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PhD at KTH or NTNU

Comparing life quality, and cost of living.

nomadicastronaut
post 14.Oct.2017, 10:06 AM
Post #1
Joined: 14.Oct.2017

Hej hej,

How does a PhD at NTNU (Trondheim and/or Oslo) with a monthly salary of 42500 NOK (43667 SEK) compare to a PhD at KTH (Stockholm) with a monthly salary of 28600 SEK?

I want to compare with respect to:
  • quality of life
  • cost of living relative to salary; how much leisure money remains (for travelling of course)?
  • academic prestige (internationally will someone in the same subject field know the institution?)
  • citizenship potential
  • residence benefits (i.e. health care, free or subsidised services, etc.)
  • entrepreneurial potential (I want to make a tech startup)


I understand the cost of living in Norway is more expensive, so I am not sure how to compare these salaries.

Things that are important:
  • nature (I like to run a lot and go on walks/hikes)
  • vegan food (not prepared products, but ingredients like fruits, vegetables, beans, tofu, etc.)
  • cheap flights to the rest of the world
  • cycling infrastructure (for commuting and long road rides)
  • food eclecticism (e.g. asian markets, Korean food courts, Lebanese cafe, etc.)
  • dating


I enjoy having the energy of a city and nature. I am very frugal most of the time (sometimes parsimonious), but I like to spend on things that are worth it (e.g. a 3 week backpacking trip in Nepal, expensive beer at a pub only on the weekend, or clothing). I would not be seen buying a coffee everyday (to me that is wasted money). I want to live in a nice flat, with nice appliances.

The consistent top rankings of Norway over Sweden for quality of life are quite persuasive, and all the bad news of the refugee crisis in Sweden is rather discouraging.

Perhaps someone here, who's experienced both countries can advise?
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rex
post 14.Oct.2017, 11:11 AM
Post #2
Joined: 3.Jul.2017

Stockholm is better for tech startups, you can find a lot of decent people with the right skills, knowledge and background to join you. The problem in Stockholm is always housing, it's difficult (but possible) to find a decent place for long term stay without paying through the nose; this also applies to PhDs, although it is sometimes possible to get very affordable student housing after a year or two. The salary at KTH is typical for Swedish PhD students; it's enough for everything and you might even get to save a few hundred euros at the end of each month.

p.s. Regarding the refugee crisis; it's mostly bullshit and farts from the far right. I find the fascists far more worrying than the refugees and recent immigrants.

p.p.s. Norway might be better if you want to save a lot more money at the end of the month; don't know about housing. Also, the refugee crisis kinda applies to them as well; you will hear the same arguments made over there.
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TLSucks
post 14.Oct.2017, 02:54 PM
Post #3
Joined: 12.Dec.2013

Net salary after tax in Stockholm will be 22300 SEK.
Net salary after tax in Oslo will be  31100 NOK.

Cost of living calculator gives that you would need 26500NOK in Oslo to maintain the same standard of living as in Stockholm on 22300SEK, so Norway gives more bang for the buck in this case. Presumably Trondheim has lower rents than Oslo which makes it the clear choice cost-wise.

https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compa...layCurrency=SEK

Career-wise is a different issue. Stockholm is more of a tech hub than Oslo. KTH has better international reputation, #29 in QS WU ranking in Engineering & Technology vs #145.

However, charts are not everything. It depends on the advisor/department. An advisor that is well known in their field of research will have a great international network, giving you a head start in your academic career.
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Gjeebes
post 14.Oct.2017, 06:39 PM
Post #4
Joined: 20.Feb.2012

If you have gotten this far then you must already have an idea who your adviser would be in each place. You can look at their publications and (if) talks (have been) given at important events to suss out if they have anything going on internationally. Also look to the student count, and departmental recognition, or lack thereof. You should also hunt down current students and post-docs, in each place, and ask what they think (ask 4th year Ph.D. candidates, as they will truly know the real deal by that time).

