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LIFE IN SWEDEN



8 WAYS TO PREPARE FOR YOUR STUDIES IN SWEDEN

Accepted to study in Sweden? Congratulations! Here's what to do next.
The wait is finally over! Now that you’ve got your official offer of a place at a Swedish university in hand, it’s time to get excited: you’ll be coming to Sweden in just a few months. Here are the top eight things you should be doing to prepare for your studies.

1. Accept your offer

The very first thing you need to do is accept your offer by the deadline (12 April for master’s students and 19 April for bachelor’s students). If you don’t accept your offer by the deadline, you’ll miss out on your place, so make sure to do so!

2. Pay your first tuition fee instalment

In order to apply for your residence permit, you’ll need to have paid your first tuition fee instalment (this only applies to students who are required to pay fees – . Your university will provide you with information on how to pay.

3. Apply for a visa and residence permit

If you’re from a country outside of the European Union, it’s time to get started applying for your residence permit for studies. See Residence permits and visas for the basics, and head to the Swedish Migration Agency’s website to apply.

4. Find housing

Depending on where in Sweden you’ll be living, various housing options will be available to you – see Accommodation for an overview of Swedish student housing. After reading through the basics, your first point of contact should be the housing office at your university. They’ll give you the details on the housing situation in your city and how you can start your search.
In some places, particularly larger cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö and university towns like Uppsala and Lund, finding housing can be a challenge, so it’s a good idea to start your search as early as you can.

5. Arrange for practicalities

Health insurance is important to arrange before leaving home – see Health insurance and medical care for an outline of what applies for students from different countries. It’s also a good idea to look over your finances and consider if you want to look for a part-time job during your studies. And don’t forget to read through our practical advice so you’re prepared for day-to-day life in Sweden.

6. Connect with your future classmates

Making contact with other students on your programme is a great way to make friends before you arrive on campus and discuss common questions. A good start is to check for postings on your university’s Facebook page or to search for a Facebook group for your programme. You can also check social media or message boards popular in your country for groups of students heading to Sweden. If you don’t find a pre-existing group, why not start one yourself?

7. Read up on Swedish culture and your new city

There’s lots to learn about Swedish culture and what you’ll have to look forward to in your free time. Here are a few ways to get started:
  • Follow the Study in Sweden Digital Ambassadors on our blog, Instagram and Snapchat for an inside look at what to expect here in Sweden. They’re happy to answer your questions!
  • Read about Swedish culture, society and traditions at Sweden.se.
  • Start practicing your svenska (Swedish) via an online course.
  • Check if your local Swedish embassy or consulate has any events on over the summer.
Don’t forget to follow your university on social media to get in the loop on what’s happening on campus! Most Swedish universities have FacebookTwitter and Youtube pages, and many are also active on InstagramWeibo and others.

8. Come to Sweden!

In late August, it’s time to pack your bags and get on the plane, train or boat to Sweden. Your university will provide you with details on orientation for new international students. Make sure to arrive in time to get settled (and maybe visit a certain Swedish blue and yellow furniture store for basic home furnishings and a plate of meatballs) before orientation starts.

ACCOMMODATION

Get started with your search for housing as early as possible to increase your chances of finding your ideal student room or flat.
As an international student looking for housing, your first point of contact should always be your university. Most universities offer accommodation services for international students, which can include providing guaranteed housing or giving advice on where to find a room on your own. The exact offer will vary between universities. If you’re not sure how to find the accommodation service at your university, check with your programme coordinator or international office.
The availability of student accommodation also varies considerably from place to place. It’s usually easier to find accommodation in small and medium-sized towns and cities, while finding a room can be more challenging in larger cities, especially Stockholm and Gothenburg and in the traditional student cities of Lund and Uppsala.
You can choose to live in student accommodation or find a home on the private market. Always investigate options for student accommodation through your university or related student housing companies as your first step, as rent costs are likely lower and student accommodation can be much easier to find than private.

