There are many perks of being a KI student, one of them being that many of the facilities for our usage are free of charge! The one’s listed here all fall into that category.

1. Light Therapy Room                                                                                                             Light therapy is a form of therapy with light irradiation against the autumn and winter depression and other mood disorders and we have one here at campus. Students use it all year around though because it’s so relaxing and calming. Just log into their KI website, book with your KI student login and sit there for 1 hour staring at white walls. So simple yet so helpful.

2. Massage chair                                                                                                                       Need i say more? It’s literally the best thing ever. Just go into the KI website, book a time for yourself and go sit and relax for 30 min of awesome massage. It’s located in the “Health promotion department” along with the light therapy room in the heart of the campus.

3. The Green room                                                                                                               It’s not called the green room for nothing. It is literally a green room where you can study and sit/lie on very comfortable fatboys (sitzsacks). The probability of studying effectively is minor though because of two reasons – you’ll focus too much on how comfortable it is lying in one of those or you might fall asleep :D (it’s always someone sleeping one one of those).

Hope you found this post fun and interesting!                                                                    Until next time…

Best wishes :)

Coping with Conflict at KI

When you put a bunch of people together all day everyday, you’re bound to have conflict. It can happen between classmates, which is easy to work out between yourselves, or just pretend the person of ire doesn’t exist until your aggravation has blown over. However, it can also happen between students and supervisors, students and teachers, even students and KI administration. These are not always issues you’re comfortable or equipped to handle on your own. This is where I, and other students like myself come in. I am an elected Course Representative, as well as a substitute Undergraduate Program Committee Representative (The original got accepted to study abroad and needed someone to fill their spot). These positions are loosely defined, but they suit me and my passion for complaining and fighting “the man”(hippie parents, don’t judge).

As a Course Representative, I deal with problems with the course.  I take complaints from the students to the teacher, and we have regular meetings to try to find solutions to these problems. In general, we handle issues such as a specific lecturer needing better training, maybe in technology, maybe in pedagogic methods, maybe in the English language, but the faculty member in charge of the course needs to help this lecturer improve. We sometimes handle complaints of unreasonable deadlines, like we have three papers, two projects, a lab report, and an exam in one week. MNJkkKkSometimes these things will pile up due to bad planning, and we meet to discuss changing these deadlines to allow for a more reasonable workload. Some of the issues we deal with are just general feedback of what would make the course better for the next group of students. The textbook is at the wrong level, the lab instructions are some hybrid mix of English, French, and Swedish, little tweaks to help make the course better overall. It’s a fulfilling role.textbook_meme A course can have as many course representatives as it wants and can find students willing to do it. Our course currently has 4, previous term we had 2, the year before us had 1.

As an undergraduate program committee representative, I sit on the program committee to represent the student issues of the Undergraduate Program. The Bachelors in Biomedicine is in Program 7, which also contains the Bio-entrepreneur, Toxicology, and Biomedicine Masters programs. This committee handles what is taught in each program, the curricula for each course, funding for student groups, recruitment, as well as issues which the Course responsible teacher failed to address. I view this as more of a resource than an outlet for complaining. The faculty members that sit on this board have been available with endless information that I have needed to answer student questions. As an undergraduate representative, I help students find the answers to many questions they may have, more than handling individual complaints. Of course, complaining does happen at every meeting, I would guess that Program Committee 7 represents maybe 400-500 students, so there is always something to be addressed.

“BUT WAIT CASSANDRA! THIS DOESN’T COVER ALL THE PROBLEMS/ COMPLAINTS I HAVE!” Very very true! This only covers a small portion of things which could go wrong that you may need an advocate to help you with. KI has faculty for assisting students, and MF, the student Union, also has people to help. If you are a student with a disability, you go to KI’s disability officer. If you have a personal conflict with a teacher, you experience harassment, you need to take a break from studies, you’ve failed a course and need to apply for an exemption for a prerequisite, or any other issue which might be seen as confidential you go to the Study Counselor (I really love her, she’s FANTASTIC!). The student union has a Student Ombudsman that helps with conflicts with teachers / KI, as well as many individual committees to help with a wide variety of issues.

