US students – get your master’s for free at a top Swedish university

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Sweden? Unless you’ve visited or lived here, there might not be a whole lot!

US students - get your master’s for free at a top Swedish university
Photo: Chalmers University of Technology

And that’s OK. Swedes aren’t always good at selling themselves or their country (it’s called jantelagen, but more on that another time). However, there’s much more to Sweden than the stereotypes — although IKEA and cinnamon buns are still pretty popular here too.

Something you probably didn’t know, is that Sweden is currently ranked the second most innovative nation in the world (only closely missing out on the top spot to Switzerland). In fact, it’s consistently been in the top three for the last six years thanks to its high-performing universities and graduates.

One of those universities is Chalmers University of Technology located in Gothenburg on Sweden’s west coast. It’s one of the country’s leading research universities, and among the world’s top 100 universities for engineering and technology subjects.

As well as offering bachelor’s programmes in Swedish, it offers a selection of two-year master’s programmes which are all taught in English. There are seven main areas of study linked to the university’s advanced engineering research. On the completion of studies, candidates are granted their Master of Science degree.

For Chalmers second year master’s student, Josh Turan, moving to Sweden from the United States meant he could continue his studies in Material Engineering and discover a completely new culture.

“Before I came here, I’d never left the US…I’d barely left Tennessee! I knew I wanted to continue studying, and a guy I was working with at Oakridge National Lab mentioned Chalmers,” he recalls.

“I’d always wanted to go abroad but because of financial reasons never had the opportunity until I discovered the US Friends of Chalmers Scholarship.”

US Friends of Chalmers Scholarship is open to US citizens who are required to pay tuition at Swedish universities and are applying for the first year of their chosen masters programme at Chalmers. It covers 100 percent of the tuition fees, so you just take care of your cost of living.

Find out more about The US Friends of Chalmers scholarship

What’s more, it sets aside accommodation for the recipient — which is a huge help in a country where finding somewhere to live is notoriously tricky.

“I kept reading how hard it is to find somewhere to live in Sweden. But then Chalmers contacted me and said they had the room for me, so I arrived and already had somewhere to live,” says Josh, 25.

“If it wasn’t for that there would have been a lot of stress involved — it was a pretty huge deal. That might actually be the best part about the scholarship.”

Having accommodation sorted out made the move to Sweden much smoother for first-year master’s student and US Friends of Chalmers Scholarship recipient, Rebecca Gillie, 22.

“I arrived in Sweden a few weeks ago, and moved straight into a studio apartment with its own bathroom. It’s around 4500 kronor (around $560) a month, so really not too bad for my own place!,” she explains, adding her rent is very comparable” to what she might pay in the US.

“There are lots of other students living around me, and you need a key card to get into the building so I feel absolutely safe.”

But for Rebecca, who is studying Sound and Vibration, it was the course itself that really drew her to Sweden. Scandinavia historically leads the way in acoustics research and education, and Chalmers’ area of focus was more in line with her interests than the research currently conducted in the US.

She also knew she wanted to be somewhere with lots of international students. It’s Rebecca’s first time in Sweden, but the university organises events and meetups to help the international students settle in and get to know one another.

“In the first week, there were a bunch of events for international students. We were all assigned to a group of about 20 international students with a mentor from an older class year. They gave us tours of both campuses, and we went to IKEA together to get stuff for our apartments. Then we did a scavenger hunt in the city, racing against another group, which was a fun way to learn about how to get around and what there is to do.”

Rebecca has also had the opportunity to explore Gothenburg and discover one of Sweden’s best-kept summer secrets: the sprawling west coast archipelago.

“I walked around a lot the first few days. I enjoyed some walks along the canal and found some areas and restaurants I want to visit in the future. I like the variety of places to eat, there’s lots of international cuisine as well as local food,” she says.

“I also love the number of parks that are around! The US cities I’d lived in didn’t have nearly as many parks or gardens to walk through. Last week a group of us went out to two of the islands in the archipelago — we had the perfect weather on the Sunday!”

Josh agrees the ubiquitous greenery is one of the bonuses of life in Gothenburg.

“The city has everything you need, and there’s nature everywhere. They build around it instead of destroying it, so there’s a lot of nice parks, and if you go outside the city you can go hiking or biking,” he adds.

“The archipelago is such a unique thing to have – there’s nothing like it anywhere in America.”

Both feel confident that their time at Chalmers will help them successfully launch careers in their respective areas.

