Some tips to prepare for your stay as a student in Sweden
Large numbers of students move to Sweden to be part of its wonderful, internationally renowned higher education system. Many universities in the country are regularly mentioned in international rankings such as Lund University, Uppsala University and Stockholm University. Plus, the local culture, thriving way of life, and picturesque scenery all add to the already amazing package you signed up for.
But Sweden is a country, and that means it has its own peculiarities. There is no way to understand and assimilate to your society in a few days. You will need to research all facets of Swedish life to be able to have a worthy educational experience. Let me help you prepare for your student life in Sweden with these tips.
Respect personal space
Cultures have different attributes. Eastern societies, for example, have a largely collectivist character, which means that they have solid foundations of collective effort and life. This contrasts with the individualism prevalent in the Americas and Europe. Swedish society therefore has its own attributes. One thing Swedes cannot accept is the violation of their personal space. No matter where you are from, don’t expect the locals to get overly friendly and immediately welcome you into their circle. They are respectful individuals but take the time to get to know others.
You don’t need money on hand
Many countries, including more developed ones like Japan, are cash-driven economies. Sweden, however, does not rely too much on cash. In fact, you won’t find the need to use it often here. You might be surprised to find out, but many stores no longer even accept cash. All you need is a working card loaded with cash and you are good to go. Cashless is the Swedish way and you are expected to embrace it!
It is forbidden to smoke in public
Well you’ve got a long day in college and you wanna smoke a cigarette. Great, no one stops you until you decide to smoke in a park. Keep in mind that Sweden banned smoking in public areas in 2019. You are allowed to smoke in bars and restaurants that allow smoking, but you usually won’t find many places that do. This ban was introduced to advance the country’s goal of becoming smoke-free by 2025. So keep in mind where you smoke, unless you want to anger law enforcement.
The application process is simple
Sweden maintains a centralized application process, which saves a lot of paperwork time. You should keep an eye on the application deadlines; January is generally the fall semester deadline and August is the spring semester application deadline. That being said, the deadlines may differ from one university to another, so it is better to consult the official websites of the universities concerned from time to time. One area where you might end up waiting a long time is the student visa. You must apply for it immediately after receiving your letter of acceptance.
Language may not be a problem
As long as you speak English you shouldn’t have a problem fitting in here. However, it is always better to know the local language. The official language of the country is Swedish but people learn English from an early age. In case you still want to learn Swedish (which is a great idea actually), you should check if your university offers any language learning programs; there are quite a few universities that do.
Work and study
International students, in particular, want to work part-time while studying to balance their finances. Sweden, fortunately, has a very generous policy on this. However, it grants exceptional treatment to students coming from specific regions. If you are from the EU or EEA region, you are allowed to stay after your studies and work in Sweden. Those who are not from the aforementioned regions will need to apply to stay in the country for one year after graduation. Another thing you should know is that there is no formal limit to the number of hours you can work, but you should work limited hours only because you also have academic commitments.
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