Student accommodation

Many students choose to live in a student residence hall, also known as a dormitory, or in a building of student flats. This is usually a fun experience that gives you the chance to get to know corridormates from around the world.
Most residence halls have 10-15 single rooms in each corridor, often with a shared television room and kitchen. In some cases, rooms will have en-suite toilets, while others may have shared facilities for the corridor. Female and male students live in the same corridor.
An international student in Sweden.
Susanne Walström/imagebank.sweden.se
Student flats usually include two to four bedrooms along with a shared living room, kitchen and toilet. Studio (one-room) student flats are also often available.
Both residence halls and student flats usually offer shared laundry facilities for the building. Sometimes a small fee will be charged for laundry, but in most cases laundry is free of charge for residents.
Students are responsible for cleaning their own rooms and the shared kitchen. Although rooms are usually let with basic furniture, you’ll usually need to provide your own blankets, pillows, sheets, towels and light bulbs. Some utensils may be available but you’ll often have to buy your own plates, cutlery, pots and pans, and other kitchen utensils. These are sometimes available to let through your student union.
Unlike in some other countries, student accommodation in Sweden is nearly always managed by organisations or companies separate from the university itself. However, most universities help to arrange housing in halls or flats for international students. Your university will have information on the local student housing companies and organisations and how to sign up. Often, you will have to join a queue system, where you apply for available rooms or flats based on how long you’ve been in the queue.

Private accommodation

If you’re not able to find housing through your university, or if the options available don’t suit you, then you can look for room or flat on the private market.
In most cities in Sweden, most rental flats are managed by central housing services that operate queue systems for so-called ‘first-hand’ rental contracts, or contracts directly between the tenant and the owner of the property. Residents sign up for a queue in their city and are then able to apply for flats, which are allocated based on queue time. In large and medium-sized cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö, Uppsala or Lund, queue times for a flat can be several years. As such, on the private market the most common solution for students is finding a sublet.
Through a sublet, or ‘second-hand’ contract, you sign a contract to let a flat or a room in a flat from the current tenant. The contract terms depend on what you agree on with the person letting the flat, but usually cover the length of the rental, the monthly rent and what is included in the rent (e.g. internet, electricity and heating). For an example of a sample contract as well as lots of general advice on finding a flat, have a look at Studentboet.se.
The housing office at your university should be able to offer general advice on finding private accommodation in your city, and may have information on available flats. Many student unions also have websites that help new students find available rooms. In addition to the information provided by your university, the following websites offer listings for sublets (most of these websites are in Swedish; use Google Translate or another translation tool to translate the listings):
Avoiding fraudsters
As in all countries, it’s important to be aware of fraudsters when searching for a flat on the private market. Never send a payment before you’ve seen the flat and signed a contract, and don’t send money through anonymous payment services. Always ask to see identification for the person signing the contract as well as proof that he or she has the right to let the flat to you. If you feel unsure about a situation, you can always ask staff at your university for assistance.

Rent and other costs

Monthly rent costs vary considerably between locations. For a student room or a room in a student flat, monthly rent ranges between roughly SEK 2,500 and SEK 6,500, with smaller towns at the lower end of the scale and Stockholm at the high end. On the private market, costs can be higher, especially in cities.
If you’re living in private accommodation, make sure to find out which costs your monthly rent covers. In the majority of cases, your monthly rent will cover heating and water, but depending on your contract, you may be responsible for paying for electricity, internet or other costs.

INTERNSHIPS AND TRAINEESHIPS IN SWEDEN

An internship in Sweden can help you launch your international career.
An internship in Sweden (also known as a traineeship or praktik in Swedish) is a great way to complement your studies with real-world experience and get your professional network started. Sometimes, internships can even lead directly to jobs.

Finding an internship

If you’re currently studying at a university in Sweden, your first step should be to contact the careers service at your university for advice, as well as your programme coordinator. Companies often contact universities’ careers services directly to recruit talented students for internships, so this can be a great way to get your foot in the door. Even if your careers service doesn’t offer a placement database, you can still often get advice on where to look for placements in your city. And your programme coordinator (or other staff at your department) will likely have advice on companies in your field that you can contact.
You can also look for internship placements by contacting companies directly. Many larger companies have established internship programmes; if you can’t find information on internships on the company’s website, don’t be afraid to contact them and ask!

Organisations offering internships

Several organisations can help you to find an internship placement in Sweden.

Residence permits and visas

Residence permit regulations for internships vary based on your country of citizenship and internship programme. Visit the Swedish Migration Agency’s website for information on residence permits in Sweden for interns.

WORKING IN SWEDEN

Finding a part-time job alongside your studies is a great way to prepare for your future career.

Work during your studies

As an international student in Sweden, you’re allowed to work alongside your studies – there’s no official limitation for how many hours you can work. However, it’s important to keep your studies as your first priority – even when you don’t have many classroom hours, you’re expected to spend the equivalent of a 40-hour work week reading and working on assignments.
Most universities have careers services that can help you with finding a part-time job during your studies. Many also offer services like employer fairs, CV checks and special events with companies. Websites like Academic Work and StudentConsulting can also be a good place to look for postings.

