Let’s get started!

There you are!

Hola, Hej, Hello, Hallo, Halló, Bonjour, مرحبا, Прывітанне, ahoj, 你好, bok, Tere, Hei, Γεια σας, שלום, नमस्ते, Dia duit, もしもし, سلام, Halo, Jambo, привет, Merhaba, Olá !!! –no guys, I’m not polyglot, it’s just that I wanted to give you a nice and warm cybernetic welcome without a missing language, unfortunately Google Translator tool is a little bit limited for this type of purposes.

As I said, my point is to WELCOME you all to this space from wherever you are reading now, and however far that might be. Thanks to technology and to this space (blog) you are going to be able: first, to make a “shor-cut” to Sweden especially for those of you whose countries are far away yet you are interested in studying here; and second, to have a look at Karolinska Institutet through ones eyes for those of you who have a special interest in this institution, and particularly in applying to/studying the Public Health Sciences Master Programme that’s offered.

My full name is Andrea Dominguez Barbosa. “Barbosa” is my second last name (mom’s name). By the way, no, I have nothing to do with any pirate of the Caribbean; I have no wooden-leg, and neither I’m related to any captain, or movie-character, as far as I know Ü. In certain latin or hispanic countries we use both lasts names (first last name: dad’s, second last name: mom’s). I don’t know the exact reason for this… Anyways, no offense to mom, but I find it easier to use only one last name which is generally the first one.

Back on track. I am currently studying the first of two years of the Masters Programme in Public Health Sciences – Epidemiology here at Karolinska Institutet where I am also very happy of being a Digital Ambassador; to be able to help you get your questions answered, and share with you my experience from inside and outside the student life.

Like many of you, prospective and current students, my home country is really far away from Sweden, too. I’m from Mexico, Mexico City. Yes! It is a very crowded city. Whatever population number you might have read we have is real, plus a couple of hundred thousand more. I finished my Bachelor’s degree in Medicine at the Anahuac University in Mexico (www.anahuac.mx), then I worked for a couple of years as a general practitioner and clinical researcher in the Diabetes Specialized Center (Centro Especializado en Diabetes, http://www.ced.mx) in Mexico City, and after a long wait and trotted path last year I finally applied for this Master’s program at KI. And, here I am.

Let’s go straightforward to the obvious first questions:

–       Why Sweden?

I know it’s cold and dark, but I also admit that I’m weird, and I kind of like that combination which I’m sure I’ll question myself again in the future when my hormones have already turned crazy along with my sleep cycle. In a more serious tone, I say I wanted to live here because it is a very peaceful and calm city, in spite of what some Swedes might consider sometimes noisy or crowded (coming from Mexico City, I think there’s no fair comparison, and I’m sure you have no doubts about what I’m saying here!), for me it is a great place that has a high quality of life. Regarding scientific research, I’d proudly say Sweden has an excellent citizen-registration system where almost every research is relied on to be run. This is pure gold for any researcher because the information of the people is there and already organized, you just need to focus on what you’re looking for and do it. Pure science and creativity!

–       Why KI?

It is one of the most prestigious institution worldwide known, and not only because of the Nobel Prize, but also for its continuous achievements among different scientific research fields; as well as for every day-to-day effort done to discover new breakthroughs within health and science.

–       Why Public Health – Epidemiology?

Personally, I chose this track because I’m looking forward to improve my research skills in epidemiology, biostatistics and critical analysis of actual data. Not every university offers this great combination of Public Health and Epidemiology. Through this program, I’m seeking to polish my professional assessment of the scientific literature and results in order to develop better strategies of health intervention as a public health expert (in a population level), and/or as a general practitioner (in a clinical level).

–       How’s the weather?

Certainly you’ll read many things about this topic. You’ll have a variety of voices telling you “yes, it is very cold, no kidding!”. But the truth is (at least for me) that IT IS cold yet weather is not as dramatic as the change of light. I got here on early August, and that night I took a first picture. It was 03:30 am, and the sky looked just as blue as an early evening (picture from a window of my place). After three weeks, this phenomenon was gone… Welcome early-day darkness! None of this is new. Everyone who decides to move to this parts of the earth lives the same situation. “How is it experienced”, that’s where differences arise.

Speaking of differences, one more thing, stay with this word: diversity. What? Diversity… among the people (students and teachers) you’ll find in KI. I think that’s amazing because you’ll get to have the chance to meet not just other people, but other cultures, and very different ways of thinking as well. Believe me, at the beginning you might have this strange feeling that you’re being part of some “United Nations multicultural experiment”… Ü, but there’s not such a thing, and definitely nothing to be afraid of. This makes it an even more enriching experience, professionally and personally speaking. Remember always to be yourselves, natural, and prepared as possible to represent your country and who you are because you never know if it’s only going to be you, or more, from wherever you’re coming.

As prospective and current students, I’m sure you will have lots of other questions, and as much as I can I’ll try to answer them, or help you to get them answered. This was just a brief introduction. As for me, there are many other things and topics I’ll be sharing with you, too. Consider this blog a useful and enjoyable communication channel, and let’s get it started.

See you soon, and stay tuned!

Smile because is the verb of our best profile.

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