Quest Exchange in Sweden

Sweden is a Scandinavian nation with thousands of coastal islands and inland lakes, along with vast boreal forests and glaciated mountains. It has more than 50 bridges, medieval towns, royal palaces, castles and museums. Swedes study and work hard but they also take their rest and relaxation seriously. So the fika is a social institution and an important part of the national culture. Fika is a coffee break that normally consists of coffee or tea along with cookies or sweet buns, but it can also include soft drinks, fruit and sandwiches. You can fika (it’s a verb as well as a noun) with your family or on your first date.

Find your inner “viking” by living with the fun-loving Swedes!

3 Fun Facts
  • Sweden is the birthplace of both Minecraft and Candy Crush.
  • One of the most popular flavors of ice cream in Sweden is salmiakki, or salty licorice, which may be black in color.
  • It is estimated that over 40,000 moose live in Sweden.
Program Dates

Year

Mid Aug – Mid June

Semester

Mid Aug – Late Dec
Early Jan – Mid June

Short-Term

Various
3 Months
2 Months

School Life

The Swedish school year runs from the middle of August to the middle of June. Fall semester runs from the middle of August to late December, and Spring semester runs from the beginning of January to the middle of June. Classes generally start at 8am and end between 2-4pm. Teachers usually combine lectures with study group work or projects. High school students in Sweden choose their post secondary education while attending high school, which basically means that they specialize in a particular field, such as economics, social science, science, or art.

The teacher/student dynamic is quite relaxed compared to the U.S. But, teachers do expect students to be on time, take an active role in the classroom and do their work tasks independently. Swedish teenagers speak English very well but are also a bit shy, so exchange students should be prepared to take the first step to initiate a conversation.

Transportation to school varies greatly depending on where the student lives. Sweden has a well-developed public transportation system, with buses, trams and trains that take you almost anywhere. Students who live close to school can walk or bike with many designated paths and sidewalks dedicated to pedestrians.

Family Life

The typical family consists of a mother and a father with an average of two children. Nowadays, however, there are many different family constructs, e.g. single-parent families or new family set-ups in which one or both parents bring in children from a former marriage. Students can expect to be placed in a suburb or smaller town just outside of the city.

Swedish food is a celebration; specialties include the famous Swedish meatballs, a variety of fish dishes and “Smorgasbord”. Sweden is an equal society where both women and men work full time. Young children typically attend day care between the ages of 1-6. Most families have a busy schedule, but still value spending time with their children, partners and friends. Swedish teenagers are generally very independent and enjoy a great deal freedom, but parents still expect students to observe rules and daily chores.

Swedish adults speak fluent English and are eager to speak it with their student. It is important for students to learn to speak Swedish as much as possible, though. Your efforts will be greatly appreciated and encouraged both at home and in school. Swedes like when people are curious about them and want to get to know them. They will also be very interested in getting to know their student’s interests, home country, and family.

Program Extras

There are several optional add-on trips offered during the program. However, details vary by season and year, so please contact us for more information. These trips are not included in Quest program fees.

One of the trips that is consistently offered is the Soft Landing Camp in Copenhagen for 4 days and 3 nights. The cost of this orientation is approximately $625, which does not include flights. The orientation fees are not included in Quest program fees. The orientation is a great way for students arriving at the beginning of the Fall or Spring semesters to start their study abroad adventure. It allows students a chance to sightsee, enjoy typical activities in Denmark’s capital, and meet other exchange students who will live and study in Scandinavia with them! It is highly recommended as experience has shown that it helps students transition into the study abroad program regardless of which country they are studying in.

Program REQUIREMENTS

For Fall semester and year-long programs, students must turn at least 16 the calendar year of arrival, and if they turn 19 on the calendar year of arrival they are too old for the program. For Spring semester programs, students need to turn at least 17 the calendar year of arrival, and if they turn 20 on the calendar year of arrival they are too old for the program.

All students must purchase mandatory medical insurance for this program, which is not included in Quest program fees. The approximate cost for this is as follows: $700 for a year, $400 for a semester, and $300 for 3 months. For more information on this, please contact us.

