The Winter Study Period (HT2-2017)

Posted in: LiU on 21 January, 2018 by Sharan

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My second study period at LiU was eventful, to say the least. We studied three courses in a relatively short duration of time.

The first one was Project Management. What I liked most about this course is that we learned most of the Project Management (PM) tools such as  SWOT analysis, Resource matrix, Gantt Scheduling and much more by practicing while working on a project. The task was to remodel a basement and convert it into an apartment. The budget was set along with other defined pre-requisites. Each group had to prepare a project plan and present it using all the PM tools. the group sessions were productive as we could interact with the professors. We also had our Introduction to MS Project, where we fed in our activity list to generate the Gantt Chart and Resource and cost allocation figures.

The next course was Polymer Materials. This was a straightforward theoretical course with an interesting lab session which I described in one of my previous posts. We also had another assignment where we were required to using the Cambridge Engineering Selector (CES) software to suggest a suitable material for a given application. If I do, get into the materials field of expertise, I am sure I will use this software quite often. Overall this course was well structured with concise but informative lectures, which makes it easy to learn.

Last but not the least was Introduction to Computational Mechanics, which I mentioned in my previous post as the most challenging course I have ever studied to date. I suppose what made it difficult was the pace with which we have to cope up. There were four lab assignments where we had to solve Finite Element Problems using ANSYS and MATLAB. So this meant a lot of hours at the computer lab. Preparing for the examination was also quite a task since we had to grasp many topics. I suppose it would have been better if I had my foundation strong for this particular course. But all in all lot of lessons learned and experiences to grow from.

Looking forward to the next semester where I have now get to study my elective courses.




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Don’t stop at what. Ask why!

Posted in: General on 14 January, 2018 by Sharan

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I have just finished my exams for Autumn semester and as I had been studying hard for the past 20 days or so, there were some frustrating days. The cause for this was me not being able to study enough to be prepared well for the exams. At this level of my education, the going will get tough at times as it might be difficult to comprehend the academic content completely. Some of my friends are able to study the night before and score enough points on the test to pass. Unfortunately, I am not gifted with such quick grasping ability. But even if I did, I know now that I should avoid such type of preparation. We don’t really learn a lot from the so-called “crash courses” do we?

I had an epiphany a few nights before the final exam of the semester which was for Computational Mechanics. It is by far the toughest course I have ever come across. Though I started to prepare well within time, I struggled on certain days to make progress. I then skipped through some of the chapters that I found difficult. Imagine a computer system, gathering a lot of data, but unable to process it. That analogy pretty much explains what was happening in my mind. It got to a point such that I lost interest after hours of staring at notes full of matrices, calculus, and Greek symbols. For motivation, I watched a few interviews with people I look up to like Elon Musk, Bill Gates and so on. That was when I had the epiphany!

As a student who is genuinely interested in what I am studying, I should be learning for knowledge and not just for test scores. I realized that this is where I am not doing it quite right.  It’s easy to get caught up in the exam fever and lose sight of the bigger picture. You tend to scroll through sections of the course without understanding completely or even thinking twice about the concepts. This is now a recognized area of improvement within me: Learning for knowledge and not for test scores. Stop and ask or think why is it the way it is. When you do get that answer, you will understand much better and that is one the rewarding experiences of learning. It will of course take much more time but then those books full of matrices, calculus and Greek symbols don’t look so complicated when you break them down. That is when your system will be able to fill the gaps and process the data into useful information.




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Opening a Student Bank Account in Sweden

Posted in: Practical Info on 23 December, 2017 by Sharan

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Opening a bank account is a quite a hassle for a student here especially when you are from outside Europe. If you are new in Sweden, the process can be quite lengthy so bear with me as I explain the procedure.

One of the first things you need to do upon arrival in Sweden is to apply for a Swedish personnummer (personal identity number). You can apply at the tax office or “Skatteverket” as it is called here. In Linköping, the tax agency is located on Kungsgatan. The documents that you need to produce here are your passport, Residence Permit card (Visa) and proof of residential address. If you have booked accommodation through student bostäder, the housing contract will serve as your proof of address.

The people at the tax office will help you in English and help you fill the form to apply for the Swedish ID. Once you have applied, you have to wait for around two weeks, sometimes longer, depending on the number of applicants. Then, you will get a letter from the office with your Swedish ID after which, you have to pay another visit to the tax office with this letter. Now you are required to make a payment of 400 SEK at Forex Bank which is two blocks away. As commision, the bank charges 50 SEK extra so you have to pay a total of 450 SEK. After the payment, you submit your biometrics (photo, height, signature etc) at the tax office. And again, you wait for around two weeks. You will get a letter or an SMS stating that your Swedish ID card can now be collected after a final visit to the tax office.

