I’m not an aficionado of western classical music, but I am one of any live music. Coming to Goteborg, the images that were built in my mind through the ads and promotional videos about the city were that it was apart from everything else it is, it is also an important musical scene. Ranging from western classical to heavy metal, Goteborg is a venue for plenty of musical performances through the year.
Western classical beyond the “Best of …….”, I have no awareness, but as about anything else that I know less about, I am keen on learning and understanding it better, to appreciate it to the fullest. University of Goteborg has its School of Drama and Music about two kilometers from Chalmers. After having missed the Goteborg Orchestra performances at the city opera, I was looking for more affordable ones to experience live orchestra.
This culminated to fulfillment in last week’s Global Week celebrations conducted by University of Goteborg. As a finale to the week long events the orchestra of University of Goteborg were performing with some very special artists. I decided not to miss this time around.
Eri Klas, a renowned from Estonia, was conducting the orchestra on this particular occasion. I did read up about him and watched a couple of vidoes before I went to the concert. Needless to say the live experience is incomparable to the meager visualisation on a laptop.
Along with Eri Klas, a prodigy from Scandinavia Ellen Nisbeth scintillated us with her solo violin performance.
The concert was at one of the halls in the Goteborg University’s School of Drama and Music. A beautiful campus, with marvellous paintings and sculptures and the signature Swedish wooden interiors (timber being a major export, and to also to help beat the cold lot of wood is used in buildings in Sweden).
If you did care to notice, I did not click pictures during the event. I did carry my camera, but while I was already thinking that it might interfere with the experience of absorbing myself into the music, a senior lady in the audience urged another student who was setting up her camera with the tripod not to disturb others, and herself with these distractions. My dilemma got cleared and stuffed my camera into my bag.
Lasting for two hours, with a break of twenty minutes, my first western classical concert in Sweden did go on well.
One thing I find curious in witnessing orchestras is to observe individual musicians, not only the soloist as in this case or the conductor’s energy. I was unknowingly playing a game of sorts in spotting the instruments that created a particular sound that I found them to be new. Of course, I would not know their names.
Next on list is to try headbanging in a Swedish heavy metal concert!
Around fifty countries, 300 participants and one amazing venue in Stockholm – experiencing Swedish multiculturalism cannot get any better than this.
This network of the Swedish Institute, at the outset bears a heavy title I would say – Network for Future Global Leaders (NFGL). After the first entire day of events conducted by SI in the kick off party, and after interacting with the rich and diverse members of this network, from across the world now pursuing their higher studies all across Sweden, I endorse the idea that this group in fact could be a platform to nurture truly global leaders.
Hailing from India, when I contemplate problems of the world, it is based on my experiences in India. It must not surprise you if I prioritise welfare of people in terms of basic security of food, education and health care, over the notion of sustainability and nature conserving practises. On the other hand, within the one month or so I have been here in Sweden, the consciousness in me has risen as to why for instance, global warming is also an equally pressing issue that has to be simultaneously dealt with.
When I was back in Bangalore, a Pirate Party friend from Germany was hosted by my regional Free Software group. Through the interaction with him, he seemed to have quite the opposite realisation that there is still so much more for the people to worry about before they get to contemplating the consequences of something like using non-recyclable plastic. Paraphrasing his experiences in India – “When people are engrossed through the day fighting for the next piece meal, little can they contemplate and contribute to sustainable development” was his transformed view.
I believe that when we contemplate about the future, if we have disconnected views about socio-economic welfare for all the citizens of world and truly sustainable development, it will end up being a half-hearted attempt at trying to solve these pressing and inescapable problems.
I see NFGL as that learning opportunity for students who might be, for now, at one of these poles to see that solutions to each of these issues when disconnected will never heal the world. If Sweden or Germany, or a handful of countries from Europe and North America are engaged in sustainable practices to conserve nature, but when the economic class structure in countries like India with 1.2 billion is not overcome, the overall impact of these sustainable practises in securing nature for future generations might end up being a futile exercise.
This realisation is the most important idea that seemed to coalesce in me through the discussions, interactions and sharing that has happened yesterday and will continue today, on this wonderful platform provided by the Swedish Institute.
I will not report about the nuances of events, or as to how awesome all of it has been from the first day in this post. Will follow up this one with a crispy encapsulation of both the days here at the SI Kick Off Party organised by the Swedish Institute in Stockholm.
To a better future, for all.
International scholars from five countries met the companies and people sponsoring their studies at The House of William Chalmers.
An informal afternoon tea was held in the venerable halls where William Chalmers once walked.