There is no official language requirement for previous knowledge of the Swedish language. However, all schools teach in the local language so an interest in learning Swedish is crucial for managing schoolwork, making friends and engaging with your host families. We encourage all applicants to our program to start practicing the basics of the local language before arrival. The sooner students start listening to and understanding the local language, the easier they will adapt to their new environment.

Visas

For stays over 90 days, students will need a visa. Students and parents should research visa requirements through the Swedish consulate or embassy nearest to their home as soon as possible, as this is the most time-intensive component of the study abroad application process. It may take weeks to months to obtain a Swedish visa. As the details of this process vary greatly by location, neither Quest nor our Swedish partner office can confirm the exact requirements. For this reason, Quest is not able to assist with legal visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa requirements and to obtain and submit the visa application.

Will students have access to Internet/WiFi at their home and school?

Yes, most homes and schools will have WiFi access.

Can students bring their own cell phones?

Yes, if students have an unlocked cell phone, they could use their personal phone with a Swedish carrier/SIM card.

Can students travel without an adult chaperone if given permission?

This will be determined in a case-by-case basis by the Swedish partner.

How much money should students have for spending money?

Students should budget around $300-$350/month for personal expenses, which include entertainment, personal hygiene items, long-distance calls, etc. Additional money should be budgeted for start-up school expenses, such as books and supplies. These fees are in addition to Quest program fees.

What are some cultural norms that describe a typical host family in Sweden?

Swedish families highly value honesty and punctuality. So students should make sure to always communicate clearly and openly with their host families and to always be on time for curfew and scheduled events, meals, etc. Other than that, Swedish families are diverse in their interests and activities. So, students must be open-minded and ready to adapt to their new host family dynamics.

How are host families chosen?

Quest’s in-country partner is responsible for locating, screening and matching host families with our students. Host families go through a careful screening process, which typically involves in-person interviews, home inspections and references.

How do students apply for the visa and how long does it take?

For stays over 90 days, students will need a visa. Students and parents should research visa requirements through the Swedish consulate or embassy nearest to their home as soon as possible, as this is the most time-intensive component of the study abroad application process. It may take weeks to months to obtain a Swedish visa. As the details of this process vary greatly by location, neither Quest nor our Swedish partner office can confirm the exact requirements. For this reason, Quest is not able to assist with legal visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa requirements and to obtain and submit the visa application.

How will the student get to and from school?

Students will generally take public transportation. Transportation fees are the student’s responsibility and are not included in Quest program fees.

Is it possible for students to get tutors during their program?

Yes, tutors are available and prices vary based on the subject and duration of tutoring sessions. Our Swedish partner organization can help facilitate this process once in-country.

Can students receive an official document with grades and completed classes after finishing their program? 

In general, exchange students in Sweden do not receive grades or grade reports. Schools do sometimes give them if the student requests this and completes all the work and exams in Swedish. If not, students can receive a certificate of attendance. In order to receive either of these documents, students must proactively seek it out, as obtaining this documentation is their responsibility before they leave Norway.

Do schools offer different sports/activities? 

Schools do not generally offer sports and extracurricular activities. These sorts of activities are mostly practiced through community clubs, sport centers, Scout groups, church groups, etc. These clubs are a great way to meet friends outside of school.

THINK IT OVER

The rewards of life abroad are amazing and wonderful, but are you up for the unique challenges that come with this experience? You will be away from your friends, family and the lifestyle you are accustomed to. You will have to adapt to a new language, culture, school and family. You will have to make decisions on your own and make new friends. Think about it and do some research on the country you want to study in. There is a wealth of information on the Internet that can better prepare you for your adventure!

GET YOUR PARENT/LEGAL GUARDIAN ON BOARD

Your parent(s) or guardian(s) need to help you make your dream happen. The application process takes time and effort, so it is important, at this stage, to make sure your parents support your decision to study abroad and have given you approval to move forward. If they feel that you are prepared and understand what’s required from them, you are ready to move to the next step.

CHECK IN WITH YOUR SCHOOL

You may receive credit from your program, but it is your responsibility to make this happen. Only your U.S. school can decide which credits you can receive. You must approach your guidance counselor to determine if you can get the credits you are hoping to receive. Bring Quest’s Academic Guide with you, and be certain of what you will be responsible for.

