Choosing where do you want to continue (or start) your studies can be difficult, and questions like “will I adapt to the new culture?” or “will I have any problems with the language?” are very frequent. From my point of view being an international student in Stockholm (and I’d say this extends to many other cities in Sweden) is very easy, since it’s a very welcoming city. What are these things that make Stockholm such a great thing for international students? Here are my top picks:
Everyone speaks perfect English
Many people don’t find Swedish easy to understand (me included! It’s really different from any other language I know) but the good part is that Swedish people speak perfect English. This helps a lot, because if you have any kind of problem or question you will find someone who kindly helps you in English.
However, I’d recommend to learn some Swedish, specially if you plan to stay here for a long time. It would help you to feel more at home, and it’s always nice to know what it’s happening in your surroundings: understand the public transport announcements, watch the news or experience more closely the Swedish lifestyle.
The Nobel Prize – and all the activities related to it!
The Nobel Prize ceremony is a huge event in Stockholm and it is very important to all the academic institutions that somehow participate in it, like Karolinska Institutet, which is in appoints who receives the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine each year.
As a result, there are tons of activities for students and the general public. You can check my post about the Nobel Lectures 2018 and Dasha’s post about the Nobel Week Dialoge 2018 to get an idea. I felt really fortunate for having the chance to attend these type of activities – it was very inspiring to listen to the laureates. Also, these activities have a very broad range of topics, so you can listen to new ideas.
SO. MANY. INTERNATIONAL. STUDENTS
The great thing about Global Programmes at Karolinska Institutet is that they welcome students from all around the world, and most of them also come alone to Sweden. This means that everyone is looking for friends, so it’s easy to find a group of people with similar interests or hobbies as you.
Another nice part of this is that you not only get in contact with Swedish culture, but with many different cultures from other parts of the world!
Student Unions in Swedish Universities are well-organized and have a lot of activities to do and clubs to join. Karolinska Institutet Student Union, called Medicinska Föreningen (most commonly called MF) always organizes a reception week with tons of activities to help new students make friends and feel comfortable at KI. I have attended some activities organized by MF, but the one that you can’t miss if you study at KI is the gasques.
A gasque is a Swedish student tradition. It consists of a three course dinner accompanied by signing, performances and finishes with a party. It is a great way to make friends, since in many cases seats are distributed randomly, which means that you’re seated with other students and you can make friends from other Programmes. The experience itself is really fun, I’d totally recommend it!
If you don’t know about fika already you should. Fika is the Swedish tradition to have a coffee pause (if possible accompanied by a sweet pastry) to mingle with coworkers, classmates, friends… There are tons and tons of cafés in Stockholm were you can have a nice fika with your friends, and going for a warm coffee on a dark, winter afternoon is so heartwarming that you can’t help but falling in love with it.
Pro tip: kanelbullens always make fika better, ALWAYS.
Cool opportunities for students
I want to finish by mentioning that in Stockholm there are many opportunities for students to learn new abilities and meet new people. One example is the Coffee Hour: every Thursday between 4pm and 6pm there is a Coffee Hour in the ground floor of the KI Library Solna. Each Thursday one speaker is invited. After the speaker’s presentation there is time to enjoy a fika and socialize with the students that attended.
This is all for today! Feel free to ask me any questions about Karolinska Instituet or life in Stockholm 🙂
LinedIn: Ines Rivero Garcia