3 intense and eventful years have passed since I started at Karolinska Institutet. Now it’s time for me to move on, take the next step, open a new chapter… In this post I’ll sum up my 3 years of doing the biomedicine BSc programme in Stockholm and reveal shortly my future plans.
When I first came to Stockholm I had just graduated from high school in Latvia and had no idea about what the next years will bring. At our graduation 3 years later, they said that our dreams are not big enough if they don’t scare us… Now, when I look back at my first day in Sweden, I realize that I wasn’t properly prepared for what will come and it’s good actually! Otherwise, I might have been too scared!
Over the time of my studies, I had my doubts and I fought hard for my victories, however it was all worth it! After getting into my dream master programme in Innovative Medicine, I feel like I’ve come out of KI as a winner.
My 3 years at KI
The first year was tough. So tough that I was even planning to not continue my programme. Organic chemistry course was the hardest for me (luckily, this course has been shortened as from fall 2017!) and I struggled with working on the side to sustain my living in the, oh, so expensive Stockholm meanwhile. Fortunately, I had my friends and family that helped me to get through it and reassured me to continue.
Take away knowledge from the first year:
- achieving good results at the uni requires a lot of time and effort put into studying.
- Plus, planning your time matters way more than in high school where the knowledge is given bite-sized (it’s way more in the university!).
The second year was easier, because I knew more what I was doing study-wise and I lived with a host family. They provided me with work and accommodation in return (I was very lucky to have them!). Half through my second year I started working as a digital ambassador because I wanted to help others through their way and tell about my experiences. I still had no idea where the future will bring me, however I knew clearly that I want to travel the world and make friends from all around the globe. And you know what?! It happened! :))
Before the third year I had finally got a nice SSSB accommodation and was getting ready for an exchange semester in Zurich, Switzerland for my last semester. I was lucky to find a scholarship for my studies at ETH Zurich and carried out my bachelor thesis there. Switzerland time was an amazing experience! I traveled to Milan (Italy) and Munich (Germany) to visit friends there and got to meet a bunch of great new people from Australia, Japan and USA, aside from Europeans. Not forgetting, of course, that I could work in one of the most prestigious universities in the world!
During the next 2 years, I’ll continue travelling around Europe by doing an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree. I managed to get into an International Master programme in Innovative Medicine (IMIM) with a full scholarship (so no worries about the finances for once!). This means that I’ll continue with research for now and doing a PhD later is not excluded. However, I am curious about working in the health industry and we’ll see what happens with that. I’m open to new opportunities, as always!
My victories during the 3 years
So far grasping opportunities have resulted in me doing two summer research internships so far and a semester abroad:
- Summer Course in Medical Research at KI (during summer 2015)
- Amgen Scholars Program at Institut Pasteur in Paris (during summer 2016)
- Bachelor thesis at ETH Zurich in the Neural Control of Movement lab
KI has fantastic partner universities and the fame of KI helped me to land a position at the prestigious Amgen Scholars Program and my dream master programme IMIM!
Overall these 3 years have been full of adventures, struggles and victories. Looking back at all of it, I can surely say that it was worth it!
How did I finance my 3 years?
- Funds from my family (the 1st year)
- Loan (for the 2nd and 3rd year)
- Working aside from studying (all 3 years, which was not easy)
- Scholarship for my last semester abroad
My advice to the prospective students:
- Come prepared! (Perhaps work a year to save some money for the studies.)
- Be ready that you will have both a great time and will also have to struggle sometimes (it’s part of the deal ;))
- Stay positive! Things worked out for me and I believe that you can do it too!
- Look for opportunities to work and travel!
Best of luck! You can do it!!
Feel free to post your questions or comments under this post. My KI student email will become deactivated in autumn 2017 but, if you still feel like contacting me afterwards, perhaps I’ll reply to your emails to email@example.com ^^