Hello, everyone!

I am Kosuke Osawa, a second-year master's student at Shiomi Lab. I have been studying at KTH in Stockholm, Sweden, since last August through GME exchange program, organized by three departments: Mechanical Engineering, Precision Engineering, and Systems Innovation Engineering.

In this diary, I would like to give a short report on my life and research in Stockholm.

Although Stockholm is the largest city in Scandinavia, it has only a million people, which is one-tenth the population of Tokyo, so it has a relaxed atmosphere and is a comfortable place to live. It is characterized by its mixing with nature, like forests spreading behind KTH campus and lakes throughout the city. It was my first time living abroad, so I was worried about many things at first, such as security and biases against Asians. However, there are no scary streets like Kabukicho, and the people are very kind and friendly, which is perfect for a first time abroad.

The picture below shows KTH campus where I live. I took this picture in early January, and it was a beautiful snowy scene at that time.

I would like to share some about my life. Luckily, I got an on-campus accommodation, so my day is often complete on campus. I get up after 8:00 a.m. and go to the lab around 9:00 a.m. I always used to sleep all morning, so my lifestyle has improved a lot, haha.

The lab has a great well-being and welfare environment. You can drink coffee and tea for free and have many choices, like lattes, mochas, and even cocoa. And fruits such as bananas, apples, and oranges are provided twice a week. Of course, not in large amounts, but very helpful when you are hungry or out of energy. Bananas are popular, but I personally like biting an apple because it feels like a foreign culture.

In the afternoon, we sometimes have a coffee break, 'Fika'. Students or KTH prepare bread and cakes, and we can gather and talk.

Unexpectedly, not many members of the lab are from Sweden, and there are many people from other countries like Italy, France, India, China, creating a rich international environment. Everyone is enthusiastic, perhaps because they have left their own country to come here to do research, which naturally motivates me as well. But the research itself is often a struggle. At the beginning, I didn't understand well even half of what the professor said, and I couldn't ask questions well. I prepared slides for almost every meeting, actively asked questions, and went through a lot of trial and error, step by step. However, I don't think I have reached a decent level as a researcher. I will still push myself a little more.

Around 6:00 or 7:00 pm, most people finish their work and head home. In the master's student area, the lights automatically turn off at 7:00 pm, so you have to go home unless you continue your work in the dark.

I often have dinner at home with my roommates. We exchange dishes from different countries and have a lot of fun. Sometimes I do eat out, but generally restaurants are quite expensive, and even the cheapest restaurant for kebabs and other junk food costs at least 1,500 yen, which is tough for a student.

At first, I was full of anxiety about the completely new environment, but I am truly glad that I trusted the excitement in my heart and took the opportunity. I will spend the last two months carefully, grateful to all those who have supported us.