Ein Student Aus Upsalalala

Almost a year ago, I started looking abroad to do my masters, although finding the best degree was a top priority, I also wanted to know what it would be like to live in a new country. I was 21 having lived in England my whole life but as soon as I was old enough to holiday without my parents, I had immediately caught the travel bug. A bug that can only be caught once you begin to travel and once it’s in you, there’s no going back. It’s a feeling that you will live the rest of your life always wanting more, needing adventure and wondering ‘where next?’ On diagnosis of ‘wanderlust’, the next best thing is to try living in a new country. This is something that needs to be experienced in order to appreciate life for what it’s worth and you’ll not return as the same person, I promise you.

  • You’ll meet an entirely new group of people and you will bond over weird things, but utterly personal to you and your group (my friends bond over a love of sloths, goats and giant teacups). You’re all in the same boat here; all sharing this scary but amazing experience and these people will almost become a family to you. Treasure the times you have with these people because these are the times you’ll look back on as you get older and you’ll wish you could live it all over again.

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  • You’re not at home anymore so get used to it. That’s not to sound mean but it’s true, you can’t get mad at the world when things don’t go the way they used to at home. You’re the foreigner now so respect the differences your new home now offers you. Food will be weird, people will act different and you’ll find yourself binging on chocolate way more than what’s acceptable. It’s ok, you’re allowed to complain, moan away to your hearts content, as soon as that’s out of the way, you’ll realise how beautiful your new country is and how much more awesome you’re about to become.
  • It’s ok to miss home! You miss your family and friends and the food tastes funny. You’re apprehensive about leaving the house out of fear of getting lost in a foreign country and you barely speak the language. Everyone has doubts but these will soon pass once you become comfortable with where you are. It gets easier I can promise you that.
  • It’s ok to not miss home! You’re having the time of your life, why feel guilty? If you don’t make the most of your time here, then you’ll live in constant regret.
  • Oh, get a bicycle. It’s virtually impossible to get around without one. Actually, that’s not true because the buses are pretty good also but if you want true freedom without having to rely on buses, then please get a bike, Uppsala is known as the bicycle city and you’ll understand when you visit. You’ll notice your waistline decreasing too!
  • Its coffee and cake and it’ll become part of your life like you won’t believe. Sugar is love, sugar is life.
  • The Swedish are very reserved but please don’t take this as rudeness! Often I have friends mention that although they’d love to integrate with Swedish people, many are often very reluctant to do so. Once you get to know more swedes, you’ll realise they’re an incredibly witty and hilariously sarcastic bunch of people!
  • Stockholm is stunning. It’s a shopper’s paradise with a stunning backdrop and it looks even better at Christmas!
  • University education is free for all Europeans! Yep… F.R.E.E
  • You have no excuse to be bored; every nation have clubs ranging from singing, dancing and photography to almost every type of sport.
  • Housing is often a hot topic. Your mate may have an en-suite bathroom, modern kitchen and adorable housemates to go with it whereas you’re left with an ant infestation in an old tower block and rather unsociable co-inhabitants who steal your apple juice. It’s all about luck when it comes to where you live so be smart in the house hunt.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When times seemed tough, I spoke to my course co-ordinator who was absolutely lovely. These people wholly understand that you’re here on your own in a new country and want you to feel at home. Although you’re an adult, living abroad can make anyone miss home like they’re 5 years old again. Embrace it and move forward.
  • Winter’s cold (like you didn’t already know) but you need to be prepared. The sun will rise at 9am set at 2.30pm so it’s going to be dark a lot. There’s something snuggly about dark days especially when all the Christmas lights begin to pop up all over the city.


You won’t regret moving to Sweden to study. Think of it like a constructive gap year, you’re essentially seeing the world but also having an excuse to travel. There are no tuition fees and you’re living in an incredible city close to the capital. What more could you want?


 GIF’s from Giphy.com

Cover photo by Inge Johnsson, original image

Check out his amazing work here: http://ingejohnsson.photoshelter.com/

Francesca avatar


  • Lalngilneia Hnamte • 10 Feb 2015 at 7.06 pm Reply

    Hi Francesca! I’m about to finish my bachelor’s degree on May this year and when results are published it will likely be on July or August. What are my options of applying to a Scandavanian University? Do I have to wait for the next year or can I apply at the end of the year?

    P,S i’m from a local state in the north-eastern of the Republic of India.

  • Alfredo • 7 Jan 2015 at 10.36 am Reply

    Thanks a lot, Francesca. You’ve been very clear!

