Bye August, Hello September!

IMG_1556

Now it comes to August 31, time to say goodbye to the summer and the past year at KI. It has been the happiest year during my studies and I cannot express how much I love KI, Stockholm and Sweden.

To reflect on my past year at KI, I referred to my motivation letter written in Jan 2014, while I applied for KI. I want to see if I have achieved my expectations.
I set up two goals upon completion of Master’s degree. The first goal is to answer the inquiry into the relationship between scientific ethics and business operation. I don’t think I have achieved this goal to 100%, but I had some thoughts during previous courses and internships. I wish to find a way to organize my thoughts.

Another goal is to devote myself to the development of Chinese life science industry. Although I didn’t directly work on this, but I indeed observed the difference between China and Europe (Sweden)  in the past year. It was also an inspiration for my future career. Thus I think I am on the right track to achieve my goals.

Despite academic objectives, I also wish to learn Swedish culture, make new friends and live a healthy life. I would say that I have done a good job in terms of social aspects and it will be better and better.

As I just signed up for a gym, changed a new laptop, bought a nice working table, life shall be bright ahead!

IMG_1367

For new students at KI, I wish you the best time here. For the current students, let’s treasure the time we have and enjoy every second!

Goodbye August! Hello September!

A new student in Stockholm

Hello!

This post I would specially like to dedicate to our new students at Karolinska Institutet. We are all very happy that you are going to study with us and, at the same time, perfectly realize that at the beginning of your journey you may encounter several difficulties regarding administrative things, banks, postal offices and student discounts. Thus, to make your acclimatisation as swift as possible, let me share some important and valuable tips with you:

Skatteverket

This is the Swedish Tax Office. Here you can apply for a personal number (personnummer) and ID card, change your residency address, declare your annual income or get a proof of your registration (personbevis). For the personal number, a statement from KI is needed certyfying that you are going to stay in the country for at least 12 months, your passport, and filled-in application. For ID (ID-kort) you need to pay 400 kr and to already have a personal number. You can pay using your Swedish bank account, your national bank account or by the money transfer in the tobacco shop located in front of the Skatteverket office in Thorildsplan. Note that for the ID you can apply only in the office in Thorildsplan/Kungsholmen. To obtain your registration proof (personbevis), you can fill in the online form (via e-tjänst), call the infoline directly, or go to the office in person and get it immediately. If you decide to order it using the online system, waiting time should not exceed 5 working days. When you have to move from your previous accommodation, you need to inform Skatteverket about it, so that all the official councils in Sweden can register your mailing address change. In order to do this, you have to fill in the form (Flyttanmälan – blanketter) and send it via post to the Skatteverket. You can also do it online using BankID or MobileID (to get your MobilID or BankID you need to have either Swedish bank account or Swedish ID). Information about opening hours of particular offices in Stockholm area you can find here.

Swedish course

If you really think about taking up Swedish language course, you should start from the SFI (svenska för invandrare) one. To do it, you have to go to the SFI centrum located near Zinkensdamm tunnelbana station. Please note that to register yourself for the course, you need to have your Swedish personal number that you got from Skatteverket. It is equally worth noticing that if you live in the other kommun than Stockholms Stad (for example Huddinge or Sollentuna), you have to go to your local SFI centrum since the one in Stockholm will not accept your application.  The address of your local SFI centrum you can easily check on the Internet by writing down Huddinge SFI centrum, for instance. You can further on choose your own school, day of your classes or when exactly do you want to study Swedish (in the mornings, in the evenings or during the weekends). The single class, on average, lasts 2 hours and 30 minutes. Upon completion of your SFI course and national exam, you can apply for a SAS course (Svenska som andraspråk).

Bank account

This is the most difficult question and I gather that nobody can tell you specifically what kind of documentation the bank officer will ask you to provide during the application process. You can choose between Nordea, Handelsbanken, SEB or ICA banken. In my case, it took approximately 15 mintues at Nordea bank. I had to present a proof from KI that I am a student and need a bank account to get my wage, personbevis from Skatteverket (though ID-kort is even more desirable) and my EU passport. The officer asked me if my passport can be taken as the official proof of my identity and eventually I had my account opened and the card sent to my address. I know that sometimes it is more difficult and you need to go with a Swedish national who proves your identity,  but I cannot tell you any details of this process since it can also depens on the person that serves you at the bank.

