Congratulations! You found out you have been accepted into your program and you are officially studying in Sweden. You celebrated with your friends. You cried with your parents. Finally, your dream is about to come true. But then -DUN DUN DUN – you realize S*** you have to figure out where you have to live!
AWWWWWWWW. I know, I know, but take a few breaths. It will be okay.
Unfortunately finding housing in Sweden is a notoriously painful process especially for non-fee paying students. It can take a lot of time and effort to secure a place to live within university cities; however, I am here to help to hopefully make the process a little easier. I have compiled a list of 5 tips to consider when looking for your own accommodations, as well as, blurbs from fellow Digital Ambassadors about their own housing experiences at their prospective universities. I hope you find it helpful!
Tip 1: Take advantage of student housing if you can
From the American perspective, when I think of student housing I think of dorm style living- where two freshmen-aged teenagers are shoved into the space of a closet and expected to cohabitate for a year. Now don’t get me wrong, 18 years-old Jordan loved her freshmen year dorm experience, but now 29 year Jordan rather put lemon juice on paper cuts than share a room with a stranger.
However, luckily for me, Sweden is not the US and the student living experience is quite different. In Sweden, there are many different types of student living options ranging from large corridor spaces to normal apartments. And unlike the US, if your university offers student housing, I encourage every student to at least apply for it and if you get accepted, you should absolutely take advantage of it
If you are a fee-paying international student (non-EU), you are guaranteed student housing at many universities, Uppsala University for example. Although it is important to know that some universities do not have this offer or have student housing at all! For non-fee paying students, you can still apply for student housing, but you may not be accepted because fee-paying students are prioritized. However fee-paying or not, I think it is worth at least applying. Especially with the pandemic, many more students are continuing school remotely. This has freed up a lot of housing space, which means a lot of my non-fee paying friends have been able to secure student housing, as well. You just never know.
Be sure to check out your university’s website. They should have information on student housing options and offers, as well as where to look if student housing is not an option. Also keep an eye out for emails from your university’s housing office. They should let you know of the process, when the application opens and closes, as well as any other important information you need to consider.
Digital Ambassador Housing Testimony- Nguyen (Lund)
“As an international student (fee-paying student) at Lund University, I had housing guarantee before coming to Lund. Housing guarantee means that I am allowed to register in one of the Lund University’s accommodation. This has helped solve a lot of pre-arrival hassles. So for my first year in Lund, I lived in a corridor with 4 other students sharing common area and kitchen. Living with other international students had a lot of fun as we all shared challenges, difficulties and beautiful memories together. I have also learned new cultures and traditions from my corridor mates.”
Tip 2: Send in your housing application ASAP
Your university’s housing office should keep you updated on student housing options, as well as, application deadlines. With that, I advise you to send in your housing application the first day it opens, as housing options are often prioritized among first-come-first-serve amongst fee-paying and then non-fee paying students. By submitting early, for fee-paying students this will increase the likelihood you will get your preferred housing option, and for non-fee paying students, this increases the likelihood of being given a student housing option (although it is not guaranteed).
At Uppsala, before the housing application opens, they send a housing guide to students to share what type of options are available. In the guide they provide the name, location, type of accommodation and price of the units, along with interviews with students talking about the pros and cons of living in that student housing option. Go through this guide and decide BEFORE the application deadline how you want to rank your choices. By doing this early, you will be able to turn in your application as soon as it opens.
Also, since housing is not guaranteed for non-fee paying students, it is important to continue to look into other options while you wait to hear back from housing. This is something you should also do early, as well as tandem to submitting your student housing application. You should check out Facebook, housing companies and classified ads on blocket.se is a great place to begin looking.
Digital Ambassador Housing Photos- Lara (Stockholm)
Tip 3: Figure out your priorities
Whether you are offered student housing or not, is important you establish what your priorities are first. Answering the following questions will help you establish what is important to you and thus, which accommodations would be available to you.
First, how much are you willing to spend on housing?
