Why You Should Study Abroad In Sweden
I’d always planned to study abroad in the United States, but when it came down to application day, I changed my mind completely and chose Sweden instead and it ended up being the best decision! I had the most amazing time in this incredible country, so here’s why YOU should consider studying abroad in Sweden, too.
[Image Source: Giphy]
For travel opportunities
The Nordic countries have seen a real boom in tourism in recent years and Sweden surely leads the pack. With its beautiful landscapes, snowy winters that are perfect for a Christmas break, and the allure of the Aurora Borealis, it’s not hard to understand why people flock to the Land of the Midnight Sun.
You can head up north to Swedish Lapland, or catch a ferry over to the beautiful and historic island of Gotland – a holiday hotspot for the Swedes. Sweden is also a great place to start if you want to explore the rest of the Nordic lands: Norway to the west, Finland to the east via ferry, Denmark down south, and Iceland just a short plane ride away.
If you’re settling in the South then you’ll have no trouble venturing further afield with RyanAir’s incredibly cheap flights out of Copenhagen, just a short train journey across the Oresund Bridge. You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to travelling outside of Sweden, but there’s plenty of reasons to stay put, too.
[Image Source: Giphy]
For the lack of a language barrier
Sweden is ranked 3rd in the world for its high levels of English proficiency, so if English is your first (or only) language, you’re going to be just fine. There’s plenty of Swedish classes all over the country if you want to learn the local lingo, but the Swedes love to speak English, so you may struggle to get any practice. Most universities have plenty of courses taught in English, not just for international students but for Swedes as well, so don’t let the thought of a language barrier put you off.
(I can’t believe this illustration forgot the sweet sugary goodness of drömmar but put dammsugare on there? Literally the worst treat ever, so bad that its name literally translates to ‘vacuum cleaner’.)
[Image Source: Pinterest]
For the coffee culture
Swedes are the sixth highest consumers of coffee in the world (behind the other Nordic countries and the Netherlands) but they don’t just drink coffee – oh no – they fika. Fika essentially means to take a coffee break: grab a cup of the good stuff, chow down on a cinnamon bun and catch up with friends, family, or colleagues. It’s an integral part of day-to-day life in Sweden and is considered a bit of a social faux pas to turn down a fika. You’ll be hard pressed to find a Starbucks in Sweden but the Scandi equivalent, Espresso House, is just as tasty and super cosy. If you can’t start your day without a cup of joe, then you’ll find yourself right at home here.
[Image Source: Giphy]
For the popular culture
There’s something for everyone when it comes to pop culture in Sweden. I mean, they did bless us with ABBA, after all. If you’re a fan of the ever-cheesy and extremely OTT Eurovision then you’re in for a treat because the Swedes take Eurovision VERY seriously. It’s practically a year-round event thanks to the television show Melodifestivalen: a music competition show in which acts compete to be the country’s entry to Eurovision. It’s the most watched show in Sweden and even tours the country.
If Eurovision isn’t your bag, then how about dark Scandi crime dramas? These are hugely successful all over Europe and explore the tensions between Scandinavia’s idyllic outward persona and the darker social issues hidden underneath the surface. As a huge ‘Nordic noir’ fan, I was definitely drawn to seeing the settings of my favourite shows with my own eyes. But if sports are more your thing, check out SHL, or the Sweden (Ice) Hockey League. Ice hockey is super popular in Sweden and was a part of Swedish life I thought I would never be interested in, but one match and I was hooked.
[Image Source: Sweden.se]
For the nature
It’s no secret that Sweden, and Scandinavia as a whole, is beautiful. With stunning lakes, sprawling forests, and snow-capped mountains, there’s plenty to explore. The best part is that it’s easy to do! Sweden has a law called Allemansrätten, otherwise known as ‘freedom to roam’, which essentially gives people the right to access any land (within reason). There are some restrictions when it comes to private property and nature reserves, but for the most part, you’re free to hike, bike, ski, swim, and camp wherever your heart desires. So grab your walking boots and get exploring! Just remember to wrap up warm and stay clear of the moose…
All of these things amounted to an incredible year abroad in a country I’ve come to think of as my home away from home. I don’t know anyone who has visited Sweden and not fallen in love with its beautiful scenery and culture. It’s been almost a year since I first moved to my little Swedish city, and just over three months since I had to leave, and I miss it more each day. I promise that if you choose to study in Sweden, you won’t regret it.
Have you visited Sweden? What was your favourite thing about it? Let me know in the comments!