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Intern Abroad

Kategorie: ‘Sweden’

Writing a master thesis at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg

October 31st, 2023 | by
  • Chemical Engineering M.Sc.
  • Sweden, Gothenburg
  • Chalmers tekniska högskola
  • 04/2023 – 09/2023

Application/Finding an internship

The interest of going abroad was raised in a presentation of my home institute AVT, when they presented their different possibilities for exchange programs in other countries. And since I still wanted to live in another country for a period and improve my English skills, I haven chosen for Sweden. Sounds weird in the first place because Sweden is not officially an English-speaking country. However, I knew that almost all Sweds can fluently speak English. Therefore, I applied at AVT for the exchange of writing my master thesis at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. The exchange between AVT and Chalmers is not a typical type of exchange program that is embedded officially in a Erasmus+ program, but more an agreement between both AVT and the Energy Technology Division of Chalmers. After a while I received feedback from AVT that I can go there in Summer 2023.

Deers in my backyard.
© Jannik Bothe

However, since the Professor of Chalmers, who has organized the exchange in the past, has left to another University, I had to apply informally to one of the professors at the Energy Technology Division. I then sent my application to a professor who luckily accepted me as well and so the first step of organizing my exchange was done.

Accomodation & Living expenses

As I already read that finding a good accommodation for a reasonable price can be difficult in Gothenburg, I immediately started to queue in for student housing at the student union. For Chalmers, there are the SGS and Chalmers Studentbostäder, which both offers single and shared rooms for students for low prices. However, the queues are extraordinarily long so that normally students must wait for more than one year to get the chance of renting such an accommodation. Therefore, the hope was not too high to get such a chance, and in December 2022 the hope was completely gone as I heard from my Professor at Chalmers that I won’t be enrolled as a student at Chalmers during my exchange. Unfortunately, Chalmers changed some of their regulations for exchange students that are not in an official exchange program, so that officially I was at Chalmers just as an intern. And interns can’t apply for student housing.

The tropical house in Universeum.
© Jannik Bothe

I then started to search for private accommodation on housinganywhere.com and eventually got lucky with a room in a shared flat with three other people. Housinganywhere is a platform designed for exchange students coming from other countries. When renting a room or an apartment, the first rent is paid to Housinganywhere, and they are sending it to the landlord. In any case something went wrong, or one is fooled by the landlord, Housinganywhere will give you the money back for the first rent, which gave me a good feeling since I had to rent this room without visiting the house or seeing the room in advance.

The room was fully furnished and around 16 m² big. Together with three other students I shared the ground floor with them. We had a very nice and well-equipped kitchen and a – I would say – pretty nature-like garden. It was not a typical student house with many flat, but more a house, which might be built and used by a family in the past. The house was in very calm housing estate in the south-east of Gothenburg called Lunden. In total, my room was 6000 SEK per month, which was around 530 € at that time.

The living cost are generally higher in Sweden than in Germany. However, prices were not that high as I expected them before I came since the prices in Germany for example in the supermarkets got already high due to inflation. In total, I would say that living expenses were around 20 % higher compared to Germany.

Seeing moos in Slottsskogen park.
© Jannik Bothe

Everyday life/ the internship

After arrival, I went to the university the day after and was kindly welcomed by my new colleagues at the division. My supervisor showed me everything important at the division and has already organized me a desk in advance. From then on, I started to dive into my project with reading into literature and defining the scope. I had the possibility to work from home. However, since the working atmosphere was nice, I went to the division almost every day. Therefore, my every-day-life was more like a typical working-life with a good structure. And since I did not have to take any other courses, I had enough time during the week so that I had not to work on weekends during the whole period of my exchange and was still good in time. In general, I must say that the support my supervisors at Chalmers and my supervisor from AVT was excellent. I never had the problem of not making progress or going into a completely wrong direction. I also have to say that the colleagues of the Division of Energy Technology at Chalmers are so kind and helpful. Everyone offered my help in any case, and I always felt welcome there.

Seeing one of hundreds of lakes during a hike around Gothenburg.
© Jannik Bothe

Free time/tips

For me, free time was highly influenced by the people I me there. Due to my flat mates, I already had a group of people who I shared my free time with. We often were out for a BBQ or on parties, enjoyed the nature or city together or just hang out. Besides spending time with my friends, I enjoyed nature either while running or hiking in the woods. Around Gothenburg there are mainly two long hiking paths called Bohusleden and Gotaleden, which I can highly recommend to everyone who loves nature. The track can be found online, but navigation along the track is not needed since there are sings every 100 meters. Besides hiking, Gothenburg itself offers many possibilities to spend time. My favorite places were the park Slottsskogen where you can see Moos, Kafé Magasinet (delicious pizza & beer), Universeum and Liseberg. Additionally, one should look out for concerts which might take place during the stay. In the stadium Ullevi, many great artists show concerts, and I visited Coldplay there, which was breathtaking. Below, you can find some impressions of my free time in Gothenburg.

