My Arrival to Linköping!

Here comes my second blog entry as a product of nostalgic mental journeys and encountering the physicality of a new city, Linköping.

Eventually, on the 6th of October my new journey began with leaving several years of memories behind. From Istanbul to Amsterdam, I then finally arrived in Linköping’s small and cozy airport, the 7th largest city in Sweden with over 150 thousand inhabitants, carved out onto a flat and smooth landscape. To my surprise, the scenery was mostly green at the time when I arrived, with only a sprinkling of trees embracing fall with their multitude of copper and golden leaves. Aside from its nature, it didn’t take so long for this place to open up its other surprises regarding lifestyle, linguistic peculiarities and tradition, taxation and regulations, etc. However, my favorite discovery is the ubiquitousness and reliance on a sort of a bicycle culture, which makes life lot easier in such a small city. As a bicycle enthusiast aspiring to devise more efficient ways to upgrade this over 500 years old means of transportation, Linköping is a sight for sore eyes.

On a less positive side, currently the biggest challenge for both local and international students in Linköping is finding accommodation. This obstacle is mostly due to the competition over affordable housing for a large number of students as well as the growing debt behind the world’s second largest housing bubble in Sweden. Luckily, with the help of university’s administration, I found a place at what may be called a reasonable price by comparison, in a neighbourhood that is in close proximity to shopping centers. For the time being, I can breathe a sigh of relief though I need to go “furniture hunting,” in an attempt to find some reasonably priced furniture to fill the apartment with. The prices are quite high and one needs to pay for transportation too, but hopefully I will manage to get a good deal.

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In terms of socialisation, after almost a month I could successfully make one friend, who is a brilliant individual, and someone who always and without hesitation shares his wealth of experience about this city with me.  Thanks to his help, I could figure out my way through the do’s and don’ts of life here, but I still need at least one more month to completely conquer the mountains of governmental bureaucracy, as well as that of bills and banks.  The situation at the university is moderately progressive, I received a desk in the graduate students’ office, with, fortunately, access to an infinite amount of coffee. I am also taking a course in optical devices design, and I will start another course next month. Both of my supervisors have been extremely supportive not only at university, but they have also helped me tremendously to organize my life outside the university, for which I am very grateful.

When it comes to my work within the project, before arriving here, I spent almost two months designing and simulating the Optical Coupler for iSPR biosensor. Not quite unexpectedly, the first few devices I designed couldn’t make their way through the realm of reality. However, after a few more designs and prototypes, I could see the moment of realisation of SPR signal on the cellphone camera, saving me from all the self-doubts and stresses experienced at the beginning of the project.

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So far, I could hardly have a conversation with Swedish people which went beyond a mere greeting.  Yet, I find it intriguing to get to know more about them, and their transitional society. Since the places to discover around the city are not so many, I decided to carefully manage my options. Last weekend, I finally enjoyed a sunny day after days of rain and darkness which made it advisable for me to roam around the city and visiting the museum of aviation with my friend.

Nowadays, there are not many trees left with their leaves, the days are short, and there is no light after 4pm. Last weekend I moved to my new place, and every day I ride my bike in a little forest on my way to the university. As you can see, I could not find many things to tell you about my current life in Linköping, but I will hopefully manage to make up for it in my next blog.

All the best,

Sahl

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