Finding somewhere to stay while you are studying in Sweden may take some time in order to do correctly. For most places, you have to have proof of your acceptance and some, if not all, of your visa information available when you go to sign your lease. Here are some of the things that you need to keep in mind when looking for accommodations.
If you are not working through an exchange program (known as a “free mover,” you need to be in constant contact with your student union (organization for students, both from Sweden and internationally). There’s not an organization that deals with helping students find housing, so the union is your best bet. Some student unions will help you
Because Sweden is such a popular country to study in, it can be difficult to find accommodation, depending on where you go to school. Smaller towns and cities will often have more flats available than the other cities do. Stockholm, Goteburg, Lund, and Uppsala often have waiting lists for student housing, so unless you are guaranteed housing by your exchange agreement or as a part of your admission, you may be searching for awhile.
You could consider living in a dormitory, because most of the universities in Sweden have them available for students. Dormitory life is a very unique experience, because you are sharing a building with a number of other people who are likely very different than you. Prices for dormitory rooms range anywhere from SEK 4000 and up per semester.
Dormitories usually have a community kitchen, study area, and a number of other community facilities that you can enjoy with the other people in the dormitory. Depending on where you attend university, you may be able to have your own room; you may share a room with someone else. This will also shift your cost if you have to share a room; it costs more if you live in a single unit. Contact your university to see what they have available in terms of dormitory accommodations.
If you are looking for student flats, they can vary depending on what town or city you are residing in. In some cases, you can find people who are looking for roommates; some of them may be international students like yourself. Here is a general idea of what you are going to pay for a flat per month.
- Smaller towns – SEK 2,000 to SEK 3,500 for a flat or per room in a larger building.
- Medium-sized towns- SEK 2,300 to SEK 4,300 for a flat or per room in a larger building.
- Cities – SEK 2,500 to SEK 4,500 for a flat or per room in a larger building.
Flats are nice, because they give you a sense of independence that you can’t get in a dormitory environment. Even if you have roommates, they have a separate room than you and you can usually have some privacy. You also have everything you need, like a kitchen and other facilities that can help drive your cost of living down a bit, especially when compared to dormitory life.
When you are looking for a flat, there are a number of questions that you need to ask to ensure that you are getting a good deal. Even though most Swedes are quite honest and reputable, you will always find people who will try to rip you off. Here are some of the questions you need to ask when looking at a flat to rent.
- How much does it cost per month?
- What do the costs include? Are there any utilities included?
- Is it furnished or unfurnished (furnished may be a good option for you as a foreign student, but it may cost significantly more)?
- What are the average utility costs?
- What can you tell me about the area of town that this is located in?
Ask to take a look at the lease before you sign it, if you can. They can email or fax it to you if you aren’t able to visit Sweden to talk with them personally. That way, you can ask any questions that you may have and make sure that you are getting the best deal for your money. A good landlord won’t mind that you ask these questions, or they may even tell you the answers without you needing to ask them.
Another option that you have when going to Sweden is using a homestay program. The Homestay Sweden website can actually give you a number of options when it comes to homestay. If you’ve never heard of a homestay program, you essentially rent a room with a family, and become integrated into the family while you are staying in Sweden. This could help you to learn Swedish better, if you wish to do so, and it can give you a look into the culture that you may not have gotten if you stayed in a dormitory or another environment that didn’t have you living with native Swedes. Your cost will usually include meals as well, so this can be a comfortable and affordable option if you are looking for an alternative to standard student housing while residing in Sweden.
The issue with finding accommodation in Sweden is that it can be very difficult. Since Sweden is known for having a high quality, affordable educational system (which we explore in our Why Study In Sweden section), it can be very difficult for you to find accommodations. So make sure that you start your search early so that you don’t have to worry about going into it without somewhere to stay.