Housing can be expensive in Sweden and student housing can vary greatly. You will most likely spend anywhere from 2500 to 6000 SEK/month. Figuring out your budget will help you decide how you want to spend your money. For me, housing takes up the majority of my budget because it was important to me to live in a unit that had minimal shared spaces due to covid anxieties. Others rather spend more money on going out or shopping, so don’t mind spending less on housing. But before you do anything, make sure you know what money you are working with.
Second, where do you want to live?
Is it important for you to be close to campus, downtown or where most other students are living? Do you want to live in a quiet student housing space or do you prefer to be in the party unit? By identifying a location, this will help narrow down which housing accommodations you should look at and which you should not.
Third, what type of accommodation do you prefer?
By answering the previous questions, this will narrow down which accommodation options are within your budget and which are not. Do you want to live with other people? Do you mind sharing common space like a bathroom or a kitchen? Do you want to be where the party is at or do you want a quiet place to retreat to? These questions will help you determine which type of accommodation is best for you. You can learn more about the common type of living options available.
Fourth, how are you willing to commute?
Luckily, Sweden has many great options for commuting that do not require needing a car. Walking, taking the bus or riding your bike are the most common ways to get from Point A to Point B. However, remember, if you have to take the bus that requires paying for a bus pass which can add up. A monthly student bus pass in Uppsala costs about 600 SEK, BUT living farther away is often much cheaper. It is important to keep these extra costs in mind when trying to determine what best suits you.
Tip 4: Talk to current students
Current students are the best resource when it comes to finding housing. They know all the ins and outs of living, from where to buy groceries, which student bars are nearby, and other tips and tricks one should consider when thinking about housing. A great place to connect with students is on University Facebook groups. There should be specific student housing groups for each respective town. There you can find options that are available, as well as, a potential roommate if you’re looking to share!
Digital Ambassador Housing Testimony- Brooke (Linköping)
“Right after I got my acceptance letter from Linköping University in April, I was approached by Studentbo, a local student housing organization here in Norrköping in mid May. The email welcomed me to Master studies and informed me that in order to arrange accommodation in Norrköping I would have to apply for accommodation between June 1 – July 1. The process was easy and I just went to Studentbo’s website to register, pay a deposit and my tuition fee in order to be eligible. This process was also easy because fortunately my university allows provides accommodation for fee paying student of which I am one. Once I paid the deposit and registered on Studentbo website, I received an email from an employee at Studentbo asking what kind of accommodation I was looking for. Did I want a furnished room or non furnished? Did I want my own bathroom or kitchen or was I ok sharing one? The employee laid out all the options for me including price and it was my decision to choose. Once I confirmed which apartment I would like, I received another email with a contract to sign and to pay the first months rent. Once I signed and paid, I received a final email stating that I finally got the apartment! It was such a joyous day that made my soon to be Sweden experience feel even more real!
Although my apartment is small, it works for me! It’s close to the grocery store, university, and walking distance to just about everything else that I need. I have my own bathroom and share a kitchen with my flat mates who are nice and welcoming Swedes. The average cost is around 4000 SEK per month which is a tad bit expensive but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be this close to campus and not look for housing on my own. I will continue to live here until I graduate in 2022 because I love it so much!”
Tip 5: Be flexible
As I said, finding housing in Sweden can be hard, especially as a non-fee paying student; however, it certainly is possible. But one main word of advice is to be flexible. Although I had you figure out your priorities in Tip 3, it is important from there to figure out of those priorities which is the most important. It is likely you will not finding a housing option that checks every box, so figure out what you are NOT willing to compromise on. Do you not mind sharing a kitchen but will not share a bathroom? Or perhaps you dont mind living farther away if it means you get to live alone at a price you can afford. If you are flexible, you are surely able to secure housing in time for you to start your journey as a student in Sweden!
To learn more about finding housing in Sweden, check out our website page Accommodation and Budget . I hope you found this guide helpful. What other tips do you have for securing housing? Share it in the comment section!
“Living with other international students had a lot of fun as we all shared challenges, difficulties and beautiful memories together. I have also learned new cultures and traditions from my corridor mates.”