You have applied to go to Sweden, either through your university or for a Masters program, you have been accepted and bought your ticket, and your counting down the days until your flight leaves! Now what?
Well finding accommodation will most probably be the hardest thing you will have to do in your fight to actually make it to Sweden. If you are an exchange student you have nothing to worry about. All students in exchange programs have assistance in finding accommodation from the school you will be attending. Enjoy your corridor living!
For all of the free movers out there, life is just not so easy! You are responsible for finding a place to live and let me tell you, from experience, this is going to require you to sit in front of the computer for many hours each day with google translate as your best friend until you stumble across something livable.
I am not trying to scare you, this is not an impossible task! It just requires a lot of perseverance!
The system of finding a student apartment in Sweden is much different from most places in the world. It works on a queuing basis, where the number of “queue days” you have been waiting determines your place in the line. While this may seem alright, you are already at a disadvantage because most Swedes have been in queue for many, many years. Some even say it is popular for parents to put their young children in the line. So if you are not in any queues now, get to it!
For most free movers and Masters students this means no matter how hard you try you probably won’t have enough points to get a perfect student apartment. So my advice, just apply to whatever you can, the perfect one may never come along!
All universities have Student Unions and these are a great source of resources for those searching for housing. They always have good tips on finding accommodation and even some have a second-hand search site that can only be accessed by students.
Because there is not a lot available in student housing, many international students look to second-hand rentals. There are sites such as blocket and studentlya, which have housing announcements. Try and remember that the advertisers on these sites get lots of emails from many students, so make yours more unique and memorable!
A big warning is that there are scams on these sites. Usually these are adds that sound just too perfect to be true. A tip, if it seems to good to be true than it probably is! If someone asks you to send any money in advance and he/she will send you the keys in the mail, do not respond! Most advertisers do have the right intentions, so do not be scared, just cautious.
There are local newspapers that have adds. Usually in the menu is a link for Bostad (Housing). Also, the big Nations at universities like Uppsala and Lund have student apartments. Email the 1Q (First Curator or leader of the nation) to see if they have any free rooms.
I found my first room here in Uppsala through sending a very polite email to some of the previous students in my program to see if they knew of any free apartments or sublets available. All of the previous students are usually very friendly because they all went through the same search only a year ago.
Student housing shortages have been a long-lasting problem for most of the big universities in Sweden. But not to worry, this is not an impossible fight. Join all of the queues you can and search the second-hand sites on a regular basis and you will be sure to find a room!