Conclusion

Coldplay concert at Ullevi.
© Jannik Bothe

Summarized, the stay in Gothenburg was a very nice experience and a good way to end my whole student life. Even though I sometimes missed my friends and family, I enjoyed my time there, met and got nice friends and can always remember back with a smile on my face. I can recommend Sweden and particularly Gothenburg to everyone who wants to make a new experience outside Germany.

Writing a Master’s thesis in Sweden

October 6th, 2023 | by
  • Business, Economics and Management M.Sc.
  • Sweden, Västerås
  • Scandinavian Real Heart
  • 04/2023 – 09/2023

Application

First, a little context: In addition to my Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on R&D, Production and MedTech, I enrolled in the Business, Economics and Management M.Sc. programme at RWTH Aachen University. In order to wrap up my time at university, I was looking for an opportunity to write a Master’s thesis. Since I had already spent some time abroad for my Bachelor’s thesis, I wanted to dive headfirst into a new adventure. Preferably at a company with an interesting product. As luck would have it, a research assistant friend of mine knew of my ambitions and pointed me to an posting on LinkedIn where a company was looking for a student. I updated my CV, spent some more time refining it, and applied via the company’s homepage. I had my interview and was accepted. Officially, I was an intern there and not enrolled as a student at a university. This is important because it meant I could hardly take advantage of the benefits that Erasmus or Swedish students get.

If you are looking for an internship or a thesis, institutes are a good place to start because they often work with companies or at least are in contact with some. In my experience, research assistants and lecturers are happy to help or guide you if you approach them in a friendly way.

Accommodation and Living expenses:

After spending about six months here, I can say that Sweden was expensive for me. The company is located in Vasteras, an hour’s drive west of Stockholm. I would estimate that the cost of living in Sweden is the same or up to 20% higher than in Germany. However, this is highly seasonal and depends on where in Sweden you are and your standard of living. In addition, wages are lower in comparison. This is due to the non-financial and social benefits that Swedes, and Swedish students in particular, receive. You should always ask for student discounts as they exist in most places.

Although I was offered help with finding accommodation, this was not very successful. Good places to look for rooms or flats are blocket.se, facebook market place or facebook groups. There you have a good chance of finding an affordable flat. Facebook market places and second-hand shops are also a good way to buy things you need.

It is important to know that Sweden is striving to become cashless.Some places don’t even accept cash and I personally haven’t used it once.For a Swedish bank account, you need a personalised number issued by the government, which might be hard to get if you stay less than a year.The Swedish equivalent to paypal, which is rarely found in Sweden, is called Swish.Most Swedes use it and you can even pay in shops with it.Unfortunately, it must be linked to a Swedish bank account. Make sure you can pay cashless and in Swedish kronor.

Everyday life/internship

I arrived in Sweden in April and stayed until September. There were about 15 full-time employees at the company’s headquarters in Vasteras. Most of them came from all over the world and it was fun to get to know and work with them. Typically, hierarchies in Sweden can be rather flat, so I got to know everyone and the atmosphere was fantastic. I was also introduced to the concept of fika, which are short breaks where you sit together and typically drink coffee and eat the famous cinnamon buns while talking about anything but work. I think that’s something I want to incorporate into my life in the future.

One slightly strange thing I didn’t know is that Swedes take four weeks off during summer, usually in July and August, which meant that I was the only team member in the office most of the time during those months.

Especially in these summer months, people spend a lot of time outside when the sun hardly sets. However, it took some time to get used to the excessive daylight hours. The sun set at 11pm on average and rose again at 3am in early summer. Since it doesn’t really get dark at night, more than once I woke up at 4am thinking I had to get up and go to work, only to find that I still had plenty of time to sleep. This gives you plenty of time to explore the surroundings. Although public transport is good in Sweden, many people walk or cycle in the cities. I highly recommend getting a bike and locking it up. For more exploring, you should either look for a bus or train connection.

Free time/tips

During my stay in Sweden I was very busy, so I spent most of my time either in the city or in Stockholm. I can only speak for the summer time, which is the best time to stay in Sweden according to the locals. If you like nature and exercise, you’ll get your money’s worth. You can do everything here: Hiking, cycling, kayaking, fishing, swimming, camping and much more.