”I wouldn’t be standing here today if it weren’t for this scholarship. Thank you for the appreciation you have shown me. I am truly honoured,” said Xuebo Wang, a Chalmers student on scholarship from Mölnlycke Health Care.
The occasion for the late afternoon event on September 18 was to celebrate the scholarship students and thank their sponsors and donors. In attendance were twenty-two scholars and representatives from Ericsson, FlexLink, Mölnlycke Health Care, Volvo Car Corporation, Volvo Group, Volvo Global Trucks Technology and Volvo IT. Also taking part were representatives of U.S. Friends of Chalmers and Chalmers MasterCard.
Entrepreneur and philanthropist Sievert Larsson was also a special guest. The donation made to the school in his name is aimed at young Thai students wishing to pursue Master’s studies at Chalmers.
It was, in the words of fundraiser Peter Lindwall, who gave everyone a warm welcome, a joyful day.
Students from 60 countries
Today, with students from 60 countries, Chalmers can with good reason call itself an international university. This aspect was emphasized by Karin Markides, President and CEO, in her opening speech:
”Chalmers has come a long way, and held various roles in society, but always with a strong connection to the world around us. Our strengths — i.e. our history, strong links in the world, strong alumni network and our openness — are major benefits. Our international character keeps us on our toes a little more than everyone else, and I think it makes a difference,” said Karin Markides.
Addressing the present scholarship holders, she said:
”Our educational programs offer more than skills alone. They also provide students with an opportunity to develop into agents of change for the world. These are big words, but there are many ways of achieving this end – through meetings across borders and disciplines, among other things.”
In order to do this, Chalmers must be an international educational institution.
”Without connections to all parts of the world, this would not be possible. When tuition fees were instituted for overseas students, this became more difficult. Luckily, both individuals and businesses have demonstrated a great understanding, and the support we have received has enabled us to offer scholarships to finance all or part of the tuition fee.
Karin Markides also directly addressed the donors and sponsors in attendance:
”I want to thank all of you for the efforts you are making. It means more than you can imagine,” she said.
”International students are an extremely vital part of our DNA”
Maria Knutson Wedel, Vice President in charge of undergraduate education, gave a brief speech piggybacking on what the President had said:
”Karin expressed what it is that makes up Chalmers’s soul. In higher education, we often talk about ’the DNA of a university’. Having international students at Chalmers is an extremely vital part of our DNA. Another part is the quality of education. My opinion is that education is so much better when we get perspectives from different parts of the world,” she said.
Short, but touching stories
Six of the scholarship holders in attendance held their own mini-speeches about themselves and their motivations. The stories were short, but moving. Ismael Ayala received Chalmers MasterCard’s newly established scholarship earlier this year to come to Sweden from Mexico:
”I am the second person in my family to pursue a Master’s degree, and the first in the family to get the chance to study abroad. I consider myself very lucky. Without the scholarship, this never would have been possible,” he explained.
Thanks to Sievert Larsson
In his speech, Sievert Larsson fellow Thitipong Sansanayuth thanked Sievert Larsson for the opportunity to come to Chalmers and study biomechanical engineering:
”Chalmers gives me the greatest possible opportunity to get the skills I need to develop new innovations and follow my dream. Kap kun khap,” he said.
Student recruiters from Chalmers
Volvo Group fellow Poornima Joshi from Bangalore in India explained how she met Chalmers international student recruiter Kerstin Jönsson – or Miss Kristin as Joshi calls her – at an education fair in her hometown:
”During a long conversation she convinced me to come and study Software Engineering at Chalmers. We talked about following your destiny and your heart, and I think that’s when I realized that Chalmers was for me. Later, when I received a call from Volvo that I had received a scholarship, I was even more sure,” said Poornima.
She immediately felt welcome the moment she set foot at Landvetter:
”They have these fun doors that open automatically, and it was like a sign. I got the feeling that the city was welcoming me.”
Friends recommended Chalmers
Que Wang is a fellow with Volvo Car Corporation. Originally from China, Wang began Masters Studies this fall in Electric Power Engineering.
”I have friends who went to Chalmers earlier and told me that Chalmers is very good in this area. I found out more when I got the chance to attend an event in Shanghai, where I met alumni coordinator Peter Hellqvist and student recruiter Cecilia Hillman. They gave me a lot more information and showed me more kindness than I had anticipated, so I decided to apply here.”
”Chalmers and the Volvo scholarship give me a great opportunity to get to know both the college and Volvo. I look forward to gaining new skills that can be used in real life. I will cherish my time here,” said Wang Que.
Xuebo Wang is also from China. He is at Chalmers on scholarship from Mölnlycke Health Care, and studies Management and Economics of Innovation. Xuebo Wang had heard of William Chalmers long ago while still in China.
