Quite often I get asked why I chose to study in Sweden and how I arranged everything, so today I’ll share some insights for all those pursuing studies here.
If you want to study abroad, I can generally recommended Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Not to diss any other parts of the globe, but education levels are really high and fee’s (if any) are much lower than in other countries. For me, the problem with studying a masters in Holland had a trifecta 1. costs, 2. requirements and 3. quality. I’m not saying education is NL is bad, not at all, it’s just the programs I was looking into were either too much of a hassle with requirements or they weren’t very well scored.On top of it, I would have to do a middle year, which could only be used for specific masters and didn’t automatically grant you access to be accepted. In the long run the additional costs of an extra middle year and the uncertainty just didn’t cut it for me. Now I don’t know what the current prices are, but I hear the Dutch politicians keep raising prices on everything, so I bet studies are included in that as well.
Sweden has an open policy for European students to study for free, yes for FREE, at one of their universities (non-EU is 15.000 euro’s). Of course you have your daily costs, health-care and rent, but you have that at home as well. There is a nation wide selection process, but if you get accepted you’re pretty much in. The most popular schools are Chalmers in Göteborg, Lund, Uppsala and Stockholm Uni. I chose Lund University because it’s world known and ranked as the 67th best University across the globe. A name like that on your résumé stands good (hate to say this, but that’s unfortunately how the world works). The town has got about 100.000 inhabitants of which 47.000 are students, so the whole town is pretty much based on uni-life. It’s also the most popular Swedish university for international students. I read up about the school and the studentlife, and I marked all the requirements with my bachelor’s, so I was fully on board. Plus it seemed pretty rad to walk on the same steps Astrid Lindgren has walked.
But my overall main motivator was change and the experience. Living in Sweden, meeting new people, the dynamic environment of the uni’s (it really is fun!), with dinners, brunches, balls, roadtrips and so fort. I have met some great and inspiring people, and we frequently had guestlectures by some really fancy, and really smart people. So even if you don’t do it for the quality or costs, do it for the experience.
But…. Lund is popular, so you can list it as your first choice, doesn’t automatically mean you get in. Here’s the tricky part: since it’s free, ranked with such a high score and the most popular due to studentlife, the application numbers are huge. In my year, there where 11,160 foreign master’s applications. It’s fighting tooth and nail to get in. Or, well not really, cause you don’t know how many apply per program, but it’s in the hundreds for one single program. What I’m trying to say is, think very thoughtfully about your application. I had to file several documents, in paper, over to the Swedish admissions centre alongside a personal letter of motivation.
Of course we as students assume there’s some form of politics involved, it was rather ‘coincidental’ we had such a diverse group of students: the international classroom. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great, but I know lots, and then I mean, LOTS of Germans applied and only 6 (?) got in. Whereas in ratio, maybe not so many Dutch or French people applied, and I know my grades weren’t as good as some of those Germans (uh, does any other nationality though?) Ok, I’m getting off topic.
So how to apply?
In general, all students wishing to study Bachelor’s or Master’s level programmes and courses at a Swedish university must apply online through the National University Admissions in Sweden. It’s a central office where every university has access to, in order to see your application. This way you only need to send your things to one address instead of 4 different schools. The site is really easy to use and lists all the required documents you need to hand in. Here you go through the process of finding and ranking your choices. Note that if you list something as a second choice, all other people who picked it as their first choice are considered first. So also think properly about your ranking. I listed Lund as my first choice and Dalarna as second. This was before I knew Dalarna was kind of in the middle of nowhere.
Application opens October 17th and closes January 14th. Make sure the Swedish office has all your documents by then, with stamps, seals, signatures, the whole shebang. An incomplete application will not be processed.
From my own experience I can say I had to send in he following:
- Cover sheet (printed from your online application)
- Proof of English languageskills (e.g. TOEFL or IELTS test, or Bachelor’s in English)
- All certified official certificates, diplomas and transcripts that are required to prove you meet the admission requirements. Mine had to be official English copies with stamps, signs and dates from my former school
- An attested copy your passport.
- Any additional documents(e.g. statement of purpose, CV, reference letters)
For each study there can be different requirements, so make sure to check at the university admissions. Here’s more information about the dates of application. If you want to Wiki-up on the Uni, check this, and here‘s a fancy video:
Hope this cleared up some things for you. I can highly recommended it. I had a great time, learned a lot and earned a degree, win-win! Just remember to pack warm clothes, lots of them.