When you think of Sweden, what comes to mind? Maybe you think of the beautiful countryside punctuated by lakes and stunning vistas or seeing the Northern Lights on a cold, snowy night. You might imagine the joy of assembling a piece of modern, affordable furniture, or the taste of coffee and pastries during a famous fika break. You might even be aware of Sweden's amazing educational opportunities -- including low-cost or free options for studying abroad.
If you're considering whether to study abroad in Sweden, you might wonder what subjects are available to you. Part of the goal in studying abroad is to immerse yourself in a new culture; another part is to advance your academic career in an area or with outside instruction you wouldn't otherwise receive at your home campus.
With this in mind, we've pulled together six amazing subjects that are perfect for studying in Sweden. While there are other great destinations where you can study these, Sweden offers something special for each of these subjects that will make it an unforgettable study abroad experience -- and an unconventional one.
Architecture & Design
It's almost impossible to think about Sweden and not have IKEA come to mind. The Swedish design brand has become synonymous with innovative, interesting design -- and their stores can be found literally all over the world.
IKEA is the global manifestation of a design ethos in Sweden that has rightfully earned a global reputation. Similarly, architecture is another great field where students can learn from experts, push their creative and academic boundaries, and come home with a wider knowledge of these academic subjects.
You might not become a pro at assembling furniture from diagrams after studying architecture or design in Sweden, but you'll certainly have a greater knowledge of these fields and how you can leverage them back home or into a lifelong career.
Business & Entrepreneurship
Many countries in Europe have worked hard in the past decade to encourage business and entrepreneurship; few boast as successful a record of helping foster startup companies and emerging technology than Sweden. It has even been called the "Silicon Valley of Europe" due to the high number of startups and innovative businesses in Sweden compared to its population.
If you're a business major, curious about what it takes to start a company, or interested in working with and/or learning from professionals at some of Europe's successful and well-established businesses, studying abroad in Sweden might be a great fit for you.
Technology & Engineering
Similar to the wide swath of opportunities to study business or entrepreneurship in Sweden, the country is also a great destination for studying technology and the various forms of engineering.
Sweden has a well-earned reputation as a country where brilliant ideas are born and thrive (as evidenced in some of the other subjects on this list where you can gain world-class academic experience in Sweden), and you can study different types of engineering and tech at world class institutions too. Whether you're studying civil engineering, information technology, or health technology, there are opportunities in Sweden.
Never fear, Humanities majors! There's a subject you'll love studying in Sweden too!
Though many literature students will flock to other cities that are famous for literature, you may find that Stockholm -- or Sweden as a whole -- is the perfect destination for you. Sweden has been home to several Nobel Laureates in Literature over the past century, and many famous Swedish writers are still living, working, and writing in Sweden.
You could also jump further back in history, studying Norse mythology and literature, or Middle Ages philosophy proposed by Swedish writers. As is usually the case when you dive into the world of literature, there's much you'll discover in Sweden.
Sweden is known for its beautiful natural environment, and luckily Swedes have decided to make it a priority to preserve their amazing natural resources.
If you're studying environmental sciences at your home institution, gain hands-on experience by studying abroad in Sweden. Many of Sweden's top universities offer courses and/or degrees in environmental sciences so you can continue your education -- or try a class in this subject if you're not familiar with it and are curious what environmental sciences entails.
Pro-tip: some of the top programs on Go Overseas' study abroad in Sweden guide are for graduate degrees; you can also choose to study in Sweden as a grad student!
Beyond environmental conservation, Sweden is a great destination if you're interested in studying sustainability initiatives, policymaking, and adoption.
This is in part because Sweden has already enacted policies which encourage sustainability; 99% of household waste in Sweden is recycled and they are even importing waste from other countries to process and use that!
You can come to Sweden and study the history of the policies that make this kind of widespread sustainability adoption possible, or work with policymakers, engineers, and academics who are helping define the future of sustainability in a country that is among the world's best.
While Sweden is a bit off-the-beaten-path as both a travel and study abroad destination, this is a huge benefit if you choose to study there. You'll escape the crowds of more popular destinations, experience Swedish culture and hospitality first-hand, and get the chance to study academic subjects that some countries just can't offer at the same level or with such a good global reputation. Pair that with a coffee and pastry, and you'll never forget your semester of fika and studying abroad in Sweden.
This post was originally published in April 2018, and it was updated in October 2020.