Lei Ni has been awarded a scholarship from FlexLink – whom he thanked warmly – and this fall, he started his Master studies in Systems, Control and Mechatronics:
”I’m a chalmerist and proud of it!” he exclaimed, immediately eliciting spontaneous applause.
Lei Ni said he had two main reasons for choosing Chalmers:
”I understood that you take good care of your international students. I sensed this throughout the application period and now that I’ve arrived. All along there have been plenty of official representatives from the college ready to help me,” he said, mentioning in particular Peter Hellqvist, fundraiser Peter Lindwall and Jens Hansson from Admissions.
Got to borrow William Chalmers’ hat
Guests were then entertained by William Chalmers — or, rather chalmerist Philip Wramsby, who often plays the University’s founder in various festive contexts. The afternoon’s most heart-warming moment was probably when beaming Sievert Larsson fellow Chantat Rungruengsaowapak borrowed William Chalmers’ Napoleon-style hat, coat and white wig.
With a wide smile and a sparkle of pride in his eyes, he posed for photographer Jan-Olof Yxell:
”I’ve dreamed of wearing a hat like this my whole life,” said Chantat.
And, lo and behold, after just two weeks in Sweden at Chalmers his boyhood dream has come true. When William Chalmers said goodbye after regaining his belongings, he gave these parting words:
”Remember that nothing is impossible!”
Watch the video and more interviews
The video above includes several company representatives explaining why they chose to support Chalmers with scholarships for international students:
”Mainly, we want to contribute to society wherever we are, and since we have our head office in Gothenburg, collaboration with Chalmers is quite natural. We also want to contribute to human well-being worldwide and to a global understanding of different cultures,” says Klas Ålander, CIO at FlexLink.
The video also includes students talking about scholarships, Chalmers and education.
Text: Michael Nystås
Photo: Jan-Olof Yxell
Video: Torgil Störner
Read previous posts about scholarships >>>
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Chalmerists Tomasz Matuszczyk (IT08), Lillian Ong (MSc00) and Patricia Conceicao De Morais (MSc06) received the prestigious Rune Andersson Scholarship worth SEK 500,000 each.
The proud scholarship holders received their awards at a solemn award ceremony in the House of William Chalmers on the 5th of June.
‘The scholarship will give me the chance to realise a lifelong dream,’ Tomasz Matuszcyk said.
The ceremony started with a brief welcoming speech from Marianne Gyllensten, a Chalmers fundraiser, and continued with speeches delivered by Chalmers president & CEO Karin Markides and donator Rune Andersson (V68)
Rune Andersson spoke entertainingly about his long experience as an executive and entrepreneur and informed his public that more people willing to expand their engineering skills by studying economics and management are needed.
‘More people with your analytical background are needed in the world of economics. And within economics we need a basic understanding of engineering. By means of this scholarship my intention has been to support those who want to step forward and build bridges between industry and the economy. It is important to work on this both in-depth and horizontally,’ Rune Andersson said.
”I am convinced you are a good investment”
He recommended the new scholarship holders should look to Asia.
‘It is essential that more of us study in Asia. The Asian countries are now much more useful for the young generation to get to know. But I hope you find an education that you enjoy. I am convinced you are a good investment – for both myself and for Chalmers,’ the experienced entrepreneur and financier said.
The leaders of the future
Chalmers president & CEO Karin Markides, emphasised the importance of the scholarship and thanked the scholarship holders for having the initiative to apply.
‘Not only does the scholarship provide an extra dimension to your careers, it can serve as an inspiration for the students who succeed you. Those elements with which you are now building up your skills will make you the leaders of the future. That is something that Rune Andersson understands,’ Karin Markides said.
She took the opportunity to pass on greetings from Xinhao Xu, who received the Rune Andersson Scholarship in 2009, and who she met recently in Washington.
Then it was time for the year’s main players to step up and receive their diplomas and bouquets and deliver their own short speeches of thanks.
Inspiring example for women
Lillian Ong has a master’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Chalmers. She has maintained contact with the university through the years and is now aiming for an MBA.
‘I feel extremely grateful and very humble over receiving the scholarship. It gives me great pleasure to be back in Göteborg and Chalmers after 13 years,’ Lillian Ong said.
Her thank you speech included some words on the importance of women providing good examples in business life.
‘I hope I shall be able to contribute and provide an inspiring example for women,’ she said.
Wanted to build spaceships
Patricia Conceicao De Morais left Chalmers with a master’s degree in 2006 and is planning to take her MBA in London. Her speech of thanks was relaxed and informal:
‘I had no desire to be an astronaut, I wanted to build the spaceship! Looking back I have not actually sent anyone out into space, but I have contributed to increasing the number of mobile telephones in the world,’ she said, referring to her long experience with telecom giant, Ericsson.
