What to expect from studying in Sweden!

I am sitting on the plane that will take me to where it all started one year ago, nostalgically going through my old pictures and movies that bring me back to all the highs of last year.
Maybe a few days ago you were on such a plane as well, on your way to Sweden to study. Or maybe you would want to be? For all of you who are making your way out here, or are thinking about it, here is what you can expect to happen to you (at least it did to me)!

You will…

… gain some weight


I fika, you fika, we fika… No wonder Fika is actually a verb, the Swedes live by it! Your classes will constantly be interrupted for coffee breaks that often go with some type of bun (bulle) or cake. Group assignments are definitely fika-worthy, and meeting classmates outside of class even more! Thank god there are so many types of buns to go with all these occasions. There are kanelbullar, lussebullar, kardemummabullar, semlor, … Some you can get all year and others pass by only in very specific periods of the year. The darker it gets, the more you will give in to sweet temptations and you might just notice this in your curves. But hey, at least you’ll be warm in winter!

… live by the light


A Swedish day starts early, and you’ll automatically learn to do the same as days get shorter. To get as much as possible of the daylight you better set your alarm and get out! O how you will cherish the sunrise and sunset!

Student parties run by a tight schedule as well, so pre-drinks (förfest) as early as eight o’clock are not an exception. You head out to the club by ten if you don’t want to spend the night in the queue, and hit the dance floor until around two. That’s when the (confronting) bright lights are turned back on and everyone is guided back to the front door. And you’ll be happy to get back in bed early so that you don’t miss out on any sun rays the next day!

… be well taken care of


Swedish education is very personal. Your class group is likely to be small, your professors will probably know you by name, and you also address them by their first name. Their interest in you will go way further than just your grades or attendance. They like to know about your emotional health, your hobbies, probably even your gold fish pet. So don’t shy away from some more personal questions, people really value and respect your opinion and are open to constructive criticism as long as you use as many positive words as possible.

… meet the world


Many international students come to Sweden to study, so you for sure won’t be the only one packing a whole other language, different foods and some crazy habits in your luggage. This is one of the best things about living abroad though, you will learn so much about other cultures and become a true ambassador of your home country. You might even notice and appreciate some aspects of your own roots that you may have taken for granted before. But the very best remains of course the many potlucks where you will taste the world on your plate!

This photo was taken over the last summer in India, where I travelled to see one of my friend’s, Radhika’s, home base. At the start of last year I would have never imagined going to India, let alone being welcomed like a true family member.

… become a professional cyclist


In most Swedish cities, your bike in shining armour will take you anywhere. Even though Stockholm can be quite messy sometimes (even disastrous when you end up in Slussen), Swedish cities tend to be very bike-friendly overall (especially the smaller student towns like Lund and Uppsala). It is the best way to catch as much of Swedish nature, it burns off some fika and runs 24 for 7. So once you get hold of a cykel at the second hand market, you will flaunt the streets riding your speedy steed on your way to school and anywhere else.

… work a lot


To my experience, Swedish universities sure know how to keep you busy. Lengthy, open discussions are a common teaching method, reading two books in preparation for one single lecture is nothing extraordinary, and group works follow each other back to back.

However, the life-work balance is very important in Swedish society, and this counts for student life as well. Weekends are sacred, so your school work is expected to be completed somewhere between 9 and 5 on a weekday so that you have those days to truly relax. And so I do just that… 🙂

… change your style


Next to upgrading the overall fashionability of your outfit, you will start dress for any occasion. *Layers* are the secret to any weatherly surprise. You’ll learn fast enough that a clear blue sky can turn into a thunderstorm five minutes later, that snow still falls in April or that rain and sunshine are a perfect pair. So you have to be able to cover up, strip down or zip up at any time of the day. In the end, it does make for some impressive rainbows anyway.

I am back in Sweden for six days now, and the summer break has been so good to me that I think some parts of my heart are still under way over here, but I’m glad to be back. A small jump in the cold, cold water today with some old and some new friends under the cloudy sky (completely ignoring the sunniest weather forecast) confirmed just that.

Puss och kram,



(Many cookiepoints go to Kostas Mandilaris, one of my new neighbours, for this picture. Thanks!)

Elke avatar


  • Radhika Gupta • 19 Sep 2016 at 7.25 pm Reply

    Awww Elki, our new family member :*

    • Elke
      Elke • 19 Sep 2016 at 8.00 pm Reply

      Love you <3 🙂

  • Essay Creator • 19 Sep 2016 at 8.34 am Reply

    This is a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us! I hope to read more of your post which is very informative and useful to all the readers. I salute writers like you for doing a great job!

    • Elke
      Elke • 19 Sep 2016 at 9.31 am Reply

      Thank you very much 🙂 I’ll keep them coming!

