If you’re looking for incredibly beautiful scenery, varying from islands to forested mountains, then look no farther than Sweden. This diverse country is one of the happiest in the world, but also a safe and welcoming destination for high school abroad programs.
Interested in a direct exchange? It also has an excellent education system, a high level of gender equality, and an emphasis on environmental consciousness. It should go without saying, this country can teach high schoolers a thing or two. So wait no more, and read on to learn about spending high school abroad in Sweden!
Sweden is great for students who are interested in nature, hiking, Scandinavian culture, and learning Swedish.
Students interested in spending time in Sweden can choose from:
- A high school exchange
- A volunteer program
- Teen travel tour
High School Exchanges
Students looking to settle into the Swedish way of life can participate in a high school exchange. Prepare yourself to be treated like a “real adult” if you go to high school here. Schools in Sweden are founded on the idea that students can decide for themselves when they are too sick to come in or have a family matter that takes precedence.
Don’t think you won’t receive a top-notch education though! The Swedish Ministry of Education and Research prides itself on providing students with awesome teachers and an excellent curriculum.
Many high schools in Sweden are taught entirely in English, allowing students from English speaking countries the opportunity to study abroad, while never feeling too lost. Although, students wishing to learn Swedish can participate in immersion schools and learn the language as well.
Those looking to make a difference while in high school can opt to volunteer in Sweden. Environmental conservation is very important in Sweden, providing students the opportunity to learn about carbon emissions or even track wild bear in the wilderness. Individuals interested in civil service will be pleased to know there are plenty of organizations whose aim is to promote healthy eating, physical fitness and work to build a strong sense of community. Be sure to check every organization’s age requirements to make sure they accept high school students (typically, there's a wider availability to students 16+).
Youth Travel Tours
Youth travel tours are ideal for high school students who want to learn about Sweden by traveling around the country. These trips have itineraries designed to give students the most of their trip and educate them on Swedish culture and history. Some trips will include visits to nearby countries, like Denmark or Germany.
Usually high schoolers will learn about Swedish culture, take in a bit of the language, explore beautiful natural sites and sightsee at historical attractions. Tours often incorporate themes such as adventure, culture or environmental conservation.
Planning Your Trip
Sweden is a part of the Schengen Agreement, meaning residents of the United States, UK, Australia, and Canada are able to stay for up to 90 days without a visa. Those wishing to stay longer than 90 days will need to obtain a student visa. Generally, high schoolers participating in travel programs are provided assistance with visa applications.
Student housing differs based on the high school abroad program a student selects. Study abroad exchanges, whether at an English school or language immersion program, usually provide homestays. This is a great opportunity for high school students to become a part of a Swedish family and experience Swedish culture firsthand. Teen travel tours usually provide students with shared hotel accommodation and volunteer programs can arrange for homestays or apartment living.
Individuals traveling from North America to Sweden, can find flights from $900 to $1,100 USD, while those coming from Europe can pay as little as $150.
Sweden is slightly more expensive than Western European and North American countries. Students budgeting for food, transportation, nights out, and additional expenses should expect to spend about $50 USD a day.
Program costs in Sweden vary depending on what amenities are included, the length of stay, type of housing and how much travel is incorporated. A two-week volunteer program can cost $600 USD, while a study abroad program can be $12,000 for a semester.
Your packing list will vary from season to season. The summers are pleasant with an average of 64 degree Fahrenheit (18 Celsius), while the winters can grow as cold as 27 Fahrenheit (-3 Celsius). Remember that transitional seasons like fall and spring can experience various temperatures and weather patterns in a single day, so packing layers is the key to comfort.
- Breathable clothing
- A hat
- A light jacket for cooler nights
- Warm coat
- Scarf, hat, gloves
- Solid walking shoes for outdoor adventures
- A power and voltage converter
Health & Safety
Staying Healthy in Sweden
There are no particular vaccines recommended for visiting Sweden. Medical care is good and pharmacies can be found with ease. Food and water are safe to drink in Sweden.
If you are on any prescription medications, be sure to bring what you’ll need for your entire stay, with proof of prescription. Swedish customs does not allow overseas medications to be shipped to you, and it may be difficult to refill your exact prescription while in Sweden.
Sweden has a low crime rate, making it a great place for high school students to explore abroad. Students should be aware of pickpockets in touristy areas of larger cities and on trains or buses. Thieves often work in pairs, with one individual distracting the target while another runs off with the goods. Always follow local government laws and stay away from illegal drugs and underage alcohol consumption.