There are many places to visit and weekend trips are a great way to see different towns and parts of the country. There are many Facebook groups you can join to find things to do. If you want to go out to eat, the lunch deals that most restaurants offer are a good and cheap option. I tried a lot of venues this way without breaking the bank. The Highlights for me where the midsummer bonfire, the northern lights and the nearby lake.

Conclusion

I enjoyed my time in Sweden. Since almost everyone speaks fluent English, you don’t have any problems communicating. I learned a bit of Swedish using an app and other resources. Which was fun because it’s very similar to German and English for me. I spent a lot of time outside and had a blast. But there are also some downsides. First, almost everything is expensive, and at least for me, the quality for what you get is not really up to par. Especially on a small budget, this can affect your time in Sweden and limit the options you have. Fresh produce is expensive and the quality and quantity was really lacking for me at times. The same goes for going out. Although Vasteras is one of the biggest cities in Sweden, it feels more like a small town. Depending on what you are looking for, you might be really disappointed. If you want to have a drink, you will also quickly find out that alcohol is very expensive. You can usually only buy it in special shops that close at 6 pm.

Overall, you should inform yourself about what you are getting yourself into. There is a lot of information to find out if Sweden is right for you. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot.

My experiences in Sweden – enriching on a professional and personal level

January 9th, 2023 | by
  • Construction and Robotics M.Sc.
  • Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Volvo Group
  • March 2022 – December 2022

 

My decision to seek out an internship abroad was motivated primarily by the opportunity for professional growth. I was motivated to join my host institution- Volvo group in the department of Volvo trucks, for digital and flexible manufacturing plant, for several reasons: Firstly, it is a completely international organization, bringing together diverse collaborations between researchers from all over the world. I was very excited to gain diverse, international, and interdisciplinary perspectives on manufacturing and computer vision as I believed this could offer me a new kind of comprehension of global opportunities. I was also looking forward to building connections with colleagues from my host institute and experiencing first-hand how they approached their work and how their daily working life looked like. Secondly, the fact that the institute was in Gothenburg, Sweden appealed to me as I felt that the new context could offer me unique insights into the research field of Digital productions in real scale industry.

On a personal level, I also believed doing my internship abroad could provide me with the challenge and room for growth offered by new and different surroundings and the opportunity to meet new people. I knew Gothenburg has a beautiful historical center and I was excited to explore the architecture and history of the city. After several months of lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I found the prospect of new experiences especially energizing and fulfilling.

During my internship I was entrusted with a research project on Computer vison for overhead cameras and AGVs and received the opportunity to work as a researcher with doctorate students and professors from Chalmers University, Gothenburg. Research projects provided me with extremely enriching and fulfilling experiences, in which I learned even more than I could have imagined.

Within the scope of the multiple projects, I explored different methodologies to be able to quantify effectiveness of ARTags- Apriltags, ArucoTags considering light effects, occlusions, speed of detection and tracking. This entailed discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each tags with my team members, critically reviewing and presenting about previous research and learning to practically apply the methods. I worked on strategies for image fusion from multiple cameras and segmentation models as well as computer vision for distributed systems.

Besides cultivating fundamental research competencies, I also developed various soft skills. I cultivated professional and communication skills by interacting with colleagues on a daily basis and working closely together with team members. In doing so, I learned a great amount from my colleagues and their experiences. I both received the opportunity to hold presentations but could also attend lectures given by my colleagues to directly learn from them how to communicate ideas and research findings in an optimized way. I also learned when it was important to ask for help from others and became more confident in taking initiative and contributing my own ideas to the project. By juggling between different tasks and projects, I was able to improve my time management skills and set priorities to become more organized. This also helped me to optimize my work efficiency but also recognize my limits and learn to communicate if I wouldn’t be able to finish a task in the allotted time.

I very much appreciate the large amount of support I received from my host IAESTE and Volvo. I met with my supervisors at least twice a week, sometimes even more frequently and they took a lot of time to guide me and integrate me into the working group as much as possible. My supervisor also often asked me for my opinion and my ideas, which I cannot thank her enough for. Being able to voice my own thoughts and viewpoints proved to be an invaluable opportunity to self-sufficient and independent creative thinking.

Finding accommodation in Gothenburg was most likely one of the most difficult parts of my stay abroad. It was very difficult to find an apartment through online websites from Germany – most of them were in Swedish, many proved to be scams and non-existent and the rest were very expensive. My host institute and IAESTE Gothenburg helped me. My advice would be to start searching for accommodation as early as possible and ask for help from others who are living there.

