Please tell us about yourself
I am Mrinal Pandey, a 23-year-old student from Uttarakhand, India. I received my bachelor’s in Biochemical Engineering at Kumaon Engineering College, in Dwarhat, India. It is a state-government college under Uttarakhand Technical University. I am a very pro-active and enthusiastic person and enjoy taking up new challenges in life. Travelling and learning about new cultures engross me. In my spare time, I like reading novels, playing, cooking and meeting new people.
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What made you choose Sweden and KTH for your studies? How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and interesting career?
There are multiple factors behind this decision; Europe was my first preference for Master studies and KTH is one of the most renowned and technologically advanced Universities here. I am looking for a research-oriented career in Medicine, and KTH’s Medical Biotechnology programme suits my goals well. Distinguished Professors, technologically advanced labs and a well-defined education plan laid out by KTH made it my first choice.
Stockholm is the first city which I have visited outside India, and so far, my experience has been beautiful. Coming from one of the most populous countries in the world, my first reaction on landing at Arlanda Airport was “Where are the people?”. A country sparsely populated with lush green lands and outstanding architecture charmed me. Another major reason for choosing Stockholm is that it is the land of Nobel laureates and interestingly the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is presented by the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute, so what more could I as a medicine student ask for?
What’s unique about your programme?
This program gives you an advantage of choosing multiple research options based on your interests. The course structure allows you to gain useful knowledge in core subjects like genetics, proteomics, genomics along with computational skills. I chose this programme to explore both the sides of biology: molecular biology and computational biology. Depending on what suits my interest well, I can and will streamline my career accordingly.
What do you like most about KTH?
The first thing that comes to my mind is its fantastic architecture. On the study front, I like how everything is well planned, from study schedules, exams, labs. KTH provides you with a study plan for you before your classes begin, thus giving you ample amount of time to plan your schedule accordingly. In simple words, it’s a well organised University which can shape your future.
What are your impressions of Stockholm and Sweden?
Coming from another continent, I see a stark difference in culture and lifestyle. One interesting thing I observed here is “Value of being a pedestrian”, every vehicle gives preference to pedestrians when it comes to road usage. Stockholm is a very clean city; it’s impossible to find garbage out of its place. Talking about people, Swedes are quite shy, they would never approach you first, but then, if you contact them they are friendly and helping.
What do you like most about being here?
The best part of being in Sweden and Stockholm is that you get to meet a lot of International people. In my corridor alone, we have only one Swedish girl, and the rest of us all are from different countries. This gives me ample opportunities to know about different countries and how perception varies on various issues.
What is your best memory so far from your time at KTH?
The best memory so far is the Welcome Reception organised by KTH at Stockholm City Hall. I felt honoured to be in the room where every 10th of December, some of the greatest and blessed minds meet for the Nobel Prize banquet. The speeches delivered to us really inspired me and all the performances were beautiful, depicting Swedish art and music.
What do you think are the differences between studying at KTH and your home university?
The International environment. Here, in a class of 30, you get to meet people at least from 6 different countries and three different continents. My lectures in Genetics gets interesting when we discuss observable genetic differences. KTH is a research-intensive University with a lot of focus on practical applications.
What would you like to say to students thinking of choosing KTH for master’s studies?
This decision would be the wisest decision of your lifetime. You will have a great learning experience, with excellent International exposure. And yes, feel free to contact me regarding any of your apprehensions or doubts, and I will try to be of help.