We are officially two weeks out from the start of the 2017 fall semester so I wanted to shed some light on some questions you might have/will have.
Q1: I have not booked my flight because I can’t find a cheap flight. Do you have good recommendations?
A1: Oh yes, I do! If you are under 26, you can book a youth ticket at SAS airline– this works for flights within and outside of Europe but your destination has to be to or fro one of the Nordic countries. If you are above 26, and a student, you can try StudentUniverse. Another great website is Skyscanner.
Q2: What are the ‘must bring’ things?
A1: Leave ALL your SUMMER clothes, there is no summer! That was only partially a joke. Try to pack some sweaters and jeans. There is going to be a huge sale (70% off) in December in all the stores so you can definitely buy heavy jackets and boots during that time. It does, however, get chilly by the end of September. You shouldn’t buy a backpack as you get one from KI during orientation. Bring a bed sheet or two so you don’t have to rush the first day, especially if your flight gets in late. If you are in Epidemiology, bring a calculator.
Q3: Is it better to have a bike than to buy a monthly train/tram/bus pass?
A3: Its up to you but I will give you the breakdown of prices and the pros and cons. Bikes are relatively cheaper but you need to take into account the weather as well as how far you live from the school and city center. A season pass that lasts from April 1st until October 1st is 250 SEK. A 3-day bike card is 165 SEK. So if you are coming at the end of August, you will be able to use the season pass for a month or so. I suggest buying a bike if you need one. If not, you can use an SL card (used for buses, trams, trains, metro, etc…) until April and buy the season pass for the rest of the calendar year. More info at City Bikes.
An SL card (used for buses, trams, trains, metro, etc…) costs 550 SEK for a month. It is cheaper to buy it for 3 months (1600 SEK).
Q4: Which phone provider should I use?
A4: There are several providers: Telia (the former national one), comviq, telenor, tele2. The cheapest is comviq (which is my choice http://webbutik.comviq.se/kontantkort.html ) and I have never experienced problems with coverage. For any of the providers, you will have to take prepaid card at the start (if they did not change the system, you had to pay taxes for about 6 months before being able to subscribe to a phone plan or have a Swedish Personal number). Comviq has several prepaid cards including one for abroad calls (amigos). Telia will be a bit more expensive but has the best service and coverage (even though I never experienced any problem with comviq myself) and telenor is in between. You can get a free sim-card from KI.
Here is a page in Swedish (google translate :p ) if you want a more complete list. http://www.mobiloperatorer.se/blandat/vilka-mobiloperatorer-delar-nat-har-ar-listan
Q5: What are the top 5 things I should get done within the first week of getting to Stockholm/Karolinska Insitutet?
A5: Besides having an accommodation, (1) register with the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatterverket) (2) Open a bank account- talk to the international office during orientation (3) Get an SL card or a mode of transportation (4) Mobile phone/sim card (5) your class schedule and knowing where your classes will be held.
Q6: I want to include social life into my budget. How can I do that?
A6: We can start off with the healthier one- Gym membership. The cheapest and most student friendly is Fitness 24/7 Gym, and you pay 170 SEK per month. There are also great Cinemas, and tickets cost from 120-200 SEK. However, if you do participate in experiments at KI testing center, you can receive up to 2 tickets per experiment. A restaurant meal can go from 55 to 100 SEK for lunch, and 170 SEK plus for dinners. If you want a night out, most nightclub entrances charge 100 – 200 SEK, and drinks are 50 SEK+. However MF (the student body at KI) has a bar on campus that sells really good beers for cheap (20 SEK and plus). Drink responsibly! 🙂
Q7: I would like to find a part-time job. How can I land one? and do you know the best way to look and apply?
A7: Simply put, it is very hard to get a part-time job, especially with the language barrier. Only 3 or 4 of us in our class (out of 22) work part-time. However, there are some ways you can try. The first is being a digital ambassador (you will receive an email about this opportunity). You can also try tutoring websites- universitytutor.com. You can also look Academic work for international students, which has part-time jobs for Swedish and non-Swedish speaking students. You can also apply to be a research assistant by bombarding professors at KI.
Q8: How can I learn Swedish?
A8: If you have not signed up for the intensive 3-day course at KI , you should sign up at Swedish for Immigrants (SFI). You should still sign up for SFI after your language course at KI. SFI is free of charge and has four courses (A-D). You will have to devote 6 hours per week for these courses and your place will be revoked if you miss class 14 days in a row. There is usually a queue as there are a lot of immigrants in Stockholm. What you need:
- An hour of your time and a visit to Vuxentibildningscentrum at Rosenlundsgaran 52.
- Your passport
- Your Personal Number (when you land in Sweden, you need to register at the local tax office (refer to Q5).
I am sure you have many more questions so please don’t hesitate to contact me at Nuhamin.Petros@stud.ki.se