Sweden may be known for its vicious Viking and battle-wrought past but has not engaged in violent conflict for nearly 200 years—the country is home to the Nobel Peace Prize. Others may associate IKEA (not to mention its Swedish meatballs), ABBA, and widespread happiness as characteristic of Sweden.
While Swedes may have a higher income per capita than most countries, encouraging people to use their disposable income is crucial. Encouraging healthy habits and healthy living in the face of increased drug and alcohol use can make a big communal difference.
Sweden has socialized health care, meaning hospitals are constantly bustling with patients coming in and out. In many respects, the extra man and woman-power allows hospitals to function more smoothly. Transporting patients to and from operating rooms, running lab errands, in addition to talking with and caring for the sick are but some of the volunteering opportunities in Sweden.
Sweden has adopted many environmental objectives in the coming years. As a volunteer, you can help reach those objectives by means of raising awareness about carbon emissions, threats to biodiversity, and the effects of polluting into the Baltic Sea.
Planning Your Trip
Volunteer Support: Consulates and embassies are reliable places to go if you have a passport problem or wish to extend your visa. The volunteer program itself oftentimes has its own support system in place. Never think twice about clarifying aspects of your experience or asking any other question.
NGOs/Nonprofit/Volunteer History in Sweden: NGO activity in Sweden ranges from Baltic Sea preservation to sled dog racing promotion to researching immunodeficiencies.
Best Places to Volunteer: Stockholm, a city with a myriad of volunteer resources; Lund, the heart of Sweden’s agricultural zone; as well as Uppsala and Goteborg.
Health and Safety of Volunteers in Sweden
When one thinks of safe and secure environments, Sweden fits the bill. Yes, petty crime may be an issue but it is a small one. Just don’t go throwing your belongings about in public.
That the health care system is state-run means there are medical centers (vardcentral) in all districts and towns. However, remember that a state-run system also means volunteers without ample travel insurance can pay high costs for a medical visit.
Visas for Volunteering in Sweden
Any EU citizen does not need a separate visa to volunteer in Sweden. For citizens from North America or elsewhere, the following are required:
- Official Schengen Visa application
- A Valid passport
- Proof of medical insurance
- Official letter from the volunteer organization
- Flight itinerary
For additional information, check out your country’s Swedish embassy site.