  • karthik • 19 Dec 2014 at 2.38 pm Reply

    Hi i am from India i would like to know what are the part time job oppurnities in sweden and is it free cost of tution fee for non EU student????

    • Francesca Martin • 21 Dec 2014 at 11.44 pm Reply

      Hi! Unfortunately, you have to pay tuition fees if you are from outside of the EU. There are, however, many scholarships you can apply for, check out the university scholarships that you’re interested in, they may have some specific to the course or department you’re interested in 🙂 Jobs are limited, you can work at student nations, but they don’t pay very well (about 3 euros an hour). If you don’t speak Swedish, I’m afraid your options are limited, however don’t lose hope, where there’s a will, there’s a way! It’s very possible to find work if you look hard enough and there’s always freelance writing!

  • Saki Anass • 17 Dec 2014 at 3.00 pm Reply

    fees are not free for non-europeans ?

  • Alfredo • 17 Dec 2014 at 12.35 pm Reply

    That’s a great one. I enjoyed from the first to the last word and the thrill to try all of this is amazing like I can’t wait a minute more! May I ask if it’s easy to find a part-time job for living there? Something to allow one to eat, sleep and study at least.

    • Francesca Martin • 17 Dec 2014 at 5.12 pm Reply

      Hi Alfredo, there are opportunities for students to work at the nation bars and restaurants to make some money but these are considered jobs that give you extra pocket money and won’t suffice to pay rent. Finding a job if you don’t speak Swedish can be tough hence why a lot of students work and save up before they come here. If the tuition is free, they believe that they are getting a good deal in that sense. I hope this helps! Luckily, rent is relatively cheap! much cheaper than what I pay back in the UK at least.

  • Mesay • 17 Dec 2014 at 7.42 am Reply

    i am a lecturer at Dilla university , which is found in Ethiopia. i have B.Sc degree in horticulture so wanna get scholarship in Sweden to study on the field of horticulture or other related field in agriculture .

  • Elliott • 16 Dec 2014 at 9.32 pm Reply

    Hey Francesca,
    I’m from England too, and wanting to study in Sweden in August 2015.
    I love that university is free for EU students, but my biggest concern is living costs and finding a job. I’ve read that not being fluent in Swedish makes it pretty hard to find a job, which is why I’ve been studying Swedish from online courses and such.
    I was wondering if you had any advice about finding a job in Sweden, and balancing work with studies.

    Many thanks, and good luck on your studies,
    Elliott. 🙂

    • Francesca Martin • 17 Dec 2014 at 5.50 pm Reply

      Hi! Think of it this way, we could either pay £6,000 to £12,000 a year on tuition alone for a master’s in England with the added cost of housing and food on top of that or have free tuition in Sweden and pay approx. £300 a month for rent and bills. I guess the price will even out no matter what you choose but the difference is that you get to live abroad and receive an incredible life experience 🙂 There is a possibility to work at student nations which many students do and this can pay for your food and activities but unfortunately not your rent. I personally worked and saved up my wages from my job during my undergraduate degree so that I could afford to study abroad but there are many that make money whilst here, although it is poorly paid. With my master’s, you complete one large module at a time so that you are only focusing on one topic every 2 months. I prefer it this way and I also do a couple of extracurricular activities and am still able to submit my essays on time 🙂 I think you’ll be making the best choice if you do come here! If in doubt, there’s also freelancing! I have a friend who writes for a bit of extra cash so there is a way to make money!

  • amjad • 16 Dec 2014 at 8.44 pm Reply

    me have craze to study in Sweden.can you Guide me about Admission process???

  • Bakhtiiar • 16 Dec 2014 at 8.38 pm Reply

    For a brief moment, I could imagine myself driving a bike on a Christmas night there. Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

  • khayrul haque dulal • 16 Dec 2014 at 7.08 pm Reply

    I want study in Sweden. Now what to do.

  • Hong Mingjun • 9 Dec 2014 at 7.21 am Reply

    Such a great article about the experience in Sweden! Can’t wait to be back though I have to pay the tuition fee lol

    • Francesca Martin • 9 Dec 2014 at 12.02 pm Reply

      Hey! have you heard about scholarships available? Every year, Uppsala University offer scholarships to students who would otherwise have to pay tuition fees, check it out on this site 🙂 http://www.uu.se/en/admissions/scholarships/prospective_students/ if you have any more questions, feel free to ask!

  • Angelina
    Angelina Ho • 3 Dec 2014 at 2.36 am Reply

    Travel bug! Couldn’t agree more. Being away for 8 years, feels like home is everywhere and nowhere.

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