All of my colleagues at the Volvo trucks are very welcoming and friendly, allowing me to feel completely included and happy during my time there. I gained the opportunity to meet and spend time with many new people. I learned a great amount from them and cherish the memories I have with them. I did get the chance to meet many local people outside of my internship and I was still able to explore a large amount of the city life and surrounding areas with my colleagues, which made me feel more connected to the place I was living in.

 © Gaurav Makwana

© Gaurav Makwana

In my free time, I would meet with friends from my work and explore the city. I enjoyed going on bike and scooter rides, exploring islands, visiting different historical sites, going to local cafes and restaurants to enjoy FIKA culture, finding the tastiest croissants and travelling to nearby cities or villages. Gothenburg is also close to the sea so I would strongly recommend to head down to all islands and go hiking and swimming there in some of the bluest cold waters you can find. I found the public transport system in Sweden to be very useful for short trips and affordable.

The living costs were in my experience higher in Gothenburg, as compared to Germany. I am therefore very grateful to Erasmus+ for giving me the opportunity to pursue an internship abroad and financially supporting me.

I attended an intercultural seminar and found this to be very helpful to get into a mindset that allows you to make the most out of your time abroad. It also teaches you that any difficulty or hardship that you face in the process can be a valuable learning opportunity. For these reasons, I would recommend it to other students, especially those who have never been abroad before or are looking to gain new insights and perspectives onto their upcoming journey.

My studies and previous research experiences provided me with foundational tools and background knowledge that I could draw from throughout my internship. By being able to apply these skills and competencies, I was able to strengthen and build on to them. This allowed me to cultivate essential research skills and grow confidence in putting them to practice.

Due to the rewarding and fulfilling experience I had during my internship, I feel highly motivated to pursue my studies and to maximize the insights I gain from my courses and professors. The experience also incentivized a future career in Computer vision and Digital manufacturing. Through my internship I realized how important it is to approach a digitalization topic from different angles and perspectives in order to fully understand it and to be able to implement efficient and safety policy measures aiming to mitigate the problems. This taught me how diverse the field can be and how important it is to think creatively and maintain an open mindset for learning from others, regardless of the stage you are in in your career. This reinforced and strengthened my motivation for pursuing a career in global Digitalization strategies.

In summary, while my expectations that I would learn a great amount about the field of Computer vision and develop professionally were fulfilled, my experience abroad also turned out to be very enriching on a personal level – far more than I had anticipated. During my time in Gothenburg, the new people I met, the unique and historical surroundings of the city and the positive and challenging experiences I was confronted with paved the way for growth and self-development. It also made me more open and adaptable to setbacks and helped shift my perspectives to ones in which I could more easily cope with and learn from mistakes.

I believe challenges during an experience abroad are inevitable but that they ultimately prove to be valuable learning opportunities. As eliminating them is not an option: to reduce problems, I believe it is important to plan as much as possible. In my opinion, however, it is more important to anticipate that unexpected outcomes, both good and bad, are bound to come your way and that the way you deal with them will shape your experience.

If you receive the opportunity to do an internship at the firm like Volvo for Research, I would highly recommend to grab the chance. Volvo for Research is a very open-minded and welcoming institution, tailored towards international cooperation. It is a place that fosters growth and openness. I am very thankful that I was able to spend my ten month internship there and would like to express my sincere gratitude to my supervisor and colleagues at the Volvo trucks, as well as to those at RWTH Aachen supporting the Erasmus+ traineeships abroad.

Go abroad. Go to Sweden.

December 13th, 2022 | by
  • Business Administration and Engineering: Materials and Process Engineering B.Sc.
  • Sweden, Helsingborg
  • RKW Sweden AB
  • April – October 2022

 

Ah, what a great summer…looking back now, it feels more like a big vacation than a semester of working. Maybe because I did so many great after- work activities, maybe because my internship itself was nice or maybe because now this time is over and it is winter in Germany. 🙂

I arrived in the middle of April and at first, things started off medium well. My room, rented by the company, was in the basement of a villa with quite a few alcoholics in the building. They were all nice to me, but this was something new and scary to me. Over time and with changing apartment mates it got better, but the first months were a bit hard because I did not feel at home there.  Here we already have a few learnings about Sweden; first, almost nobody in Sweden rents apartments, so rental websites are a bit weird and mostly people in unstable points of their lives or students rent apartments. Also, Sweden has super strict laws and crazy prizes when it comes to alcohol, you are for example not allowed to drink alcohol on the street.

