Picture-perfect Stockholm, the Northern Lights, the beauty of the natural landscape: there is a lot Sweden is famous for. The Scandinavian country also has several exports that are household names worldwide: think of Ikea, for example, or, more recently, Spotify. And what about the Nobel Prize? And pop icons such as Abba or Roxette? There are many reasons why Sweden makes a perfect study abroad destination.
Read more to see why you should take a chance on it – but be aware that we are only scratching the surface!
Universities in Sweden offer many degree courses taught in English. There are about 1,000 English-taught programmes offered by universities in the country, so the choice is vast!
English is also widely spoken, and it will be possible to find employment without speaking fluent Swedish – although learning the local language is always a good idea to make your experience more enjoyable.
Here are some of the universities that offer courses in English:
Take into account, that even though tuition fees are more afforable than in other European countries, living costs in Sweden can be high. Because of this, students should take this fact as an investment in their education and professional future.
Sweden is due for a new assessment under the OECD Environmental Performance Reviews, but the last review of its progress in sustainable development, published in 2014, is an A+ report: the OECD branded Sweden a “leader in many fields of environmental policy” and “among the most innovative OECD countries when it comes to environment-related technology”.
About half of Sweden’s electricity comes from renewable sources (hydroelectric and wind), and the country has ambitious targets: it wants to go fossil free by 2045.
Universities are also taking centre stage in the country’s sustainability efforts. 37 Swedish higher education institutions have created a Climate Framework that supports the climate strategy at each institution. Sweden also hosts two prestigious centres for environmental and sustainability research, both at Stockholm University: the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Stockholm Resilience Centre.
While studying in Sweden won’t make it any easier to get a Nobel Prize, it will certainly give you plenty of material to fuel your inspiration. For example, you could have a chance to attend the ceremony via the Nobel Lottery or even take part in the Student Nobel NightCap and hang out with some academic superstars. There are also a lot of other events that are organised in Stockholm in the lead-up to and during Nobel Week.
Most Nobel Prizes (except the Nobel Peace Prize) are awarded in a ceremony in Stockholm every year on 10 December, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.
Outdoor lovers, Sweden is the country for you.
Sweden is wild at heart: a large part of the country’s surface is covered with forests, mountains and lakes, while the coastline is well over 3,000 km long. You know what this means: endless potential for road trips, hiking, and winter and summer sports. And in winter, you can chase the Northern Lights.
The most intrepid outdoor adventurers out there will also be pleased to know that wild camping is allowed in Sweden.
If you thought the coffee break is something only Southern Europe does, then think again. Sweden loves its coffee break too, and it calls it Fika. It’s not just a rushed caffeine boost. First of all, it also usually involves some food, be it a cake, a bun, a pastry – or a delicious mix of these things! And most importantly, it’s a proper social ritual: a break to share in good company, something people consciously make time for – and not only in their personal life. It’s also a common workplace tradition, a moment to relax and chat with colleagues.
Fika is to Sweden what Hygge is to Denmark: a cultural export that other countries try to copy, and that routinely becomes the focus of opinion pieces that attribute the merit of the country’s happiness or productivity to it. And while the Fika culture may not be the ultimate reason why Sweden is a great place to live and work, it certainly makes the daily routine more enjoyable for a lot of people.
Sweden is one of the most progressive countries in the world for LGBTQ+ rights.
Sweden was ranked as the second safest country for LGBTQ+ travellers in the world according to the LGBTQ+ travel safety index. Stockholm regularly appears top of the charts in rankings looking at openness and inclusion. For example, it is among the most open and innovative cities in the World Economic Forum ranking of cities according to their economic performance and inclusion of LGBTQ+ people.
And did you know that Sweden has more per-capita pride festivals than anywhere else in the world?
Sweden is one of the best countries when it comes to gender equality - women have a high employment rate and are well-represented in government and parliament, according to the OECD. Moreover, Sweden also ranks first in the European Institute for Gender Equality ranking of EU countries.
It isn’t a gender parity utopia, of course: there is scope to make further progress. However, it’s undeniable that Sweden is in a better position than many other countries.
Sweden offers many opportunities to highly-skilled professionals and graduates. One of the most exciting sectors is that of tech startups. Branded the ‘Silicon Valley of Europe’, Sweden is a breeding ground for startup companies. Stockholm is home to the world's second-highest concentration of Unicorn companies – including the likes of Spotify and Klarna – per capita after Silicon Valley.
Also, beyond the Fika breaks, there is an attention to work-life balance that makes Sweden attractive for professionals. The country offers flexible work options and progressive parental leave policies, and according to the OECD, only about 1% of employees work very long hours. This is one of the lowest rates across OECD countries, where the average is 10%.
835 Programmes in Sweden