Life in Stockholm is pretty nearly perfect! I’ve got a job, my partner started a company, we have ID cards, insurance, an apartment…I can eat my cinnamon buns with a smile on my face!
Cheers to that! What are you going to do next?
Um…grab a cinnamon bun?
Oh come now. Life in Stockholm is splendid, yes, but surely you have some ambition beyond tugging into a fabled kanelbulle?
Well…what more is there?
Learning! Surely there’s at least as much room left in that brain of yours as there is in your bun-hungry tummy.
But I already have a degree from my home country. Why would I pay to do it all over again?
That’s the beauty of it all, you don’t have to! If you have a valid residence permit then you do not have to pay tuition to study at any of the 18 institutions of higher learning in Stockholm.
Eighteen? Don’t you think that’s overkill? Eighteen different colleges in one city?
Heavens no! Stockholm’s educational landscape is as diverse as its populace. There’s a school for design, a school for music education, a school for sports, a school for nursing, a school for economics…
Goodness. That’s good to know. But the point remains – I already have a degree.
That’s no reason not to study something! You could always take a course in French or photography, perhaps.
I'm actually more interested in becoming a florist. Or maybe a sea captain. Or a yogi. I haven't really decided.
You eclectic, you. We can work that out. There’s no need to choose – you can become a sea-faring yogi with flowers in your hair!
It will cost you though.
Wait, what? I thought you said it was free!
At any of the accredited institutions of higher learning, yes. But your interests seem a bit more…extracurricular.
There are plenty of courses, both academic and otherwise, which you can take at Folkuniversitetet, Medborgarskolan, Sensus, or a number of other adult education associations. They do come with fees, however.
Ah, well, I suppose that’s reasonable. But what about the vocabulary? I’m not sure about learning starboard and port and all those technical terms in Swedish…
Right, I’m getting ahead of myself. Perhaps we should start with the basics. You and your family are entitled to free Swedish lessons, Swedish for Immigrants (SFI).
Oh, splendid! So I can take Swedish this semester and get my hunting license next semester!
Let’s be realistic, it might take you a bit longer than that. SFI starts with basic Swedish, and it’s reasonable to expect fluency will take you at least a year. Plus to take courses conducted in Swedish at an actual university you have to pass a test, and full academic fluency may take three years or so.
Well darn it all. I can’t wait that long! Isn’t there a way to learn faster?
As a matter of fact, there is. Instead of SFI you could opt for SIFA, intensive Swedish for academics. The course will take you from beginner's level to full-fledged university student in just 1.5 years.
You don’t say?
I do indeed. I just did.
Right, right, you know what I meant. So where do I get started?
Start learning Swedish and start applying to some schools! There are several courses available in English as well – be sure to check the individual institution’s webpage.
You can also get a head-start through various Meetups, such as a language exchange specifically for practicing Swedish.
Grand. I can’t wait to start learning!
Go, young grasshopper, go, go! Your future awaits you.
This article was produced by The Local and sponsored by Stockholm Business Region.