She now intends to broaden her horizons beyond the telecom world and is thinking about starting her own company.
‘I’m happy and pleased that Chalmers is willing to help me some of the way,’ Patricia Conceicao De Morais said.
Tomasz Matuszczyk was already an experienced entrepreneur when he left Chalmers in 2008 as a newly-fledged civil engineer in information technology. He is the man behind the greatly admired online booking service called Tablefinder. These past years he has helped to develop Spain’s answer to Facebook – Tuenti – into one of the country’s largest social meeting places.
‘I chose between Chalmers and the School of business, economics and law when I was 18, and decided to fulfil my passion for building things. The knowledge I obtained at Chalmers enabled me to start my first company,’ said Tomasz in his speech of thanks.
His next step is to study for his MBA in the USA
‘This scholarship will give me the opportunity to realise a lifelong dream. I believe that technology will change the world and eventually wipe out poverty,’ Tomasz Matuszczyk said.
Awarded for the seventh time
This year the Rune Andersson Scholarship was awarded for the seventh time. In total, Andersson has donated twelve million kronor to a scholarship bearing his name at Chalmers. The scholarship has been made accessible for continued studies in economics or law to those holding a degree from Chalmers and with some years’ experience of working life.
Most scholarship winners – an exclusive group of 22 persons – have elected to extend their Chalmers education with an MBA abroad.
Each scholarship is for 500,000 kronor.
Text: Michael Nystås
Photo: Jan-Olof Yxell
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China, here we come!
After 18 months intensive work it is finally time for the chalmerists to take Halo, their solar energy powered house, to China.
On the 29th of April the final nail was driven into the house, which is now being dismantled and packed in containers for its ocean voyage to Datong in mid-May.
‘It’s fantastic to see how the students are putting body and soul into this project,’ said project manager Malin Kjellberg.
One chilly afternoon just before Walpurgis Night, Chalmers Solar Decathlon-team Halo Sweden put on a mingle event in the building project tent on Campus Johanneberg. Canapés and guided tours of the finished competition entry for the international student competition Solar Decathlon were on the program.
Mats Viberg: Now we’re changing up a gear!
Chalmers first vice president Mats Viberg was present on site.
‘We have learnt a lot from Formula Student. But now we’re changing up a gear. You can park a good many formula cars in this house,’ he said during his brief welcome speech.
Viberg took this opportunity to thank the sponsors:
‘Without you this would not have been possible’ he said.
To wild applause from the public, and along with student Josua Smedberg, he then hammered a symbolic nail into the house wall to mark the finalising of the building project.
‘I haven’t hammered in a nail since I put up my dissertation,’ he quipped.
Many aspects to consider
The project is so big that students have their own project manager for the practical building work; Shea Hagy. Malin Kjellberg has acted as university project manager for Halo Sweden since January.
‘There have been many aspects to consider, and there is still a lot to learn, because this is the first time Chalmers has participated in a Solar Decathlon. It is important to learn from our experiences in this project and see how these can be implemented in our education courses,’ Malin Kjellberg said.
The Halo project lies close to her heart and she is very pleased over the intense interest exhibited by the students – this bodes well for the future, she says.
‘The students get a chance to combine everything they have learnt during their first year at Chalmers. It’s fantastic to watch them put so much soul into this project. They are ambitious and always finish what they begin. It will be very exciting to see how they perform in China,’ Malin Kjellberg said.
Electric bicycle equipped with camera will document on site
In the throng we found Sven Hagnell, marketing manager for Gaze-Bike, a company selling electric bicycles and now sponsoring Halo Sweden with a bicycle.
‘This is especially piquant considering our bikes are made in China. We brought one back to Göteborg, smartened it up and are sending it over together with the house,’ Sven Hagnell said.
Once in China the intention is for the bicycle to be fitted with a camera and show pictures on the Internet.
Going along to Datong
V-technologists Linus Appelgren and Henrik Erlandsson took the opportunity to test ride the electric bicyle. Both are taking the Structural Engineering and Building technology masters’ program, and are two of the chalmerists going along to Datong.
‘This is very exciting. There are still many challenges ahead, but I think we have come a long way,’ Henrik Erlandsson said.
Text and photo: Michael Nystås
Read more about and follow developments on the Halo site and blog >>>
Watch the Halo walk-thru movie >>>
Film from the construction site >>>
Several of this year’s Sievert Larsson scholarship holders met with Chalmers students involved in various homework tutoring projects at the House of William Chalmers last Friday.
