1. Your ideas will thrive
When you study in Sweden, you’re encouraged to think independently, creatively and critically. At Swedish universities, the emphasis is firmly on developing your ability to question the status quo by assessing information, seeking new perspectives and coming up with well-informed opinions. You’ll be free to think creatively because of the informal and non-hierarchical nature of Swedish society, where everyone is encouraged to contribute ideas and opinions. Expect to have an open and informal relationship with your professors.
This independence of mind and the fact that everyone can make their voice heard are two of the reasons why Sweden consistently ranks among the world’s most innovative nations. Another is that investment in R&D is among the highest in the world in relation to GDP.
Sweden’s status as a leader in innovation, as a home of trendsetters and early adopters, is nothing new: the list of Swedish world-changing inventions is a long one and includes breakthroughs like the three-point seatbelt, the pacemaker and the music service Spotify. Which begs the question: which one of your brilliant ideas will Sweden help make reality?
2. Academics are elite
Sweden has a long and proud history of academic excellence and despite its relatively small population, it’s home to some of the world’s best universities. The entire Swedish higher education system is ranked number two in the world and number one in relation to GDP, and several Swedish universities are ranked by the Times Higher Education and the Academic Ranking of World Universities as being among the world’s top seats of learning.
In Sweden you’ll find a strong focus on rationality, reason and applying knowledge so that it makes a real difference. Look no further than the Nobel Prize, the world’s most coveted and prestigious academic distinction, for an illustration of the Swedish approach.
As a student here you’ll become part of this tradition of academic excellence. Just don’t expect to passively receive information: you’ll be encouraged and challenged to contribute, speak your mind and take your education in your own hands.
Swedish universities are well-adapted to the needs of international students, and Sweden consistently ranks in the top three in the world for English proficiency. You’ll be able to use English with everyone you meet, from the classroom to city centre.
3. Sustainability is front and centre – with the environment to show for it
If you’re concerned with sustainable development for a greener future, you’ll find many kindred spirits here in Sweden. Environmental issues are high priority here, and Sweden has been named the most sustainable country in the world for its use of renewable energy and low carbon dioxide emissions (it has the highest percentage of renewable energy in the EU). The overall aim of environmental policy in Sweden is highly ambitious: to pass on to the next generation a society in which all the major environmental problems have been solved.
Environmental thinking and sustainability pervade all aspects of life here, and not least education. Studying here will give you the chance to draw on Sweden’s deep experience with environmental thinking and apply its sustainable approach to your own chosen field.
And it’s not hard to see why Swedes are so keen to protect the environment: nature here is breath-taking, with vast forests, pristine beaches, rolling hills and snow-capped mountains. Sweden’s 29 national parks and nearly 4,000 nature reserves offer you the opportunity to ski, hike, fish, swim and mountain bike.
4. Experience equality and embrace diversity
Swedish society is known for its inclusiveness and egalitarianism. You may have heard Sweden referred to as the most equal country in the world. It consistently places among the world’s top countries in gender equality, while lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in Sweden are regarded as among the most progressive in the world.
This belief that everyone is of equal value contributes to Sweden’s consensus approach to getting things done, where everyone takes part in the decision-making process. During your studies, you’ll learn how to balance different interests, needs and ideas to bring out the best in everyone and solve complex issues as a team – vital skills for your career in the global marketplace, where teamwork and collaboration across cultures and boundaries are the norm.
5. Gain a competitive edge for your global career
What is the most important characteristic you’ll need for success in your career? According to a global study of CEOs, it’s creativity. And creativity is exactly what studying in Sweden will encourage, along with other in-demand skills such as how to combine theory and practice, and how to navigate complex situations where there’s no easy solution.
Many degree programmes in Sweden include internships, which are a great way to get real-world experience while you build your professional network. If you’re interested in research, doing a master’s in Sweden can be a great way to make the contacts you’ll need to carry on and do a PhD.
The fact that Sweden is home to the largest number of multinationals per capita of any country in the world and is the birthplace of many world-conquering companies – including IKEA, TetraPak, Volvo, Ericsson, AstraZeneca and H&M – means that getting on the career ladder here can really take you places. Should you receive a job offer while you’re still studying here, you can apply for a work permit and enjoy the work-life balance that Sweden is famous for.