One BIG difference between one-year programs and two-year programs

Here comes another universities applying period(15th Oct. to 15th Jan.) of the year. Before you made your mind, I, as a student enrolled in a one-year program, have to remind you one significant thing which may affect your choice.

The difference is: you will not be able to apply for a personal identity number(persumnummer in Swedish) if you are just enrolled in a one-year program. More info about this number click here. After reading this:

“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.”

I was still super confused about my situation: does one-year program count as longer than one year or shorter? Now I know since I moved to here already and I want you to know for sure before you make your decision as well: a one-year master programme in Sweden counts as shorter than a year since the study period only lasts for 10 months.

So in this case, most of students can’t apply for a personnumer which basically means you are not able to do anything.

  • No Bank Account and Mobile Paying App


COPYRIGHT/FOTO: Melker Dahlstrand +46-70-630 20 88

COPYRIGHT/FOTO: Melker Dahlstrand  +46-70-630 20 88

But still, if you can not apply for a personnummer, you can apply for a coordination number(samordningsnummer) to open a bank account instead. It’s varied with cities tho, in Örebro, I needed to show the bank my samordningsnummer together with my contract from Swedish Institute to open one but some of my colleagues just needed to submit the contract or the samordningsnummer.

Also like we students from China who are super used to pay everything with online paying apps will have some trouble here. No personnummer, no Swish or iZettle(Swedish online transaction apps)!

  • No Membership Cards


One more sad thing about this issue is that you can not join any membership for the stores that you like at all! For us shopaholics, this is a dream cracker!! When the staffs asked me if I joined the memberships so that I would have some discount each time I was paying the bill(trust me, quite often haha), I cried really hard inside T T.

  • No Gift Card From the University

This is a special case for students studying in Örebro University. The city of Örebro together with the university offer gift cards valued 1000 kr for new immigrant students. Again, it works only for those who are taking 2-year programs so… No ‘candy’ for me!

  • No Free Swedish Class

So in Sweden, if you are an immigrant with a personnummer, you can study Swedish for free. But only with the number… nope!

Apart from these inconvenient parts and some other parts mentioned by thousands of people already(like not covered by the Swedish insurance systems and no registrations for anything etc), it is still super worthy to study in Sweden.

Just a recommendation: when you are applying, two-year programs are better choices. Why? In two years, you will have more time to get to know the society and the culture, maybe even obtain the speaking fluency of Swedish(how cool is that!). So hope to see you guys here with an enrollment of a two-year program next year 😉

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A Chinese student studying Journalism at Örebro University. Hong has finished his study in July 2016.
Read more about Hong

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