Work after your studies

Sweden is a great place to start your career, and innovative, international companies are found throughout the country.
You can apply to extend your residence permit for up to six months to search for a job or start a company, and if you receive a job offer meeting certain conditions you can then apply for a work permit. For more information on requirements and how to apply for an extension or a work permit, visit the Swedish Migration Agency’s website.

10 TIPS FOR FINDING WORK IN SWEDEN

Sweden is a great place to start your career, but how to get started? Here are 10 tips for finding a job in Sweden after your studies.
Citizens of non-EU countries can apply to stay in Sweden for up to six months after their studies to look for a job, and if you find one, you can apply for a work permit to stay here and launch your career. Here are 10 tips to help you get your foot in the door.

1. Register at your university’s career centre

The first stop in your career search should be a visit to your university’s career centre. University career centres offer a range of services to support you in your job search: career counselling (often in English), help with your CV and cover letter, seminars and workshops, interview technique training and study visits to potential employers. Career centres also typically provide listings for available jobs, internships and thesis projects.

2. Visit employment fairs

Swedish multinationals like Volvo, IKEA and Skanska, large national banks, public sector employers and other companies regularly tour employment fairs to meet potential new employees. Employment fairs offer a chance to browse and network amongst employers in your field and participate in one-on-one interviews and useful seminars. Major fairs include CHARM at Chalmers in Gothenburg, Handelsdagarna at the Stockholm School of Economics, eee-days at Lund University and Uniaden at Umeå University. There are also fairs not linked to universities, like Career Days in Stockholm.
It’s important that you come prepared; bring a stack of CVs and cover letters, and think of which companies you want to talk to and how to impress them. Send follow-up emails to the company representatives you spoke to – they could be a useful future contact.
Two students at a careers fair.
Tina Stafren/imagebank.sweden.se

3. Learn Swedish

It’s true that nearly everyone in Sweden speaks English, and you can easily get through your studies here without knowing a word of Swedish. Some large companies – even Swedish ones – have English as their corporate language. But being proficient at Swedish will open up lots of doors when it comes to finding work and building a social life after graduation.
Even if you apply for a job that specifically demands fluent English or where a native English speaker is preferred, your ability to speak even conversational Swedish will make you better qualified. You’ll also impress your new colleagues and bond with them more easily.
Most universities offer Swedish courses for international students. Take advantage of the opportunity – you won’t regret it!

4. Take an internship

Internships can be a great way to gain relevant experience and build your professional network. Even if they don’t lead directly to a job offer, you’ll have a reference from a Swedish company and a notable update for your CV. Try investigating options through international student organisations such as AIESEC and IAESTE. Or why not try your luck and contact a company you’d like to do an internship at directly?

5. Work part-time during your studies

Working part-time during your studies can serve as a springboard for your career. Competition for part-time jobs can be fierce, but the proactive approach of knocking on doors armed with a stack of CVs – preferably in Swedish – can get you a long way.
A useful resource is Academicwork.se, which serves to introduce work-hungry students with companies looking for part-time staff.

6. Get involved in your student union

Your personal network can be important to your success on the Swedish job market, so it pays to get involved in activities and organisations at your university. An obvious place to start is your student union. Involvement in a student union and the wide range of activities they organise can itself lead to work opportunities – and your participation will be a strong merit on your CV.

7. Write your final thesis at a Swedish company

Writing your final thesis at a Swedish company can be the perfect entrance to the job market. You get valuable experience, insights and contacts, and a foot in the door at a Swedish employer. Many university programmes and departments have strong links with companies, and thesis project proposals from companies are often published on university websites.

8. Join a union

Unions have a strong position in Sweden. Joining one as a student can be a great way to get your foot in the door in your industry. Many have special offers for students, including services like career guidance or CV assistance. They can also offer advice on salary negotiations, and once you’ve found a job, they can support you in workplace matters.
The three main trade union confederations are SACOTCO and LO, each made up of a larger number of individual unions, representing most professions in Sweden. Visit their websites to find the right union for your field.
See Work in Sweden’s article on Worker’s rights and unions for more information on unions.

