As a student with a disability in Sweden, you can receive support from your university. Your university will work with you to find the right mix of support services, ensuring an accessible study environment and equal opportunities.
What is a disability?
According to Swedish law, a disability is defined as a permanent physical, mental or intellectual limitation of a person’s functional capacity. This could include being having a visual, hearing or mobility impairment, having a learning disability like dyslexia, or another long-term condition.
In Swedish, the word for disability is funktionsvariation or funktionsnedsättning.
Sweden has a national disability policy to ensure equality for all.
What kind of support is available?
A range of support services are available for students with disabilities. You’ll agree on what services you need with staff at your university.
Some examples of support available are:
- course literature options like audio books, electronic textbooks or braille
- special arrangements for examinations
- note-taking support
- mentor or extra supervision
- study skills assistance
- sign language interpreters
- access to computers on campus with accessible software, and other technology-based support
Contact your university
Universities offer individualised support to students with disabilities. Swedish universities are quite decentralised, meaning that you’ll often receive support from different people at your university rather than one person coordinating everything. This could include your programme coordinator, the university’s disability coordinator and your teachers. Every university has its own routines and contact people in place, so it’s important to be in touch with the university directly to find out what applies for you.
Your first step should be to contact the relevant coordinator at your university:
If you’re coming to Sweden as an exchange student–studying in Sweden for one or two semesters as part of a full degree programme at a home university abroad–you should get in touch with the exchange coordinator at your home university. Your coordinator will then contact your university in Sweden to discuss arranging support.
If you’re coming to Sweden for your entire degree, you’ll need to contact the person in charge of coordinating services for degree-seeking students. If you’re not sure who this person is, you can contact the university’s student services office to find out. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction.
Once you’ve gotten in touch with the right person, he or she will be able to explain the processes in place for arranging support at your university.
Access to facilities and transportation
University campuses in Sweden are required by law to be accessible to students with physical disabilities whenever possible. Public buildings like shopping centers and office buildings also usually have accommodation in place for visitors with physical disabilities, including:
- Wheelchair-accessible restrooms
- Wide doorways and hallways
Public transportation like buses, subways and trains are also designed with passengers with physical disabilities in mind, including
- Elevators/lifts to train platforms
- Ramps between the ground and trains/buses
If you know in advance that you’ll be visiting a certain location or using a certain mode of transportation, it’s a good idea to investigate the facilities in place in advance.
Comparatively speaking, wheelchair-accessible accommodation is widely available in Sweden. Most student housing complexes will offer some accessible rooms. However, demand for student housing is high. Make sure to get in touch with your university’s accommodation office as early as possible if you need accessible accommodation so that they can help you to find the right home for your needs.
Read more: Student accommodation