Five questions for…

Amelia Thelandersson, who is studying physical oceanography and working on her Master’s thesis at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City.

Why did you choose physical oceanography specifically?
“Because the ocean is so interesting! We know next to nothing about large parts of it; the ocean’s processes are so immense and vital to the planet and the climate. And it helps that I really like programming and mathematics, which is actually most of what we do.”

What is your Master’s thesis about?
“My project is one of several that are attempting to categorise what effects the Bay of Bahía de Sebastián Vizcaíno on the west coast of Mexico has on physical processes along Mexican and US coastlines. Although there is evidence that it affects physical processes in Los Angeles, its actual impact is largely unknown.”

What is the best thing about studying abroad?
“After not being able to leave Sweden for so long, I think this was a challenge that I needed. I think it’s very important to be able to feel that I can move somewhere that is completely different, yet still find a place for myself and to realise that, despite cultural differences, I can always find people who share my interests or experiences.”

What will you take with you from your time abroad?
“Spanish language skills! I had none before coming here, but now I can talk to some of my friends just  in Spanish. It has been and is still quite difficult, but it’s a lot of fun too! I have also grown a lot academically and learned about how the academic world works, how I can be taken seriously as a young female researcher.”

Is it any different from studying in Sweden? 
“For me personally, I think the biggest difference is that I now have to have wait for lunch until 3.00 p.m. instead of 12–1.00 p.m. which I was used to. It’s quite difficult to hold out for that long. I’ve had to explain the concept of fika (coffee breaks) so I don’t pass out around 2.00 p.m.!”