Mecenat card

At some point after commencing your studies at KI you will receive your KI student card that enables you to get the student card for the public transport. Remember that without this proof you are not eligible for the discount and can be charged 1200 kr for using the wrong ticket. If you are registered as the student waiting for your new card to arrive, you can download your online mecenat card here on your mobile phone, that is equally valid as the normal one. Furthermore, if you intend to register yourself at the SSSB page and live in one of their student accommodations, you should register yourself in the Student Union, which then will send you another mecenat card with the imprinted union’s logo on it. Main student union functioning at Karolinska Institutet is called Medicinska Föreningen. There you can apply for your student union membership as well as pay the applicable fee. After SSSB recognise you as a student union member, it will start counting your points again (in case you had to froze your counting days before).

If you have any other questions regarding your life and studying in Sweden, please do not hesitate to write to me at radoslaw.gora@stud.ki.se

Welcome to Karolinska Institutet,

Radek

Habits Good to Develop While You Live in Stockholm

Dear first year students (no more prospective☺️)

Welcome to Stockholm!

I hope you have enjoyed your first week in Stockholm and wish you a successful academic year. In this blog, I am going to talk about some habits (based on my experiences in the last two semesters), which I believe, would be helpful during your stay here.

  1. Punctuality: When we talk about punctuality, it is known that most of us do have different experiences depending on where we came from. Some of us might be very committed while others could be of the other extreme. In the Swedish context, it is good you always strive to be punctual. This is very important weather you are going to a formal meeting, class or even just to meet a friend of you. If you have an appointment but you are not sure if you can arrive on time due to any reason, it is good if you let the person/s that you might be late as early as possible.
  2. Respecting the queue: If you go to some office seeking for service or you are waiting for bus or train, most likely you need to stay in a queue. In most offices like banks, tax office and health facilities the queue could be assisted by queuing number. Look for the queuing number dispenser and get your number as soon as you arrive. If there is no queuing number, sit or stand at the end of the line and wait for your turn.
  3. Do not interrupt people while they are talking: If you do not get an attention or response for your question from an individual working in some service delivery or even in store, most likely s/he is engaged with another customer. People do not like to talk to the next person in the queue before they are sure that they have properly served the current costumer. You should be happy with this as you can be sure of getting satisfactory service when it is your turn. So, be patient and wait unless there is a special reason that makes you to excuse and interrupt them.
  4. Being polite: You might have heard or read that Swedes are polite. Yes! They are very polite more than I can describe. I can tell you some manifestations of their politeness, if you did not already recognized them. Haven’t you seen them using the words ‘ursäkta’, ‘tack’ and ‘förlåt’?. Sorry, you have to ready my next blog for the meanings of these words if you have not already known them☺️ Did you see them holding open the door in the metro station, until you pass through? If you have asked someone about a place or direction, most probably you were assisted very nicely; sometimes the person you have asked might follow you until it becomes easier for you to go by yourself. Have you ever seen more politeness than this? So, I believe if every one around is polite, it is odd for you not to be so. That is why I have the opinion that you should be polite.
  5. You should have a reason to talk to someone you did not know before: In some countries, it is quite possible to talk to someone during your waiting or travel time even if you did not know each other before. May be you will have some question/point to start with and then you will expand it to the extent you want. That is not common in Sweden. If you have a question or need for help, you can ask and you will definitely get a response. However, if you ask just for the sake of talking or you try to continue your talk unnecessarily, it is less likely the other person will be comfortable.
  6. Asking consensus before deciding on issues involving others: This is also quite important for your day-to-day activities as a student since you will have to do a number of group assignments with your classmates. It is always better to ask for agreement of your group mates before making any major decision.
  7. Avoiding aggressiveness and confrontation: If you are working with a Swede, it is less likely that s/he will be aggressive and confront you whatever bad you might be doing. So, my assumption is your friend also, most likely, expects you not to be aggressive in any case.

That is all for today. If anyone has something more to say on the topic, please feel free to do so down in the comment area. First year students, if you have any questions or a something specific you want to read about, do not hesitate to contact me.

See you in my next blog☺️

Befikadu

If your friends/family come to Stockholm…

Although I have been living in Stockholm for a year, I haven’t travelled in Sthlm that much until my best friend came to visit me in early August. If your friends/family come to Stockholm, I would recommend the following hotspots that you might have fun.

1. Djurgården – Vasa museum, Skansen & ABBA museum 

Djurgården is an island located in the east of Sthlm, with many interesting tourist spots. I heard about Vasa, Skansen when I came here, but only after I visited them did I realise why they are famous.  To be honest, I have seen larger sunk boat and much larger open air museum in China, but Vasa and Skansen have their unique and easy-going characters. Also, there are never 😞 too many people around so you could enjoy the view as free as you like. Moreover, if you are ABBA fans, ABBA museum is a must-go without me saying.

