Swedish education system 101

Embarking on a master’s degree is an exciting adventure, and considering Sweden for your studies will open up a world of unique opportunities. Before coming to Sweden, I familiarized myself with the education system through videos, blogs etc. Yet, there were some elements that surprised me, and they continued to do so throughout my studies. This is why in this 101 blog, I will break down the Swedish education system for you, ensuring you will be well-prepared for what to expect from the academic environment.

*Featured Image Credits: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

1. Importance of equality

Academic Pride, Stockholm Pride’23, Image credits: Yagmur Balim Urem

Sweden is known for its progressive and inclusive approach to education. Here, you’re not just a student; you’re a member of an academic community meaning that your voice matters ( a lot). The atmosphere is open, welcoming, and also encourages independent thinking. During lectures, you will hear constructive feedback from your teachers and peers without feeling judged. The academic environment does not discriminate against anyone regarding gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation, and there are mechanisms to act on if you ever be up against discrimination.

2. Student-teacher dynamic

This point aligns with the emphasis on equality in the Swedish education system. Here, your teachers aren’t seen as superior in hierarchy. It’s perfectly normal to address them by their first names (though it did take some getting used to), without the formal titles of “Mr.” or “Mrs.”. The relationship between students and teachers is seen as more of a collaboration. Teachers are very approachable, and discussions are highly encouraged. Once I got used to this system, using formal titles for people started to feel quite artificial. It is definitely refreshing to interact with on a more equal footing.

3. Welcome to active learning/flipped classrooms

This one was the most surprising for me and it was definitely something that I was not used to in my hometown. Very few courses include a traditional lecture style that you might be used to. Swedish universities emphasize active learning, where you will be engaged in discussions, group projects, and hands-on activities. It’s all about practical, real-world application of knowledge. Additionally, most courses adopt a flipped classroom style as well. In this system, the teacher distributes the learning material i.e. videos, handouts, articles and you come to class prepared. Then, the lecture time is used to ask questions about the things that you don’t understand to the teacher.

Aula Medica at KI, Image credits: Yagmur Balim Urem

3. Work-Life balance

Sweden places a strong emphasis on maintaining a healthy work-life balance. This means you will have time for extracurricular activities, exploring the country, and immersing yourself in the local culture.

Lund University library, Image credits: Yagmur Balım Urem

4. Self-study times

Speaking of work-life balance, I also want to mention self-study times. Prior to my studies in Sweden, my schedule would be packed from 9 am to 5 pm with lectures, followed by an evening of continuous studying. This left me with zero hours for rest and little room for a balanced life. This is why, when I saw self-study times in my schedule, I was very surprised. Now, I have allocated time during the day for me to study for the course material, and do the assignments and group work.

So, there you have it – a glimpse into the Swedish education system. It is an environment that encourages creativity, independent thinking, and learning. Remember, you’re not just getting a degree; you’re gaining an education that prepares you for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in academia or industry.

If you have further questions regarding the education system in Sweden, feel free to write me an e-mail or comment below. Good luck with your studies 📚🇸🇪

See you in the next blog!

Yagmur - Molecular Techniques in Life Science

Yagmur - Molecular Techniques in Life Science

My name is Yağmur, and I am from Turkey. I am a student on the Master’s Programme in Molecular Techniques in Life Science. Living in Sweden and studying at KI started as a dream, yet here I am (my life motto “everything is possible” still holds until further notice). In my free time, I like watching movies and listening to music from all around the world. I enjoy sharing my experiences in life. So, if everyone is ready, welcome to my blog and let’s begin the journey…


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