Saiful Islam - Uppsala University: Where life has been enjoyable beyond my immagination

Before coming to Sweden, I had learnt from the internet that Uppsala University is one of the top ranked universities in the world. But now, as a student of this university, I get the feeling that it has something special; I mean more than just having high ranking. But why do I feel so? Well.., I believe that there are certain aspects of the very system of this university that makes it special. I am not sure whether these aspects are all counted as ranking factors, but there is no doubt that counting them would only place this university at a higher position. Today, I will share some of my own experience and views in connection with my last four months’ or so stay in this university and I guess they are not usually found on university official websites.

Teacher-student relationship: In many countries, teachers are like God to students having immense authority on the later, But here I found them more like friends. You can share anything with them about your academic issues and even certain non-academic or personal matters. My experience about how they respond to their students’ needs or queries is amazing. Whenever I had any query or asked for any suggestion I have got the response through e-mail within an hour. Once while studying at night, I was stuck with a problem and had to send an e-mail to my professor. And to my sheer surprise got the response within 15 minutes. I really respect them for their friendly attitude in relentlessly trying to help students in their academic activities. It must also be mentioned here university stuffs other than the teachers are equally friendly, helpful and caring.

Advanced and up-to-date knowledge delivery: Another remarkable aspect regarding the delivered lectures here in Uppsala is the fact that they are always dealing with the latest trends and developments of concurrent research activities Professors in their lecture, often discuss about the journal of the current year or previous year but by no means something that is quite old. They design the course syllabus in such a way that really makes it comprehensive for a student. Every course includes presentation and seminar that make a student outspoken, more presentable and independent. I was amazed to find the huge amount of expenditure that goes into labs concerning each and every course. Every lab is equipped with state-of-the-art, high precision and of course extremely expensive equipments and raw material which are again readily available for students should they need them. This is really something that got me excited.

Size does not matter but… : When I was in high school, once I read in a story that size does not matter for any work. Yes, it is true but size does matter when to attract someone. I remember when I first entered into the BMC (Bio Medical Center) of this university), I became astonished to see the colossal size of this building. The student coordinator took me to the basement of the building and said “Look in the both side”. “Oh…my God” I uttered, it is really, really big. It will take some five to six minutes just to cross from one side to the other side of this building. Don’t think it is only a big building. In respect to research activity in biological science area, it is a very renowned place not only in Europe but also in the entire world. A considerable number of multidimensional research activities are going on within this building resulting in many of the recent findings in the field of biological science. BMC is a symbol of research and production house of new knowledge in Europe.

Students’ community: Students from different countries of the world are around of you, here in Uppsala. The environment is more internationalized than I had thought before. I enjoy getting introduced with people of different countries and with their cultures. All the students here are very helpful to each other. At first it may seem a little bit difficult to mix with the Swedish students but believe me, they do help whenever you need. On many occasions I had trouble in understanding letters or announcements in Swedish language and hesitantly asked someone of Swedish origin to know the meaning but on all occasions I found their response to be very helpful and friendly. So my experience says you should never hesitate to make friendship with Swedish people though they at first may look a little conservative. I also got a lot of useful information from the international student community.

Flexibility & wide range of education: Another thing that I never knew before is the level of flexibility in education system. Options are quite large for choosing one’s desired courses from a wide rage of diversified offered courses. One can also participate in evening course, part time course, internet based course and so on. Participating in short research program is also possible provided one can manage it. In total, the rules and regulation for the education of a student is so flexible. Another important thing is diversity of the education. When they had asked me to choose courses, I was confused in deciding which one to register for and which one to not as there is a huge number of courses, all research oriented and practically applicable. To be honest sometimes I think if I have enough money to live here for long time, I will finish all the courses offered by the University. Whenever I have asked students about their experience regarding some course or the other they had taken, it seemed every one considers his/her courses were one of the best ones offered In this way I found many courses that are best course according to the comment of the participants. So don’t get confused anymore to choose the course. All are best.

So far I have only described my realization in the education system in Uppsala. But what I also have found really amazing and interesting is the life outside the academics like student corridor life, life in Uppsala city (A small city but I found everything enjoyable) etc. In one sentence, I can say “Uppsala University is the place where my life has been enjoyable and fruitful beyond what I had expected or imagined”.

Some little advices to avoid problems that I have faced:

  • Clean your room always (or you will be charged).
  • Don’t loose the key of your room (you will be charged at a very high rate).
  • Follow the traffic rules in the road.
  • Be on time (Here everything is on time and as such if you are late you miss the program).
  • Cook yourself (otherwise you run out of money quickly).
  • Learn little bit Swedish before coming here.

Thank you.

Md. Saiful Islam
Student in Molecular Cell Biology program II
Uppsala University