          VASA MUSEUM

 IMG_1406  IMG_1409 IMG_1415IMG_1403

       

            SKANSEN 

IMG_1439 IMG_1436 IMG_1453    IMG_1447

2. Boat trip – Archipelago 

Sthlm is known as a ‘thousands-of-islands’ city, thus a boat trip viewing archipelago will surely impress you. It is easy to buy the tickets online, and there are tons of packages to choose from. Coincidently, my friend I went to a boat trip which was exactly the same boat  I took for cruise dinner for the SSES bootcamp. That is such a lovely ‘accident’! We went all the way from Sthlm central to Vaxholmen, a major island in archipelago.

IMG_1477 IMG_1492

IMG_1385 IMG_1465

3. Royal Palace & City Hall 

Undoubtably, City Hall (Stadshuset) and Royal Palace are the icons of Sthlm. Since there are several blogs about city hall (ex.Jessie’s blog) , you could see how important it is to Sthlm.

IMG_1371IMG_1377IMG_1367IMG_1380

4. Fotografiska Museum

Have you ever seen a photo of elephant drinking water on the metro? It is now in exhibition at Fotografiska museum, which appeals to me so much that I spent almost two hours just watching and studying all the photographs. Africa and wild animals is one of my favourite theme and being able to see those photos in the museum is quite different from watching a documentary or a magazine. It is powerful, strong, yet gentle.

IMG_1498

 

Thank you for reading all the way till here, hope this post is a bit helpful for your planning of touring around Sthlm!

Yi

Summer in Santorini

The first time I heard about Santorini was when I was in high school. Strangely, I first knew it simply as a song – a song by a famous Greek composer, Yanni, which was often being requested whenever I performed with my high school’s angklung (a traditional music instrument from Indonesia) ensemble. It took me some time until I realized that it was also the name of an exceptionally beautiful island in Greece, and even a longer time until I was finally able to pay it a visit.

Yes, that was my second summer holiday destination this year :D :D :D

Like Paris, Santorini was never on my bucket list before. Yet, as expected, it didn’t take me long until I was captivated by its natural beauty. <3

As I didn’t have much time (and budget, honestly XD ), I only managed to spend 2 days there (which was actually far from enough, but what else can I do?). That’s why I needed an even more careful planning for this trip, compared to my previous one.

My biggest concern was actually about the public transportation, because neither my husband nor I have a driving license and the majority of travel websites suggested you to either rent a car or motorcycle to get around. However, the public transportation (the bus) on the island was proven to be quite reliable so there’s no need to worry about that (check the schedule here).

Given my limited time, I decided to join a tour for my first day, which I think, was quite a good decision. I got to see Prophet Elias monastery, which was located in the highest point of Santorini, the village of Pyrgos, the volcano, Thirasia island, and Oia in one day.

One thing I probably didn’t realize was… you had to climb a lot here XD So during one day trip, I had climbed at least 3 times:

  1. In the volcano
  2. When looking for a restaurant in Thirasia (which was actually unnecessary, but oh well…)
  3. From the port to Oia

The most difficult part for me was probably to climb under the burning sun in a place with very little wind. I might have come from a tropical country but I have to say that it was way hotter than what I used to experience in Indonesia.

Or maybe I just need to exercise more… XD

For the second day, as if all the climbing was not enough, my husband and I decided to follow the hiking trail from the town we stay at (Fira) to Oia (again), which was located in the northwesternmost part of the island. Why we even chose that, I don’t know. Maybe we regarded ourselves strong enough for the challenge (an overestimation for me, clearly), or maybe we were just curious and couldn’t get enough to experience Santorini’s beauty. What we knew was that the hiking was actually one of the most recommended activities to do in Santorini, so… here we go!

The best mistake we did for this hiking was probably to start out late. We began our hike at 10.00 in the morning, so the sun had started to burn. If you would like to do this kind of hike, please, please start as early as possible. Don’t, just don’t make the same mistakes. XD

Another thing you have to notice is that the contours of the land in Santorini (at least the part of the island near the caldera) is (almost) never flat. You will find a lot of stairs, and probably will find yourself going up and down the road (almost) endlessly. I had been walking for about one hour (needless to say, panting and sweating) until I realized that I just reached the starting point of the hiking trail. Even the upcoming road was not always easy to walk on.

But it was worth every effort.

Throughout the journey, there seemed to be an endless view of the stunning Santorini. A view which, I think will make me willing to do journey all over again.

But maybe after a little rest.

