Nervous about moving halfway across the world to a country where you don’t know anyone to start a tough new degree programme with total strangers? Don’t be! The Study in Sweden Digital Ambassadors and the Study in Sweden team have all done exactly that, and we’re here with our best tips for having a great start to your studies here in Sweden. And we’ve included loads of extra reading from the ambassadors on everything from exams to buying meat. Get ready to be the most well-prepared person on your programme!
#1 Don’t miss the intro week!
Immerse yourself fully in all the drinking, sporting, traveling and fika-ing that the first days have to offer. You’ll emerge with a ton of friends and memories. – Marta
#2 Use the first couple of weeks to meet new people and start friendships.
Don’t be afraid of talking to strangers! – Raghuraman
#3 Attend some Swedish language sessions.
If you can prata in svenska, du can make many friends! – Redwan
#4 Mistakes are good.
A sentiment that my perfectionist self had difficulty adapting to at first. But each mistake is a lesson learned and a concept solidified. – Mohamed
#5 Be 15 minutes late.
Or not, depending on where you’re studying. Several (but not all) universities in Sweden follow the akademisk kvart tradition, where classes start 15 minutes later than indicated on the schedule. Find out what applies at your university to make sure you’re not showing up early every week! – Dena
#6 Don’t fall victim to the fear of missing out.
You don’t need to be at every single party to feel like you’re living the ‘studying abroad’ experience. – Ayman
#7 Get used to people inhaling sharply when they agree or acknowledge something you say.
I thought my tutor had asthma or a lung condition, but it turns out she was just saying ‘yes’ to my questions. – Francesca
#8 Try not to take studying too seriously at first.
Take time to get accustomed to your new uni and meet people from all over the globe. – Dena
#9 Kick back, relax and enjoy the view.
Sweden is easily one of the most scenic countries in the world. Even if you’ve never considered yourself a nature buff, Sweden has the potential to make one out of ya’, if you just slow down, and let it all soak in. Don’t become so entrenched in studying and urban get-togethers that you don’t get to experience more of this country’s boundless natural beauty. – Mohamed
#10 Buy a bike.
Saves you so much money in the long term and keeps you fit. Bicycle lanes are pretty good in Sweden and well-maintained in the winter. – Francesca
#11 Enjoy the sun while it lasts!
Winters are long and sometimes hard. Don’t be annoyed with the simultaneous ‘bombardment’ of snow and rain. You will get used to it! – Redwan
#12 Visit secondhand stores.
Sweden has a supremely well supported secondhand market for clothes and furniture. Stadsmissionen and Myrorna are both splendid secondhand stores found in Sweden. Most of the clothes are in very good condition and you can find great designer shirts, trousers, scarves, ties, shoes, winter clothing, books and even ice skates (!) in these stores at a reasonable price. – Angelina and Raghuraman
#13 Skinny jeans keep you warmer.
This reasoning can be confirmed by comparing the ‘jeans and leg model’ to an insulated thermos bottle. Having a tight layer of air around the bottle keeps the beverage warm for longer; similarly, the airtight jeans sandwich a thin layer of air, resulting in warmer legs. – Gimmy
#14 Learn to love coffee and baked goods…
…because the Swedes sure do. The fika break, or drinking coffee and eating cake, is basically a cornerstone of Swedish society. – Rachel, Study in Sweden team
#15 The forest is your friend
Through the summer and autumn, you’ll find loads of edible mushrooms and berries just waiting to be picked in the Swedish forests. Here’s a guide to finding chanterelles. Remember, some mushrooms and berries are poisonous, so always bring a recent guide so you know what you’re picking. – Rachel, Study in Sweden team
#16 Have fun!
This is your life and your big chance to experience another country first hand. You’ll look back on these days like they were the best of your life and I bet you’ll wish you could go back. It’s not always going to be easy and maybe you’ll even want to go home at some point, but you have to remember why you’re here and what you’re doing it for. Sweden has so much to offer and I promise that in time, you won’t have a single regret. – Francesca
Even more advice
Follow the Study in Sweden Digital Ambassadors for even more advice on having the time of your life in Sweden. Here are some top reads:
Budget, finances and practicalities
- Marta on sorting out your finances and travel plans
- Angelina on student discounts
- Gimmy’s guide to shipping your stuff
- …and Angelina’s guide to shipping your stuff
- Mohamed on part-time student jobs
- Raghuraman on surviving in Stockholm on a tight budget
- Redwan’s guide to exams in Sweden
- Mohamed’s advice on tackling a tough subject
- Gimmy on the differences between studying in Canada and Sweden