Practical Information for Exchange Students
We wish you a safe journey to Stockholm and Karolinska Institutet, one of the world's leading medical universities. Karolinska Institutet offers the broadest range of education in medicine and health sciences in Sweden.
Here you will find information to help you prepare for your journey to Sweden, such as accommodation, arrival, and residence permits. You can also read the stories about Swedes and Sweden that Professor Jonas Ludvigsson at MEB has compiled, to prepare yourself before travelling to Stockholm.
Listed in alphabetical order
Exchange students who come to study at Karolinska Institutet within an established exchange agreement are eligible to apply for accommodation through Karolinska Institutet Housing AB (KI Housing). To get an idea of what the accommodation looks like, please visit the Students at KI-blog, where students have written about housing in Stockholm as well as filmed the locations.
Student Accommodation through KI Housing
KI Housing offers furnished student rooms, most of them located in Solna close to Campus Solna but also near Södersjukhuset (Jägargatan) and Huddinge Hospital (Flemingsberg). Once you have been admitted to Karolinska Institutet as an exchange student, your international coordinator at Karolinska Institutet will send you the acceptance letter, which you must upload online at the KI Housing website. As there is a shortage of student rooms in Stockholm, we advise you to apply for accommodation as soon as you have received your acceptance letter from Karolinska Institutet. Please note that Karolinska Institutet cannot guarantee accommodation for all exchange students.
We strongly advise you to take out a home insurance (hemförsäkring) for your stay in Stockholm. If anything is stolen from your room, or if any property is damaged or lost during your rental period, you are responsible for covering the repair or replacement costs.
If you do not have a Swedish personal identity number (personnummer), KI Housing has an agreement with Länsförsäkringar with where you can take out a home insurance for your stay in Sweden. Read more and sign up for the home insurance
If you have a residence permit for studies in Sweden for at least 12 months, you can register in Sweden and receive a Swedish personnummer. With a Swedish personnummer, you may take out home insurance through any Swedish insurance company.
If you want to find housing on your own, it is good to know that the housing market in Stockholm is difficult. The lack of both student housing and other housing can make it difficult to find accommodation. When you rent a property, there should always be a written contract between you and the landlord (or equivalent). To avoid becoming a victim of fraud, please follow the checklist from Akademisk kvart:
- Visit the accommodation before you accept the offer
- Do not pay any money before you sign a contract
- Agree to rules before you move to the accommodation. For example, access to common areas, telephone, electricity, etc.
- Make sure you save the receipts for the paid rent
Accommodation tips on KI Visiting Researcher
Accommodation tips from KI Housing
airbnb (private accommodation)
Akademisk kvart (subletting for students)
Bostad direkt (subletting)
Moving2Stockholm (tips and tricks on how to find accommodation in Stockholm)
Stockholm Student Housing (SSSB)
Due to strict regulations and national security aspects, opening a bank account in a foreign country can be difficult. If you are staying here for a shorter time it is normally easier to use your bank account in your home country for financial matters. We strongly recommend you to bring a Visa/Mastercard to Sweden, as cards are widely used all over the country. Some banks in Stockholm do offer international students to open a bank account and, depending on the length of your stay, also access to Internet banking and an ATM-card. Please note that we cannot assist you in opening a bank account, you would have to do it yourself.
Clinical Placements at a Hospital
For students going to carry out a clinical placement in any hospital in Stockholm (Stockholm County Council/ Region Stockholm), an access card is mandatory, in Swedish called e-tjänstekort which is not the same as the KI-card. All students must have their e-tjänstekort and codes available throughout the clinical placement. As an admitted exchange student you are also required to do the online course JoBSH to learn about record keeping, meeting patients, confidentiality and hygiene before the clinical placement begins. The access card/ e-tjänstekort is then ordered for you and you will be required to collect it in person at the Region Stockholm Card Office.
Please note that it is of utmost importance to carry out the JoBSH course and to pick up the e-tjänstekort before the placement starts otherwise it can affect the possibility of carrying out your clinical placement. This means that you should arrive in Stockholm a couple of days before your placements starts.
Kindly refer to the instructions you will receive from your international coordinator on how to obtain your access card / e-tjänstekort.
In case of emergency, dial 112 for assistance. Only contact the emergency assistance if there is a major emergency.
There are several pharmacy (apotek) chains in Sweden, where you can ask for medical advice and buy medication to treat minor illnesses such as headache, cold and cough, allergic reactions, fever and stomach problems. For most other medication a doctor's prescription is needed. In most pharmacies there are two departments: one for self-medication and one for prescribed medication. Most pharmacies are open 10-18, but two are open longer:
Local Health Centres
If you get ill and need medical care in Stockholm you should contact your local health centre (vårdcentral). All municipalities have their own health centres where you can get primary health care that includes consultations with general practitioners.
Please note that Karolinska Institutet cannot pay for your visit to the doctor nor any treatment. You have to pay for the consultation and the fee depends on your citizenship/residence status.