Knowing how fucked up the Swedish system is, I would recommend almost anywhere else than Sweden for a Ph.D., or, any other degree, at least in the sciences (and assuming you are actually serious, have "good" reasons for wanting to do a Ph.D., and expect to be trained to think for yourself). The Ph.D. should be a time of hard work and intense focus and learning/development (if you actually want to be capable whatsoever in your field, you need to grind it out). That just doesn't happen in Sweden where graduate school has somehow been twiddled down to what is essentially a day-care for Sweden's unemployed adult children, complete with the milk-and-cookies approach to "education". Sweden's approach clearly does not bode well for the production of "researchers" that are fit for purpose; capable of independent knowledge creation (which is the end-game of the Ph.D. education).

Norway is quite possibly the same, or, worse.

Either way, Norway or Sweden, you are looking at some of the most socially restricted, dysfunctional cultures on offer, this side of North Korea. And the weather is in general, not great.

Norway has actual natural beauty and world-class scenery, whereas Sweden has more or less bog standard trees and lakes (yes, very boring).

If you want to take a gamble, I would try for Norway and avoid Sweden like the plague. I can vouch for the notion that Sweden is just not worth the bother.
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TLSucks
post 14.Oct.2017, 07:12 PM
Post #5
Joined: 12.Dec.2013

Also, it goes without saying that you should ignore anything Gjebes says. But if you have read any of his posts that should be clear to you already. It is really a sad story but hopefully it may raise mental health awareness.
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rex
post 14.Oct.2017, 08:23 PM
Post #6
Joined: 3.Jul.2017

QUOTE (TLSucks @ 14.Oct.2017, 08:12 PM) *
Also, it goes without saying that you should ignore anything Gjebes says. But if you have read any of his posts that should be clear to you already. It is really a sad story b ... (show full quote)


+1
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nomadicastronaut
post 14.Oct.2017, 08:44 PM
Post #7
Joined: 14.Oct.2017

Tack sa mycket for the replies. I just realised this thread is in "news", oh well.
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yet another brit
post 14.Oct.2017, 10:32 PM
Post #8
Joined: 5.Jan.2013

If you want to take a gamble, I would try for Norway and avoid Sweden like the plague. I can vouch for the notion that Sweden is just not worth the bother.

But yet, you're still here?
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Gamla Hälsingebock
post 15.Oct.2017, 01:52 AM
Post #9
Joined: 21.Dec.2006

It's nice to know that people seeking informational help about Sweden can find it here...

It's nicer to know that those detrimental to that purpose are recognized...
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Gjeebes
post 15.Oct.2017, 06:28 AM
Post #10
Joined: 20.Feb.2012

OP, as has been amusingly demonstrated here, you can see the culture is quite restrictive, "conform or be cast out" is the name of the game. Swedes don't really have a penchant for honest discussion, only for "rainbows with unicorn sprinkles" narratives. If you stray from this, you will be made to pay for your "insolence" (or, at least, so they do try : ) ). Many here actually believe in the glossy Swedish self-adoring PR, unlike in other places, were "nuance" is permitted an existence.

You should also look at where your adviser got their "credentials". There is a very high probability that said person is a product of their own institution and has been handed their position on a silver platter. While this is against all wisdom, it is quite popular in Sweden (likely Norway as well). It's called academic inbreeding, and is an oft repressed if not well-known "secret" in Nordic countries in general.

Those who moan about these ugly truths, likely do so to save face, and retain some semblance of "dignity", having themselves been "educated" at these "institutions" (or, who've made their careers in them, like YAB). Pride getting in the way of honest discussion is a tradition in Sweden.

And yes, mental health is also a big problem in Sweden. With more Swedish "wisdom", most of the treatment centres for mentally ill people, were closed in the 80's, and have not been replaced nor re-opened. This results in a high percentage of the Swedish population with untreated, yet severe mental illness, as has been nicely demonstrated here, by people with anxiety issues, who can't handle an honest discussion, nor unflattering comments, about their country.
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nomadicastronaut
post 16.Oct.2017, 08:47 AM
Post #11
Joined: 14.Oct.2017

So concerning food: because Norway is not part of the EU, does this mean I'll find lower availability of certain things or less variety?
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Gjeebes
post 16.Oct.2017, 09:18 AM
Post #12
Joined: 20.Feb.2012

You will likely find everything as in other places. Fruits are often hard and unripe, and expensive. If you like rock hard oranges (even when ripened), that have no juice, no taste, you will be in heaven. Three ping-pong sized limes will cost 30 sek (this is in Sweden).

