Study in Sweden

Sweden is the largest country in Scandinavia with a surface area of 450 000 square kilometers and 9 million inhabitants. Sweden is a parliamentary democracy (the Swedish monarchy is purely constitutional) and it has been a member of the European Union since 1995. However, Sweden is not a part of the EMU and therefore you need Swedish kronor to go shopping in Sweden.

About one-third of all young people in Sweden go on to higher education at one of the universities and colleges. Instruction is free of charge at all levels of the regular school and higher education system. Private schools and colleges are few in number and generally receive government grants.

The country of Sweden is often described in terms of contrasts: innovative modernity and historical tradition, high technology and magnificent natural settings, rationality and beauty, land and water.

Despite these extremes, the characteristic of the people is often described by the typical Swedish word "lagom" which literally means "not too much, nor too little". Consequently, Swedes are often regarded as quiet and somewhat reserved people who try to avoid conflicts and rarely show their feelings in public. However, wherever you go, you will probably meet some nice and helpful people, who are able to speak English reasonably well and are more than willing to help you along!

In case of illness

If you become ill or have a minor accident, you should contact a local medical centre, "Vardcentralen". Their addresses and telephone numbers are listed in the blue pages of the telephone book. At most medical centres you should make an appointment by telephone, but there may also be an open reception part of the day. You are free to choose which medical centre you prefer to go to. There are public as well as private and the price is more or less the same.

In central Göteborg, there is a large number of medical centres, some of them with open reception. If you are from an EU/EEA member country, remember to bring your E128 form or the EU-card.

The normal patient fee for a doctor appointment is SEK 100-350 (paid by both Swedish and foreign citizens). If you do not have the E128 or the EU-card, you need to pay full medical fees, which can be very expensive.

Emergency assistance

In case of emergency, dial 112 for assistance. On calling you are expected to give exact information about what has happened and where help should go, your name and address, what kind of accident it is and how many need help. Based on that information, they determine what kind of assistance you need. (ambulance, police, fire department). Emergency calls from public telephone booths are free of charge. Push the emergency button and dial 112. Swedish hospitals are not allowed to deny anyone emergency care.

Dentist

If you need to see a dentist (tandläkare) you can either contact the District Dental Clinic, Folktandvården, or a private dentist. Both categories are listed in the yellow pages of the telephone book. You should call in advance to make an appointment. In an emergency, you can go to any dentist without an appointment during office hours. After office hours, during weekends or holidays, dial 112 and ask for the dentist on call, "Jourhavande tandläkare”. Please note that dental treatment is relatively expensive in Sweden, and that most insurances do not include dental care.

Registration

All Swedish citizens have a personal civil registration number called "personnummer". This number is used for national registration, documents such as driver’s license and passport or when you are in contact with the authorities, banks etc.

If your stay in Sweden is for less than one year, you do not need the number. However, if you get a job in Sweden you must have a personnummer, even if you stay for less than one year. If you have a residence permit for more than one year, you may apply for a personnummer.

You apply for a personal civic registration number at the local tax office, lokala skattekontoret. Bring your passport, the letter of admission and, if you are married, your marriage certificate.

Currency

The currency in Sweden is the Swedish krona (crown), 1 krona = 100 ore. The abbreviation is SEK. There are coins in the following denominations: 50 ore, 1 krona, 5 kronor, 10 kronor. The following notes are used: 20 kronor, 50 kronor, 100 kronor, 500 kronor and 1 000 kronor. There are many different currency converters on the internet, e.g. Oanda and the Swedish exchange bureau Forex.

Cost of living

A typical student budget for one month in Stockholm would be (all costs in SEK):

Accommodation 2 400-3200

Food 2 000

Local travel 600

Other (phone, insurance, hygiene et c) 1 700

Clothing, hobby/leisure 450

Student Union fee 60

Total approxim. 7 360-7960

Meals at a bar or self-service restaurant (sjalvservering) cost approximately SEK 50-70. The student restaurants at CHALMERS offer meals at very reasonable prices, approximately SEK 50.

Bank Accounts, Credit Cards and the Post Office

In Sweden it is very handy to use an international bank card. The most common cards are VISA, MasterCard, Eurocard and American Express. Please note that you need a permanent address in Sweden before you can open a bank account in Sweden. You also need to bring your letter of acceptance. A bank-to-bank cheque drawn on a Swedish bank is the best type of cheque. Personal cheques from abroad are not cashed in Swedish banks.

Telephone

It is very expensive to open a telephone account in Sweden. But there are several different options.
Regular telephone account: a deposit of SEK 3,000 is required.

Telephone cards: You can buy these cash cards in a tobacconist store or other similar stores (SevenEleven, Kiosks, Pressbyran) There are cards of different values from SEK 30-250.

Note: As of 1 January 2000 there are no phone booths in Sweden which take coins, you can only use the cash-cards in the booths. Cash cards for mobile phones may be bought in the same stores as telephone cards.

Electricity

Household electricity in Sweden is 220 volts AC and 50 cycles/sec (Hz). As for instance British and American wall outlets differ from Swedish ones, you may need to bring a transformer and/or adapter if you bring electrical appliances from your home country.
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