Sweden’s population of 9.4 million holds the longest life expectancy of all European nations but it also has the largest number of McDonalds per capita in all of Europe! This Nordic country is located on the Scandinavian Peninsula and has a renowned reputation for its multicultural society. The capital city of Stockholm has about 2.1 million people living in it, a large portion of which are foreigners coming to study in Sweden.
Internships in Sweden
Internships are encouraged to students, but you must be at least 19 years of age and not more than 32, and have proficient English speaking skills. Internships in Sweden are usually found through the career services at your resident institution, this is because schools and universities heavily encourage internships for their students because it helps them gain real world experience, develop connections and to really explore their field of interest to see if it is right for them. Organizations and companies are affiliated with the career services departments at many of the universities and recruit students directly through the university.
The Erasmus program is widely available to all students attending a European University. The Erasmus traineeship mobility program is considered a part of the student’s degree, and once students are able to find an internship placement that suits them, they have the choice of whether or not to apply for an Erasmus placement grant, which would assist in covering living costs.
There are also several organizations and agencies that can help individuals to find internships such as AIESEC, an international student organization that helps locate internships and opportunities in a variety of fields, and they have a large emphasis on leadership and business. IAESTE, the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience is a helpful organization to check in with if you are interested in pursuing an internship in engineering, natural sciences and other technical fields. If you are focused on a law related internship, check out the European Law Students Association, ELSA, while medical students can investigate opportunities in trainee exchanges through the IFMSA, the International Federation of Medical Students Associations.
Major companies such as Adobe, ebay, AOL and Philips offer internships that can be found through graduateland.com while other companies such as Volvo provide information about their internships directly on the company website. If you are interested in a particular company, but don’t see any internship programs, taking the initiative to contact the company demonstrates a sincere interest and the valuable quality proactive communication.
Cost of Living in Sweden
Sweden’s successful economy is reflected in the high prices throughout the country. If the internship you are involved with is affiliated with a university, it is highly recommended to make the most of student housing options, which will cost about 3,000 SEK per month, give or take. Finding cheap housing is an important component of affording life in Sweden, because food, exploring and entertainment will consume a large portion of your budget. You will save a great deal of money by cooking meals at home, because eating out can run you about 50 SEK per sit down meal! If you are incapable of cooking, there are also small street carts that offer a diverse selection of food that will cost you only about 25 SEK. In terms of going out, most clubs have cover charges of about 200 SEK, and because alcohol is heavily taxed, opting for 55 SEK for a beer is your best option.
Transportation is also a budget-destroyer, so stay away from taxis that can cost as much as 200 SEK and utilize public transportation. The subway in Sweden is open almost all hours and is very convenient, and if you purchase a Stockholm card, you will not only have access to the public transportation system in Stockholm, but free admission into 99% of museums and canal tours- so not only are you getting around much cheaper than 40 SEK per individual subway ticket, but also getting a chance to explore!
Visas and Documentation
For those coming from member countries of the European Union do not need a visa, Iceland, LIechenstein, Switzerland and Norway also do not require a visa. For those who aren’t EU citizens, you must secure an internship before you are able to apply for your visa. Visa requirement vary depending on the country and it is always best to consult the Swedish consulate for the exact requirements and procedures for your visa. Non-EU citizens will also need to apply for a residence permit, which can sometimes take awhile, but once you are approved you will receive a permit card, which you will need to show in conjunction with your passport upon entry to Sweden. Once you enter the country, you will need to register at the local representative’s office of the Swedish Migration bureau within three months of your arrival.
Another important preparation before heading to Sweden is to make sure you have valid health care coverage, since medical treatments are extremely pricey. Nordic, EU/EEA and Swiss citizens are given access to urgent healthcare as long as they possess their European Health Insurance card. However, if your internship exceeds one year, you will qualify for the same health benefits available to Swedish citizens as long as you register at the local tax office. If you are staying less than a year, you will not receive the privilege of automatic health care access, but a possible option is to apply for governmental Kammarkollegiet insurance. If you are injured or ill, a local district health center called a vårdcentralen, where a consultation will cost you about 150-200 SEK. For urgent medical emergencies, the number to dial is 112.
To be certain you are covered in all areas of documentation, insurance and any other legal dealings, please contact your host organization or institution as they are usually well versed in handling international immigration needs to Sweden.