The Swedish approach to teacher-student bonds


Written by Nana

09 May 2024

What’s it like to be a student in Sweden? For starters, the classroom doesn’t have that stiff & stuffy atmosphere you might expect. It feels more open, no hierarchy involved at all. Yes, there’s something quite unique about the way teachers and students vibe here. Let’s dig more into it!

📚 Casual vibe & first name basis

There is a sense of equality and openness in the classroom. In Sweden, teachers aren’t high and mighty rulers, they’re more like guides on your educational adventure. For example, it is common for teachers and professors to be addressed by their first names. This relaxed atmosphere encourages us to feel more comfortable asking questions, sharing ideas, and seeking guidance from them. At first it was awkward but you’ll get used to that. Honestly, I really like this approach because it’s like they’re saying, “Hey, let’s tackle this together!”

Read about Nozi’s first name basis experience in Sweden

📚 A lot of discussion

Unlike some places where learning feels like a one-way street, in Sweden, it’s more like a jam session. The teaching style here prioritises active learning and critical thinking over textbook memorisation. They often use interactive methods such as group discussions, problem-solving activities, and project-based learning to encourage us to think independently and creatively. 

From my experience, you will encounter TONS of small group discussions with your classmates, and the teacher will also check in and chat with you. There is no right or wrong, you will not be judged because everything is part of the learning process.

Read more about Lund University’s learning environment & teaching style

A group of international students doing presentation in a classroom.
Group presentations are common, and teachers always encourage discussion. /Photo: Nana

📚 Way less favouritism

In some schools, students would upload their assignments without their names or identities, simply some ID with random numbers. This is to ensure no favouritism involved when the teacher grades the students. I feel like this is something very new and different. Like, the Swedish education system even thinks it through to make sure everything is equal!

📚 Teachers: “We’re not better than students”

We truly learn from each other. In Sweden, teachers really ask for honest feedback from the students. And it’s not just formality, they really want to know their blindspots and hear what you think, and how they can improve. Seriously, they’re all ears! Your ideas, your concerns, they want it to fine-tune their teaching mojo.

Annamaria, my fellow blog team ambassador, once told me about a course she had taken where the majority of the students failed. Then, the teacher asked for suggestions on how to improve it since he felt that it was his fault that the students weren’t understanding the material. This is totally new because where I come from, usually the teacher would just blame the students for not ‘studying harder’.

A group of people discussing in a classroom.
We are learning from each other, not just one-way. // Credits: Sofia Sabel/

😱 Was this a shock for me? 🤔

Now, don’t get me wrong—Swedish classrooms aren’t all sunshine & rainbows. For me, it was a cultural shock since this is something very different from where I am from. I am not used to being “THE BOSS” of my own learning adventure, so it was hard at first to ask something to the lecturer and they acknowledged that they didn’t know about it and I should try to find the answer myself. 

As it is quite fluid and not very structured, it may be quite difficult for you who are accustomed to being ‘spoon-fed’ by the teachers. So, you have to prepare mentally and realise that here, your learning all depends on your efforts.

Credits: Tyler James Williams Dancing GIF By ABC Network

But hey, that’s part of the fun, right? Learning isn’t supposed to be a smooth journey; it’s more on stumbling, laughing, and figuring things out. So, next time you think about Swedish education, remember it’s about creating a vibe where teachers and students are in sync, grooving to the rhythm of learning. And I hope you enjoy the groove!🍀😆


Written by Nana

09 May 2024