Wondering what it's like to live and study in Sweden? Here you find some useful information.
Finances and cost of living
All students must be able to cover their own personal living expenses, cost of literature, insurance, etc. here in Sweden.
One of the conditions for being granted a residence permit for studies (issued by the Swedish Migration Agency) is that you must prove that you will have enough money to cover your stay in Sweden.
The minimum amount required by the Swedish Migration Agency for applications during 2023 is 9450 SEK per month. If you are admitted to a two year programme you will need to show that you are in possession of 24x8694 SEK and for a three year programme 36x8694 SEK.
Cost of living in Sweden
The following example of a feasible monthly budget will give you an idea of the living expenses in Sweden.
Insurance, medical care, hygiene
Clothing, hobby/leisure, other
This amount is only an example and will vary considerably depending on your lifestyle and spending habits.
For more information
There are several major banks in Sweden, with branches located in all main cities and towns. ATMs are easy to find, and many shops enable you to withdraw cash when using a credit card to pay for a purchase. Opening a Swedish bank account as an international student is generally possible only if you'll stay in Sweden for more than a year, but the requirements differ between banks. Please note that it can take time to open a bank account in Sweden.
A lot of the literature is in the form of e-books. For regular books, the University library always has one or more copies of the course literature, so it is possible to get by without having to purchase books. Should you wish to do so however, the cost of the book is not included in the tuition fee. The easiest way to buy course literature is to do it online. There are several webshops available.
The Swedish krona (kronor in plural) is the national currency. It is often written as SEK or kr. One krona is made up of 100 öre. Since 2010, all öre coins are discontinued. Products can still be priced in öre, but the amount is rounded up the nearest krona when paying with cash. Bank notes exist in the value of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000kr. Coins exist in the value 1, 2, 5 and 10kr.
Many English speakers refer to the currency as ‘The Swedish Crown’ because krona literally means crown in Swedish.
In Sweden there are both private and public dentists and clinics. The prices are similar but the queues are usually shorter by the private ones. If you need to visit a dentist, call your nearest District Dental clinic or find a private one in the city.
In Sweden the current given from wall outlets is 220 volts, 50 cycles (Hz). If the wall outlets are different from those in your home country, you will need an adapter/converter to use your computer, electric razor, hairdryer, mobile phone charger, etc.
Having a home insurance is a very wise and not very large investment. Most landlords require their tenants to keep a home insurance. For international students without a Swedish personal ID number the insurance possibilities are a bit limited, but a basic home insurance is available through these three companies:
- Länsförsäkringar Bergslagen. +46 21 190 100.
Visiting address: Stora gatan 41, Västerås
- If, +46 771 655 655
- Trygg-Hansa, +46 771 111 110. For this company please state that you'd like to insure "Other housing", in Swedish "Annan bostad".
Please call the company where you'd like to open a home insurance, it's not possible to open one via their websites without a Swedish personal ID number. Länsförsäkringar Bergslagen has an office in Västerås, where you can visit them.
A pharmacy in Sweden is called Apotek. Pharmacies are located in all Swedish cities and towns and are open during regular business hours and often on weekends. Pharmacists can mostly give advice about prescription-free medication.
You can borrow books free of charge provided that you return them in time. Ask the clerk at the library for a library card “lånekort”, which will allow you to use the library services. Be prepared to show your passport to get the library card.
At the public library there is also wireless internet access free of charge.
Normally shops are open between 9 or 10 to 18 or 19 hours during weekdays and more reduced period during weekends. Supermarkets are normally open from 9 to 21 but opening hours may vary from shop to shop.
All students at the university, regardless of nationality are insured during education hours and during direct travel between your home in Sweden and the university through the Swedish Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency (Kammarkollegiet).
It's a personal injury insurance that covers costs you may accrue due to an accident. An accident means a bodily injury caused by a sudden, unintentional occurrence involving external force against the body.
The insurance provides coverage during school time, which means all the time you spend on the institution’s premises. One exception is if you participate in some form of activity arranged by someone other than your institution. You're covered when you're on a placement or at a workplace approved by the school. The insurance does not cover you during your free time; therefore, it's important to obtain a private accident insurance that provides coverage during the time you aren't in school.
All fee-paying students at Mälardalen University are insured by a comprehensive insurance called FAS Plus issued by the Swedish Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency (Kammarkollegiet). The insurance covers reasonable costs for disability and death benefits, medical and dental care, home transport, third party liability, legal expenses and damage or loss of property.
The insurance applies 24-hours a day in Sweden from two weeks prior to your studies in Sweden until two weeks after. The insurance does not cover visits to a doctor with symptoms or illnesses that the insured had before travelling to Sweden.
For students admitted to a one-year programme the Swedish Migration Agency requires proof of medical insurance when you apply for residence permit. Your Notification of Selection Results states that you are covered by Fas Plus and this is sufficient for the Migration Agency as proof. You will however need to upload your Notification of Selection Results also under the insurance section.
Please note that you need to read the Terms and Condition for the FAS Plus insurance carefully to know exactly how you are covered and if this is sufficient for you.
Please make sure to bring an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) External link, opens in new window. issued in your home country. This will make you entitled to medical care on the same terms as Swedish nationals.
Study materials prepared by the teachers can be bought at the Student Centre. Please note that materials are only available at the campus where the course is given.
The telephone country code for Sweden is +46. When making international calls always dial 00 followed by the country code. The local area code is 021 for Västerås and 016 for Eskilstuna. The area code must be dialled before the local telephone number when ringing from a mobile telephone.
Mobile phones are easily purchased in Sweden, and mobile phone prepaid cards (kontantkort) can be purchased at grocery stores, tobacco stores and online. However, new regulations require that you register your prepaid card, which for some providers is only possible with a Swedish personal ID number.
Working in Sweden
As a student at a university or college you are entitled to work while you are studying. Please note that it might be hard to find a job, especially without knowing at least some Swedish. Part-time jobs, if you are able to get one, will mainly give you some extra pocket money. It is not realistic to think that you will be able to fund your tuition fee by working in parallel to your studies.
For more information about Sweden
- If you would like to know more about living in Sweden and about the Swedes External link, opens in new window.