They were thanked for their activities over the past year with traditional Christmas mulled wine, ginger biscuits and coffee.
”This is really fun to do. Those who turn to us are always very grateful. And as a homework assistant the rewards are plain to see,” said Christoffer Olsson, a project veteran.
Chalmers run several homework tutoring projects aimed at secondary and upper secondary school pupils. This includes both field work and activities on Chalmers premises. Upper secondary pupils are welcome at the Chalmers library where they receive help to reasoning out solutions to difficult problems.
On Friday it was time to thank the homework tutors for their activities over the past year. Anna Näsbom, temporary head of the Communications and marketing department at Chalmers, invited the tutors to an informal Christmas coffee get together at the House of William Chalmers on Södra Hamngatan.
The library, that lends out its premises to the homework tutors, was represented by department head Annelie Janred.
Instructive and fun
Madeleine Appert is project manager for the fieldwork section of the homework tutoring project, together with architect student Wenxuan Zhang. Madeleine is now in her second year of a degree in information technology.
She has acted as project manager since last spring when she was asked to take over from Tabassum Jahan.
”It ‘s very instructive and great fun to work with youngsters in this way. There’s the constant opportunity to start up new collaborations with different schools. Homework tutoring is something that I feel to be very worthwhile. That’s a very generous reward,” said Madeleine.
She looks after this work alongside her studies, as do all other students involved in the homework tutoring project.
”You find the time if you plan well enough,” said Madeleine, who intends to continue with the project at least until the end of the spring term.
As project manager she understands the importance of the collaboration between Chalmers and the secondary schools.
”It is difficult to reach out unless the schools are involved. We try to attend parent meetings at the beginning of term and spread information about what we do,” said Madeleine.
Eager to make more young people better at maths
David Hammarsten is reading architecture and helping secondary school pupils with their homework. So far he has been at Sandeklevsskolan and the International English School in Göteborg.
”I have always liked teaching, so it was very natural for me to join the homework tutoring project when I was looking for something to involve myself with as well as my studies,” explained David.
He emphasised that this is not just about being a human answer book for those requiring homework help. The children should understand the problem and build on that ability.
”If you take it easy and write down what you know, you can often solve more difficult problems than you thought you were capable of. It’s all about self-confidence,” said David.
In tangible terms, David gets to see how many pupils return week after week to learn more. His driving force is his eagerness to make more better at maths:
”I’m really keen to make more youngsters better at maths. I’m sure the present situation can be improved. I like maths as a subject, it’s important and I am aware of how useful it is in my everyday life.”
A true veteran
Morgan Berglund and Christoffer Olsson help upper secondary school pupils with maths every week at the Chalmers library. Both are reading the Industrial Design master’s program. Morgan got involved with the homework tutoring last autumn and intends to continue into the spring.
”I enjoy helping people,” he said.
Christoffer is one of the veterans of the project and now in his third year:
”At least,” he laughed, and went on:
”It is very entertaining and those attending are very grateful for our help. The rewards of being a homework tutor are very great,” said Christoffer.
Three Sievert Larsson scholarship holders in place
The House of William Chalmers Christmas gathering was attended by three talented Thai master’s students who have obtained Sievert Larsson scholarships in recent years. Irin Manurasada is the most recent. She won her scholarship in 2012 and began her masters studies in Software Engineering last autumn.
”The scholarship means a lot to me. It gives me an opportunity to develop my knowledge within the IT field. Additionally, it is a great advantage to work in a close relationship with commercial life. That makes studies particularly interesting,” said Irin.
She comes from Bangkok and enjoys Göteborg and Sweden.
”The weather is not quite so cold as I had expected,” she revealed.
Still at Chalmers after getting the degree
Nutvadee Wongtosrad was one of the first to receive a Sievert Larsson scholarship when this was founded in 2010. She stayed on at Chalmers after obtaining her master’s in Engineering Mathematics and Computational Science. Last autumn she worked as a guest researcher with the system biology group under professor Jens Nielsen.
”But I’m leaving at the end of the year. I hope to get a position in Stockholm,” Nutvadee told us.
She has enjoyed studying at Chalmers:
”It has been very nice. Nice but cold!”
Degree work at SIK
Tawan Thammasunthorn won a scholarship in 2011 and will be taking a master’s in Biotechnology this summer. The degree work begins in January and is to be conducted at The Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology (SIK).
”The work takes six months. Then I will see what happens. I shall look for a job, but I don’t know whether I’ll end up in Sweden or abroad,” said Tawan.
Photo: Michael Nystås
For more about homework assistance at Chalmers (in Swedish) >>>
For more about the Sievert Larsson scholarship >>>