Fellow blogger Kazem recently wrote a really nice blog on the cost of living in Sweden. He did a great job of outlining all of the essential expenditures for a student in Sweden, and I’ll try to pick up where he left off by providing some tips on how to stretch your krona (or preferred currency) as far as possible. So in a somewhat random, yet itemized list:
Food & Drink
- You’re going to want avoid eating in restaurants as much as possible if money is a big concern for you. I’ve found Swedish restaurants to be expensive. There are many great restaurants in Sweden, but higher quality comes at a price. Learn to cook instead! If you have to eat out for a meal, choose lunch over dinner because a lot of restaurants have lunch specials that offer huge savings over the dinner prices.
- Since we’ve already established that you probably won’t be eating at restaurants as much as you might be accustomed to, familiarize yourself with the weekly ads from grocery stores (i.e. ICA, Lidl, Hemköp, Coop, etc.). These fliers are easily accessible on each of their respective websites, and I’ve found some great specials on various types of meat. Also, it is advisable to buy your groceries in the suburbs or away from the city center if possible. Unfortunately, the most convenient stores are typically the most expensive.
- Alcohol is more expensive in Sweden than in most other countries in the world. If you’re planning on going out to a bar and having more than a couple of drinks in a night, it would be a good idea to have a pre-party somewhere. This will save you a ton of money over the course of time because the prices at Systembolaget are much more affordable than any bar.
- Many museums are either free or have a reduced entrance fee for students and/or youth. In Gothenburg, the Konstmuseum (art museum), Röhsska Museum (design museum), Natural History Museum, and the City Museum are completely free for people who are under the age of 26!
Entrance to the Gothenburg Art Museum. Photo: B. Seward
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It’s officially the time of year where receiving a semi-cryptic text message like “BBQ next to the penguin house in 1 hour?” is completely normal. In this case, the penguin house is referring to the little zoo in the middle of Gothenburg’s largest park, Slottskogen. I’ve noticed that Swedes will flock to Slottskogen and other city parks as soon as the sun starts shining and the temperature climbs up to 15˚C. Fortunately there have been quite a lot of opportunities to gather up a group of friends and spend time outdoors in the last few weeks. Arranging a cookout is surprisingly easy, especially when you have friends with portable charcoal grills. It’s just as simple as a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up some sausages, hamburgers, chips, cookies, and maybe some fruit if I’m feeling “healthy”, and then it’s onward to the park to claim a piece of ground for our group. This can be surprisingly challenging depending on the time of day and just how nice the weather is; there are soccer games, joggers, Segways, and juggling/yoga-practicing bohemian types who must be dodged on the way to nabbing the perfect patch of grass.
Scenery in Slottskogen. Photo by Lauren Meiss.
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The sun’s out! The skies blue! And Swedes are outside! Anywhere and everywhere!
This weekend I made another trip to the countryside! Here’s how the last few days have gone…
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If you’ve just recently received your acceptance to a Swedish university – congratulations! You’re officially one huge step closer to making the big move to Sweden… but it’s not quite time to relax. If you are from a non-EU/EEA country and haven’t already applied for a residence permit online or through a Swedish Embassy/Consulate in your country of residence, then I would strongly recommend doing it NOW(!) It’s actually a fairly easy process, but – speaking from personal experience – it can seem a little daunting on the surface.
This is the end goal. And I’ve tried to make it impossible (or at least more difficult) for you to steal my identity from this picture. Photo by (and of) Brett Seward.
I’m going to briefly walk through the steps outlined here on Migrationsverket’s (Migration Office’s) website. I’ll attempt to make them as easy to understand as possible since the amount of information on the website can be a little overwhelming. I actually just went through this same process online a few days in order to renew my permit for another year so I don’t kicked out of the country before I finish my degree. That would be tragic. Anyway, paraphrasing from the website:
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