Tag archives for University

Flickr Favorite: Chalmers University School of Architecture


Photo by: .ky (CC BY SA)

Working while Studying in Sweden

When I was studying at University in Canada I always had a job. Just something part-time to help with the costs of life as a student, but not too many hours so I could still get my homework done. What I have noticed in Sweden is that having a job while you study is not very common.

In Sweden being a student is a full-time job and going to school needs to be the highest priority. A full course load is intended to be equal to that of a 40 hour work week. Even though the amount of time you spend in class may be less, the expectation is that work done from home makes up the difference. Students do readings and assignments from home when they are not in class.

This entails more of an individual responsibility. The amount of time you put into your studies is equal to what you will get out of it. From this point of view, having a job would interfere with the responsibilities of being a student.

That is not to say that students don’t have jobs. Not all programs or courses are quite so intense. This can leave time for a little job on the side. Even many international students manage to find jobs to help with the cost of studying in a foreign country.

Students studying in Sweden from the EU are able to work during their study period without a permit. For those of us from other countries it is also possible to get a job while studying, assuming you have a valid residence permit. While part-time jobs are limited (especially if your Swedish skills are lacking), as a student you always have the opportunity to work.

One of the best places to find student jobs is at your university, for masters students especially. While these jobs may be hard to get, there are usually a few positions available in every department for teachers and course assistants.

And, there is always the option of a working for a nation. Most nations hire international students to work in their pubs, restaurants or cafes; however, this work is usually paid very little. If you are looking to make money, than a nation probably isn’t the right choice for you. If you are looking to make new friends and practice your Swedish then it could be the perfect fit.

Finding a balance between work and school can be hard when your studying abroad. But if you can find the time, working while your in Sweden is always an option.

Photo By: roamallday (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

What exactly is Nollning?

In Sweden back to school does not only mean back to classes, back to studying and back to writing papers, it means back to partying. At the beginning of every school year there is an orientation where the newbies get to know each other and the old students. The new students don’t only get to know each other, but also how university life will be like over the next few years.

In other parts of the world this is better known as hazing, frosh, or initiation, but in Sweden it is known as nollning.

Nollning: An introduction of new students to university life, where older students take responsibility for making the new students feel welcome through numerous “team building exercises”.

A week of nollning typically includes playing ridiculous games, dressing up, drinking great amounts of alcohol and taking part in welcome rituals. These new freshman students are usually dressed up in overalls, capes and wigs and then asked to complete numerous tasks, with a strategy of the more embarrassing the better.




Some of the nollning activities. Photos by: Dimidus (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Some activities can include dressing up as the opposite sex, jumping into a lake, drinking competitions, and any other initiation rituals the older students see fit. In the past this has even included a choreographed group dance number that must be done every time Taio Cruz’s Dynamite came on.

The orientation events are usually put on by the different student unions or student nations to let the new students know what the social side of university will look like. The new students get the opportunity to meet the more experienced students and benefit from their wisdom.

While this usually only involves new students to university, the international students are becoming more involved. The most popular orientation events, specifically for international students, include themed pub-crawls, where you get to meet lots of new people and also check out all the local nations, pubs and bars at the same time.

Nollning may only last a few weeks in Sweden, but that does not mean that the craziness ends. The costumes, pub crawls, parties, games and drinking lots of alcohol will definitely not end with nollning, but continue throughout the whole school year.

Sweden and beyond

When on the topic of diploma ceremonies, Örebro University recently held a diploma ceremony for their international master’s students. I was invited, as a representative of the Swedish Institute, to say a few things about Sweden and some encouraging words about keeping in contact with Sweden in the future.

Except for being treated to Swedish folk music, a speech from the Vice-Chancellor of Örebro University and h’or d’euvres, the most fulfilling part of the ceremony was to see the well-deserved sense of pride and accomplishment in the faces of all the graduating students. Some which are heading straight home to their home countries, some that are pursuing a PhD at Örebro university or elsewhere, and some which are looking for work in Sweden.

What they all share however, is leaving the international community of fellow students and professors that they have been a part of the past years in Örebro and Sweden. What I hope that they will do, is stay in touch with Sweden and each other. The world needs cooperation and understanding, and who are better fit for the task than the international community of graduating students and researchers?

My notes for my speech. (Click on it to view an enlarged picture if you're curious.)

Final Stretch: Örnsköldsvik to Luleå

Driving last stretch of road to Luleå - Photography by  Lola Akinmade-ÅkerströmDriving last stretch of road to Luleå - Photography by  Lola Akinmade-ÅkerströmDriving last stretch of road to Luleå - Photography by  Lola Akinmade-ÅkerströmAfter a final pitstop at Örnsköldsvik to fill up on gas, clean windshields, and hunt around for Peter Forsberg (rumored to be in town), we continued straight through the university town of Umeå and hockey town of Skellefteå (pronounced “she left you”), finally arriving into Luleå around 8:30pm.

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Flickr Favorite: Spring-winter season at Campus

Spring-winter season at Campus
Photo by: Roine Johansson, (CC BY NC ND)

Sweden roadtrip part 7, Umeå

Rainy street in cenral Umeå
Shop signs in Umeå
Shop signs in Umeå

Had a one day stop in Umeå [map], a town well known for its university and many students. Umeå has also applied for being European Capital of Culture 2014.