I was very happy to get the Guest scholarship and already made plans to go around Stockholm, visit museums, drink coffee, eat kanelbulle while reading a book, visit nearby cities such as Uppsala, walking in the streets of the old town thinking of a bright future!
Arriving in Stockholm was smooth. It was a bright day and I went to a hotel hoping to move to a place arranged by the university for me the next day. However, things were not so simple. Since I was going to stay for just two months, I was on a waiting list without an offer and, thus, I had to look for a place by myself quickly. October is already too late to look for a place to move immediately, but I was thinking positively.
I quote from the KTH website: “Due to the difficult housing situation in Stockholm the best thing to do is to start looking for private accommodation as soon as possible. It can be very hard to find accommodation in August and September, and the best is to perhaps stay with a friend if you know someone who lives in Stockholm. Even if it is hard to find somewhere to live most students find something relatively fast. Don’t give up as something will come your way in the end.” Source: Accommodation for Master’s Students.
Indeed, there is limited housing development in Stockholm, thus limited availability of houses for rental. That’s also why accommodation is expensive in Stockholm. KTH offers several options under a service called KTH Bostad (Accommodation Service). Students arriving in September can apply for university accommodation in May of the same year, and if there are enough places, to get an offer by June. Otherwise, they can look for accommodation by themselves with the assistance of KTH Bostad that offers a list of property offers. One may seek for the services of a real estate agent or companies providing rental services such as SSSB.
Alternative and more flexible option is to rent a room at a house (sharing accommodation) or share with other students. These are offered throughout the year, often for a limited period, usually from people in large homes or people that may go on a long vacation. It is important that there is trust between the tenant and the landlord, so when you visit a place please try to find out who you are going to be sharing a house with. Do not insist to get an offer if the person does not feel like renting to you. There are other fish in the sea. Of course, the place should be in a nice and convenient area in terms of access to public transport and safety, especially for females returning late at home. There is even a facebook group “a forum for students of KTH to discuss about housing issues in Stockholm” (THS Housing) you can read about various accommodation issues. Always try to know more about you legal rights and always respect the local laws, legislation and moral laws, in order to avoid inconvenience.
My personal experience was very positive. I got to live at a lovely place, north of Stockholm city, very close to the lake and the woods and with a good access to public transport. It took me a week to find it after visiting about five places with the kind help of my supervisor from the KTH. I got to know a Swedish artist and we became friends, keeping in touch since 2005. Thus, I was able to better meet and appreciate the Swedish culture and authentic way of living. I felt safe; I loved Swedish food and IKEA furniture and had nice conversations, walks and long and peaceful sleeping nights.
A lot of information about accommodation in Stockholm and Sweden in general is available online. Please start reading here: Accommodation for Master’s Students, Accommodation and KTH Bostad. Never forget to visit SI’s portal http://www.sweden.se.
If you are a Greek student or researcher, please get in touch or post to the local SI’s Alumni Group in facebook, the Hellenic Society of Swedish Scholars. Myself, a board member or a group member might be able to advise.