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What's school life like in Sweden?

Moving to SE, starting at a new school

Winter Child
post 13.Nov.2012, 07:20 AM
Post #1
Joined: 18.Oct.2012

Hi there,

In a few months, my family will be moving to Sweden. We don't speak any Swedish at all.

My sister (13) and I (15) will be going to school there, but we have no idea what school life is like over there.

Is bullying an issue in most schools? Will not speaking Swedish be a real problem? What are the times like (When does school start and finish)? Are Swedish kids friendly?

I've seen another thread on this, but it was not at all helpful.

Please let me know what you or your kids think about school/school life in Sweden!

Thanks in advance!
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post 13.Nov.2012, 07:55 AM
Post #2
Joined: 9.Nov.2012

Seconday school in Sweden has plenty of bullying both in international and swedish schools. If you don't stick out in any way then you'll be fine. Don't expect any help from anyone if you are bullied.
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post 13.Nov.2012, 09:58 AM
Post #3
Location: Europe
Joined: 28.Oct.2008

I must pre warn you that I am not in the same age as you (I am middle aged with kids myself) so my perception of schools may be different to that of real life.

1. Area
The area of Sweden that you move to can be a deciding factor in how you are perceived and feel. For example, Stockholm has a very large international community. Something like 1 in every 3 children are from multi cultured backgrounds. So with diversity comes a little more tolerance.

Whereas some smaller towns you may find a slightly more narrow view towards "immigrants".

Bullying :
There is a social stigma in Swedish society regarding bullying of children and the perception I often see is a strong anti bullying drive by schools and politicians. How that is on paper, and how that is in real life I can not say, since I dont attend school and only see a perspective through the eyes of my children.

Education :
There are 3 types of school in Sweden, and they all relate to money and who owns them etc.

Local schools : These are usually schools administered by the local community council. And are free to attend. (the government pays the school bills)

Free schools : These are usually schools administered by a private company and are free to attend (the government pays the school bills)

Private Schools : These are usually privately owned schools which receive government funding like the other 2 schools mentioned, but often require extra cash from parents to help cover the extra costs usually related to a higher education policy.

In terms of education at your current age, I think you may find its a lot easier in Sweden in terms of learning levels you may have been used to. Whether you see this as a benefit or a hinderance on your education is up to your own personal view.

Language : This is a make or break deal.
Basically, unless you are attending an international school. You will need Swedish and it could effect your grades and speed of learning. As you will be expected to learn Swedish, almost to a point where other subjects could be sacrificed to ensure you understand the language. How fast you are able to get a grasp and understanding is dependent on your own natural ability. Usually they say you children can pick up languages very quickly, whereas adults can take longer ... since you are half way between one and the other I wouldnt want to guess your ability.

Classes : An average class in a Swedish city is usually around 30+ depending on your location.

School opening times : This can vary greatly from school to school and you would need to ask the school when classes are. In early years its often 8am to 1pm but as you get older, class attendance levels and class distribution times can vary.

Advice : I wouldnt fret about bullying as such, but would advise yourself and you parents to ensure you have a good think about which school to attend as even though they may all be similar. You will find there are good schools and bad schools in terms of education and management.

Good luck.
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post 13.Nov.2012, 10:24 AM
Post #4
Location: Stockholm
Joined: 30.Nov.2005

Worth adding that there are schools (Local schools)as Byke describes them that teach in English or English & Swedish in the big cities in Sweden.

People in Sweden are a bit reserved - often better to let them come to you rather than be loud & brash
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post 13.Nov.2012, 04:38 PM
Post #5
Joined: 26.Jul.2011

Bullying excists everywhere and coming to a new place as an outsider will be hard in any country. To say that it`s an issue or not is up to the individual to decide. One thing that is for sure is that it isn`t accepted even though it happens. Sweden takes bullying seriously and schools works with it continuosly. They are so serious that they called the new national arena "Friends arena" after the anti bullying organization Friends. A great organization to contact if one is bullied;

My tip for you would be to come in contact with others who has studied in swedish schools as an outsider. Contact someone who has been on an exchange year or you could search youtube for clips of people who uploaded some vlogs about their exchange in Sweden/Stockholm;;feature=relmfu
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