Once you have your Swedish ID, you are eligible to apply for a bank account. The major banks in Sweden are SEB, Nordea, Danske Bank, Handelsbanken and Swedbank. But opening an account in these banks are quite tedious. Few banks have a waiting period just to apply. For example, SEB gives you an appointment date two months after you enquire, to open an account. They also charge around 30 SEK per month for service and bank card. Danske, however, does not charge any fee for students. After enquiring in all these banks, I applied at Danske Bank. The application process was quite tedious here as well, after which you are again made to wait as they conduct a background check based on the details you have filled. I waited for two months without any avail.

The most student-friendly bank I found here was ICA Banken. I strongly suggest that you choose this bank as this will save you a lot of time and effort. All you need to do is log on to their website and apply for a student account. Fill in your basic details and upload soft copies of the specified documents. After two working days, you will receive a mail, where you just have to sign the acknowledgement and post it back to them in the envelope which is also enclosed. There charge no fee whatsoever. You don’t even need to pay for the post as it is already paid by the bank. Just drop it at a convenience store like Direkten. A few days later, you will get the bank card by mail again with a receipt with which you have to go to Direkten again to collect your Security Box. The package you receive will have instructions on how to activate your account and bank card. After that, you are good to go!

For me, it took four months to just open an account because of all these procedures. But hopefully, this post provides some clarity and you won’t take as long as I did to open an account.




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Christmas Lights

Posted in: Life in Sweden on 20 December, 2017 by Sharan

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I heard about the “Vinter Stad i ljus” in downtown Linköping where they fill the streets with bright attractive lights. We picked a snowy Saturday evening to go downtown and witness the atmosphere. Because of the lack of physical activity, a few like-minded friends decided to walk instead of taking the bus. We took the route which goes through the woods. We stopped by a boot camp along the way to play in the snow and took a few snaps.

Saluting mother nature in our own way I suppose!


It takes about an hour to walk from Ryd to Stora Target. This walk was particularly enjoyable because of the snowfall. This was the view of the illuminated Cathedral from just outside the town’s library.

The white snow, lit streets and the dark sky was a great combination!

Striking a few poses at Stora Target

The bridge crossing Kinda Canal

The reindeer and Christmas trees in front of the central station

That way a nice way to spend a Saturday evening, walking through the tranquil woods to see the festive atmosphere in town. More to come from Norrköping next week!

The Photo credits go to my buddy, Harivinay Varadaraju.




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Overcoming Homesickness

Posted in: Life in Sweden on 17 December, 2017 by Sharan

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It’s that festive time of the year when everyone is spending time with family. Unfortunately, for a bunch of us, our homes are located halfway across the world and we can’t afford to travel back and forth. So its easy to get gloomy here in Sweden when it’s cold and dark most of the time. Students from outside Europe have been away from home for a relatively long time now and this is the time when homesickness is most likely to kick in. But not for me. Yes, of course, I miss home immensely but there are things that help me overcome homesickness.

My “West Block”

 This is a picture of the west wall of my room. I have decorated it with a scarf of my beloved football club, Bengaluru FC, there’s a cool poster of my favourite rock band, Pink Floyd, which was gifted by my former colleagues and a photo collage which captures many memorable moments with my best friends in college. The guitar is a Fender acoustic that I bought here in Linköping. I pick it up and play every now and then. The sheets of my bed are from my old bedroom in Bangalore. So just turning to this side of my room can lift me up!

Supplies from home

Ah, Junk food! My parents sent me a package recently with all these yummy stuff! That was a lot of spice and sweetness that I had been missing. Lays Magic Masala and Mom’s home-made sweets are tough to beat!

Cooking mom’s recipes

It’s not the same but it’s close enough. I managed to cook some of my mom’s recipes. It tasted delicious! More importantly, it tasted like home.

Spending time with my dear sister and baby niece

In this day and age, technology makes distances shorter and I make the most of it. Video calls from home are heartwarming. My new life here is filled with experiences and I embrace every one of them but these are few of the things that keep me sane.





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Sharan Sargur

Sharan Sargur
Hello there! I am Sharan, a passionate Masters student, pursuing Mechanical Engineering. I have come all the way from Bengaluru, India not just to study but also to explore. Watch this space where I will be sharing all my exciting experiences in Sweden. Cheers!

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