      • Jo • 1 Oct 2016 at 5.42 pm Reply

        Thank you for the informations, i just want to know is it possible to work and study in the same time .. And will that be dificulte because of the shecdule

  • Josh • 18 Sep 2016 at 4.28 am Reply

    You have the best blog posts. I can’t help but laugh with your stories =)

    • Elke
      Elke • 18 Sep 2016 at 6.56 pm Reply

      After all this time you still do.. thank god :p

  • Mert Alpkoçak • 17 Sep 2016 at 1.40 am Reply

    Loved your post! Indeed, I got motivated 🙂

    • Elke
      Elke • 18 Sep 2016 at 7.39 pm Reply

      Thanks! I’m glad 🙂

  • JayDee • 16 Sep 2016 at 12.56 pm Reply

    Dear Elke

    I hope you are well

    I am a student studying towards Master of Social Science (Sociology) degree by thesis with specialty in environmental management. I am from Zimbabwe and studying in South Africa. I am interested in studying towards Master’s Programme in Social-ecological resilience for sustainable development (the same programme you are doing) starting Sept 2017.
    Since I could not find any contact details, and just came across yours when I was browsing through students/university platforms, I decided to get in touch with you so that you shed light to me on some aspects.
    1. Firstly, I feel so intimidated because only 15 are admitted to study towards this program each year. This shows me that there is intensive competition. My question is, what are the chances that one can be selected, given that they come from Southern Africa, and there are many Swedish students who would like to do the same program? I understand you are from Belgium and you could share with me your experiences and secrets.
    2. Is there a criteria that is used to select students from different parts of the world or its based on previous degree, experience and recommendations? Can you please enlighten me on these aspects.

    Thank you so much 🙂

    • Elke
      Elke • 18 Sep 2016 at 8.20 pm Reply

      Dear James,
      of course, I have sent you a private e-mail!

      • Alejandro Tamayo • 19 Sep 2016 at 6.17 pm Reply

        Hello Elke I have a question about the admissions,Is there a criteria that is used to select students from different parts of the world or its based on previous degree, experience and recommendations please, your experience should be very helpful.
        Thanks a lot and greetings from Ecuador

        • Elke
          Elke • 19 Sep 2016 at 6.47 pm Reply

          Hey Alejandro,
          that depends on the program you are applying for!
          For my program around 50% is international (outside Sweden), but your application document was the deciding factor, not your nationality, and we didn’t need any recommendations. We just had to show we understood what the program was about, that that is what we were looking for and that we had something to offer to the program because of our past experiences (not necessarily work).
          Hope this helps,

  • Waleed • 15 Sep 2016 at 5.12 pm Reply

    hey Elke i want to know that can we work while studying in Sweden?
    and how much on average a student of Msc earns?
    thanks 🙂

  • Edward Okyere • 15 Sep 2016 at 12.28 pm Reply

    Elke are you stiĺl a student in Sweden? De reàson is l am planning to read my masters in Sweden

    • Elke
      Elke • 15 Sep 2016 at 1.38 pm Reply

      I am! Any specific question you have? 🙂

      • Maria • 18 Sep 2016 at 3.08 pm Reply

        I would love to ask you some questions privately if you don’t mind. I’m looking forward to study in Sweden and I need to know what do I have to deal with and all the assignments..

        • Elke
          Elke • 18 Sep 2016 at 7.39 pm Reply

          Of course, go ahead 🙂 You can send me an e-mail through elke.studyinsweden(at)gmail.com

  • Daniel Michael • 14 Sep 2016 at 8.04 pm Reply


    • Elke
      Elke • 18 Sep 2016 at 6.55 pm Reply

      Thank you 🙂

  • winnie • 10 Sep 2016 at 4.13 pm Reply

    I would like to study in sweden but am from Africa and a i want a sports university

  • Enrique • 8 Sep 2016 at 4.26 am Reply

    Great post Elke, very useful to me. I’m travelling in three weeks with destiny jonkoping,

    • Elke
      Elke • 15 Sep 2016 at 1.39 pm Reply

      Wow awesome 🙂 Good luck!

  • Edson Takudzwa Jumo • 7 Sep 2016 at 5.38 pm Reply

    hello…..i’m a prospective phd student who also wants to study in sweden. How do i go about it?finding a supervisor,school,my field,research,scholarship etc

    • Elke
      Elke • 18 Sep 2016 at 8.45 pm Reply

      Dear Edson,
      the procedure to apply for a phd is a bit different from applying for a bachelor’s or master’s degree. It happens differently in each university, and I have no personal experience with this. So it is probably best to look for the individual universities and check for the application process on their website.
      For example:
      http://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/erek/category/D (Lund University)

      Good luck!

  • Sued Attiqullah • 7 Sep 2016 at 5.22 pm Reply

    I would like to study in Sweden what is the required for middle East student. That will be honur to study in Sweden

    • Elke
      Elke • 18 Sep 2016 at 7.05 pm Reply

      Hey Sued, cool you are interested in studying in Sweden! You can find all the requirements for studying in Sweden on this website: https://www.universityadmissions.se/intl/start
      Good luck!

      • Irene • 6 Oct 2016 at 10.22 am Reply

        You put the lime in the cocunot and drink the article up.

  • jotham • 7 Sep 2016 at 5.12 pm Reply

    I would wish to know if the institute offers curriculum about sports I would like to study in sports related field

  • Ann • 5 Sep 2016 at 6.16 pm Reply

    I’m glad that you’re back on your blog. So I can follow your new adventures in Sweden.
    Have a nice time Elke! xxx

    • Elke
      Elke • 18 Sep 2016 at 6.57 pm Reply

      Thanks mamelama 🙂

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