Hey everyone, so the results are out, and at this point it is just a waiting game until the day you pay your fees and/or move to Stockholm. At this point the exhilaration of finally getting in mixed with the fear of whether this is really the right path for you in life, and how to even begin setting about this path might be causing you more worry than needed. At this point it is easier to have someone just tell you what needs to be done. Do not worry. I have got this. This right here is a checklist of all the things you should be taking care of while you wait to move to Sweden.
1.) Join all of the KI student groups
This is not a shameless plug, I am not trying to promote the DAs through their most helpful student blogs which you can find here. Or the DA’s YouTube channel or Instagram page which you can find here and here. Rather, keeping abreast of any new information related to KI is what you should do right now. The programme-specific and the Karolinska Institutet Facebook groups have many lives with information that will help you in this transition. Also, I recommend that you join the student union Medicinska Foreningen (MF). There is a fee but it is worth it to be a member.
2.) Research your residence permit and visas
If you are bringing a partner or your family see number 8.
To study in Sweden as a non-EU/EEA student you will need a residence permit. To get this residence permit if you are from the Americas you might need a visa to go to another country. Research this because it takes a long time and you have less than 4 months left. By now you should already have begun the student residence permit process. Even if you have not yet paid the fees, you can complete the initial requirement steps. For tips and advice on how to apply for a Swedish student residence permit read my blog here.
3.) Get your bank accounts in order
Non-EU/EEA- Recall this advice from my previous blog on applying for a visa. To apply for the student residence permit you will need to have your own bank account. This account must have your name and cannot be a joint account with a parent, only a spouse. So at this point, begin making sure you open such an account and transfer the funds needed. These fees will prove that you can live in Sweden and maintain yourselves.
For all students- Sweden is a cashless society, so I recommend that you try to have an international credit card that you can use here in case of emergencies. Since no one wants to pay exchange fees open a Revolut, Wise or N26 account. These have really good exchange rates. You can also open them when you move here if your country does not support any of the above. 2+ year students will probably open a bank account in which case banking in Sweden will be easier.
4.) Start looking for accommodations
Non-EU/EEA students– this means applying through KI for housing which you can do here. It is best to begin this application as early as possible to secure your spot. While you are guaranteed housing, if you do not apply in time all of the spots will be taken.
EU/EEA and Swedish students– Students from within the EU/EEA area will have to look for private accommodations. This process can take a long time. I advise you to beware of scammers or anyone promising apartments under the table. If an apartment looks like a Google image then it is probably a scam. There are several Facebook groups dedicated to finding accommodations. KI also has this guide on finding private residences here. Another popular site that my friends used is blocket.se. However, always beware of scammers.
For all students- anyone who will be staying for a second year should also sign up to SSSB. You have to become a member of Medicinska Foreningen to apply. My advice is to sign up for MF as early as you possibly can. And join SSSB at the exact same time, so that you can fulfill the required number of days as early as possible. For more information click here. The queue for SSSB is too long to get housing for your first semester, so do not make this your primary source of accommodations.
5.) Start sorting out your current apartment/room
Most of you have your own apartments or live with your parents. Depending on your lease you will have to give your landlord a notice of moving out. You should also sort out things like who will keep your stuff while you are gone. Asking your parents to keep some boxes in their attic or calling a storage company is something you should do now. Different companies have different prices and policies so research well before choosing.
I thought I had 4 months to organise everything and put it into storage before leaving. However, that time flew by so quickly. I could not bring everything with me to Stockholm, and some items I wanted to make sure were safely put away.
If you have your own house, plan with family, friends or partner on what to do in case you need something. Or if you need them to water your plants or keep an eye on your house.
6.) Begin packing.
You do not have to start packing your suitcases this early. However, make a mental note of what you’d like to pack. Plan the clothing you will bring and think about whether it is wise to invest in shipping at least one box of your stuff. I was in the Master’s in Global Health. Staying in Sweden for just one year meant that I preferred to bring my clothes, rather than buying anything new. Think about what is the best decision for you.
7.) Organise your tickets to Stockholm
Notice I did not say “buy”. At this point you should think of when you would like to arrive in Stockholm. Keep an eye on the prices and how they fluctuate. Look at good deals and cheaper routes. Delta Airlines flies straight from JFK to Arlanda airport. KLM also has flights from Atlanta to Amsterdam to Stockholm, as well as flights from the Caribbean. Ryan Air, known for their cheap flights around Europe runs a lot of promotions so keep an eye out for those.
This is the best time to buy your tickets, since they will only increase in price during the summer, however, you will have to risk it. For EU/EEA students you guys can book your tickets from now to secure the best deals. I do not recommend that you do that before having a place to live though. For international students, I would wait until your residence permit is granted to book the flight.
8.) Organise your partner/family to move to Sweden
I should title this “Talk to your partner” about moving to Sweden. I assume that if you have a family this would have already been discussed. You can bring your partner (unmarried) to Stockholm with you. This will require a lot of documentation to prove your relationship. However, it is better to do it now, than to begin the process when you are already in Stockholm. Talk to them about whether they would like to move with you. Staying in the dorms is an option for families, but the only other alternative is a private residence. For more information on applying to move with family members read this blog by a former DA.
Actually for a lot of personal information on living with family members while living in Sweden check out former DA Winner Ng’s blogs on how to budget, how to apply and life in Sweden with a family here.
This is all of the information I have on preparing for Sweden right now. I will write another blog on what to do once you guys get here in the future. Last tip: take an Uber from the airport. It is just not worth it to lug those suitcases around after a 15-hour flight. Good luck!
Hi, my name is Zaynab and I am from Trinidad and Tobago, a country in the Caribbean. I am currently studying a Master’s in Global Health here at KI and am a blogger for the DA team. I look forward to sharing my experiences at KI and I also hope to expose students from the Caribbean to university life here in Sweden.