“Surviving” the First Month in Stockholm and KI


More than a month has passed by since I first arrived here in Stockholm and started my new life in KI. Because of that and because of all the things we, as students, have to learn on ourselves, I believe it could be a bit helpful to understand how to survive Sweden’s organization in general. During the first month as a new international student coming from a different country of Europe I was always worried about these things: Getting a student card (KI, mecenat or whatever possible!), getting my swedish personal number (and Swedish ID card) and opening a bank account in a Swedish bank. But lets go by parts.

What to do once you start at KI: 

  • Don’t panic.
  • Stop hating queues. Actually, learn how to love them. Some of your future best friendships might start while you wait for two long hours in a queue.
  • You will get a lot of information from many sources. Best advice: ask an older student who has suffered the same thing.
  • As a new student you will have to fill in a KI card agreement that will be handed to you with other introduction papers during the first week.
  • Then, you will have to get the KI card itself at the library. Many new students this  year just went there and waited for hours because we were too excited to get it. Don’t do this. Just go when you don’t see anyone in a queue. You won’t need the KI card urgently.
  • Then, you have to go to the computers in the library’s ground floor (the computer with the red keyboard) and open a KI library account.
  • Once you have this, go to the KI library information desk. Here you have to ask to link the library account to your KI card. Also, ask for help on how to active your student account (including email, PINGPONG, etc.)
  • For toxicology students at least, once you have your KI card you have to go to our building (Institute for Environmental Medicine, IMM) and ask to activate your card here to get access to the building.
  • To all students, if you want to get a SL card (transport system in Stockholm) with a student discount you will have to prove you are a student. To get the card with the discount you do not need this proof, but security on the subway for example might ask you to identify yourself and then you will need: the Mecenat card (or a document like a proof of enrollment that you can ask for at the library information desk).
    • About the Mecenat card, at least this year, you just have to wait until they send it home to you. The Mecenat is like a general Swedish system they have here to “help” students. With this card you can get discounts in different stores for example. However, I have to be honest, I still really don’t understand this system!
    • http://www.mecenat.se
  • Next, and final step, enjoy and love life as a KI student!

How to be someone in Sweden?:

  • If you are here to study for at least two years like I am, and most of the master’s students, you will need to apply for a Swedish Personal Number. 
    • The easiest way to do this is wait until KI has a drop-in day where the people from the tax office (that manage this issue) come and help you on campus.
    • Or, like I did, go to one of the tax offices and ask for it yourself. It is very simple (at least as a student from a country from the EU!). You need: Proof of enrollment, valid passport, EU health insurance card, a document you write yourself stating that you can economically support yourself during your studies and to know your complete address in Stockholm.
    • The process itself is just a couple of minutes. Then you just wait until you get the letter at your house.
    • www.skatteverket.se
  • Once you have your Swedish Personal Number you can apply for a Swedish ID card.
    • I believe they have changed the law, and most banks ask for it to open a bank account here in Sweden.
    • When you are applying for the Swedish Personal Number ask for the information to order the card. They will give you a paper to make a transaction.
    • You go to a Swedish bank (you can look for a Swedish friend or an “old” student). Note that to make the transaction you need to have a bank account in the bank you go to, so it will be easier if you ask a friend for help. Then you pay 400 kr.
    • With the receipt you go to this address: Lindhagensgatan 76. Here you need to take the receipt and a valid passport. They will take a picture of you there, so make sure you look nice!
    • Once you applied for it, you just have to wait, again.

How to open a bank account in Sweden?:

  • This is easy, but you need the right things: proof of enrollment to state that you are a student here in Sweden, valid passport or ID, swedish personal number, and I believe now you need the Swedish ID card.
  • You have many banks to pick from: Swedbank, Nordea, Handelsbanken, SEB, … Just pick the one that suits you the most.

After this eternal post, I just hope students that come new next year find this a bit helpful and make their first month easier trying to avoid unnecesary queues for example and going from place to place as crazy. In addition, this was just my experience so if someone was capable of doing all this in a more efficient way, please let me know!


A couple of pictures I took around Stockholm while I was going from bank to bank. The sightseeing made it worth it!

Have a great weekend!!


10 thoughts on ““Surviving” the First Month in Stockholm and KI

  1. Hej! I’ve been to Nordea bank recently: it’s enough to have a passport and documents stating your personnummer from Skatteverket, so if someone does not have Swedish ID card yet, it may be a good option 🙂 (at least it works for EU countries)

  2. Great post! I agree that asking other students who have gone through the same things is an efficient way of getting good information about the best way to do things. Just wanted to comment for people staying less than a year that you can open a bank account with Handelsbanken even if you don’t have a person number; just go to Skatteverket and get a “coordination number.”

  3. I like the part of ‘…Stop hating queues. Actually, learn how to love them. Some of your future best friendships might start while you wait for two long hours in a queue….’ because that’s actually what happened to me! I met some of my closest friends here while queuing in the library waiting to get the KI Card! 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s