Most people know Sweden as the land of Ikea and meatballs. Music fans might also recognise it as where a lot of great bands come from - including Abba, Robyn and Swedish House Mafia.
But this country of talented people also takes their relaxation seriously. There’s even a tradition revolving around taking a daily break with a hot beverage and a sweet bite, which is to 'fika'. To sauna is also an important social custom. Sweden has a lot to offer for anyone wanting to study there. Here are five things you should know if you are planning to study in Sweden!
#1 Work Opportunities in Sweden
Sweden has a long track record of innovations. In fact, it has the largest number of multinationals per capita in the world. It is the birthplace of companies like Ikea, Volvo, Ericsson, Tetra Pak, H&M, Scania and Spotify. With a healthy job market and a low unemployment rate, there’ll be lots of great opportunities for you to find work after your studies.
The country is also well known for its work-life balance. Swedes stick to the 40-hour work week and working overtime is not seen as necessary.
#2 Student Life: On Campus
Sweden has a non-hierarchical society and everyone is encouraged to contribute ideas and well-informed opinions. This means that when you study in Sweden, you’ll be encouraged to think critically and independently as well.
You don’t have to learn Swedish to get understood because next to the Dutch, Swedes are the best non-native English speakers in the world.
You won’t have to worry about getting lost in translation either.
#3 Student Life: Off Campus
If you’re a nature lover, Sweden is great for you. It’s been named the most sustainable country in the world because of its commitment to renewable energy. There are 29 national parks and almost 4,000 national reserves that give you chances to hike, fish and go camping.
In the winter season, it’s also your best bet for spectacular skiing and ice skating. The aurora borealis, or the Northern Lights, also appear in this period all over the Swedish Lapland where you can also go on dog sledge and snowmobile tours.
Plus, with nature all around in Sweden, you are also likely to enjoy the special events that only occur on that side of the world. The midnight sun, for example, is a beautiful phenomenon that happens in the middle of summer when the sun doesn’t seem to set. In summer, young Swedes spend a lot of time camping, or throwing parties by the many lakes in the country.
#4 Cost of Living
According to the Swedish Migration Agency, the average student budget in Sweden is about SEK 8,000 (equivalent to $880) a month, including the cost of housing.
Student housing and dormitories are the most cost-effective option and you usually get help from student unions or university office. In the capital city of Stockholm, this is the SSSB (Stockholm StudentBostäder in Stockholm). The queuing time for a student corridor room could go on for as long as 6 months to 1 year and even 3-4 years for a student apartment. So do your research as soon as you can, or you might find yourself in limbo.
Private residences can also be an option, but they can be expensive and it’s important to be diligent about scammers in this case. Student rooms or a single room in a student flat range between SEK 2,500 (approx $ 275) to SEK 6,500. (approx $ 715). To get around, students usually get the SL pass for the Tunnelbana (metro), bus or Tramway. An adult pass costs SEK 860 (approx. $ 95) but for students, it is SEK 570 (approx. $ 63) a month.
However, there are other expenses that are quite costly in comparison to most European countries. Food at the supermarket, for example, can be quite expensive. So is drinks at the bar or eating out - which means you might find yourself at more house parties than in the clubs.
#5 Visa Information to study in Sweden
Depending on your nationality, different visa regulations might apply. European Union/European Economic Area/Nordic students do not require a residence permit. If you’re from outside the EU, you’ll receive a ‘student residence permit’. You get it for a year at a time, depending on the length of the programme that you’re in. You would also have to prove that you have the funds to support your student life.
The good news is that after graduation, you can apply for a 6-month extension. That will give you some time to find a job and build a career after having a great student life in the country.
There’s still much more to learn about student life in Sweden, but maybe you might want to see what you might want to study first! Check out the different schools and programmes available in Sweden, and discover even more reasons you should plan to study in Sweden.