KI works hard at giving students a voice at the table, which is fantastic. There are lots of people at KI willing to listen to your problems and concerns and try to help. There are many routes to go for many of the problems you may experience as a student here, so you never need to worry about feeling isolated or unheard. If you do ever feel that way, contact me, I really love to argue and complain for other people. If you are also a fellow productive complainer, then become a Course representative! It’s a rewarding experience that lets you get behind the scenes and really get to know your instructors. Because when we as students and University work together, we all get to be

TN1VZ1P

Novo Nordisk Career Seminar

On March 5, I attended a career seminar held by KI career service. The title was How to utilise and develop your skills in Novo Nordisk – a global leader in diabetes care. The speakers came from Novo Nordisk, a well-known Pharmaceutical company with its  headquartered in Denmark. The purpose of this event is to share with KI students and professionals the career life outside academia.

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Personally, I really appreciate the preparation made by the speakers. Jeanette From Dack is a talent attraction professional, mainly introduced Novo as an overview. Then the principle scientist Søren Østergaard, shared with us his career story in Novo. Before this event, I knew Novo briefly through course assignment, so it was very interesting and inspiring to hear real-life story from Novo employees.

As I might work at a Pharma company in the future, it is important for me to share a common value with the company culture. Thus I would like to attend more career seminars so that I could create my own ‘company portfolio’. It might not be very deep, but at least an overview or even a ‘feeling’.

Overall, I wish all of you could find in your dream career path and establish your unique position in the market of life!

Yi

What Could Be Good to Do After Admission to KI?

Dear prospective students,

I would like to forward my warmest congratulations to all of you who got the admission for KI global masters programmes. I think those of you who are not admitted this year should continue working on optimizing your application (I mean if you want to apply again to get it next year). I know students who made that commitment and succeeded.

The following is a random opinion list of what could be good to do after getting admission. I know some of them might be obvious and you could be doing them while others could never have been thought at least by some of you. I just put them here together so that you could jot down them to your to do list.

  1. Accept your offer: This might feel quite a silly advice but some people might stay in a happiness fest longer than the period within which they should accept the offer and forget it😄 It is super important to accept your offer as soon as you can within the deadline (April 13).
  2. Reading: The amount and kind of reading might be a bit subjective. However, I would say it helps a lot to read sections of the KI website relevant to you, your pre-arrival guide, KI student blogs, newsletter for admitted students and others you might consider useful. If you want to have a look at last year’s pre-arrival guide for international students, even before you receive your own, you can get it here or google it. It is full of handy tips and advices. In addition, it tells you where to get more information on a topic of your interest. You can also get a lot of practical information by reading the KI student blogs, which is highly based on real experiences of current students. The link for it is ki.se/studentblogs. After some time, you will also, probably, start to recieve a regular e-mail newsletter: newsletter for admitted students. It is good to read it whenever you get it.
  3. Apply for accommodation: You will read from the pre-arrival guide that though getting accomodation in Stockholm is not easy, all fee-paying students outside EU are guaranteed to rent a room at KI housing for their first year of study. However, you should apply for it in time. EU students also need to apply so that they will be in a waiting list. Then it would be also important to register for the student association accommodation in Stockholm(SSSB) so that you will have a better option after you finished your stay at KI housing. You can do this about three months before your first semester begins on this link: https://www.sssb.se/
  4. Program specific preparations: Please check if there are any preparations you need to have related to your specific study program. For instance, it is advisable (not a must) for HEPM students to have some practical knowledge of excel and SPSS.
  5. Optimal communication: It is good to have a proper communication regarding your forthcoming study. Try to read carefully all e-mails and do respond if it is needed. Do not be shy to ask any question you might have. Try to match your questions to the most appropriate person so that you could get more reliable and faster response. However, if you are not sure who is the most appropriate, it would not be a problem to ask someone at KI for whom you get a contact details. You can mention that you would be happy if s/he refers you or forwards your mail to another person, if needed. Sometimes it might be important to check your spam folder too (specially if you do not get a response within the period of your expectation). Last year the e-mail from KI housing asking me to accept my accommodation offer went to the spam folder and the offer expired before I read the mail. So, I had some time of worry and frustration though it was avoided though the help of the office.