Let’s get to a more fun topic, work 😉 For me, working at a Swedish location of a German company was great. The atmosphere was good, the people were really nice and everyone spoke English well. Another great thing about Sweden is, how far it is in all terms of equality. If I was a woman or a man, the site management or the little intern, I felt like everyone was equally important and valuable. This is not the case in all companies or countries and so it was very interesting to have the many times stressed and not so relaxed German part of the company in comparison to the Swedish part I was working at.

If you want to experience a great working atmosphere, try working in Sweden. 🙂

One thing about the chill atmosphere, which almost irritated me, was the amount of Fika (coffee breaks) they take. Sometimes 45 minutes per day made me feel a bit unproductive, but many of my colleagues there were very comfortable with that. Another thing I had heard about before, is the swedes awkwardness when it comes to small talk. My own experience was, that if you have any connection to the person, small talk is fine and they will be really nice. They won’t go out of their way for you, like speak English during the entire lunch because you don’t speak Swedish, but someone will try to integrate you a bit. If they don’t know you at all, they will try not to talk to you at all, in public for example.

I did have a bit of problems in the beginning to get involved socially, but through my hobby sailing, some colleagues and Facebook, things slowly picked up. Facebook is actually one of my biggest recommendations for anyone going to Sweden. If you are trying to rent an apartment, inform yourself on clubs or social groups. If you want to find friends, look there. What works really well is hiking groups. I found that the people there are usually very open, come from everywhere and on top of that you are exploring the area. What happened to me is that one girl saw one of my hiking plans in one group, texted me and we became friends. We even made a trip to Stockholm together in the last weeks of my time in Sweden!

Now let’s come to my specific Skåne recommendations:

© Kuhlmann, Selma

© Kuhlmann, Selma

-Kallbadhusets, beautiful saunas at the sea, where you can switch between bathing in the cold sea and sitting in the sauna. Very relaxing and not very expensive. (about the price for a cup of beer in Sweden;))

-Venn island in the middle of the Öresund, a beautiful place with fun yellow tandem bikes for exploring the nature.

-Kullaberg. An awesome hiking spot northern of Helsingborg.

-The bakery två systras in Helsingbog. They have a lot of awesome traditional Swedish Fikabröd like Kardemummabullar or Vaniljhjärta. My personal cake favorite: the Budapest.

-The Vasa museum in Stockholm. We were also a bit unsure of going because it does cost some money, but it was all worth it. Such an interesting and greatly made museum!

My conclusion: Go abroad. Go to Sweden. Start somewhere new. Learn more about yourself.

Building a metro tunnel under the city of Göteborg

November 15th, 2022 | by
  • Business Administration and Engineering: Civil Engineering M.Sc.
  • Göteborg, Sweden
  • Wayss & Freytag Ingenieurbau AG
  • 06.04.2022 – 07.10.2022

 

1. Application/Finding an internship
During the pandemic and especially the lockdown I decided that I want to do an internship abroad. A fellow student recommended me an internship with Wayss & Freytag Ingenieurbau AG in Göteborg, Sweden. Because I always wanted to explore the Scandinavian region, I knew that would be a great opportunity. After two video calls with the responsible site manager, I got the positive feedback to go there during the summer semester and directly applied for the Erasmus scholarship. For the internship I would recommend applying at least 3 months ahead. It is important that you apply for the Erasmus scholarship at least six weeks before the internship starts. For that scholarship you need to do an EU survey and an OLS language test. The most critical part is the Online Learning Agreement (OLA), where you need signatures from all parties involved.

2. Accommodation & Living expenses
The accommodation was provided by the company. It was a small but very well-equipped apartment in Frihamnen. Even though Frihamnen is on the northern site of the river, I liked the location because the city center is reachable within 10 min bike ride and the public transport is very good. The apartment complex is called ‘waterfront cabins’. They have long- and short-term renting. When visiters came from Germany, they could book them via Airbnb for an affordable price. Otherwise the living expenses are higher than back home. Especially living costs are from what I have heard quite high and for foreigners difficult to get. For renting an accommodation, Sweden is dividing into first and second hand contracts. As a foreigner you can only get second hand contracts, which basically means temporary sublease. The daily expenses are a bit higher, but obviously depends on where you go. For grocery stores I enjoyed going to Lidl. Not only for some German stuff, but also the price/performance is great. From my point of view going out is quite expensive. Clubs usually cost at least 200 SEK (= 20 €) entry fee. Also eating in restaurants or having some drinks in a bar is pricy. As a reference point: 0,4l beer costs in between 45-90 SEK. Again, it really depends on where you go.