CONTACT QUEST FOR PROGRAM INFORMATION AND PAPERWORK

Fill out our online information request form in order to receive important program information from Quest via email. This email will contain Quest’s Program Agreement and Program Guidelines for your review and signature. Carefully review all of this information with your parents and contact Quest if you have any questions. We are here to help guide you through the process so you can make decisions that fit your needs.

CONFIRM PROGRAM DETAILS

The Quest Program Coordinator will confirm with you the program details submitted on your original request form. If you’re unsure of your destination, we’ll help you narrow down your choices to the country and program season that works for you. We will speak with your parents and make sure that everybody feels informed and ready to proceed with the decisions made.

CONFIRM PAYMENT DETAILS

You and your parents will receive the online Payment Agreement, which states the total program price for your selected destination country and Quest’s payment process. Your parents will receive an invoice for the application deposit, which is due before you submit your student application.

COMPLETE YOUR APPLICATION

Quest will send you a full student application for the program you have chosen. This application can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete. Make sure you give yourself ample time prior to the application deadline to complete the application and supplemental documents.

SKYPE INTERVIEW

This is when you get to meet your Quest Program Coordinator and talk face to (virtual) face. During the interview, the Program Coordinator will assess your suitability for the Quest Study Abroad program. This call lasts 30-60 minutes. Parents will speak with us at the end of the call, but the first part of the interview questions must be answered by the student alone. There is no preparation needed other than to talk about yourself, your desire to participate in the program and why you feel you are ready.

WAITING FOR ACCEPTANCE

Your Quest Program Coordinator will review your application and interview documentation to determine acceptance. Our team members put a lot of thought into the decisions they make, and not all students are accepted into the program. In order to make our decision, Quest must review complete and accurate application materials. We choose students who are emotionally, socially and academically prepared for the study abroad program. We look at each student’s level of maturity, independence and ability to adapt to life in a foreign country.

ACCEPTANCE AND INVOICE

You will receive a letter of acceptance from Quest via email. Your parents will receive an invoice outlining the total cost with only the first 50% of the total due within 10 days. The final 50% of the remaining program fees are due within 30 days of the invoice date.

GET LEGAL – VISA AND IMMIGRATION

This is a very important step in the process and can be very time-intensive. We suggest that you get started researching the requirements as soon as possible with the nearest embassy or consulate for your destination country, as requirements vary by location. Because the process does vary considerably, Quest and our foreign partner office are not able to assist with legal visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa requirements and to obtain and submit the visa application. Start filling out all of the paperwork well in advance, as visa approval can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to obtain.

SCHOOL AND HOST FAMILY PLACEMENT

This is the hardest part: waiting for your school and host family placement information! Making quality placements takes time, and we will need your patience during this important step. Quest will notify you and your parents of a confirmed placement in a school and then again when you are placed with your host family. Write to your host family as soon as possible to introduce yourself, and let them know how excited you are to meet them.

BOOK YOUR FLIGHT

Working together with you and your parents, Quest will confirm your arrival date and book your roundtrip international flight to your placement area. We will also book your student travel and medical insurance for your trip, so you can rest easier while abroad!

PRE-DEPARTURE ORIENTATION

Your Quest Program Coordinator will help you get prepped for your trip with a pre-departure orientation prior to your departure. You’ll receive an agenda before the call. We encourage you to write all of your remaining questions down so that we can make you and your parents feel prepared for your trip abroad. We will go over the program rules, what to pack, what to do if you need support once you arrive, and more!

LIVE YOUR STUDY ABROAD DREAM!

Congratulate yourself and your family for making this happen. You are on your way to the study abroad adventure that you’ve earned!

Balance your time abroad — keep in touch with those back home, but remember that the point of studying abroad is to be present and active in your host country. Keep a blog or an online photo album so you can show all of the revelations you have had and the sights you have seen. On a rainy day, you’ll be happy to reflect on your growing experience abroad. Stay in touch with Local Coordinators and with Quest. We’d love to hear how you are doing!

Programs Available
  • Year
  • Semester
  • 3 Months
  • 2 Months
Application Deadline
  • Year/Fall Semester: April 1st
  • Spring Semester: October 1st
  • Short-Term: Variable
Apply Now

Quest International, a nonprofit organization, promoting international cultural awareness and compassion by providing educational programs for American and International students to live and learn together.