As you might know, I am studying Master’s programme in Molecular Techniques in Life Science (MTLS for short). This program consists of four semesters in two years. The first three semesters are a series of courses in three different universities. The first semester is at Karolinska Institutet (KI), the second at Stockholm University (SU), the third at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), and the last semester is thesis work which can be done in a suitable lab or company of your choice. Now that we have almost finished the Karolinska Institutet part, I want to reflect a little bit about how was my experiences and what to expect from this semester.
P.S. : Some of the course contents will change in the upcoming year so the things I wrote should not be taken for granted and they only reflect my ideas about this semester.
Newbie in Stockholm
The program started at the end of August, and I arrived in Stockholm almost ten days before the start to settle down and get used to the city. I spent almost three weeks wrestling with bureaucracy in Sweden and registered myself in Sweden. For example, I applied for a Swedish personal number (personnumer), then a Swedish ID card and lastly, I opened a bank account and got a BankID 🎉 (happy ending). Even though most of the processes were smooth, they took a lot of time and effort. My suggestion for every newbie in Sweden is to start doing these early so that your mind can be fully focused on your studies rather than worrying about when you will have a personal number.
Start of the semester
When we started the semester, there were a lot of introduction lessons/presentations for the master’s programme, KI in general and the first course. So, there was almost nothing to worry about regarding the education system at KI, student activities, Ladok (a website for registering for courses and getting some important documents), and Canvas (a website for courses and assignments ). Everything was fully explained to us at the beginning. At the time, I thought some information was too repetitive; however, now, I realize that it was really nice to have that information as I did not have to do my own research for every website that I would need in the future.
Courses: one at a time
At KI, and generally, in Sweden, courses are taken one at a time, which means you will be studying only one course, and the next course will start after that. This is definitely different from what I experienced during my bachelor’s in Turkey, as in some semesters, I took 5-6 courses at the same time 😱. In the first semester we had two major courses: Genetics and Frontiers in Translational Medicine (in short FTM). The other two courses; Applied Communication and Applied Programming in Life Sciences 1 were rather short and scattered between the major courses. In my opinion, taking one course and focusing only on that was quiet nice as it gives you more flexibility to arrange your free time. However, with flexibility comes the procastinaiton (my worst enemy), so you should be very self-disiplined and willing to put effort when the day is marked for not lectures but for self-study.
In my opinion workload was not overwhelming in this semester. In Genetics and FTM, there were a lot of designated self-study times which allowed me to complete the assignments and study the course content within those hours.
As we are wrapping this semester, I can see that how much I achieved within these 4-5 months. I adapted to culture, learn how to live with darkness and the cold, made new friends… I would say a year could fit in these 4-5 months. This semester has thaught me a lot about how to prepare and present presentations in a structured way. I learned lots of novel techniques. I understand how we can translate what we do in the labs to clinics. Most improtantly, I learned how to disipline myself to study (of course, there were some periods of procastination :)). Overall, I can say that it was a nice semester, even though we had some bumps on the road. The next semester will start in Stockholm University and I cannot wait what is next for me and my classmates 🙂
If you have any questions regarding MTLS or life in Stocholm, you can write a comment below or send me an e-mail!
See you in the next blog!
My name is Yağmur, and I am from Turkey. I am a student on the Master’s Programme in Molecular Techniques in Life Science. Living in Sweden and studying at KI started as a dream, yet here I am (my life motto “everything is possible” still holds until further notice). In my free time, I like watching movies and listening to music from all around the world. I enjoy sharing my experiences in life. So, if everyone is ready, welcome to my blog and let’s begin the journey…