3. Everyday life/ the internship
The German company Wayss & Freytag is building a metro tunnel under the city as part of the “West Link” (Västlänken) project in Göteborg. Västlänken is one of the biggest infrastructure projects in Scandinavia. During my internship I was stationed as a project engineer on the construction site in Liseberg. The tunnel line of this site is going to be around 300m long. One of the biggest difficulties is a river going through the construction pit, which makes a lot of heavy foundation works necessary. For that I was mainly supporting the site managers and sometimes the supervisors in the production. I was responsible for the short-term planning as well as different documentary and design tasks. The team I worked with was young and super friendly from the beginning. I got along with them very quickly and we started doing stuff after work and on the weekends immediately. That helped a lot to get along in a new country with a new language. Because the joint venture partner is a Swedish company (NCC), it was roughly 50% Swedish and 50% German speaking coworkers. That made the cultural exchange super interesting. I really enjoyed the work atmosphere with all the colleagues, even though the work attitude/ethic between German and Swedish people may differ. The company also organized afterworks or Friday-breakfasts on a regular basis. One highlight was the summer party. I think those events are helping a lot for team building purposes and gives you a different connection with your coworkers – besides it was very fun. 😉

4. Free time/tips
After work I usually did sports (paddle, running or boulder) with coworkers. During the warm summer months, we sometimes went for a swim in one of the beautiful lakes or the ocean. On the weekends I tried to explore the surroundings of Göteborg. Whether the archipelago near Göteborg or the stunning nature inland, there is so much to discover. Kayaking, hiking or go fishing were only a few activities. Some of my German colleagues started kite surfing or sailing. The opportunities of outdoor activities are just amazing. Göteborg as a city has everything you can imagine. There are clubs and bars, museums, parks and a lot of nice cafes. We often went to the street food market in Lindholmen for a ‘Fika’. If you are looking for a bar with affordable drinks, Tullen’s or Café Magazinete is recommendable. TaKeT is a rooftop bar with an amazing view over the river and one of my favorite places in a sunny afternoon. For weekend excursions, Göteborg is located in a triangle between Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm. All three destinations are reachable within 4 hours drive. There is a fast Flixtrain connection to Swedens capital. For Copenhagen and Oslo distance buses are recommended, as they are usually cheaper than train connections. One of the biggest highlights was spending traditional Midsummer in a Swedish summer house. The amount of daylight in the summer was an excellent experience.

 

© Johannes Bennewitz

© Johannes Bennewitz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Conclusion
In summary, I can say that I absolutely benefited from the internship in many ways. Not only to getting to know the Scandinavian culture and the way of how a big infrastructure project works, but I also made a lot of new friends. For me personally I loved Göteborg as well as the Swedish nature and I will certainly be going there many more times in the future. I can highly recommend the internship program at Wayss & Freytag and I’m proud to be part of the Västlänken project.

 

My experiences in Sweden

July 19th, 2022 | by
  • Electrical Engineering M.Sc.
  • Sweden, Linköping
  • Ionautics AB
  • 02/2022 – 06/2022

 

In the following I will report about my internship abroad with Erasmus+ in Sweden, which I conducted in the 4th semester of my Master’s studies in Electrical Engineering.

Preparation and search for an internship

Before I started my internship, I already did an Erasmus study semester in Stockholm at the KTH. Therefore, my start in the internship was probably very

© Max Renner

© Max Renner

different to most other people who come directly from their home country, because I was living in Stockholm already since August 2021. My studies ended in January 2022. However, I wanted to stay longer than half a year and for that an internship was the perfect possibility, since it is a mandatory part of my Master’s studies anyway. So, in January, shortly before the Erasmus studies ended, I began looking for an internship. Very important to know about internships in Sweden is that they normally do not exist in the form they do in Germany. Most companies only offer Master’s thesis opportunities and internships only during the summer months in a fixed context. Internships in the normal working schedule as they are usual in Germany are rare. I also sent a couple of speculative applications to companies, but the feedback was very sparse. In the end I managed to find an internship by contacting my professors from KTH, one of whom referred me to a professor who held a guest lecture in that course. He had a project in mind which was suitable for an internship and so it worked out in the end. In conclusion, it might be hard to find an internship in Sweden (apart from Master’s theses) outside the summer months. It might still be worth trying, but without personal connections it will probably be a bit harder than in Germany to find a fitting spot.

