Karolinska Institutet

My Arrival at KI in Nutrition Science

I didn’t know exactly what to expect before I arrived in Stockholm. I’ve visited the city before but as a 13-year-old tourist, but now I was supposed to live here as a student. I was not sure how the people, my program, or the city would be. Now I can’t see myself anywhere else. 

The people

From the very beginning, I was amazed by the people in my program. Everyone is from somewhere else and with many different backgrounds. Some worked for years in the movie industry, others studied pharmacy. However, some things they all have in common:, everyone is open, friendly, and down-to-earth. In the residence, people greeted each other as if they lived in a little village where the neighbors knew each other for years. Also, I met many amazing people through the events organized at KI and in the Swedish classes before the introduction period. In these first weeks, we organized some trips to go to the archipelago and to a park nearby to go swimming. At first, I was unsure how it would be to meet people and find friends, but now I couldn’t be happier with who I encountered. 

Nutrition Clas

Swimming in Hagaparken

Photo Credit: Julia Balewska

Culture Shock?

In the program and residence, it almost feels like everyone is from somewhere other than Sweden. However, you still get to know the Swedish culture. People warned me that Swedish people are very cold and unfriendly. But I formed a different opinion. The first couple of times I went to the supermarket, I did not know if the big red sign meant two for one or half the price. And you know, as a student you take every deal you get. So I asked a random Swedish person in the store, and to my surprise, they were smiling at me and were very helpful.  Another grocery store has a bread-cutting machine and I couldn’t figure out how it works so I asked a middle-aged woman and she didn’t know either. In the end, both of us were laughing because neither of us could make it work. Based on the stories I was almost expecting them to just ignore me.

Boat to Vaxholm. Photo Credit: Tade Idowu

But I can also understand what people meant. On the streets, people are usually quiet and do not interfere with other people’s space. In general, you notice they mind their own business and are quite respectful, which can come across as cold. In the Swedish class, I learned about one demonstration of how respectful they are about others. Our teachers told us a new gender-neutral pronoun was introduced in 2012. For me, that was almost unimaginable!  A consensus in a society that puts respect toward others over tradition? This was already 10 years ago before the rest of the world got this awareness. 

Overall, my first impression of Swedish people is: Yes, they are reserved and very much mind their own business, however, if you approach them, they are more than happy to help you. So guess my challenge for the coming weeks? Become friends with some Swedes!

First impression of Stockholm 

Skyline of Stockholm. Photo Credit: Tade Idowu

In the last couple of years, I lived in rather small student cities and I was very much used to short distances and lots of greenery, but now I was going to live in the capital of Sweden. After a month, I can definitely say I am in love with this city. Before I got here, I was skeptical because usually bigger cities are crowded, hectic and polluted. This wasn’t the case for Stockholm! There are green spaces and huge parks everywhere. Inside the city you find many calm spots to sit for a coffee or to watch the sunset. You can feel the concept of lagom everywhere (The Swedish principle of just the right amount or in balance). The air is fresh and people are not rushing, but almost strolling around the city. For me, Stockholm offers everything a big city has to offer without feeling like one. It feels cozy with its many cute cafés and close contact with nature.

Skinnarviksberget. Photo Credit: Tade Idowu

Beginning of the Programme

Obviously, it was not all fun and games, we also had to study. The first course is designed for everyone to have the essentials for Nutrition. For some people that meant more repetition than others. However, the emphasis on group work made everything easier. Because people could learn from each other expertise, and the professors were more than happy to help and also open to feedback.

I hope this quick recap of my first impression of my time here provided you some insight. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at tade.idowu@stud.ki.se  

Tade - Nutrition Science

Tade - Nutrition Science

I am Tade. I am Nigerian/German and the blogger for the Master’s Programme in Nutrition Science. Before KI, I was studying in the Netherlands. My whole life I was interested in food and sports, and that is why I decided to study nutrition. When I learned about KIs group-focused teaching and the international environment I knew where I wanted to go. When I am not exploring or trying different foods I am playing basketball in Solna. If you are ever up for the challenge, you know where to find me!


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