 Have a great preparation time towards your journey to KI!

Epidemiological Methods for Studying Determinants of Health 2015

‘Time flies fast when you’re having fun.’

The phrases above might as well reflected my time here at KI. It felt just like yesterday when I first arrived in Stockholm but now I’m already in the middle of my second semester – the spring semester.

For us, the spring semester was started with the second epidemiology course: Epidemiological Methods for Studying Determinants of Health. Throughout this course, we learned different types of epidemiological study designs (cohort, case control, cross-sectional, etc), concept of bias and confounding, stratified analysis, interaction, effect modification, and a glimpse of systematic review. Typically, we would have lectures in the morning and group work about the same topic in the afternoon or by the end of the week.

Besides lectures and group work, from the very start of the course, we had been given instructions on how to do our individual assignment (a big one) and the final take home exam. For the individual assignment, we were supposed to criticize and compare two studies addressing the same research question but with different study designs. The studies were pre-assigned to us, but we could always find the ones that might suit our interests. My papers were about socioeconomic status and testicular cancer – a topic of which I was not familiar with ^^’ But anyway, since I was too lazy didn’t mind working on that papers, I didn’t bother to change them :P The good thing about this assignment was there was a clear timeline on when we were supposed to hand in our progress and there would be a teacher assigned to give feedback to our work. It was really nice and helpful to have a personalized feedback like this (although it might take times for the teachers since there were lots of us ^^’ ), but I think, and I believe most of my friends will agree, that we could learn a lot this way.

Regarding the take home exam, I usually heard from my friends that when you had a take home exam, the questions and answers would usually be uploaded on the same day (i.e. you would be given certain hours on the same day to finish the exam). That’s why I was rather surprised to find out that the questions had been given on the first week of the course and we were given until the end of the course to submit the answers. However, it’s always better to start early and tried to answer the questions as soon as we got the lectures on that topic. That way, it became easier to review and remember what we have learned in the class. Although I was not always succeeding in applying this method, I eventually managed to finish the exam earlier than expected. Probably the prospect of cruising to Tallinn at the end of the course had motivated me better than any other things :P hehehe

All in all, I was pleased with the way the teachers and students worked together in this course. True, this course had made me realized how complex epidemiology is, but throughout this course, I also learned a lot, especially in developing skills such as critical thinking, which might be important for us all :)

See you in the next post!

Alicia

P.S. Following Laura‘s path, here’s the overview for the courses we had on the 1st semester (Autumn 2014) ;) :

Northern Lights in STOCKHOLM!

I did not see them in Kiruna but I definitely have seen them in Stockholm. We watched them dance and grow in intensity just right outside Jägargatan 20, KI’s student housing on Södermalm. Tonight has been a really good night. I share these pictures taken by Nienke, the Dutch woman who is not only smart but also has a nice camera.

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There’s nothing quite like them, really.

ToxFamily: The Feeling of Belonging

Inspired by Olivia’s blog about how Biomed students enjoy the journey of traveling around different classrooms and buildings (https://studentblogski.wordpress.com/2015/02/24/to-huddinge-and-back-a-journey), I decided it could be a nice idea to show you a different model at KI. Welcome to what it is like to be a ToxMaster student!

Humans have the inherent need to belong to a community. Especially when you are on your own in a foreign country. Partying and having fun around Stockholm is quite easy if you take into account all the activities the city and KI offers. Living in a dorm will help you create your own little family where you live. But being accepted and loved in the workplace is equally important. And this is where the ToxFamily wins.

