How did you end up in Gothenburg?
I was always interested in innovation and the technologies behind it, and I wanted to be involved in the startup scene myself. Sweden has a strong reputation for being actively involved in investment into technologies and innovation growth. Across multiple forums and online sources, the Swedish startup scene is highly ranked around the world. I was interested in learning software engineering and searched for such a bachelor’s programme but most were only available in Swedish or in English but for the Master’s level, so it happened by chance that I came across the Software Engineering and Management Bachelor’s programme in English at the University of Gothenburg. I did more research into the curriculum as well as about Gothenburg, and then I decided it was suitable, so I took the risk, having not been to Sweden before.
Tell us about your start-up?
In April 2019 there was a hackathon held in Stockholm. A group of classmates and I decided to participate. We reached out to the professors and said that we wanted to represent the University. After working on different ideas, we had the idea of Vattn, a dashboard were you can monitor ground water and identify if it is polluted or not. The jury liked the idea and we won the gold prize in our category. After that, my team members and I decided to set up the company and I have been working on it since then. It’s my first start-up company, so it is quite an exciting time for me.
Have you spotted differences and similarities between Singapore and Sweden?
A factor that appealed to me was the safety standards of Sweden being similar to Singapore, as well as both countries being heavily digitally reliant, which to me is convenient since operating from just a laptop or mobile makes me feel very adaptable to any surroundings. The lifestyle is similar to what I am used to. Something that I learned that it was quite interesting is that Swedes start living on their own really early. But for the most part it is quite similar, even the system with the personal ID number. We have something really similar in Singapore.
Any differences regarding studying?
I would say the biggest difference I noticed in terms of studying in Sweden compared to my home country and most traditional universities has to do with the curriculum. Usually, at most universities, a student has to handle multiple courses, such as 6 or more, concurrently across a semester, which means the learning process is very difficult as your interests and focus would constantly have to fluctuate between the different courses. Whereas in Sweden, I really like the pedagogical approach, a semester is divided into several study periods and each study period only has about 2 courses. This allows for more focus on each course specifically, making the understanding and learning objectives better for gaining knowledge and that’s one of the things I like.
Suggestions to students that are thinking about applying to a programme?
Think it through thoroughly. Is it a field you are interested in? You might not necessarily have to be good with it initially as your determination to learn will see you through, but only if you are actually interested in it. Following that thought process, are there industries and career options based on that field that you can see yourself being involved in? Finally, as with all choices, everything can be a calculated risk, so if you weigh the benefits and drawbacks, that should help.
Favourite spot in Gothenburg?
Either Stenpiren or Slottsskogen. There is just something calming about sitting by Stenpiren and chilling to the cool coastal breeze. As for Slottskogen, it is a very refreshing place in tune with nature and animals to see! It also gets very active and lively when there are festivals or events ongoing.
Which song best describes your student experience?
I have faced a lot of obstacles and experiences personally for better or worse, but I view them all overall as a positive to developing and growing my character and capabilities. A song that best represents this would be: Can't Hold Us – Macklemore for the ups and downs on the beat and the positive message of the lyrics. You just got to keep going!
Written by Zuleica, Student Content Team