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The basics
Sweden: Destination Guides

Swedish study: Innovative, progressive, equal

Sweden has set itself apart as a study abroad destination with its progressive, creative, innovative and egalitarian culture. It's ideal for a holistic student experience.

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Sweden gave us Spotify, IKEA, Greta Thunberg and ABBA, to name just a few. Known for its innovative and progressive outlook on life, Sweden’s education system is no exception. A hub for start-ups, environmental activism, gender equality and sustainability, Sweden is making itself heard on the global stage. Here we explore this innovative, progressive and egalitarian attitude in more detail to give you a sense of what it means to immerse yourself in Swedish culture.




Experts in education

A nation of thought-leaders, Sweden is home to some of the world’s leading universities. Internationally renowned for its research, it is no surprise that the Swedish government invests a substantial amount into the education system. With a reputation for providing ‘education of the future’, Sweden has established itself as a pioneer for equal access, no matter what your gender, home country or socioeconomic background. Students in Sweden are also free to think critically, independently and creatively which is reflective of the non-hierarchical liberal society that promotes freedom of thought.


Another example of this can be seen with the Nobel Prize, which was created in Sweden in 1895 to recognize advances in literature, peace, culture, science and physics. This academic excellence can also be seen in the nations’ performance in higher education. Top institutions include Karolinska Institute, Uppsala University and Lund University which all place within the world’s top 100 universities worldwide (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020).




Tuition fees

You might be thinking, “This all sounds great, but I can’t afford to study in Sweden”. Depending on your country of origin you may be eligible for free or discounted tuition fees. For example, if you are an EU citizen you are entitled to free tuition fees, leaving just living costs to think about.

Non-EU citizens are however expected to pay for higher education in Sweden. Naturally there are many scholarships on offer to help make this dream a reality.


Progressive policies

Sweden has become a universal leader for its progressive outlook, not just within the education system but in many spheres of life. This perspective is apparent in Swedish culture and lifestyle.


Work-life balance

A work-life balance is a priority for Swedes and the working week generally does not exceed 40 hours. Most people stop working at 5pm with an average working day of six hours. Compare that with South Korea, where the average working week has been reduced from 68 hours to 52, well above the average.As a student working in Sweden, you can relish in the value given to a work-life balance. According to the United Nations Happiness Report 2019,


Sweden is the 7th happiest country in the world based on various factors including life expectancy, generosity and leisure time. It’s no surprise then that striking this balance would entail more free time, allowing more personal freedom and happiness. So, if you’re thinking of finding a graduate career in Sweden, you’ll be able to work your way up while also enjoying life outside of work.




Climate conscious

The Swedes are also known for their progressive outlook on sustainability and climate change. In recent years, Sweden has come to be associated with Greta Thunberg, an environmental activist who started campaigning at just age 15. Greta was noticed for her protests outside the Swedish parliament, calling for action on climate change. While Greta now acts as a symbol of activism and climate change, she is not alone.

Do you care about the environment? Want to make a real difference? You could be at the forefront of change by studying environmental science in Sweden.





Care for equality

So far, you’ve probably gathered that Sweden is a pretty forward-thinking country, breaking norms and encouraging other countries to follow suit. This also translates to the country’s stance on gender equality. As one of the world’s most advanced countries for LGBTQIA+ rights, Sweden has gained a reputation as an extremely accepting nation, no matter how you identify. So, if you’re looking for an open-minded country, Sweden is the right place.


The F-word

As a global role model for gender equality, the Swedish government has been the first to declare itself as feminist. In fact, 12 of the 22 government ministers are women. This is far more balanced than other governments around the world such as the USA where just 26 per cent of parliament is female compared with 47 per cent in Sweden. 


Closing the gap

What’s more, gender discrimination in the workplace has been illegal since 1980. Although a gender pay gap still exists, Sweden is looking to reduce this inequality between men and women. According to a survey on gender equality by the European Commission, 99 per cent of respondents felt that it was ‘ok for men to cry’, higher than all other European countries involved. Similarly, just 11 per cent of Swedish respondents said that the most important role for a woman was to take care of the family, far less than respondents from other countries.  


(Photo credit: Magnus Liam Karlsson/imagebank.sweden.se)


A talent for tech

With a reputation as a global hub of innovation and creativity, Sweden has and continues to make profound contributions to the world of technology. For example, the pace-maker, three-point seatbelt and the walking frame were all invented by Swedes. You may have also heard of Oatly, a brand of non-dairy milk which has been successful in providing an alternative product for people all around the world.


As a student living and working in Sweden, you have the opportunity to become part of this culture and learn from a new way of living and working.


Feeling inspired to study in Sweden? Start browsing courses today to begin your journey, the Swedish way.