I realize that this is a little premature – as you are all only applying now and hoping for the best – Good Luck! Am sure many of you will get the places you want.
However…. it might be good to get a fair idea of what is to come after the application….
I know I will forget most of this information as time goes on, or at least it will not feel as important as it feels now. There is a lot of key information within the other past blogs that you should consult before you arrive and land in Stockholm – and am sure there will continue to be a stream of critical information in the new blogs to come – here is my contribution. Also, every person you speak to will have a different opinion about this, from where you can buy winter coats, to the cost of living to airport transport – this is what worked for me! I have broken it into manageable bite sized pieces so that you can consult it when needed, or at a later stage:
You will now be waiting for the outcome of your application, which you will hear some time early next year – dependent upon whether you are an early admission candidate or a general admission candidate. If you are from a developing country or one who is not eligible for the fee waiver extended to EU students you MUST start scoping out other options for Scholarships now. Start getting your head around what is required and what is needed, so that when the deadline comes around you will be ready to apply straight off, get in there early. For every different country you will be eligible to different scholarships, the Swedish Institute website is a good place to start. Here you can type in your area of study, and what level and country and the website automatically generates which scholarships are available to you. KI also has a scholarship that you can apply for. However, do not stop here, every scholarship is competitive and you need to ensure that you give yourself the best possible chance. Apply for everything, so it is also good to look at organizations that might offer fellowships. The Open Society Foundation and the Ford Foundation intermittently have scholarships available, but they vary from time to time. One I forgot was the Rotary International Scholarship. Also you should look in country for funding, some big banks and organizations have scholarships available for international study – for instance in South Africa there is the bank FNB which offers a very sizeable scholarship for international study.
Apply in advance! This process can take time, it is costly and requires you to be very organized and have all your required paper work, neatly labeled and in order in advance. APPLY EARLY! Generally you will need to apply at your local Swedish Embassy.
This is very difficult to find in Stockholm. Start looking early as it will take a long time. The blogs below have some useful pieces of information for you to follow. Personal contacts help, so if you know someone who knows someone who has a brother whose half sister knows a man – CONTACT THEM!
When you arrive at Arlanda International- there are several ways to get into town, dependent upon the time you arrive. For international students there will most likely be an option of a pick up service offered and organized by students at the central station. Take advantage of this – as it is useful to have someone with a smiling face to meet you when you arrive in a new city. I arrived at 2am so the option was not available to me – I took a taxi. To get from the airport to the central station (T – Centralen) you can take one of several options: (1) Arlanda Express – expensive express train (2) The Airport Bus – much, much more affordable and stops at various places, including the central station (3) Taxi – this is the most expensive option, but it is convenient if you arrive with lots of luggage. I didn’t have much of an option – however I did weigh up the emotional cost versus the financial cost of trying to negotiate a strange city with lots of luggage alone. I would strongly advise you choose one of the other options if you can, as it is simply more cost effective. However a friend advised me in advance that I should take either Taxi Stockholm or Taxi Kurir only. I did and it was fine.
Transport (Maps and Apps)
It goes without saying – get a subway map, and get a map of the city. There are free maps everywhere in the inner city but it is better to get in advance. However there are three apps for your smart phone that are critical and I wish someone had told me about sooner:
- Google Maps
- Res i STHLM: amazing app that allows you to put in your destination and your current location, the time and the day and it will tell you the best way to get there.
- Linjekartor: Map of subway
Try not to eat out. I am almost pathological about this. The cost is crippling and daunting and freaks me out every time. So cook – get some good recipes and cook. I am constantly astonished by the number of beautiful dishes bought by my male friends – who have cooked these said dishes themselves! Am sure that many of them would not be cooking these dishes at home, but the cost of eating out requires a little more proactive measures when it comes to food.
Of course the standard rules apply – (most of you have been students before so you know what I am talking about). Buy in bulk, cook several meals in advance and freeze them. Stick with whole foods, like lentils and root vegetables to bulk your food out. Find your protein elsewhere, and perhaps not in your standard meat consumption (as it is expensive). Share recipes. I have several if you need them.
Also choose carefully where you shop – avoid the ICA nara stores and the smaller Konsum stores if you are trying to be cost effective. I have found LIDL to be a good choice for pretty much everything I need. The ÖoB on Sveavagen or Friedhemsplan is also good for toiletries and non perishables in general. Buy all your toilet paper, household detergents, kitchen towel etc there. For women – Apotek’s have bulk purchase sanitary wear – which work out cheaper in the long run – you can pick up 200 odd tampons etc in one go (it will be their own specific brand).
Stockholm is very expensive, astonishingly so. The first day I arrived, I actually burst into tears when I bought my first cup of tea at a restaurant (granted, I was overwhelmed, stressed, tired and lost). It was 30 SEK – I had managed to get horribly lost trying to find my way to see accommodation and had found a coffee shop to sit in, and go through the map quietly. Please be prepared – this is a very expensive city. It does not matter if you are from Sweden, the EU, the US or a less economically developed country. This place is costly. Everything has a 25% tax on to the already expensive price tag, and any thing that involves a service charge (eg: toasted cheese at a restaurant) is very inflated.
Therefore, you need to bring as much as you can with you – in my opinion – it might be worth paying for the extra bag – or flying Turkish airlines (who gives you a 33kg allowance) – to try to avoid purchasing anything here. Here is a list of things that I found useful:
- Walking shoes: Stockholm is a walk-able city – and it is pretty. Rather go for a good quality pair of well-heeled walking shoes over the delicate pretty heeled things you are used to at home. I have bought a pair of beautiful patent leather nude stilettos with me (they have not been used once, and I don’t foresee them being used at all while I am here). My walking shoes however, I could not have survived without. Especially in the early days when you get lost and are trying to sight see and find your way around. Several of my early sight seeing excursions were spent walking around with a young man from Greece (Health Informatics) – exploring Stockholm the cost effective way. (ooooooh!! and good comfortable socks, the thick ones- have been told that a good, big sports store here you can purchase socks here – but have not been myself!)
- Toiletries: You will most likely be able to get everything you want – even if you are a little picky (like me) -and you like specific brands. There is most certainly not the range that you might expect to find… (as you would find in the US or the UK) – however you will find what you want. You might need to go looking a little – as things might not be exactly where you expect them to be – for instance, in Apotek’s (pharmacies) or in Department stores, or for hair products you might need to go to specific hair salons – but it just takes a bit of time and you will be fine. Of course if you really have that specific, unique, exact brand for your specific need…then you should probably bring it with you. What is good to bear in mind – is that it is more expensive here (25% MOMS tax) on everything. My rule of thumb is always to pack enough for the first month… by which time you have found your way around and can then begin to purchase what you need. I have found the department store Ahlens to be very helpful.
- Specific Pharmaceuticals: If you need any thing specifically from your home doctor – it would be a good idea to get them, carry the script and carry them in the original packaging here. This must be in your name for customs purposes. However the medical care is obviously excellent here.
Hope you find this helpful, and at least it gives you an idea of what is to come….! I WOULD LIKE TO END WITH ONE MORE EMPHASIS – GOOD QUALITY WALKING SHOES!!!!!
Again – if you have any questions – please contact me!