Tips for studying abroad
Do I need a residence permit? How do I get student aid? Do I need extra health insurance in case I become ill? These are common questions about studying abroad. If you travel as an exchange student, you'll receive a lot of help with them.
Financing your overseas studies
Studying abroad is often more expensive than studying in Sweden. In addition to accommodation costs, there are expenses for travel, phone calls, insurance, different fees arising from the application and possibly tuition fees. You can get student financing from CSN (Swedish Board of Student Finance) for studying abroad.
Foreign universities often charge tuition fees. This amount is different from university to university. Be sure to find out what assistance you're eligible for.
If you receive a place as an exchange student through a Swedish university, you won't pay tuition fees to study abroad.
You can get student financing from CSN for studying abroad. You have the right to the same amount of financial aid as you'd receive in Sweden regardless of what country you study in. If you're independently studying an entire programme abroad, you can take an extra loan for the tuition fees. However, you cannot receive student financing for overseas studies if the same programme does not provide eligibility for student financing in Sweden.
CSN has requirements for student financing
The course/programme must:
- be full-time if you're studying outside the EU,
- last at least three weeks within the EU and 13 weeks outside the EU,
- end with an exam or result in a qualification,
- be approved by the Swedish Council for Higher Education or CSN, i.e. it's an acceptable standard.
One of CSN’s requirements for eligibility for student financing is that the course is of an acceptable standard. The foreign course must therefore fulfil certain requirements.
Additional costs loan and borrowing for tuition fees
In order for it not to be more difficult to study in a country where living costs are high, an additional costs loan is available. Study abroad students can receive regular financial aid plus an additional costs loan.
You can also borrow money for tuition fees and study fees. There's a maximum amount you can borrow per week, and a maximum for how much you can borrow for the entire study period.
Sometimes the foreign university will want to know that you can finance your education. If so, CSN can issue a certificate that shows that the course generally provides eligibility for student financing.
You can also receive student financing for distance education in the EU and EEA. You can only receive student financing for studies in the rest of the world if there are exceptional circumstances.
Student financing for language studies
You can receive student financing for language studies that meet certain requirements.
Preparatory language courses
You often need to study a preparatory language course abroad in order to manage studying in another country. These can be approved if
- the course provider has a formal partnership with a university that is recognised by the state in that country,
- the course is approved by the British Council or the European Association For Quality Language Services (EAQUALS),
- the course is organised by the Goethe-Institut.
Scholarships and grants
Scholarships and grants are available for many different purposes. Some can offer help with financing overseas studies while others are open for general applications. Most have special terms and requirements.
Scholarships and grants linked to a particular region
Municipalities and county councils have lists of scholarships and grants linked to the region. Often, the applicant should have been born there, or lived, worked or studied in the county/municipality.
Information about scholarships and grants is also available from parishes, associations, foundations and schools. The library has scholarship handbooks that list grants and scholarships.
Scholarships and grants linked to a particular university
You can ask the university to which you are applying whether they have scholarships or grants for overseas students.
Scholarships and grants linked to a particular country
Institutes and organisations may also offer scholarships or grants. Most of the scholarships that are offered through the following organisations are for Master’s or doctoral studies:
There are a number of scholarship consultants that, for a fee, can provide suggestions for suitable funds. You can search on the internet to find such a consultant.
Svensk stipendieförmedling (a Swedish scholarship agency) issues a book called "Fonder & stipendier i Sverige" (Funds and Scholarships in Sweden – in Swedish). It is usually available at the library.
When you're studying abroad you must have good insurance.
Insurance for studies or placements as an exchange student
Sometimes, students on exchange programmes are covered by a general personal injury insurance policy called Student UT. If so, your university has taken out this insurance with Kammarkollegiet (the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency). Contact your university for more information.
Medical care within the EU
If you're studying in an EU/EEA country, you're entitled to that country's healthcare benefits. However, you must have the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This can be ordered from Försäkringskassan. Försäkringskassan also has information from the countries with which Sweden has healthcare agreements.
Private health insurance may be required in other countries
If you're going to study in a country outside the EU/EEA, healthcare is not paid for by Försäkringskassan. Instead, you must have private health insurance. Contact an insurance company for more information about overseas insurance. If a Swedish insurance company does not fulfil the requirements, you must take out insurance in the host country.
Check your home insurance
Check whether your home insurance is valid for the possessions you take abroad with you. You should also check whether travel insurance is included in your home insurance and for what period of time overseas it's valid.
The right to healthcare in Sweden during studies abroad
The right to healthcare in Sweden depends on where you study, for how long you study abroad and whether you are registered in Sweden or not.
If you study abroad for more than a year, you must report this to Skatteverket (the Swedish tax agency). It may affect the costs of healthcare in Sweden, if you happen to get ill during a temporary stay in Sweden. Read more about the terms that apply under “Population registration abroad” on this website, and at Försäkringskassan’s (the Swedish Social Insurance Agency’s) website.
If an accident happens
If you fall ill when studying abroad or have an accident, you must register this with CSN (the Swedish Board of Student Finance) and send a doctor’s certificate. If you're insured, you can get help from SOS International in Copenhagen.
Additional information about insurance
Contact the overseas university at which you'll be studying for more information about what insurance you should have.
Resident permits and visas
For studies within the EU
If you're a Swedish citizen and are going to study in another EU member state for no more than three months, you don't need a visa or residence permit. You must, however, have a valid passport; a Swedish ID card is not enough.
In some EU member states you must register with the local authorities.
If you're going to study in an EU member state for more than three months, you're entitled to a residence permit if you
- are registered on a course that is approved for Swedish student financing.
- have comprehensive medical insurance and enough money to avoid using the country’s social insurance system.
The permit is issued by the competent authority in that country.
For studies outside the EU
If you're going to study in a country outside the EU, you must have a visa. Contact the country’s embassy for information about costs and administration time. The government website has a list of addresses for embassies and consulates.
Most foreign universities help international students to find accommodation. Some universities help with accommodation via host families. The university at which you're going to study can provide more information about its housing service.
Population registration abroad
If you're planning on studying abroad for more than a year, you must contact The Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) and inform them of your move. The same is true if your plan was to move for a short period of time but you decide to stay for longer than a year. If you're moving to another Nordic country, that country’s regulations decide if and when you'll be registered there.