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Raghav Jain - EuroScholars in Sweden

Published: Monday, 05 Feb 2018
Author: Cheryl Ann Benner
Department: Office for Education Abroad

Name: Raghav Jain

Status: Senior

Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Hometown: Conshohocken, PA

Program: EuroScholars Research Abroad Experience, Sweden 2017

On August 20, 2017, I arrived in Stockholm, Sweden to conduct biomedical research at Karolinska Institutet (KI) for the fall semester. This was my first time living abroad for an extended period of time and I was looking forward to getting occupational experience as a full-time researcher and traveling in Europe. Upon arrival to Stockholm, I was greeted by a current KI student who explained the public transportation system to me and guided me to my residence via the metro. After she left and I had a moment to think, I realized I was living in a residential area on the outskirts of the city with no phone service or internet. There were set up instructions in the KI-provided apartment but to activate my internet, I needed to buy a router and get a text message with an activation code. In order to receive that message, I had to activate my phone by going online. Following an initial moment of frustration and helplessness (I had just gotten off a sleepless 8 hour plane ride), I gathered myself and tentatively explored the area around me. On one side of my building, the road ended at one of the many wide rivers crisscrossing Stockholm. Behind the building was a forest, and the road that ended at the water led to a highway on the opposite side. I retraced my steps back to the metro station and, luckily, found a grocery store. The clerk informed me how to take the metro to the closest mall and I was able to activate both internet and phone before the day ended.

Study abroad comes with many challenges but overcoming these obstacles has done wonders in building my self-confidence, independence, and in allowing me to appreciate my own capabilities as a functioning adult. And that's just from the difficult experiences. During my stay in Sweden, I travelled east across the Baltic Sea and saw the historical merchant city of Riga, went west and beheld the breathtaking fjords of Norway, journeyed south to foothill of the alps in Bavaria, and trekked north into the Swedish area of the Arctic circle. I met students from over a dozen countries who shared my love of science and learning, and extensively explored the beautiful city of Stockholm with them. Most importantly, I had the opportunity to conduct research at KI, a world-renowned research university that houses the Nobel Committee that awards the prize for physiology. By gaining practical experience in such a collaborative and positive environment, I have been able to reaffirm my own commitment to science and current career trajectory, which entails PhD studies following completion of my degree in biochemistry.

Overall, I credit my EuroScholars experience with giving me a greater sense of self, increased respect for others, and a deeper understanding of the complex, interconnected, and diverse world we live in.