During the second week in Stockholm, there was something already suspicious. The whole Tox class went for a couple of days to Finnhamn, an island in the archipelago, with three of our main teachers and course secretary. It was amazing. Obviously, we had to work a bit and had some lectures during the morning, but it was completely worth the experience. Spending so much time with your new classmates and enjoying the nature was priceless.

On the boat to Finnhamn!

On the boat to Finnhamn!

And if that were not enough, lovely surprises kept coming. Tox students have approximately 90 % of the courses in the same building. Even in the same class! Despite the fact that this may sound a bit monotonous and boring, it is a wonderful feeling. Walking pass your classroom when it is empty just brings up the best of memories.

In addition, we do not only have a class. We have a student lounge, a computer room and a lab. Relaxing and chilling in the lounge is the equivalent to a living room in a family house. We even go there on purpose if we are on the other side of the campus. But I have to be honest, sometimes we have too much fun and our happiness and sound can get quite annoying (sorry, Andrea and Ida!). The computer room is also fantastic. A perfect place for some of our group work. Also, it includes plenty of Toxicology books available for us. There is no excuse not to study anymore! The lab was recently opened and we have had our first lab course here already.

Amazing infrastructures where you can mingle with your classmates in a familiar atmosphere is the perfect scenario to start our own little ToxFamily. Apart from this, it is worth mentioning the fabulous team behind this ToxMaster. Special mention goes to Annika Hanberg, our ToxMother – always available and willing to help and guide us. You can read more about her in http://ki.se/en/education/annika-hanberg . Last Thursday she organized a wonderful mingle and presentation of possible master thesis. Teachers and students were invited to mingle in the already famous student lounge. Snacks and drinks were also available! It was a really fun evening that strengthened our family ties even more, including the teachers.

During the mingle about possible master thesis

During the mingle about possible master thesis

In conclusion, being a Tox student guarantees that you always feel like you are at home, no matter how far you actually are from your original one. Having people that care and nurse you from day one this much is priceless.

On behalf of the whole Tox class, thank you!

Are you satisfied with KI?

Hello everyone,

Last week I talked about the important factors that influenced my decision to choose KI. I have received a comment from a prospective student who did his ‘homework’ early. The comment was asking why I failed to mention the ease of moving a family to Sweden and possibility to stay longer than the actual study period to look for a job. Yes, these are also important but I did not talk about them because they were not considered in my decision. I do not yet have a movable family😄 and the new regulation on staying longer was issued after I made the decision.

The intention of today’s blog is to answer a question I have been asked by many prospective students and friends: ‘Are you satisfied with KI? How? Why?’ I have been receiving such kinds of questions since I started studying here. The reason why my response is delayed is because I wanted to see how things would go as I stay longer at KI. I am about the middle of my second semester finishing the sixth course of the program. Therefore I felt I can answer the question by now.

My short answer to the question is ‘yes, I am very satisfied with KI’. I do not think I can exhaust all reasons for my satisfaction in a single blog. The following are the primary ones. I hope they can answer the ‘how’ and ‘why’ part of the question.

