DAILY LIFE IN GOTHENBURG
Should I open a bank account in Sweden?
Different bank branches require different documentation from you as an international customer. Requirements for opening a Swedish bank account normally include a minimum stay of 12 months as well as a Swedish personal number (for some or all services). A Swedish personal number can only be obtained if you have a residence permit valid in Sweden for 12 months or longer. You can apply for the Swedish personal number through the tax office - Skatteverket - once you arrive in Sweden (more information here). You may also need to have a Swedish identity card when opening a bank account.
It is strongly recommended that exchange students make banking arrangements from their home bank. Students staying in Sweden for less than six months will experience difficulties to opening a bank account.
I'm thinking of opening a bank account in Sweden. How does it work?
Now that you decided to open a Swedish bank account, please note the following:
- You need to have a Swedish personal number, as well as a Swedish identity card to open the account.
- Most Swedish banks will charge you fees for different services. Ask about fees before choosing your bank.
- In general, the banks do not provide international students with credit/debit cards for online payments.
- Most credit cards are accepted in Sweden. If you have a credit card from home you can use it in Sweden.
- Do not use traveller's or bank cheques.
When opening a Swedish account you will get an IBAN number and SWIFT number, which enables you or your family to easily transfer money from your home account to your Swedish account.
For more information you can check the Swedish Banker’s Association website.
I just arrived in Gothenburg and feel a bit lost. How can I check tram / bus schedules and plan my city trips?
Even though you can check how to get from point A to point B with Maps, you can plan your travel in Västtrafik’s website or with their apps. Västtrafik is responsible for the public transport in western Sweden, taking you around the city with trams, buses or ferries. The tickets can even take you to the beautiful Southern Archipelago of Gothenburg.
Which transport ticket is better for me and how can I buy it?
You can check the types of period tickets Västtrafik offers, as well as their covered areas and prices in their website. You can purchase them in Pressbyrån and/or 7 Eleven. Please note that you can buy single tickets inside the trams, buses and ferries with a credit card in one of their machine.
I prefer biking, so what are my options?
The city is perfect for biking and you can rent friend with wheels in any of the locations listed in this webpage. The city also offers 30 minutes of bike renting for free with their Styr och Ställ blue bikes. If you’d like to have a bike of your own, a (very) cheap alternative is to check Cykelköket, where you can become a member for 50 kr, choose a bike from their garage and work on it until it is ready to hit the road! There’s also the option of buying a second hand bike through Facebook groups or Blocket.se.
Let’s talk money! How much does a student monthly spend in Gothenburg?
Cost of living in Sweden can certainly be high as we all know! We will try to categorize the living expenses per month based on our experience. This is just a guideline and of course the costs per person varies depending on your taste and lifestyle. But here is something you can use as a guideline:
- Food: SEK 2,000
- Accommodation: SEK 3,400-4,800
- Course literature SEK 400-1,000
- Local travel: SEK 500
- Phone/internet: SEK 400
- Hobby/leisure, miscellaneous: SEK 1,500
Roughly ~8000-8200 SEK/month
Any tips on saving some money?
- There are plenty of student offers going on all the time so keep a lookout on it, we will share any information we find relevant!
- In terms of supermarkets, Lidl and Netto are considered to be cheaper than Willys with ICA, Coop and Hemköp slightly more expensive than the former. However, each store has its own price on the products, so try to see which store suits you the most!
- Afterwork is a great concept in Sweden where in some bars you can buy a drink and with that you get food included for free. Not all bars/pubs have it, but some good options are along Andra Långgatan.
- To those who this applies to: get some alcohol from your home countries. Buying alcohol in bars/pubs here can be very heavy on the pockets! Otherwise, buy your alcohol from Systembolaget (this is a chain of Government run liquor stores in Sweden - remember, you cannot buy alcohol in any supermarket!! You can only purchase them at Systembolaget).
- Make use of the libraries! The most famous is Göteborg City Library, but the city is filled with libraries and as a student you’ll probably be spending some time in one or more of the seven libraries of Gothenburg University Library.
- Seconds hand stores are very popular in Gothenburg so make sure you browse them for your needs!
I missed the IKEA day organised by GIC and need to buy some things for my room. How can reach it?
To go to IKEA Bäckebol you just need to check with Västtrafik website or app how to reach the Bäckebol Norra bus stop. Easiest way is to depart from Centralstation, but you can also check more options departing from your address as the starting point of the trip. Once you get to the bus stop, you'll be able to see the blue and yellow paradise!
I’m starting to like this second-hand talk...how can I stay tuned to this?
Sweden is all about sustainability and recycling. It ranges from second-hand bikes to its endless second-hand shops and ways of minimizing food waste. Myrorna and Emmaus are big second-hand shops, where you can find plenty of clothes, shoes, bags, books and some decor pieces. Reningsborg is a huge shop, and besides offering everything previously mentioned, it has a big section for furniture, toys, and household appliances. You can find more stores here.
In Gothenburg you can follow tips and be in touch with sustainable initiatives through SmartaKarta. There you can find information about Gratisbutiken - a place where you can not only donate clothes, but also get some if you’re in need -, Solikyl, and much more.
With all the planned fikas how can I stay fit during my stay in Gothenburg?
Unfortunately, the University of Gothenburg doesn't have a gym or swimming pool nor does it host any yoga classes. You can find a swimming pool at Chalmers, but only Chalmers Student Union members can use it. However, the city of Gothenburg offers a wide array of gym memberships and swimming pools. Based on the Gym you choose, they offer diverse activities in terms of yoga, crossfit, strength and cardio sessions and so on.
You can check some of the gym options in this post from GU Student blog here.
If you’re into swimming, the city offers a range of indoor swimming pools that you can check here.
An accident happened and I need to see a doctor. How should I proceed?
The Swedish health care can be different to what you are used to. The University of Gothenburg compiled some information if you need to seek health care as a student during your stay. You can check everything here. If you're staying for one year and got your personal number, you can also check this medical guide.
Wow, this is a lot of information to absorb! Need to sit and contemplate a bit…
If you feel like taking some time to think and reflect about all of this, or if you’re just in need of a nice view with maybe some coffee, don’t forget to check this map, with all the viewpoints and panoramic spots listed in Gothenburg! You will not be disappointed!