Now is the time to intern overseas in Sweden. From technological advances to daring architectural creations, the country is making major impacts that shape our modern world. When you secure an internship in Sweden, you’ll have the chance to sharpen your skill set for a future career by shadowing entrepreneurs and earning references from industry leaders.
Outside of the professional opportunities available for interns, Sweden possesses a myriad of activities and attractions for overseas visitors to fully encounter life in a different culture. You could become an expert on proper sauna etiquette, stuff your face at a true smörgåsbord, or explore Viking history in Stockholm museums.
No matter if it’s in the office or out experiencing Swedish culture, you’ll fill your brain with valuable lessons during a global internship in this Scandinavian nation.
If you consider yourself a creator, whether of the latest software, life-saving medication, or artistically-inspired infrastructure, then Sweden is the destination for you. Interns will have the opportunity to go backstage in a variety of industries, observing how new ideas are successfully executed from conceptualization to production.
Without a doubt, technology is the area where Sweden really shines. As the birthplace of Skype and Spotify, Sweden has gained a reputation as a European hub for tech companies. Experts in Stockholm and elsewhere channel their energy into innovating everything from futuristic software to the next big thing in mobile apps.
Since it’s such an exciting time to be a tech geek in Sweden, internships in this industry are abundant. Overseas students can directly apply to programs at companies like SAAB, which specializes in security software, to witness some of the most inventive work being done in their field. In Sweden, foreign interns have the chance to apply their engineering skills, learn from the pros, and build out their international network.
As with the technology industry, big names in pharmaceuticals, like AstraZeneca, have a home in Sweden. New medications are constantly in the works, targeting cancer, heart disease, and other deadly illnesses. Interns will get out of the classroom and into the lab, taking their first steps towards a career in pharmaceuticals.
Company websites will typically list internship opportunities for hopeful students to discover. Keep in mind, while English is widely spoken in Sweden, miscommunication in the medical field can have dire results. As such, knowledge of the Swedish language would be helpful for interns coming from outside the country. In addition to the practical experience, the cross-cultural skills acquired in an industry like pharmaceuticals are sure to stand out on your resume.
Where else is Sweden making a splash? Designing and engineering new structures. The country has come a long way from ornate European palaces and gothic cathedrals, giving a Swedish twist to modern architecture with quirky buildings like Turning Torso. Overseas interns will shuffle around firm offices, assisting on everything from interior design to client meetings.
To acquire an architecture internship in Sweden, students can explore career pages on company websites or apply through overseas programs, like Global Experiences. Either way, interns will walk away with samples of their design work, skills in client interaction, and an impressive list of overseas references.
Planning Your Internship
Best Time to Get an Internship in Sweden
Your internship type and personal interests will dictate the best time of year to move to Sweden. While the technology, pharmaceutical, and architecture markets aren’t affected by changes in seasons, other industries might be. For instance, tourism and hospitality companies might prefer to take on interns during the busy summer months, or ski resorts could need support over the winter. When pursuing an internship overseas, just be aware of how different seasons can impact your field.
During your free time, you’ll have plenty to explore in Sweden no matter the time of year. Palace tours and museum visits will occupy you on rainy or cold days, and if you’re around for the holidays, you can experience a lavish buffet-style meal the locals call julbord. In the summer, popular activities like island hopping in Stockholm or taking a dip in the Baltic Sea are sure to make for some Instagram-worthy moments.
Luckily, when you apply through a intern abroad organization, housing is almost always provided. Living in a dorm with your fellow interns, you’ll have a guaranteed group of comrades to grab drinks with, swap tips on workplace culture, and share the life-changing experience of interning overseas. Stocked with the essentials, organization-provided accommodations make it less stressful to relocate to another country.
If you acquired an internship on your own, you’ll have to look into other options, like renting a flat. It might even be worth it to check on weekly rates for long-term stays at local hostels. It’ll be akin to living in a dorm, except the roommates tend to come and go. Planning to stay in a hostel will eliminate the headache of landing and immediately having to apartment hunt, allowing you to focus more on preparing to start your internship.
Cost of Living
Sweden, as with the other Scandinavian nations, isn’t a cheap place to live. The cost of rent, food, and other essentials is quite elevated when compared to that of other countries. But that doesn’t mean it’s not an affordable place of residence. As a temporary worker, paid and unpaid interns alike can budget properly to fund their relatively brief stay.
Living in Sweden, rent is going to eat up most of your finances, meaning those of you that aren’t going through an exchange program will have to think strategically when finding a place to live. Outside of urban centers like Stockholm, rent and other expenses should be lower. Consider expanding your housing search and using public transportation to reach your internship. You’ll likely want to invest in a transit card anyway to explore your destination’s local attractions.
EU citizens should be able to intern in Sweden without additional permits. If that’s not you, then in some cases, unpaid internships acquired independently might qualify you for a simple visitor’s permit. When applying, you’ll need a letter from the company at which you’ll be interning, and you cannot receive compensation for your work.
For other types of internships, you’ll need to obtain a trainee permit. According to the Swedish Migration Agency, this type of visa is definitely required for students who are going through internship abroad organizations. Because trainee permits are only available for countries that have entered an international agreement with Sweden, interns not from those nations may need to apply for a work permit.
As you may have noticed, Sweden has quite the entrepreneurial spirit. In fact, there are nearly twice as many startups in Sweden as there are in the U.S. With so many professionals taking the initiative to invent new companies and products, it should come as no surprise that an ambitious outlook will do well in Swedish workplaces. As an overseas intern, you’ll be expected to rise to the challenges presented to you by your supervisor.
While an enterprising attitude can go a long way, don’t confuse Sweden with Silicon Valley. Tech companies and startups are a yes, but bro culture and mini-golf in the office are a no. When you’re giving your go-getting skills a test drive in the Swedish workplace, remember that well-executed projects and the ability to stay focused will convey more than an overconfident demeanor ever could.
Health & Safety
There aren’t many places in the world safer than Sweden. Like its Scandinavian neighbors, Sweden is low on threats of illness, natural disaster, or violent crime. Other than protecting your items against a rogue pickpocketer, theft is not an immediate hazard in Sweden. That being said, it never hurts to fold travel insurance into your budget. Especially for those of you entering the country on a visa, insurance might be necessary to meet your specific permit requirements.
There are plenty of options for short term trips, and you can buy insurance that covers general travel risks like medical treatment, theft or loss of personal items, and repatriation in the rare instance of national emergency. At the end of the day, when your mind as it ease, there will be nothing standing in the way of you and your overseas internship in Sweden.