Many people ask me questions, hearing that I study in Sweden. I decided to put together some frequently asked questions, so that I wouldn’t have to write all the same replies. On a few occasions people also contacted me after finding my blog, so in this case there’s gonna be some ready answers here now.
Feel free to leave other questions in comments on this page :)
Is living in Sweden expensive?
Yes, living in Sweden is pretty expensive. The government requires you to have 7500 SEK monthly for living, although I think it’s a bit exaggerated sum. But basically accommodation costs 2500-3000 SEK monthly on average, might be more, depending on a city and accommodation type. Then living expenses (food, and possible some entertainment, etc.) would be another 3000 SEK per month (where food cannot really go below 2000 SEK unless you skip buying fresh products, such as vegetables, fruits, cheese, meat, etc.)
I talked with people from all over the world, and everybody complains it’s expensive here, quite often twice as expensive as in home country (like it is for me). However, I don’t know anyone who would be dissatisfied with studying or living here. The universities are really great, the classes are interesting and useful, there’s a lot of seminars, group work and practical exercises, and I think it’s a property of all universities here. The student life is also really great.
Is it hard to find accommodation?
Finding the accommodation it varies from city to city a lot. Also it seems that since 2011 there is a problem with accommodation that haven’t existed before. It might be solved next year or might continue, no one really knows. Personally, I faced quite a lot of problems with finding accommodation. It also depends if you wanted to study as exchange student or master student or whatever other option. Exchange students are usually given accommodation by the university and don’t have to worry about anything. If you’re a free-mover from EU it might be more difficult, but university usually offer some sort of emergency accommodation that gives you time to find something permanent. Also my advice would be to first of all read about the accommodation at the chosen university website, and if they recommend some housing website, register there as soon as possible, even if you’re not sure you want to go to that university. Many of those housing companies use queuing system such that the flat goes to the person with oldest register date, therefore the sooner you register the bigger chances you have for getting apartment, though quite often you have to wait at the very least half a year.
How do I find accommodation in Umeå?
Good thing is everybody finds a place to stay eventually, but it might be nerve-wrecking and full of uncertainties. The accommodation situation here now passed the critical point, as reported by local newspapers. They didn’t actually expect students to stay in the city after completing studies, and since those who want to stay can’t find/afford a new place they keep occupying student accommodation normally available for newcomers.
Most common way to find student accommodation is Bostaden. Period from July to November requires you to have around at least a year of queuing time, it’s easier to get something in December-January since people move out then, and significantly less exchange students come for the spring semester.
I found a temporary accommodation through Blocket, first time I arrived here. However most apartments there are either very expensive and large requiring you to find roommates or have a lot of money. I heard it’s easier to post an add for yourself and allow apartment owners to contact you first if you sound appealing to them.
The last resort option for incoming students, and very often the only valid one, to be honest, is emergency accommodation offered by the student union. Just register there and hope they contact you soon. That’s how I received my first accommodation in Umeå, but I heard about it only a week before my scheduled arrival, so be prepared for last moment notices, and potential discomforts of the accommodation.
Can I find work in Sweden while I study?
Most likely not. Definitely you cannot expect to go to Sweden for studies and work during that time because Swedish salaries are high. The chances of getting a student part-time job without knowing Swedish on a native speaker level are slim. There is a chance that you find a full-time work or internship in your field, since companies speak English, and if you’re good enough you might find something. But then most likely you won’t be able to study and work. Regular part-time jobs are mostly only for native-speakers. And also it’s not like the job offers will be wherever you look, it’s not that easy to find a job even for Swedish students.
Please take into account that this blog is no longer active. However since I still want to help people, so feel free to ask questions. I just can’t promise a quick reply.