Friday, May 05, 2006

My experiences in Sweden - Preamble

Time is surely riding a roller coaster. Almost two years ago, at this time of year, I was subjected to a great deal of confusion and uncertainty. Should I continue doing job? Should I accept PhD offer from LUMS? Should I go to Sweden for masters? Should I or Shouldn't I. These were the questions I was asking myself. All the options, I had, were quite good from their own standpoints:

The job was getting along nice and well; LUMS was offering me fully funded PhD position with 23K monthly stipend and Sweden offered me a degree which I always wanted to pursue i.e. a MS in AI. I ended up opting the last option. Sweden, it was. The factors that influenced the decision are as follows:

- Although LUMS was/is a very reputable institute. The monetary incentive was good but spending the next five years of my life in a university which was in its embryonic phases of developing a research culture was not a plausible idea.

- Job, well, after doing a full bachelors degree in computer science with a distinction, I didn't find it worth fixing HTML, ASP tags and writing select queries in database. I wanted to write compilers, AI engines etc.

- MS degree from abroad was a lucrative offer. At the least, it promised international exposure and perhaps new avenues of opportunities. At the same time, it threatened me of all the hardships that a "pampered" child like me had to undergo. Considering 1.5 years was not a substantial period - although later it turned out, it was - I took the plunge.

These long introductory paragraphs bring me to the main topic, I wanted to write about. This and the following series of posts are dedicated to share my experience of studying and living in Sweden. The above plot was necessary to enable the reader understand the surroundings in which I took the decision. In the later weeks, I'll be writing in bits and pieces about the visa process, accommodation issues, my adventures with cooking etc.

Stay beautiful.