Stockholm, Sweden vs. New Haven, Connecticut

In my previous blog, school work vs. lab work, I compared my school life in these two different cities. I want to expand my comparison into my non-school life between New Haven and Stockholm.

Why specifically New Haven you might wonder? The reason being that there is no way for me to generalize my experience here to being in the “US”. Every city here has its charms and downfalls, but each of them is so different, even just comparing between San Francisco Bay Area where I am from and New Haven where I am living right now. While I am comfortable with both, the way my life is affected is different. So to simplify, I narrowed down my non-academic activities into 6 categories to talk about.

Payment methods (Cash vs. Cards)IMG-1665

Stockholm has spoiled me with the no cash system, all I need is my debit card to buy anything. Now that I am back in the land where there are credit card minimums, I find it hard to remember to restock my wallet with paper money. This is definitely a big inconvenience for me.


Stockholm is a major city in Northern Europe, so the metro system, buses, pendeltåg, everything is just convenient for a non-driver like me. Generally speaking in the US, everywhere seems close but it is still too far away to just walk places. Unless you are in a place like New York City, most of the other parts of US is easier to drive. Often the bus routes only cover major roads and the schedule is not very frequent. New Haven, Connecticut is considered as a college town, so it has everything provided for a student. But from a non-driving traveler’s point of view, I think Stockholm is a bit easier to get around. I would vote Stockholm as the winner in the transportation category.

On my way to KI

Major attractions aside, I am talking about just the general scenery for me to and from school. At KI, I lived in Pax, a SSSB housing. If you want to know more about Pax, a previous KI Digital Ambassador, Andrew, talked about the overall environment in Pax and another previous KI Digital Ambassador, Laura, made a video of Pax.  Sometimes just walking to and from school I would see a different sight of Stockholm, a different tree line, a different body of water, or just a different sky.

On my way to lab

New Haven, in contrast, is much smaller and I do not have to walk as far between my apartment and lab, so my route covers the same buildings and the same restaurants almost every day. While I can’t pick a clear winner between the two, I can say that Stockholm has a lot more natural scenery, overall it seems more grand. However, walking through New Haven makes me feel like I am walking through old town. If the buildings could talk I think it could tell so many stories from its past.

Time and effort I spend on getting home

When I fly home to San Francisco Bay Area from Stockholm, I have different direct flight choices. But now if I want to go home, I have to first take the train to New York before I can fly back. If I wanted to fly from New Haven, there are no direct flight and the layover times would take me twice as long to get home. Having the convenience of direct flights definitely wins this one.


New Haven definitely wins this category. There are different choices for me everyday. I can buy from outside of my laboratory building, around my apartment, food trucks, restaurants, deliveries… so many options. In contrast, my school life in KI, there are not that many choices. Also, most importantly, food in New Haven is much cheaper than Stockholm.

This is $7 (which is about 58 SEK)

However, I do miss my semla and my fika time. If you are wondering what is a semla, check it out in my previous blog.

Grocery Market

I feel like the supermarket in Stockholm and New Haven is a bit different. Details of what a Stockholm supermarket looks like, you can find out more in this blog from a previous KI Digital Ambassador, Laura. In New Haven, there are different types of supermarkets, organic ones, and regular ones. Also, most of the markets are smaller, like family owned places. In contrast, Stockholm supermarkets are big and both regular & organic products are in one place. The smaller shops have their charms, but the all-inclusive large markets have everything at competitive prices. So I would say for this category Stockholm and New Haven have a tie.


Even though I am constantly comparing the 2 cities with my own experiences, and sometimes I would like one more than the other, if I move away I would still miss them and their own unique ways. Living in cities that are different is definitely an adventure and experience I would not regret.


Jennifer Tsai

KI Digital Ambassador

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