1177 Vårdguiden is run by Stockholm County Council and can give you information on where to seek help. You can also call the non-emergency health care information hotline 1177. The closest vårdcentral to Strix and Pax in Solna are Huvudsta vårdcentral or Capio Vårdcentral Solna. The closest vårdcentral to Jägargatan is Rosenlunds vårdcentral. For fast access to medical treatment, dental care and other areas of healthcare you can also visit Cityakuten, close to Hötorget in central Stockholm. To find out more about the different health care centres and local emergency wards, please visit the Stockholm Health Care Guide (1177 Vårdguiden).
Student Health Centre at KI
Students at Karolinska Institutet with study-related illnesses or injuries have access to the Student Health Centre (Studenthälsan). The Student Health Centre also offers preventive health care as well as consultations and group activities associated with issues facing students at Karolinska Institutet.
Dental care is expensive, also for Swedish citizens. If you have a Swedish personal identity number (personnummer) and are registered at the Swedish Social Insurance Office, you are eligible for benefits for some dental care procedures. EU/EEA citizens are entitled to use the emergency dental care services on the same basis as Swedish citizens, provided they are covered by health insurance in their home country and can present the EHIC. Remember that the cost of dental care is not fixed, so you should always ask your dentist how much the treatment will cost before it starts. The Dental Public Service is Folktandvården.
The Dental school at Karolinska Institutet provides student treatment at a reduced price. Book your appointment through a personal visit at Alfred Nobels allé 8, 6th floor, Campus Flemingsberg. The reception is open weekdays 08-12 and 13-16 (except on Wednesdays when they're only open during the morning hours).
As an exchange student at Karolinska Institutet you are automatically covered by the Kammarkollegiet Student IN group insurance during your stay in Sweden. The insurance provides medical and dental coverage, emergency home transportation, personal property coverage, third party liability and legal protection. For more information see the Terms and Conditions of the Student IN Insurance.
The Student IN insurance is valid during direct travel between your home country and Sweden and covers you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in Sweden during the entire study or internship period. It also applies two weeks before and two weeks after, if you are in Sweden during this time.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition or in other ways find the insurance insufficient for your personal needs after having read the Student IN insurance's terms and conditions, we strongly recommend that you take out a private health insurance.
If you have questions about the Student IN insurance you can contact Kammarkollegiet directly or your international coordinator at KI.
Nordic and EU/EEA Citizens
Students from EU/EEA countries are also recommended to register in their home country in order to obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). With the EHIC you are entitled to health care in Sweden on the same conditions as Swedish citizens.
In addition to a health insurance we strongly advise you to take out home insurance for your stay in Stockholm. If anything is stolen from your student room or flat, or if any property is damaged or lost during your rental period, you are responsible for covering the repair or replacement costs.
Please make sure that you are adequately insured while you are in Sweden.
An introduction week for international students is arranged the week before the semester starts. You can find the Digital Introduction for fall 2021 here. format. Once you have been accepted for exchange studies at Karolinska Institutet, you will receive an invitation and a link to sign up. For students arriving at other times will receive a short individual introduction from your international coordinator at Karolinska Institutet.
(Medical) Swedish Language
Students studying at KI for a minimum period of 8 weeks are offered a complimentary Swedish Language course as part of their introduction (students from Denmark and Norway are not eligible for the complimentary course, however you can participate and pay for it at your own expenses). The introduction week that takes place in the week prior to the start of the autumn semester starts with a three day intensive Swedish course. If a student cannot attend this first Swedish course, they can join an evening course or weekend courses held during the first semester of their stay.
Students may of course attend the rest of the introduction week even if they are unable to come to the intensive Swedish course.
Registration information for the Swedish course will be sent out to you via email, so do check your inbox regularly, including your SPAM filter.
If you want to prepare yourself in advance there are several online language learning resources, both free of charge and those that costs money.
Karolinska Institutet participated in producing MedineLingua, an EU-funded project that aims to be a comprehensive resource to support learning of medical languages, and to prepare students and doctors for clinical work at hospitals. It includes (medical) dictionaries, anatomy charts, abbreviations and much more in several European languages. You can download most of the charts to your smart phone, for use during your exchange period abroad.
Other sites where you can learn a bit of Swedish before your arrival are:
For students taking part in clinical education during their exchange, screening for MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is required before performing any intimate procedures. The screening must be carried out as soon as possible upon arrival at the Student Health Centre at Karolinska Institutet (NB: exchange students from the Nordic countries are exempted from the requirement).
Please note that the screening upon arrival in Sweden must be done regardless of previous screening in your home country. For more information, please contact the Student Health Centre.
To make your arrival in Stockholm as smooth as possible, we offer a pickup service for international students officially accepted to one of our programmes. Upon arrival in Stockholm, take the airport coach (Flygbussarna) to the Stockholm City Terminal, where you can be met and escorted to your accommodation. You will be travelling by public transport to your accommodation, and you will be able to buy your public transport ticket at the City Terminal.