© Max Renner

© Max Renner

Formalities

The formalities were very conveniently fulfilled. From the company’s side, I at some point got a working contract and once it was signed everything was practically done. It all worked out even without the personal number, which usually is needed in Sweden for pretty much everything. But it is only possible to obtain it if one stays at least a full year. But still, formalities and payment were no issue even without the number, at least in my case. The Erasmus+ paperwork was also very easily done. I got a list of what I should hand in, and after I took care of that I already got the Erasmus funding pretty quickly. Regarding the health insurance, I relied on the European Health Insurance Card which I had by being health-insured in Germany. For getting the covid vaccine in Sweden it worked out, otherwise I luckily did not have to use it. I still had my apartment in Stockholm from my previous Erasmus semester, so I did not have to look for a new one. However, it was not very good and extremely expensive (800€ per month – only possible thanks to the Erasmus funding). Apartments in Stockholm are very hard to find, especially as a non-student, so I kept my apartment even though it was so expensive. I found it on blocket.se, but lots of other apartments are also rented out on Facebook. Students in Stockholm also have access to SSSB student housing, which is probably the best and cheapest option, but as an intern who is not also studying at a university in Stockholm that is not possible as far as I know. (The rents in Stockholm are capped by law. Two Swedish friends said my rent would surely be too high and that I could claim part of the money easily back. I will try that, but since the process is not yet finished, I can not say whether or how good this works.)

Job and everyday life

The internship was supervised by a guest professor from one of my courses, as already mentioned. I worked for Ionautics AB, and the internship was done in cooperation with the Linköping University. I conducted experimental work in the area of High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering, a technique for deposition of thin films. Since the main purpose of my internship was research, we are now, after the internship is done, working on a manuscript to publish the results as a scientific paper. The internship was in Linköping, however I

© Max Renner

© Max Renner

decided to keep living in Stockholm, since all my friends from the previous Erasmus semester were there as well and because Stockholm is a beautiful city. This on the other hand side made it necessary to commute a couple of times a week, which was extremely exhausting, since it took 2.5h per way. I did home office two or three times a week and could also work during the train rides, otherwise it would not have been possible to keep living in Stockholm. Still, the commuting was very annoying and took a lot of time, so I would not recommend it if there is no concrete reason to do it. The job routine was not too different from Germany, so I did not have something like a culture shock. My working time was the usual 40h per week. Due to the commuting, I had a lot of flexibility for the working hours and the home office, that was very nice. Important to notice about most companies in Sweden is that in the summer, especially July, practically no one is working. Many companies completely close for three weeks or so in July, and those who do not have most of their employees on vacation anyway. My internship ended in June, so I was not directly affected by that, but people who want to work over the whole summer should be prepared that it might be necessary to take a couple of weeks off in July.

© Max Renner

© Max Renner

Leisure

My colleagues were all extremely nice and friendly, I really enjoyed my working environment. However, due to the long distance from home, the people I met after work were my study friends from KTH rather than my working colleagues. In that sense, my leisure time was a bit atypical for an intern, since I was still a part of the Stockholm international student bubble. Stockholm is an extremely beautiful city and there is a lot to do. I was on the road for practically one year non-stop and still had a couple of ideas about what to see and do. With sightseeing, bar hopping and outdoor activities there is easily enough to do for a whole year in Stockholm. I would also recommend doing some trips to the other parts of Sweden. The darkness in the winter can be an issue for some, the best remedy is to do a lot of activities and meet many friends, then it is not a big deal anymore (at least for me). And in the summer you get the reward with long nights, beautiful sunsets and the midsommar celebrations! I did not really have something like a typical everyday life, because the commute was very long and I was travelling a lot as well. That means I was also not part of a sport club or something. However, I was still part of the KTH Outdoor Club, for which you do not need to study at KTH. So for outdoor lovers in Stockholm I can recommend to check that out.

Conclusion

All in all, the internship was an incredibly enriching and interesting experience. For anyone who gets the opportunity to work in Sweden for some time, I would definitely recommend taking the chance. The only drawbacks are the high prices and that it might be hard to find an internship spot. But if you worked that out, you will be rewarded with nice people, interesting work experiences, a beautiful nature and long summer nights!

 

 

Praktikum bei Northvolt in Schweden: eines der meist umworbenen Start-ups in der Energieindustrie in Europa

October 20th, 2021 | by

Steckbrief:

  • Wirtschaftsingenieurwesen, Fachrichtung Maschinenbau
  • Schweden, Stockholm
  • Northvolt
  • 07.06.2021 – 06.08.2021

Hi!
Im Sommer 2021 absolvierte ich mein freiwilliges Auslandspraktikum bei der Firma Northvolt in Stockholm, Schweden. Das sogenannte „Summer Internship Program“ ging 9 Wochen vom 07.06 bis zum 06.08.