  1. Mode of course delivery and evaluation: All the courses I have taken had an optimized mode of delivery. In all courses, we had group and individual assignments. The assignments are designed carefully in a way to help students understand the subject matter of the courses. Most of them are focused on identifying and solving country level practical problems. We are not expected to memorize specific pieces of facts to pass exams. What is desired and appreciated at KI is to understand the subject in a way that can help to solve a context specific practical problem.
  2. Excellent student-instructor interaction: Instructors at KI are easy to approach and talk to both in formal and informal contexts. In most courses, we had a chance to have a ‘fika’ with the course team members at least once. Even in formal classroom discussions everyone is free to say his/her own opinions in any way he/she preferred. The instructors are excellent in understanding and accommodating different points of view on an issue. If we have a question or comment, we always have more than one way to forward it. If the question or comment needs a response, they know how to respond in a manner that could not compromise anonymity.
  3. Students’ freedom to choose their preferred method of learning: At KI, most instructors have well understood that students have different ways of learning. Some prefer to attend all lectures, while other like to read by themselves. At KI, it is not a problem to have any of these preferences. Most courses do have only a few mandatory lectures. So, as an adult, it is the students’ responsibility to decide what is good for them.
  4. Student services: All student services at KI try their best to meet our expectations. The library service, fitness and wellbeing, the student health center are just a few to mention.
  5. Opportunity for continuous learning from diversified classmates: If you have read my old blog about class diversity, you have a knowhow and I do not need to describe it now. So, as far as I have the interest to learn, everyone of my classmates have something to teach. In every group assignment, you will meet new people who will definitely teach you some skill. What is expected of you is willingness to learn and share what you have. So, is it surprising if I am very satisfied with KI?

Let me stop here for today. I wish good luck to all applicants. On or around March 26, I plan to have an opinion blog about what could be good to do after admission.

Hej då (good bye)!

Befikadu

St Patricks Day Parade!

Naturally I had to go to the St Patricks day parade in Stockholm however this was 2 days early given the real St Patricks day falls on a Tuesday. I had such an amazing time and it was far bigger and better than last year- big well done to the organisers the Swedish-Irish society in Stockholm!

A trip to Warsaw

Hello everyone!

In the next post describing places you can visit while studying in Sweden I would like to write about Polish capital, Warsaw. Going there is always a nice adventure, which I’m able to present to you from a tourist’s perspective, since I’m not originally from this city. Let’s then have a look at places that, in my opinion, might be worth visiting during your trip to Poland.

How to get there?

Going to the other side of the Baltic sea is quite straightforward. If you are not a connaisseur of a business class, you can take a cheap flight from Skavsta airport located in Nyköping. The quality of the flight obviously is discutable, nevertheless the whole journey takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes, so it is not that bad, but don’t count on free drinks though. The price of the ticket generally oscillates between 30 and 300 kronor, and it’s better to chose Wizzair airlines, because their aircrafts fly to the Frederic Chopin airport, the main one in Warsaw.

What to see?

You will spend probably only couple of days in the city, as we did. In that case, you should surely visit the city centre. The most representative streets you should visit in Warsaw are:  Aleje Jerozolimskie (Jerusalem Avenues), Marszałkowska (Marshall street), Krakowskie Przedmiescie (Cracow suburb steet) and Nowy Świat (New World street). There you can find many shops, pubs and restaurants as well as old buildings that survived (or were rebuilt) many of Warsaw’s desctructions. Take a look at some of the photos from this district (Again thanks go to Adrien who was so kind to let me publish his photos from the trip):

Another interesting place is called Ogród Saski (Saxon Garden), where you can feed squirrels. Those are running freely across the paths, not afraid of the people’s presence at all. 

I can also recommend visiting Royal Baths Palace located in the centre of the surrounding park. In the park you won’t spot squirrels this time, but peacocks, swans and ducks instead. Those are proudly strolling around the park, showing their precious feathers to all of the visitors:

Where to eat?

You can always eat in a fancy French or Italian restaurant, if Polish food doesn’t match your taste. Anyway, if you want to try something Polish, look for a Milk Bar, which serves typical food that our grandmas would prepare for us. Many of these bars regained their fame lately with some of them becoming hipsters’ meeting places. They typical meal you should try:

Zupa pomidorowa (Tomato soup), żurek (sour rye soup) or flaki (tripe soup): 3-10 kr

Kotlet schabowy z ziemniakami  i surówką (pork breaded cutlet with potatoes and salad): 25-30 kr

Pierogi (dumplings, 9 pieces, with different fillings: meat, white cheese and potatoes, spinach, cabbage and mushrooms, strawberries, blueberries): 20 kr

So, for the whole dinner you can pay around 60 kronor.

In case of any enquiries, feel free to message me :)

Radek