9. Contact employers directly

When you look at Swedish job ads you may notice they include contact details for an employee who can answer questions about the post. That person is often involved in deciding who gets the position, so it can be worth your while to call them up, ask a few relevant questions and engage them in conversion. Hopefully you’ll impress them enough to remember your name when your application lands on their desk.

10. Start early!

Your fellow new graduates are just as eager as you are to start working after university, so start your job hunt early on. And don’t forget to apply for your work permit in good time.

HEALTH INSURANCE AND MEDICAL CARE

Health insurance should be arranged before you come to Sweden.
Health insurance guidelines vary depending on your country of citizenship.
Please note that the information on this page only applies for students on bachelor’s and master’s programmes, not for PhD students. PhD students should contact the Swedish Social Insurance Agency or their universities for information on health insurance.

EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

If you’re a citizen of any of the EU/EEA countries or Switzerland, you should register for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in your home country before coming to Sweden. This card gives you the right to medical care at the same cost as Swedes. The European Commission has developed an EHIC app with more information on the card and how it works.
If you’re not able to receive your EHIC before leaving home due to long waiting times, you can request a temporary certificate from the same office in your home country that issues the EHIC.
If you don’t obtain an EHIC in your home country, you’ll need to arrange your own insurance coverage to cover costs, as medical care without insurance can be very expensive. However, you always have access to emergency care.
If you’ll be staying in Sweden for more than a year, you can register with the Swedish Tax Agency for a personal identity number. Once you’ve received your number, you’ll be entitled to all healthcare and pay Swedish patient fees.

Non-EU/EEA citizens: stays of one year or more

If your degree programme is longer than one year, you’re entitled to the same health benefits as Swedes after registering with the Swedish Tax Agency in order to receive a personal identity number. Once you’ve received your number, you’ll be entitled to all healthcare and pay Swedish patient fees.
Do note that this doesn’t cover your journey to Sweden or the time you spend in the country prior to receiving your personal identity number. To be fully covered for that period, you will need some form of insurance from your home country. You should also check with your university to find out if they provide any additional insurance coverage for international students.

Non-EU/EEA citizens: stays of less than one year

If you have a residence permit valid for a period of less than a year, you won’t be able to obtain a personal identity number, which means you won’t have automatic access to health insurance. However, your university may provide you with health insurance coverage through the Swedish State Insurance Agency’s (Kammarkollegiet) plan. Check with your university to find out if they offer this plan.
Sweden also has reciprocal agreements for medical benefits with a number of countries. To find out whether your country has this kind of agreement with Sweden and to learn about terms and procedures if so, contact the social insurance office in your home country or the Swedish Social Insurance Agency.
Students who aren’t covered by any of these agreements must arrange for their own insurance coverage, as medical treatment can be very expensive without any form of insurance. It’s highly recommended to arrange for health insurance from your home country so that you’re covered during your trip to Sweden and as soon as you arrive. After arriving, you can check if your university or student union has a special agreement with an insurance company to provide insurance at a lower cost.

Medical treatment in Sweden

If you need to consult a doctor, you can either make an appointment at the student health centre at your university or go to the local healthcare centre, vårdcentralen. Patient fees vary but are usually about SEK 150-200 for a consultation. Doctors in Sweden speak good English; interpreters between Swedish and other languages can often also be arranged. Check with the staff at your healthcare centre if you need to arrange for an interpreter to find out what options are available.
If you don’t yet have a Swedish personal identity number or European Health Insurance Card (see the information for EU/EEA citizens above), it may be difficult to make an appointment at a healthcare centre. If you have trouble making an appointment at a healthcare centre or if you need urgent care, it’s usually possible to receive treatment at a local acute care centre (närakut). Your university will be able to advise you on the best course of action for short-term international students.
The official website 1177.se offers extensive advice on healthcare topics in several languages as well as a search function (in Swedish) for nearby healthcare centres.
In case of emergency, always call 112. You can also go directly to A&E, known as Akutmottagningen or Akuten, at your nearest hospital (sjukhus). If you are concerned about a non-emergency healthcare issue, you can also ring 1177 for advice.

Pharmacies and medication

Pharmacies in Sweden (apotek) provide prescription and non-prescription medication as well as basic health and beauty products. Some non-prescription medications like basic pain or fever medication can also be found at some grocery stores.

Dental care

Dental care is expensive in Sweden, even for Swedes. As such, it’s a good idea to have a thorough check-up at your dentist before leaving for Sweden. Should you still need to consult a dentist here, visit 1177.se to find local listings.

Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements for any international traveller entering Sweden. However, some universities may require a medical certificate as part of the application to their programmes.

SOCIAL LIFE

Students in Sweden have access to a wide range of leisure activities, from student societies to exploring the outdoors.
Student life at Swedish universities is as varied as the universities and cities themselves. Whether you’ve chosen to study in an urban centre or a traditional university town, you’ll have a host of activities at your disposal. The hub of student activity is each university’s student union, which organises social events for students. However, you’ll also find many ways to get involved in your local community and in outdoor and sporting events.

Student unions and nationer

Student unions, formed to represent the social and academic interests of their members, are found at every university and university college in Sweden. Membership is voluntary; students pay a membership fee of SEK 50-350 (depending on where they’re studying) at the start of each term.
Student unions are students’ official voice on campus and are often the focal point of student social life at a university. In addition to helping international students get settled during the first weeks of every semester, they operate restaurants, cafés and bars; arrange parties with live bands; run sport programmes; and organise orchestras and student theatre groups. Getting involved with your student union is a great way to meet friends and broaden your social circle, either through participating in activities or becoming involved in running the union itself.
Students at older Swedish universities are organised into nationer, or nations, representing the different regions of Sweden and often dating back several centuries. If your university has nations, these will usually be the focus of student social life in your town and a great place to enjoy a cheap meal or drink, club night or formal dinner.
A student playing table tennis.
Susanne Walström/imagebank.sweden.se

Societies and interest groups

Most Swedish universities are home to societies for students sharing a similar interest. Your student union will have listings of societies, and you can also keep an eye out around campus for flyers advertising societies and events.

Nightlife

Many universities offer pubs and clubs on and around campus, and university towns and larger cities offer an array of bars and clubs. The legal age for drinking in Sweden is 18, though some establishments – mainly in the bigger cities – may only admit people over 20 or 23 years of age. Outside of bars and restaurants, alcoholic drinks including wine, beer and liquor are only sold at Systembolaget, the Swedish state’s alcohol monopoly; you must be at least 20 years of age to purchase alcohol there. Beer with an alcohol content of 3.5 per cent or lower can also be found at grocery stores, and is sold to people aged 18 and over.
A lot of people go out for a drink at the weekend, and there can be long queues from early on outside the more popular places. Some nightclubs charge an entrance fee, usually ranging from SEK 50 to 150.

City life

It’s no surprise that big cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö offer an active cultural scene, with restaurants to enjoy, concerts to attend and museums to discover. However, even smaller cities in Sweden have lots to offer off-campus. Discovering all your city and region has to offer and getting involved in your community can be a great way to meet Swedish friends. Ask your university for advice on local events and societies, or visit your municipality’s website for listings.

Sport and outdoor activities

Students at Swedish universities tend to be very active, and there are many ways to get involved in sport as well as to explore Sweden’s beautiful nature. Most universities offer sport or fitness centres, and many organise intramural teams for sports like football, handball, hockey or bandy. You can also get involved in local community teams through the organisation Korpen (link in Swedish) or through your municipality‘s listings.
Hiking, cross-country and downhill skiing, and orienteering are popular outdoor sports in Sweden. STF (the Swedish Tourist Association) offers advice on outdoor adventures across the country, and your university may also have advice on local activities.

PRACTICAL ADVICE

Sort out the practicalities of day-to-day life in Sweden.
The following information aims at making settling into your life in Sweden as easy and comfortable as possible. Before leaving your home country, it’s a good idea to study some guidebooks and read up on Sweden. You may also get ideas and tips from the international office at your university; your university will also provide you with a student guide offering practical advice for day-to-day life in your town and at your university as well as an orientation programme at the start of your studies.

Register with the Swedish Tax Agency

One of your first steps after settling in should be to register at your local office of the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket). You will then be given a ten-digit personal identity number (personnummer), or co-ordination number (samordningsnummer) based on your date of birth plus four extra digits. For example, if you were born on 25 May 1989, it might look like this: 890525-1045.
If your programme is longer than one year, you will receive a personal identity number, while students staying for a shorter period will usually receive a co-ordination number instead. This number will be an important part of life in Sweden and you’ll often need to use it when in contact with authorities. A personal identity number is also needed to access the Swedish healthcare system outside of emergency care. Learn more about personal identity number and co-ordination numbers here.
Visit the Tax Agency’s website for information on how to apply and what documentation you’ll need to bring with you.

