Before quitting my job and moving 4700 kilometers to Gothenburg, Sweden to study a Masterís in Complex Adaptive Systems at Chalmers, I worked in the corner of my Seattle apartment just 50 kilometers south of where I had spent my entire life. To visit another country from my home, I could drive an hour and a half to Canada, but British Columbia is just Washington with Tim Hortons. Otherwise, driving three hours east takes me to the farmlands of Washington, and three hours south to Portland, Oregon. Most people I know back home donít have passports and instead travel to California or Florida. But being in my 20s and having a quarter-life-crisis, I wanted to see more of the world. After deciding to go back to school and settling upon Scandinavia (who doesnít love the princess cake at IKEA), I quickly realized how great Chalmers and Gothenburg would be as a home base for my adventures!

Lots of opportunities
Iíve lived in Gothenburg a year now. In this time, Iíve traveled more than in all the years of my life combined. Within the first month, I took a train to Stockholm with some friends I met through the International Reception Committee (CIRC). After the first study periodís exams, some other friends and I went to MalmŲ and Copenhagen in Denmark.
During the winter, CIRC hosts trips to Kiruna (Swedish Lapland) in the Arctic. While I was at first hesitant to go since it was during my classes, it ended up being one of the best experiences of my life, getting to snowmobile under the Northern Lights and go on a sled dog tour through arctic forests. This experience alone has made putting my old life on hold worth it! Besides, my courses were flexible and I was able to work on my projects ahead of time and while going to and from the airport. Just a couple weeks later, the winter break and following exam week provided ample time to fly back home to the U.S. and also to fly to Croatia, bussing from there to beautiful Lake Bled in Slovenia with my friend from Indonesia.
Most recently, during this latest exam week, I was able to fly to Budapest with a friend from my program and spend almost an entire week admiring the gorgeous architecture and eating lŠngos. While the study periods are shorter and more fast-paced than Iím used to, the breaks in between have offered great opportunities to travel to places Iíve dreamed about visiting my whole life!


Simple logistics
While Chalmers offers plenty of opportunities to travel between study periods (if you donít have exams too late in the week) and even during study periods, these opportunities wouldnít mean much if it were difficult to travel. From my hometown, getting to the airport is a major event that requires weeks, if not months of planning. The drive is over an hour long with limited public transportation options and it costs hundreds of dollars a week to leave a car in the parking lot. We usually need to find friends or family willing to make the drive to pick us up and drop us off.
On the other hand, living next to Chalmersí Johanneberg Campus, I can just walk to a bus station down the hill from my apartment and catch a 30Ė40-minute bus ride to the airport.
Even more convenient than flying, in my humble opinion, is taking the train when you can. Fortunately, Gothenburgís central station is only a half hour walk from Chalmersí Johanneberg Campus, and even less from Campus Lindholmen! From the station, you can easily go to Stockholm, MalmŲ in the south, and Copenhagen (and from there to Germany) and Oslo. I even took a train to Alebacken, a mini ski resort just over an hour outside Gothenburg. Pro tip: you can borrow skis and tons of other outdoor gear (for free) from an equipment shop called Fritidsbanken, just a tram ride away from Chalmers.

Jamie Santos

Facts about Chalmers University of Technology
Chalmers offers Bachelor, Master and PhD programs. All masterís programs are taught in English.
Tuition fees: Masterís programs: approximately $16,000/year. Higher education in Sweden is free for students from countries within the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
U.S. Friends of Chalmers Scholarship: Scholarships covering all the tuition fees are awarded annually to citizens of the United States.
For more information, see the Chalmers website: and