And a lot of cold water…

 

 

See you in the next post! XD

Alicia

An ode to early summer in Sweden

I have been told by many Swedes and second year students that it is foolish to leave Sweden before summer settles in. What was the point of enduring the cold, dark winter months if you do not indulge in some quality sunbathing (or my own preference,’ competitive’ Kubb-ing) in the park, swimming in the archipelago or knocking back a glass of cider on a terrace? And as my home country of France, where mild summers are usually de rigueur, becomes one large unpleasant and unending sauna with no nearby lake to jump into, I finally see the error in my ways.

So this is my ode to the Swedish summer. Or more precisely, the Swedish June (I left right after midsummer). I am not suffering from ‘the grass is always greener’ syndrome. This is definitely not an ode to Swedish weather. I got sunburned and wore a raincoat in the same week; or was it the same day? This is more of an ode to the Stockholm area, and how much it has to offer once the sun’s rays start shining (or not).

BBQs, BBQs everywhere…

For a city girl, in this case, Paris, where it is illegal to BBQ basically anywhere in public, including parks or public gardens, Stockholm represents a blissful BBQ mecca. Grilling in parks is not only tolerated, it appears to be encouraged. As the first signs of spring appear, the supermarket shelves start to fill up with disposable grills, marinated meats and haloumi . During May and June, your weekly social dinners transform into tri-weekly barbeques. What makes the Swedes truly excel at the BBQ game are the games they play alongside, such as boules, brännboll or kubb. My personal favorite is kubb, or Viking chess, because it involves hurling wooden batons at wooden blocks in order to topple them over and this truly appeals to the primitive being within me.

and other valid outdoor food opportunities

In the winter, your fika location does not matter. Summer is a whole different story. Whilst most cafés offer outside seating, not all streets can provide the entertainment value of Götgatan (Södermalm). This street, where fedoras are a fashion staple and skateboards the preferred mode of a valid mode of locomotion, is a people-watcher’s dream come true.

As for dining, beyond what the numerous rooftops and terraces of Stockholm have to offer, every June there is also a tasty week-long food festival: A Taste of Stockholm. A large variety of restaurants and foodtrucks serve foods in the downtown park of Kungsträdgården. Unfortunately, because it is Sweden, it was pouring the day I went. This, however, did not dampen (pun proudly intended) my culinary mash-up of Vietnamese pho, Beirut chicken wrap and churros.

Archipelagoing….

There is something I first learned in Scotland thanks to its sandy beaches and horrid weather. It is a lesson I once more embrace as I hop from island to island in the Stockholm archipelago. The sun, when it comes to swimming, is a welcome but dispensable luxury. Indeed, when you find yourself on an isolated Swedish island confronted with a clear blue silky sea, the wool sweater on your back and those menacing clouds ahead are quickly forgotten. You are swiftly overcome by the urge to dive into that water. And this is exactly what I did on a trip to the refreshingly remote island of Möja Berg, which I co-organised as part of Global Friends. It beats a crowded beach on a hot summer’s day anytime. What’s more, there are a bounty of other islands only a couple of hours away by boat. Many have forests to explore, hills to picnic on, heartstopping views to take in, and sunsets to ponder upon. On Möja Berg, they feature one day a year in which the church offers you a drop-in wedding. I think it’s July 4th, in case elopement is on your mind.

What I am trying to convey, is that the appeal of summer in Stockholm transcends weather. It doesn’t require the assistance of sunlight to unveil its beauty; it’s always there in plain ‘cloudy’ sight.

Raincoat weather in Möja Berg

Raincoat weather in Möja Berg

Möja Berg

Möja Berg

SSES bootcamp – Cruise dinner

It is 23:12 now in Sweden and I just came back from a super nice cruise dinner as the perfect ending for SSES bootcamp of medical enterprise. I had some alcohol which gave me more feelings about writing all these things down.

It has been such a wonderful two-week program that I start to miss my friends now. They are very experienced business people, who I might be a bit nervous if meeting up in a company, but they turn out to be very humorous and friendly. They are mostly part-time MBAs from University of Minnesota Carlson School of Business, and they come from very big companies with diverse background. It is such an amazing experience to spend the weeks with them, dinning out, attending lectures, visiting companies, making jokes all the time!

IMG_1356  IMG_1319IMG_1295IMG_1325

The story of this bootcamp has ended, but I always believe that people come to your life for some reason, and  there shall be some time in the future we see each other again.

IMG_1361

IMG_1358

Today is the blue moon, wish all of you the best luck of your life!

Yi

 

The Swedish Countryside: As beautiful as it sounds.