One trick Erasmus students had in Norway was to find refrigerated food items, like a frozen pizza, and then take it to some non-refrigerated place in the shop, and semi-hide it.

Next day you will find your pizza discounted to 1/2 price.

Of course, these students had no real salary (yours will be much better), but anyway, there are ways to save if you need to.

You also want to start a business, yes? Would that be in Sweden of Norway? You then also have to consider how your colleagues may directly/indirectly restrict you (withholding pertinent information, possibilities, contacts etc). Other than multi-national corporations, it is unlikely that a foreigner will really be permitted to advance in any competition, to level of the natives, with regards to a new company. And Swedes (likely Norwegians) prefer to buy things from their own, even if you are providing superior services and better prices.
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nomadicastronaut
post 16.Oct.2017, 10:08 AM
Post #13
Joined: 14.Oct.2017

QUOTE (Gjeebes @ 16.Oct.2017, 10:18 AM) *
You will likely find everything as in other places. Fruits are often hard and unripe, and expensive. If you like rock hard oranges (even when ripened), that have no juice, no ... (show full quote)


Wow, that's quite clever. Do grocery markets in Stockholm also discount food (rather than throwing it away)?

I'd hope my tech startup would disseminate into the rest of Europe and California.

Can you comment on 4 years with course work (Sverige) vs. 3 years without course work (Norge)?
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Gjeebes
post 16.Oct.2017, 11:12 AM
Post #14
Joined: 20.Feb.2012

"Wow, that's quite clever. Do grocery markets in Stockholm also discount food (rather than throwing it away)?"

Same tricks likely in Sweden too. Although I would expect more-so in Sweden, that the pizza (for example) would never be found in time for it to be marked with a discount ad sold. Swedes often do not really excel at what they do, in fact, "excelling" as such, is pretty much frowned upon in Sweden (you will be socially excluded if you are 1) really good at something and 2) know you are really good at something).

"I'd hope my tech startup would disseminate into the rest of Europe and California."

Ya, in the EU, Berlin would be the place to make contacts and go to get started; Germany, more character, more opportunity, bigger market, much more desirable/international, functioning government etc, less red tape, and is a knowledge centre (not existing in Sweden).

It seems to me all the hype about "Stockholm" as some kind of defacto tech start-up hub dreamland, is pure Swedish well-wishing, and essentially a myth concocted and pushed by the heavily financed Swedish PR propaganda machine. And anyway, stay away from Stockholm, no place to live, and you will be ripped off completely to find even a 3rd, 4th hand housing contract.


"Can you comment on 4 years with course work (Sverige) vs. 3 years without course work (Norge)?"

I possibly could comment, but I am not sure what exactly you mean. If you can get the Ph.D. in Norway in 3 years, that is already sounding better. Course work in Sweden usually at some point, becomes a function of group think. Swedes love their "group-work", whereby a group of slackers are rewarded from the efforts of one or two students, who should actually be there. And do you know the courses now? How many hours long? Are the courses fit for purpose (you would normally expect this but here it is really worth double checking if the courses being pushed, are of any help to you whatsoever).

Try to negotiate being funded for at least one major conference/year in your field (you give a talk, or present a poster, of your project), and go to big events only in major centres (NY, Cali, Berlin, Paris, etc) as that is where you will meet the world (and it just isn't coming to Sweden, or, Norway, any time soon).

You can PM me also if you have other specific questions.
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nomadicastronaut
post 16.Oct.2017, 11:58 AM
Post #15
Joined: 14.Oct.2017

@gjeebes pm
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