Yes, it is that time of the year again. Among all the festivities of Christmas and zealous planning of winter vacations, is the hectic task of compiling the application for studies to a foreign University. There is always a wide mix of students trying to break into a University of good stature; from those who always had a “dream college in mind”, charged-up to explore more about their profession to those who just got a fancy idea of studying abroad a few weeks ago and set-off to pursue it. But no matter what the motivation, for majority, the application procedure remains an uphill task and speaking out of personal experience, not all aspirants make the distance; many will feel burnt-out and would bow out of the race because it’s too much stuff to keep track of. Last year I was part of the grind, and can still recall the never ending rounds of research about universities and of effort to perfect the paper work before dispatching it.
After a few months in Sweden, I have heard countless stories from different students about their “journey to Chalmers”. I must say each narrative I heard, taught me something new about what kinds of challenges exist at other places and how people manage to cope up with it. I personally come from a place where studying abroad is not a priority for many students and those who want to do so are left ill informed and are at great loss if they need some guidance or information. After my interaction with other students I realised that the lack of career counselling facilities back home and a casual attitude on part of students is a major hurdle, since many wait until too late before they begin their research. So for those who belong to similar backgrounds like myself, the challenge might seem more stiff, but the important thing is to stay in it; I did so, and I made it and I am sure anyone who desires to achieving international exposure at a young age, will give that extra bit and go through with the application process despite all the odds.
The best part with applying to Sweden was that you can send in a common application for four universities at a time. I loved the concept, and it is becoming increasingly popular across the world. It makes perfect sense too, since a large part of documentation is the same. So for the lazy ones out there, like myself, or should I say those who are looking for smarter ways of getting things done, Sweden should top your list of priorities. Now that I am through, I want to compare what I expected, to what I actually experienced at Chalmers, so as to help the new aspirants with their selections.
During my research, I was looking for an institute which has a vision that extends beyond the class room and helps you get a kick start into professional life. All that I read about Chalmers was exactly in line with what I wanted and I have not been disappointed since I have arrived. I have already been part of a career fare, attended multiple seminars conducting by different companies, and participated in activities that help improve your soft skills. The campus is always buzzing with some sort of social event or extracurricular activity. The ease with which the student union operates and the harmony in which all the committees function is commendable. For me the idea of a student union was synonymous with a redundant, financially challenged student body, so seeing Chalmers Student Union was refreshing. It speaks volumes about the superior work ethic in Chalmers and in Sweden. I felt, there is a sense of collective responsibility amongst the student community at Chalmers; each individual has a sense of ownership and looks after the facilities he enjoys on campus.
Your transition abroad to a new education system and a new culture opens a treasure-chest of knowledge. My time in Chalmers and Sweden, would not only polish me professionally but it would do wonders in building up my character, and my understanding of society and culture. The latter traits are the ones I shall cherish more. I hope all those gearing up for applying abroad do so with conviction. You might go through a few rough weeks, but the possibilities after that are exciting, rich and totally worth the trouble!