Nick Sheard is a second year doctoral student at Stockholm University’s Department of Economics
Nick Sheard is a second year doctoral student at Stockholm University’s Department of Economics

Nick Sheard is a second year doctoral student at Stockholm University’s Department of Economics.

“I’d originally planned to stay on as a graduate student at Michigan State,” Nick admits, “but after visiting Stockholm and specifically the department I decided to apply to Stockholm University. I was lucky enough to be admitted.”

Having previously studied in Melbourne and Sydney, the young Australian was tempted by the international feel of Stockholm and the University’s active graduate community.

“First and foremost I was looking for a department where I could work alongside some leading names in my field and be part of an active graduate community,” says Sheard. “I really feel I’ve found that in Stockholm. Every Tuesday we have a faculty seminar when someone from the department presents their research and on Thursdays we usually have a research seminar with an outside speaker. It’s a very stimulating and international place to be a PhD student.”

The Department of Economics attracts students from Australia, Canada, Asia, the rest of Europe as well as Sweden.

“I’d say the mix is about 50/50 in my department in terms of Swedish and international students. I felt right at home here straight away, especially because the University did a lot to help me find accommodation and funding for my studies.”

Having completed the compulsory courses all doctoral students at Stockholm University are obliged to take in both methodology and their chosen field of study, Nick is now working on a thesis that examines the effect of government policies on the location of firms and the migration of individuals.

“The best thing about living here, apart from the department, is that it’s a green and vibrant city. There are plenty of parks and forests, as well as bars and cafés. Stockholm also has an incredibly fast, frequent and reliable public transport system. You can easily get anywhere in Stockholm seven days of the week.”

If there’s one thing Nick misses from the US it is the myriad facilities and services North American campuses seem to offer students.

“There aren’t cinemas or 24-7 library facilities on the Stockholm campus as there are at many universities in the US,” says Sheard. “But there are good sports facilities and plenty of great places to eat lunch. You simply live in the city a bit more here, rather than spending all of your time in campus.”

With central Stockholm and all the distractions of the Swedish capital only a 10-minute subway ride away from the campus, students don’t seem to mind too much.

As for the weather, Nick Sheard is unperturbed by the dark and dreary winter months.

“For an Australian I even like the weather here. The seasons are beautiful and the light is really spectacular, so I can handle a 3pm sunset or two. Besides, it’s so green and clean here, with jogging tracks through the forest right next to the University- I’m really happy.”

Text: Jon Buscall