My name is Olivia and I am one of your new digital ambassadors for Karolinska Institute. I have just embarked upon the Global Master’s Programme in Biomedicine. I come from a small town south of Paris called Fontainebleau, known for its castle and unhealthy obsession with Napoleon. This is my first time in Sweden! It is, however, not my first time living in a foreign country. I did my undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at St Andrews in Scotland. I’ve made my way to Stockholm because Scottish winters were just not dark and cold enough for me 😉
Throughout this blog, I hope I can give you a glimpse of what the Master’s Programme in Biomedicine is all about. What I can tell you for now is that the first month of class is at Huddinge campus (Fleminsberg). Whilst this is a bit far from central Stockholm, it means we commute on the Pendeltåg (train) as a class, eat lunch as a class, and complain about how far away Huddinge campus is from our respective homes as a class. A true bonding process. We are on our way to becoming a large, close-knit, half-Swedish, half-Germano-Polo-Franco-Turko-Spanish family. One of the strengths of this programme is that it is mainly skills-based, with courses in scientific communication, laboratory animal use, biostatistics and bioinformatics. These are valuable tools which we will be able to use in our research projects at Karolinska as well as in our future scientific careers (but more on this in the next post).
As it is my first time here, I also hope to share with you my adventures in the city of Stockholm, and in Sweden in general. I cannot wait to embrace Swedish culture beyond ABBA and IKEA. My first step is learning not to hate coffee because fika (coffee break) is Sweden’s religion. Wikipedia even describes it as a ‘social institution’, one which I cannot partake in until I ditch Earl Grey. My second step is to stop cutting queues like a rude Frenchie. . . a work in progress. My third step is to learn Swedish. A number of Swedes have given me quizzical looks when I profess this ambition. Everyone can speak English here. There are, however, some things I hope to no longer do once I learn some Swedish:
- walk around the supermarket google-translating every item
- wash two loads of laundry with fabric softener rather than soap
- pour buttermilk on my breakfast cereal
- listen to the Pendeltåg driver’s announcements and try to guess if I will make it to my destination based on how worried people look
And I am trying to be pro-active about it! Last Monday, I had my first Swedish class offered by Language at KI, a project run by the International Committee at MF where you are taught by volunteer Swedish students. I can now tell you what time it is in Swedish. If you see me around campus, please ask me!
And of course if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
A bientôt 🙂