It’s a great time to get industry-specific experience in Sweden: Not only is this equalitarian country a great place for women in business, but this Nordic country was also ranked 9th of 189 countries on The World Bank’s 2017 ease of doing business ranking.
Swedes are behind a lot of the world’s favorite brands and services -- H&M, IKEA, and Skype, to name a few -- and interning in Sweden is give you invaluable experience in global companies. Swedish is the official language in business and in life, but with 85% of the population fluent in English you’ll have little linguistic barriers to learning as much as possible in your internship.
So book your flight and secure a praktik (internship)-- it’s time to learn all about Swedish internships!
Some of the biggest global companies have offices in Sweden, including Volvo, Electrolux, Ericsson and of course, H&M and IKEA! Interns in any field will be able to find opportunities, but the most common for interns are in business, communications, and tech.
From operations to marketing, the start-ups, tech companies and various businesses give business students and recent graduates the opportunity to grow in their skills. Frequently referenced as one of the best countries for adhering to values and regulations, Sweden is a great place to hone soft and hard skills in business.
Communication jobs, including public relations, brand marketing and strategic planning, offer internships in some of the top global companies. You’ll learn the challenges of cross-cultural branding and public relations strategy, all while gleaning valuable information on an international company.
Referred to as the “Tech Superstar from the North,” Sweden is a great place to get first-hand tech experience. You’ll learn how ethnically-minded, innovative business can revolutionize the industry. Software developers, engineers, and computer programmers all have the chance to develop skills in a renowned environment.
Best Time to Get an Internship in Sweden
Internships run in fall, spring and summer, but the majority of students find placements in summer. Any time of the year will be an adventure, but summer has the most pleasant temperatures and longest hours of sunlight.
While housing tends to be very expensive in Sweden, there are still affordable options, typically in the suburbs of cities. Students saying for shorter periods of time can find temporary housing in an Airbnb, Red Apple Apartments, and other helpful sites. Also check Facebook groups for international students and travelers for rentals.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Sweden is notoriously high. In fact, consumer prices are 11.6% higher than in the U.S., according to Numbeo (though rent prices averages are lower than the U.S.). Stockholm is the most expensive city in the country, and housing is said to be 30% of a Swede’s salary. Expect rent prices around $800-$1,000 for a one bedroom in city center and $500-$700 outside the city center.
Average costs of groceries and restaurant meals will be a few dollars higher than in the U.S., at around $15 for an inexpensive meal and around $2-$5 per pound of produce. Transportation will be costly, with a monthly pass at almost $100 and taxi rides starting at nearly $6 and running $2.75 per mile.
U.S. citizens qualify for a 90 day tourist visa to Sweden, but if you arrange an internship through an international third party like AIESEC (or receive an invitation from a company), it’s likely you’ll be able to get an intern visa and extend your stay.
There are some Swedish characteristics you should be sure to adopt while in country. Swedes hold punctuality to the highest esteem; being late (or repeatedly late) shows disrespect and could damage your image in the workplace. Be honest, fair and transparent in business.
Greet your coworkers by their title and last name, only switching to the first name once they’ve given you the okay. Workplace attire isn’t usually formal, but presenting in clean, put-together attire is a must. Unlike many other cultures, in Sweden gift giving should be done with caution, as they may be misconstrued as inappropriate. Because of Sweden’s respect for collectivism, here you’ll find humble, agreeable coworkers who don’t boast wealth and success (So it’s best to leave your stereotypical American business tycoon attitude at home!).
Working in Sweden means you’ll have time to fika (take coffee and snack breaks) which is translates to opportunity to socialize with coworkers.
Like many areas in Europe, Sweden is extremely safe. Standard precautions such as not leaving bags unattended, locking car doors and being aware of your surroundings should still be taken. The U.S. Department of State has expressed a concern that some of Europe’s recent terrorist activity could also happen in Sweden, so pay attention to the news.
There are no special vaccinations you need to travel to Sweden. Tap water is safe to drink and travelers don’t need to be worried about food safety.
The biggest risk to mental health in Sweden is the limited sunlight hours in winter. If you’re prone to seasonal depression be sure to seek medical help before departing.