Find your perfect master's programme at Chalmers University

“Studying here will absolutely help me get where I want to be,” says Rebecca. “The practical knowledge we get in the labs, as well as the coursework and thesis, and the organisation required for the work, will provide a benefit in my future career.”

Josh, too, looks set for a bright future — and has enjoyed his time in Sweden so much he plans to stay.

“I’m hoping to stay in Sweden once I’ve finished my masters,” Josh says. “I worked at Volvo Group this past summer, which I found out about through a course I was taking here at the university. Everything is somehow connected, and there are a lot of opportunities here.”

He has found his time at Chalmers life-changing and believes it has opened doors that may otherwise have remained closed.

“There’s not much diversity where I’m from, so to come and study here, suddenly meeting people from all over the world, has given me an opportunity I would have never had back home,” says Josh.

“It’s allowed me to travel throughout Europe, and experience different cultures and languages. I can’t imagine where I’d be if I hadn’t had done it, I don’t think anything would be anything near this exciting.”

Watch this short video featuring two Friends of Chalmers recipients, then find out more about master’s studies at Chalmers and take the next step to your future career.

Or meet Chalmers' representatives in person at one of the fairs and events the university's International Student Recruitment team is currently attending around the world. Next stops this September — Los Angeles and San Francisco!

This article was produced by The Local Client Studio and sponsored by Chalmers University of Technology.

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Norway shuts all schools and universities to fight coronavirus pandemic

Norway is closing all schools, kindergartens, and universities to slow the spread of coronavirus, in what Prime Minister Erna Solberg has called "the most far-reaching measures we have ever had in peacetime in Norway". (Paywall free).

Norway shuts all schools and universities to fight coronavirus pandemic
The law department at Oslo University. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
“All the country's kindergartens, schools, primary schools, secondary schools, technical colleges and universities are to be closed,” Solberg confirmed at a press conference held at her cabinet office on Thursday, according to a report by state broadcaster NRK
The measures, laid out in detail on the website of Norway's Health Ministry, will apply from 6pm on Thursday and remain in force until March 26. 
They also include a provision requiring everyone who has arrived in Norway from anywhere apart from the Nordic countries since February 27 to enter into compulsory quarantine in their homes, whether or not they are displaying any symptoms. 
Solberg said that though difficult, the measures were necessary to slow the spread of coronavirus. 
“We are in a difficult time, both for Norway and for the world,” she said, according to the VG newspaper. “The drastic measures we are now taking are in the hope of stopping the virus. We are doing this in solidarity with the elderly, the chronically ill, and others who are particularly at risk of developing a serious illness. We must protect ourselves to protect others.” 
She warned employees faced with unexpected childcare demands not to call on elderly relatives for help. “We must remind you who we should most be looking out for. We should therefore not hand over childcare to grandparents who are in the risk category.” 
Erna Solberg delivered the address at her cabinet offices. Photo: Norwegian Government
Camilla Stoltenberg, Division Director at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, estimated at the briefing that between 22,000 and 30,000 people would be hospitalised as a result of infection, with up to 7,600 requiring intensive treatment.
The measures announced include: 
  • Closure of all schools, kindergartens and universities.
  • A provision requiring primary schools and kindergartens to stay partially open in order to look after the children of key personnel in healthcare, transport and other critical social functions.  
  • Cultural events, sports events, gyms and businesses offering hairdressing, skincare, massage, body care and tattooing are all banned. Swimming pools will be closed.
  • Buffet restaurants are banned. Other restaurants, bars and cafés must ensure guests are kept at least one metre from one another.
  • A requirement for everyone arriving in Norway from outside the Nordic to enter quarantine, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not. This is retroactive to 27 February.
  • Restrictions on visitors to all the country's health facilities and the introduction of access control.
  • People are asked not to visit institutions housing vulnerable groups (old people's home, psychiatric hospitals, prisons etc).
  • Healthcare professionals working with patients are banned from travelling abroad.
Shops will continue to be open as normal, and the Ministry of Health advised people to shop normally and not seek to  hoard food.
The transport system will continue operating as normal, but people are encouraged to avoid unnecessary travel. 
Shortly after the press conference, King Harald V of Norway issued a statement saying that the Royal House was suspending all official engagements until Easter. 

“Our country is in a serious situation that affects individuals and society as a whole. It is crucial that we all participate in the national effort to avoid exposing ourselves or others to infection,” the release read. 

“It is therefore important that we all follow recommendations and orders from the authorities. We must contribute what we can to prevent the spread of the virus, and I would especially like to thank health professionals all over the country who are doing their utmost to remedy the developments. We all hope that the situation will soon turn around.” 

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.