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My Erasmus Experience At Umea University: Part II

In the first part of my I article, I wrote my general expression about the Erasmus at Umeå University. In this one, I’ll be sharing more practical advice for those who will be going there to study.

Before Arrival

Step one: When you got accepted to your Erasmus program and you’re not a EU citizen, you should apply for a residence permit. You can easily do it online on www.migrationsverket.se and since you’re going through Erasmus, you don’t need to pay for it. Win! It’s best to apply for your residence permit as soon as you know that you’re accepted into the Erasmus program, because the process can take anywhere between three to five months since the immigration offices in Sweden always seem to have their hands full.

But don’t worry if you can’t get one right away. If you have a national visa of one of Schengen countries, you’re allowed to travel inside this zone for three months in half of a year. If anything, you can come in and out of the zone within this time period and later, extend your tourist visa. It’ll cost you about 1,000 SEK.

Finding Accommodation

When you’ve been accepted into the program, the University will ask you to pay half of amount of money for your accommodation before beginning your studies. The cost of staying in Sweden is around 16,000 SEK (for 5 months), so you’ll need to pay around 8,000 SEK before you even get there. As an Erasmus student you’re lucky because you’ll not have any problems with accommodation there. The situation looks a little bit different for those who are going there on normal studies. In this case, it can be a quite difficult since there is a lack of accommodation in Sweden already. If you have such a problem, check out the www.bostaden.se.

When you pay for half of your stay, the university will send you online map of all the student houses and you can choose any room from the offer packet. My advice is to take room in Ålidhem district because this one is the most popular among the students and it’s very close to the university. It’s also better to choose your room in Historiegränd since I’ve noticed they are the newer buildings in this area.

From Ålidhem to Umeå University is a 10- to 15-minute walk on foot or a 5-minute journey on a bike. The one thing it’s better not to do if you choose Ålidhem (though I don’t really know how the situation looks with other districts) is NOT to take rooms on the ground floor. These rooms have kitchens in them, so that’s why many students apply for them,  but the problem is that if you decided to take the room on the ground floor, you should keep in mind that you’re more prone to accidents and perhaps even robberies. It doesn’t happen too often, but it’s always best to be made aware of these potential unfortunate situations.

Erasmus experience at Umea University Rakbo housing
An example of a student housing area in Umeå.

Getting There

The majority of students studying abroad choose direct flights to Umeå. I chose another way and I honestly think it’s a better way, despite the fact that it’s also longer. I choose to go to Stockholm and then I took a bus (Ybussen) to Umeå.

Getting to Umeå by bus will take you nine hours and cost around 380 SEK from Stockholm, but you’ll get to see a lot of cute cities and breathtaking Swedish nature on your way. I used this route twice and, despite long travel times, it was AMAZING! No regrets at all!

Life in Umeå

The first thing that you should definitely do when you arrive is to buy a bike! There are some groups online where you can buy a secondhand bike for around 500-800 SEK and then sell it back when you leave. The reason why you should buy a bike is simply that it will be a lot easier for you to move around the city. Around 95% of the population use a bike to travel. You’ll see a lot of bikes everywhere in the city!

If you need to decorate your room, these groups can also help you save money since students who are leaving university sell their stuff and promote it online. If you decide not to buy a bike, well, riding by bus is very expensive in Sweden, so maybe you should reconsider. Believe me, even if you never ride it at home, here in Umea, you’ll use it all the time!

Also, don’t forget to find Erasmus groups too, there you can find a lot of information about trips, parties, and tips for meeting new people.

If you’re a sports lover, in Umeå you can find IKSU, which is the largest sports facility in Scandinavia and one of the largest in Europe.

In general, on the university’s website you can find more information about costs of transport and living in Umeå which is very helpful since you know what to be prepared for upon arrival. Unfortunately, living in Sweden isn’t cheap (the Erasmus scholarship will be not enough) but it’s so worth it! According to the Swedish Migration Agency you’ll need minimum 8,064 SEK a month. Everything of course depends on your lifestyle and priorities.

Erasmus experience at Umea University Rakbo fika
Students doing fika.

A Final Set of Tips:

  • If you’re planning to study for a whole year, you will need to have a personal identity number. Migrationsverket will help you with that once you’re in Sweden.
  • Don’t forget to apply to the Buddy Program. The University will let you know about the possibility to join. It’s a chance to make new friends and just have more fun during your Erasmus period. You can find more information about it on the university website.
  • Take part in an Orientation Course which is usually before the start of each term. There you’ll find out more about the city, what you need to know while you’re studying there, how the study programs at the university look like, etc.
  • Try to join as many trips and attend as many parties as you can! Studies are important of course but no need to be closed off in your room all the time since you’re on Erasmus. Don’t forget that one of the aims of this program is cultural exchange!
  • Remember to take adapters or converters for your laptop.
  • Be prepared for the climate! As I’ve mentioned in the first part of the article, it’s very cold in Umea. If you’re coming from a hot country I advise you to buy all necessary warm clothes when you get there. There are some outlets where you can buy quite cheap winter coats for the Swedish winters, for example.
  • Enjoy every minute in this highly international and modern city!
Erasmus experience at Umea University Rakbo Vaven
The view of Väven in Umeå.

 

Have you ever been to Umea? Or Sweden? Share your thoughts and tips with us in the comments below!

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Daria

I'm Belarusian and at this moment I'm completing the last semester of my Bachelor's in International Relations at Warsaw University, Poland. Did an Erasmus exchange at Umeå University, Sweden. I'm absolutely addicted to coffee, cold weather and Nordic countries. Sharing my everyday life on instagram @d.prokopowicz.


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