Arlanda Express (more expensive but fastest alternative to get into Stockholm's central station)
As soon as you have the details of your arrival in Stockholm, please e-mail the following to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Day and time of arrival
- Flight number and airport
- Accommodation in Stockholm
- Mobile phone number (so that our pick-up service representatives can get in touch with you through Whatsapp)
- Letter of Acceptance
Student Account & KI Card
All KI students will get a student account which gives you access to a range of services, such as email, student computers, remote access to library resources, the learning platform Ping Pong and the university's wireless network. It will also enable you to get the KI card which is essential if you want to use the commuting bus, borrow books at KIB Library or print documents.
You will receive a multitude of information related to your studies via your KI-student email, so it is important to activate your student account as soon as you receive the instruction e-mail. It will be sent to your e-mail address approximately two weeks before the exchange study period begins. Please remember to check your spam if it does not appear in your inbox.
In Stockholm it is easy to get from one place to another compared to many other big cities. Public transport is well developed, with the metro, commuting trains and buses; and bicycles are also very common as there are many cycle paths in and around the city.
Transportation to and from Airports
Stockholm Arlanda Airport
Stockholm Arlanda Airport is the main international airport in Stockholm, located 40 km north of Stockholm. Airport coaches take about 45 minutes. Arlanda Express is a high-speed train which will take you between Arlanda and Stockholm Central Station in only 20 minutes. A number of taxi companies have fixed prices to and from Arlanda. You can also take the commuting train to/from Arlanda and Stockholm Central Station.
Stockholm Bromma Airport
Stockholm Bromma Airport is situated 8 km west of Stockholm, accessible with airport coaches or by using Stockholm local transportation (SL). Taxi services with fixed prices are also available from Bromma Airport.
Stockholm Skavsta Airport
Stockholm Skavsta Airport iis located 100 km south of Stockholm. Airport coaches will take you to Stockholm city.
Public transport in Stockholm is run by SL. Metro stations are marked with a ”T” and commuter train stations are marked with a ”J”. The easiest way to travel with public transport is to buy a 30-day travel card, the SL card. The travel card enables you to travel by bus, metro and commuter trains throughout the county of Stockholm. SL has discounted student prices for students taking at least 22.5 ECTS per semester at Karolinska Institutet.
Student Travel Card
If you are a student at KI registered for a minimum of 22.5 ECTS credits, you are eligible for the student travel card. In order to use the student travel card you also need to provide the student card Mecenatkortet, which you will receive later during your stay in Sweden. The student travel card is available for 30 days (570 SEK) or 90 days (1650 SEK).
When travelling and at ticket inspection, you are required to show your ID card and the student card Mecenatkortet, carrying the SL logo. If you do not have the Mecenatkortet, we recommend you to buy tickets at ordinary cost, in order not to be fined.
Shuttle Service at Karolinska Institutet
A free commuter bus connecting Campus Solna and Campus Flemingsberg operates on weekdays. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes, depending on the traffic situation. To access the buses you need to show your KI card. Visit the page Commuter bus for details.
There are many taxi companies in Stockholm and taxis are easy to find. Beware of scam companies though, so called “black taxis”. The easiest way to order a taxi is to call the taxi company’s switchboards. The major taxi companies are:
An easy way to get around Stockholm is to travel by bike. Bicycle paths and bicycle lanes are constantly developed, and the city council encourages biking. You can either buy your own bike or, if you are here during the snow free season, use the city bikes or scooters that are accessible all through the city.
Visa and Residence Permit
Students From Outside the EU/EEA
Students from outside the EU/EEA, who intend to stay in Sweden for a period longer than three months, must apply for a residence permit for studies (uppehållstillstånd). The permit must be issued before entry to Sweden. It is very important that you apply for a residence permit as soon as you receive notification of your admission. The responsible authority in Sweden is the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket). Please visit their website for details regarding the regulations and the application procedure.
A person who is in Sweden for a period of less than three months does not need a residence permit. However, citizens of certain countries must have a visa. You apply for visa at the Swedish embassy or a Swedish consulate in your home country or in your country of residence.
Students From EU/EEA and Switzerland
As an EU citizen you have the right to work, study or live in Sweden without a residence permit.
Extension of Residence Permit
A residence permit is granted for one year at a time. If the period of study is less than one year you will be granted a residence permit that is valid for the length of the study period. If you have been enrolled for continued full-time studies and have your support secured, you can apply for an extension of your residence permit.
Tap water in Stockholm (and Sweden) is of high and consistent quality and you can drink it direct without having to boil it.
It is also normally safe to swim in the lakes and the sea surrounding Stockholm. However, avoid bathing during the algal bloom which normally happens during the late summer months. Keep an eye on the quality of the water on the "Badvatten" (bathing water) map.
Do I need to bring my warm winter jacket? Will it be snow when I arrive? Check out the weather forecast before your arrival to Sweden.
Work During Studies
Foreign students are allowed to work in Sweden during their period of study. No additional work permit is required. However, please be aware that it can be difficult to find a part-time job in Stockholm, especially if you do not speak Swedish.