©Lukas Schulze

Kurz zu dem Unternehmen: Northvolt wurde von den ehemaligen Tesla-Managern Peter Carlsson und Paolo Cerruti 2016 offiziell gegründet mit dem Ziel ein globaler Player der Batterieindustrie zu werden und die grünste Batteriezelle der Welt (geringsten CO2-Fußabdruck) zu produzieren. Seit der Gründung vor fünf Jahren wuchs das Unternehmen stetig, sodass das Unternehmen heute ca. 1700 Mitarbeiter beschäftigt. Mit zahlreichen prominenten Investoren wie z.Bsp. Volkswagen zählt Northvolt heute als eines der meist umworbenen Start-ups in der Energieindustrie in Europa.

Der Gedanke, vor Abschluss meines Masterstudiums nochmals für ein Praktikum ins Ausland zu gehen, entwickelte sich kurz nach Abgabe meiner Bachelorarbeit im Februar 2020. So fing ich an, mich kontinuierlich auf unterschiedlichste Stellen in unterschiedlichste Ländern gegen Ende des Jahres 2020 zu bewerben. Im Zuge meiner Recherche wurde ich dann auch auf Northvolt aufmerksam, sodass ich mich Anfang 2021 auf die Stelle „ Business Development, Battery Systems“ bewarb. Als kleinen Tipp nebenbei möchte ich euch darauf hinweisen, sofern ihr euch auf ein Auslandspraktikum bewerben wollt, dass sich die geforderten Bewerbungsunterlagen je nach Land im Stil und Umfang unterscheiden. Informiert euch also vor Absenden der Bewerbung über die gängigen Bewerbungsformen des jeweiligen Landes.

Im März diesen Jahres erhielt ich dann die erfreuliche Nachricht über die Einladung zu einem Bewerbungsgespräch. Insgesamt hatte ich drei Interviews auf Englisch inklusive einer Fallbearbeitung. Wie ich im Nachhinein erfuhr war das Bewerberangebot sehr groß, dementsprechend: Bereitet euch gut auf die Interviews vor und legt Wert auf die Gestaltung und Formulierungen eurer Lebensläufe und Anschreiben!

Wohnen:

Vor meiner Anreise nach Stockholm ging es für mich auf Wohnungssuche. In Stockholm ist der Wohnungsmarkt sehr umkämpft, nehmt also alle Optionen der Wohnungssuche war: Wohnungsvermittlungsseiten wie Bostadsportal und Qasa (hier würde ich euch auch empfehlen ein ausführliches Profil von euch anzulegen (wäre ggfs. mit zusätzlichen Kosten verbunden), so können Vermieter gezielt nach euch suchen + diese würden euch dann auch bei Interesse kontaktieren), Facebookgruppen (es gibt relativ viele Facebookgruppen, wo Wohnungssuchende ihr Profil posten und regelmäßig Wohnungen zur Vermietung angeboten werden – also haltet Ausschau nach diesen Gruppen) und als letzten Punkt – fragt eure Betreuer in dem Unternehmen oder andere Studierende, die Kontakt nach Stockholm haben, ob die jemanden kennen, der/die seine/ihre Wohnung vermieten möchte. Glücklicherweise konnte ich über die dritte Option eine Wohnung finden.

Als es dann in Stockholm selber losging, war zunächst vieles neu. Nach kurzer Eingewöhnungszeit und stets offener Haltung gegenüber auch privater Aktivitäten neben der Arbeit, habe ich mich schnell zurecht gefunden. Die Tatsache, dass der Sommer in Schweden/Stockholm sehr angenehm und schön ist, hat dabei nicht geschadet. Durch meine positiven Erfahrungen während meines Praktikums entschloss ich mich, über das Praktikum bei Northvolt zu bleiben und meine Masterarbeit dort zu schreiben. Mit dem Einverständnis meiner Betreuer ließ sich dies sehr schnell klären. Falls ihr dies auch einmal vorhaben solltet, kommuniziert euer Vorhaben rechtzeitig an eure Betreuer – gerade durch die Urlaubszeit im Juli in Schweden, kann der Prozess etwas Zeit kosten. Auf alle Fälle freue ich mich im September nach Stockholm zurückzukehren und meine Reise dort fortzuführen.