Practical advice for life in Sweden from A to Z

Banks and post offices

Banks are generally open from Monday to Friday, between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Many branches have extended opening hours at least once a week (until 6:00 p.m. in larger cities). Banks are closed at weekends. Though banks generally will require a Swedish personal identity number to open an account, many universities have arrangements with local bank branches allowing international students to open an account. Check with the international office at your university for advice on opening a bank account.
You will receive your postal address when moving into accommodation. Postboxes can be found throughout each city to send letters; yellow post boxes are for national and international letters and blue for local letters. Packets can be picked up and sent at a number of places, including petrol stations, supermarkets and kiosks. Look for the blue and yellow sign near the entrance of outlets providing this service. You can also buy stamps at these outlets, many of which stay open late in the evening and on weekends.

Currency

The Swedish krona (plural kronor), also known as the crown, is denoted by the international currency symbol SEK. You may also see the symbol :- used to denote SEK (e.g. a sign stating that something costs 59:-). One krona contains 100 öre. Bank notes are available in denominations of 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 kronor; coins in 1, 5 and 10 kronor. All major bank and credit cards are widely accepted throughout Sweden. (EUR 1 = approx. SEK 9).

Dates

Dates are often written in the order year, month, day. So 12 October 2014, for instance, is written 2014-10-12 (or just 141012).

Driving

Sweden, like most European countries, has right-hand traffic. The legal driving age is 18 and you are expected to have your driver’s license with you when driving. A foreign driver’s license is valid for a maximum of one year starting the date you register at the local tax office. After one year you need to obtain a Swedish driving license. The laws on drinking and driving are very strict and such behaviour is not only illegal, but socially unaccepted.

Electricity

Electricity is standard European 220 volts and 50 cycles (Hz).

Emergencies and SOS calls

In case of emergency, dial 112 to contact the police, fire brigade or medical services. Emergency calls made from payphones are free of charge.

ID cards

A Swedish identity card, or ID card (legitimation), is a card on which the bearer’s photo and personal identity number are registered. Having an ID card will help in any contact you may have with Swedish authorities. It will also make it easier for you to open a bank account. To obtain a Swedish ID card you must be registered as a resident (see Register with the Swedish Tax Agency above).
ID cards are issued by the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket). Detailed information about how to apply for an ID card is available in this PDF brochure issued by the Tax Agency.
There are also national student cards which give discounts on domestic travel by air, train and bus. More detailed information on discount offers is included when you receive your card after joining a student union.

Local transportation

Public transport – buses, commuter trains, trams and (in Stockholm) the underground – is available almost everywhere in Sweden and provides a convenient, fast way to get around. Passes are usually valid for unlimited travel on the local network such as the underground (T-bana), local buses and commuter trains. In some cities, you may receive a student discount for public transport.

Melker Dahlstrand/imagebnk.sweden.se

Medications

Prescriptions from Swedish doctors can be filled at local pharmacies (apotek); there are several chains of pharmacies operating in Sweden, including the state-owned Apoteket and others. These are open during normal shopping hours, though many are closed on Sundays. 24-hour service is usually available only in the major cities. If you take medication, it is a good idea to make sure that you have an adequate supply before leaving for Sweden.
Over-the-counter medicines may also be available at supermarkets or petrol stations.

Mobile phones

Most international students in Sweden choose to use Skype and mobile telephones with pay-as-you-go SIM cards from companies such as TeliaTele2Comviq (in Swedish only), Telenor (in Swedish only), 3 (in Swedish only) and Halebop, that can be easily topped up online or at newsstands. If you don’t want to buy a mobile phone in Sweden it is often possible to use a phone from your home country with a Swedish SIM card. Make sure that the phone is not locked to your previous operator. Another option is to subscribe to a new mobile phone contract, but this is rare for students and usually requires a Swedish personal identity number (see Register with the Swedish Tax Agency above).

Opening hours

Shopping hours are generally between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays. Shops close between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturdays. In larger towns, department stores may remain open until 8-9 p.m. and some are also open on Sundays. Shops generally close early on the day before a public holiday.

Time zone

Sweden is on Central European Time (CET), GMT +1. Daylight saving time (GMT +2) applies from the last Sunday in March until the last Sunday in October. Times are written according to the European system, e.g. 1 p.m. is written 13:00.

Tipping

A service charge is included in the price in restaurants and taxis, but it is normal practice to leave a small tip (around 10 per cent) if you feel you have received good service.

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