Hey All,

I wanted to share with you some of the majestic beauty of Sweden. Sweden is a largely empty country, with a handful of world class cities. I spend a lot of my spare time in a very small mid-Swedish community, and wanted to share some of the summer beauty that surrounds me while I’m there. Perhaps it will inspire you all to break out of the magnificent Stockholm and try the wonder of the Swedish countryside.

wpid-20150720_164157.jpg

wpid-20150722_205252.jpg
IMG_4707
IMG_4711

IMG_4660

 

Take the chance to explore. There is always an adventure to be found around any corner.

Company vist – 3M Sweden

On July 29, we visited a very COOL company as the last company we visited during the SSES bootcamp – the 3M Sweden office, which is the headquarter of the Nordic Region. Lars, the managing director, led us to the 3M Innovation Center and gave a brief intro at the beginning. There are a couple of products which are developed and produced in Sweden, mostly in safety & protective care area. Then we spent about half an hour in a mini museum with all interesting innovative 3M products.

IMG_1248 IMG_1251
various material
 IMG_1253 IMG_1252
material under the microscope
IMG_1257IMG_1259
the famous Post-it series & Scotch tapes
IMG_1254 IMG_1255
noise absorbing headphone
IMG_1262
ceramic teeth
IMG_1263
The Innovation center is open to the public, so you should take a visit if you are interested. After all, 3M is not a Postit company to me anymore, but instead a huge international corp with fancy and cool stuffs.
Yi

Swedish Baking: Cinnamon Buns

Hi everyone,
To those of you living in Sweden already or those of you familiar with the culture, you know that Cinnamon Buns are THE baked good. This recipe comes from my husband’s grandmother, so it is the real deal. This is one of many many variations on the Swedish cinnamon bun.

image

The Ingredients

Ingredienser 60 st
1 paket (50g) jäst för sota degar (1 packet Yeast for Sweet Dough)
5 dl fingervarm mjölk, 37°C (5 dL body temperature milk)
150g rumsvarmt margarin eller 1 ½ flytande (150g room temperature butter)
1 dl strösocker eller vit sirap (1 dL granulated sugar OR white syrup)
1 tsk salt (1 teaspoon of salt)
1 -2 tsk stött eller mald kardemumma (1 – 2 teaspoons of cardamom)
14 dl vetemjöl special(14 dL of wheat flour)

Fyllning: (For the filling)
200 g rumsvärmt smör (200g room temperature butter)
1 ½ dl strösocker (1.5 dL granulated sugar)
4 msk kanel (4 tablespoons of cinnamon)

Pensling (Garnish)
Ägg (Egg)
pärlsocker ( Pearl Sugar, or Course sugar, can also use Sprinkles)

Tillbehör
ev pappersformar (Paper forms, usually bun forms)

image
Break up the yeast cube with a little bit of the milk in a large bowl. Then add in the rest of the milk, add the butter, sugar, salt, cardamom, and most of the flour, reserving some for rolling. Work the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Let the dough rise covered in a warm draft free place for 30 minutes.

Take up the dough on a floured surface and knead lightly. Divide the dough into two pieces rolled into balls. Let the balls of dough rest for several minutes before you roll them out. While waiting blend all the ingredients for the filling together. I usually use a food processor to make it faster, but smooshing it with a fork work too. Roll the dough out into two rectangles, about 60 x 25 cm, making the corners as straight as possible. Make sure you lift the dough and flour underneath it to prevent sticking. Cover the dough with filling. Roll the dough along the longest side, as in keep the long side straight and the short side into a spiral. Don’t roll it too tight.
image
Slice each roll into about 30 pieces. I usually use my thumb as a reference to make them equally thick so they bake evenly. Place each slice into a paper form. Cover them and allow them to rise for about 30 minutes. Pre-heat the oven to 250*C . Press carefully on a bun, if it rises quickly again then you know it is ready.
image
Mix the egg, then brush it carefully onto the top of the buns, and sprinkle with pearl sugar (or other decorations). Place the buns in the middle of the oven and let cook for 5 to 8 minutes ( or longer depending on your oven).
image
Let the buns cool under a tea towel, and store in an air tight container. I prefer to eat them hot and fresh from the oven. If you do not like cinnamon (never admit this in Sweden! jk). Then you can exchange the cinnamon in the filling with equal parts of some other spice, such as cardamom or vanilla sugar, or you can use a plain fruit jam.

So now you are prepared to bring baked goods when it is your turn! Of course the alternative and easier version is to go to a bakery or grocery store and buy them. For those of you that are lactose intolerant, or vegan, you can substitute soy products without a problem, and use soy milk instead of the egg for garnishing.

On a less yummy but equally happy thought, I can’t believe it is a month away until I get to meet all the new students. I hope we all have a great time at Kollo and the Welcome days getting to know one another. Enjoy these last weeks of summer and I will see you all soon!