Hello, everybody! My name is Ivan Galinskiy and I was a student at Gothenburg University during the months of February to June of 2015, working on optical tweezers. While I did not go out as much as my friends Isra and Reyna did, I believe that I have some experiences to share.
I arrived from Copenhagen at the end of January of 2015 (and I came to Copenhagen from Mexico in August of 2014). What I noticed is that both Copenhagen and Gothenburg seem to be very bike-friendly, which was good news since I traveled together with my bike. It was extremely easy to adapt to this new environment as most people in Gothenburg speak good English.
Soon after arriving, I began to work on the optical tweezers project together with Isra and Oscar. And, of course, on the first week I have burned Isra’s Arduino, which seems like an odd curse following me to every lab I work in. Fortunately, with Mats’ help we could get a new Arduino to Isra. In general, while studying or working at GU, you will find a lot of very helpful and friendly people. As another example, Jan Ake is a mechanical engineer that has helped endless people in their experiments, including mine, where he has helped me with glass work (the trapping cell) and aluminum machining (a support for the new laser).
I must mention that if you want to work on a project, you will find very favorable conditions to do so. The laboratories’ people are very friendly and will gladly loan to you materials or equipment, if it is not being currently used. In my case, for example, I could borrow some Glan-Taylor polarizers from the Negative Ions lab (thanks a lot!), which would be quite expensive otherwise. The financial support is also superb, which means that even some costly devices (a laser in my case) are available for order (while justified, of course). Besides, the ordering of most materials is quick, with orders from Thorlabs arriving in under one week.
Also, free coffee! I have never reached such levels of caffeination in my life as I did in Sweden. If you did not know, Sweden is the country with the most coffee being consumed per capita in the world! This really kept my blood (liquid caffeine?) flowing during the dark evenings.
And while I mentioned that I did not get out very much, I still could get away once or twice and never regretted it. Thanks to Dag and Pia, I have traveled to the lake of Vänern (the largest lake in EU), where I hiked for quite a while over Hunneberg, which is essentially a huge hill with one side dropping into the lake and a forest covering most of its surface. Interestingly, it has an inner lake (which is about 80 m above the level of Vänern), and the advantage of this lake is that a stream flowing out of this lake forms quite a waterfall on one of the sides of the hill.
And finally, Swedish food is fantastic! While I could not acquire the taste of sweet marinated fish, I absolutely loved the Kalles caviar. Followed by a coffee, it would always make the evenings brighter and my stomach fuller when accompanied by bread and butter. I enjoyed a lot the Swedish meatballs (Köttbullar) and all kinds of fish together with mashed potatoes. Oh, and you absolutely have to try Sürströmming. Trust me.
In conclusion, go to Sweden. You’ll love it!