24 July, 2016

Planning to move from Africa to Sweden?

So you’ve just been given an admission for your undergraduate, postgraduate or doctoral studies in Sweden and you are super excited! You will be leaving your home country to study “abroad”. But after the excitement comes reality. And a move from an Africa country to Sweden can be a bit of a challenge. 

There are certain things to be aware of as a newbie before setting out but I will start with the 5 basic things to do before you book your flight to Sweden.

1. Accommodation

Coffee & bed

Coffee in bed.

Confirm that your admission comes with accommodation. If it doesn’t, contact the university you’ve been admitted to and ask questions about the available options.

It is advisable to apply to the university hall accommodation awaiting list even before being accepted.

There is vast competition between the international students and a shortage of accommodation. Especially in the southern parts of Sweden.  

If you find yourself stranded or looking for alternatives other than the university accommodation, an option is to contact the student union and associations which can direct and help you with some landlord listings and housing options. There are also useful information here and here.

2. Get familiar with online resources, books and articles that relates to your course of study

There are multiple articles online and webpages where you can read, download or check for the requirements you need for your course. For example, university admissions provides a link to the University of your choice. There you can find most requirements you need in order to acclimatize to the system.

The mode of teaching or the usual system you are used to, might not be the same in Sweden, so it is always advisable to set your mind ready for the challenge ahead.

3. Find out about life, culture, language and society in Sweden


Getting prepared.

How about watching some Youtube video clips and learning a lot of things about Sweden before setting out of your home country? There are a lot of Swedish words you can learn on Youtube or on online learning tools. Things like greetings, how to ask questions and the society as a whole.

Coming from an African country to Sweden, the culture, lifestyle and people are totally different.

But knowing most of these things ahead of time and reading about it can help you to manage a lot of experiences when you first get here.

4. Don’t leave without African foods in your luggage and some cash as well

It might take a while before you get used to the food in Sweden and of course you can be really homesick some days. So, bring food from home that is not too heavy for your suitcases and sufficient for at least two months. After that you will start getting to know your way around (most Swedish cities have an African shop). You might even learn how to make some Swedish meals such as meatballs.


Winter in Sweden.

5. Weather

This might be the most difficult part for a typical African. Coming from an average of 25 to 29 degrees weather to a 13 degree weather at Summer and a cold and dark sub-zero weather at Winter (averaging -18 to -22 degrees).

If you arrive to Sweden in Autumn or Fall which is the usual for most new international students, you might be overwhelmed and carried away.

But don’t be surprised if after two months everything suddenly changes and even some days in the summer might be cold.

The best advice is to buy at least a sweater and jacket before heading out of your home country in order to avoid running helter-skelter on your arrival if need be.

I hope that these few tips will be quite useful for anyone planning to come to Sweden from Africa for the first time. It’s better to plan ahead and be well informed before getting to Sweden than being surprised.

Written by: Wemimo Ibidunmoye

My name is Wemi and I recently moved to the Northern part of Sweden (Umeå) with my husband. I’m originally from Nigeria and I blog at where I share a bit about everything such as living in Sweden, motherhood, hacks, tips, life experiences amongst others. My hobbies are reading, writing, making new friends and listening to music.

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