Sweden has earned an international reputation for being one of the world’s most progressive countries. It has a cosmopolitan vibe as 1/5 of all Swedes were either born in another country or their parents were. It is Scandinavia’s biggest nation, with a population of 9 million. The nation is perhaps most famous for the pop group Abba and the prestigious Nobel Prize, but it has a whole lot more going for it.
Swedish is the national language, but the majority of Swedes speak perfect English. Although part of the European Union, Sweden is not part of the Euro and has its own currency the SEK. The country is attached to Denmark by a bridge in the south; it borders Norway in the west and Finland in the northeast. The weather in Sweden is similar to the rest of Scandinavia with cold winters and vibrant, long summer days.
In fact, in summer, the capital, Stockholm, has a maximum of 20 hours of sunlight, and the city is packed with activities. While in winter, it has a minimum of 6 hours of daylight. The Swedes are known for being active and healthy people who make the most of being outside whatever the weather. Education is a state priority in Sweden, with the education system enjoying one of the highest levels of investment in the world.
The country boasts 5 universities in the top 200 world rankings. Keen to promote their educational system internationally, a range of programs are available in English. They have developed a unique educational style, which is centered around open classroom discussions with an emphasis on collaborative work. Although there are lectures, the majority of classes are seminars.
During seminars, it is often easy to forget who the professor is as there is no distinct hierarchy between student and professor! This emphasis on equality is sometimes referred to as the ‘Law of the Jante’, which is an informal law that runs throughout Scandinavia. It states that no one individual is more special than another, and you are not to behave as if you are above everybody else.
If your degree program is longer than 1 year, you're entitled to participate in the Swedish insurance plan and receive the same benefits as a Swede. If your stay is less than a year, your school may still allow you to participate in the insurance plan, so check with the school on this one.
Sweden has reciprocal agreements with 33 countries, so your national insurance may follow you.
In order to get a residence permit, you're required to prove you have access to at least €835 per month for the length applied for.
A visa is not required to enter Sweden for students from the US and other western countries. For stays longer than three months, you'll need to get a residence permit, which must be granted before entering Sweden. You'll start the application process online or at a Swedish embassy.
For a resident permit, you'll need to have a valid passport, be admitted to full-time studies, be able to support yourself for the planned study period, and have a comprehensive health insurance policy if you are admitted to studies for less than one year.
Please note: you cannot obtain a permit for longer than your passport's period of validity.