Thinking about studying abroad in Sweden? It would be a great education experience, but finding a way to fund a student life abroad is also a crucial factor to think about.
On average, the cost of living in Sweden as a student is around SEK 8,370 (~€815 or $925). The capital city of Stockholm will fall in the higher end of the spectrum. What are your options and how can you gather a budget to make this work? Here are some things to think about.
Funding in your home country
The best way to avoid being overly stressed out about funding your studies in Sweden is to start preparing to fund your studies as early as possible, this gives you ample time to arrange it. There are a variety of options that are available to you. The best place to start once you've received your acceptance letter is to look at what support you could receive from your home country, this means researching what things are available to you from the local government.
This could range from scholarships, government schemes, and loans. Scholarships often come with GPA requirements and some are specifically available for low-income families, so its best to research and look into your options. Student loans are also an option that could be offered by your local government. Usually, the plus side of these is that they offer low interest and are lenient regarding the payback. Government schemes are also handy to look at, again they come with a multitude of requirement so its best to research and see what suits you.
Savings are another great way to fund your studies, however, savings require a lot of preparation. Its always good to have extra money set aside, so it might be worth considering taking on some form of work. When you first arrive in Sweden your costs may initially be high, as you’ll have to pay for a deposit the room, potentially furnishing if necessary, course materials, etc.
Lastly, there is an option to take a private loan, however, this is a risky option as the interest is higher and there is no leniency for the payback.
Funding when you're in Sweden: Scholarships
Once you've landed in Sweden there are many options for funding your studies and gaining extra income. If you’re a student from the EU, you're in luck - tuition is free for you in Sweden and you have one less thing to worry about.
If you’re not an EU/EEA student, however, you have the option of looking out for scholarships. This is something a majority of schools offer, which could mean that you receive discounted tuition or you get cheaper accommodation. There are many types of scholarships both for Bachelor’s and Master’s so make sure to do your research to see which one fits you best.
Funding when you're in Sweden: Part-time work and Internships
In Sweden, many students like to supplement their student life with some extra income, whether that be a part-time job and internship or a side business. All students, EU/EEA and international alike can work as long as they have a personal number - the Swedish national identification number.
It is easier to find work if you are able to speak Swedish in general but given the international community in Stockholm, there would be opportunities to find English speaking roles. Your university could also offer student ambassador or student assistant jobs. In some cases they are voluntary and others they are paid, be sure to check with your university.
Whilst some university programs in Sweden may require you to complete an internship, most won’t. However, it is still something worth thinking about for summer or during the year alongside your studies. They come in a wide variety, part-time, full-time, paid, unpaid, be sure to ask to clarify any questions that you may have.
Budgeting is vital for a student, there are many apps such as Kvittar and Storebox to keep track of your spending. This way it allows you to splurge on things that are important to you whether that be exploring the country on your time off or buying those clothes you've been eyeing. Budgeting means that you will have one less thing to stress about.
Sweden is known for being slightly pricy but there are ways around that! Food on average will cost 2000 kr which is roughly €190. However, this will be much higher if you go out to eat at restaurants often and Stockholm may be slightly more expensive. The best way to stay on budget for food is to bulk buy items and shop at stores such as Lidl, Coop, and Willys. Restaurants offer a discounted price for lunch meals and universities can often times have canteens on campus where they offer cheap and super filling meals for students.
Regarding transportation, a car will be very expensive so it’s best to think about bicycles and public transport. Sweden is a country that loves to bicycle, so you can either buy one, second hand or from a retailer. Public transport is great in Sweden, a monthly pass in Stockholm with student discount will cost you 590 kr which is €60.
So many options
There are a variety of ways to fund your studies in Sweden and make this happen as successfully as possible - just like studying anywhere else in the world, it just requires some research and preparation.