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Thesis Sweden

In the following, a student from the Social Work degree programme (BA) reports on her final thesis in Sweden in the summer semester of 2022.

Social and Educational Sciences Department

Field report

The decision

The reason for my stay abroad was to write my Bachelor's thesis in Sweden (Stockholm). I had opted for the International Studytrack in my third semester and actually wanted to do an internship abroad, but the corona pandemic had other plans and unfortunately made it impossible for me to find an internship abroad. However, I then heard about the possibility of doing a thesis abroad through Kati Schröder and decided relatively quickly for this.

The preparations

As I didn't have a partner university or company in Sweden that I was tied to, my preparations and the application process centred on the Promos scholarship and finding a room. I then submitted all the documents for the scholarship and found a room in Solna (in the north of Stockholm) through a Facebook group.

As a personal challenge and because I was fascinated by the language, I took a 6-month Swedish language course at the adult education centre in Potsdam.

I didn't need a visa or anything similar for the trip to Stockholm and boarded the train to Hamburg very early in the morning on th 4th of April 2022. From there, I travelled via Copenhagen to Malmö and from there to Stockholm. Unfortunately, the journey didn't go as smoothly as I had planned in theory and after almost 14 hours of travelling I arrived in Stockholm in the evening.

The accommodation

The search for a room took place on various channels/social media sites. After contacting people I knew, uploading adverts and doing some searching on various Swedish sites, I was invited by a friend to join a Facebook group where students post their rooms for interim rent. I then uploaded a post in this group with my search for a room, whereupon an older lady offered me a room in her flat. I was very sceptical at first, as I had already heard of some scams, but after a video call and a conversation with an Erasmus student from Italy, who had also rented a room in the flat and had not been asked to transfer money in advance for the room, I decided to take the room.

On the evening of my arrival, I only found out that the elderly lady I had been in contact with was not actually there, but her cousin, who lives in the flat and sleeps on a folding bed in the living room. After a few weeks, I realised that I didn't feel particularly comfortable in the situation and was lucky enough to be able to stay with my uncle and aunt, who had offered me this as an emergency solution.

The final thesis

As I only wrote my final thesis in Sweden, without any connection to a university or a company, I didn't have any courses at the university or tasks in a company. As part of my research, I made observations at a primary school and realised that personal contacts played a very important role in this area.

Everyday life and leisure

The cost of living is relatively high compared to Germany. The average rent per month varies depending on which neighbourhood you live in. When it comes to groceries, Lidl or Willys are a good choice in terms of price. Alcoholic drinks are particularly expensive in Sweden and are only sold in the so-called "Systembolaget".

Apart from my bachelor's thesis, I didn't have much time for leisure activities. However, I got to know a few people through social media, with whom I visited a lot of museums and took lovely spring walks through the Djurgarten, had brunch and worked together for university in the library or a café.

Conclusion and tips

Looking back, I can definitely recommend a thesis abroad to others and feel very privileged to have had this experience. Tips that I would give to other students for a thesis abroad would be:

  • financial security (my Bafög only arrived very late)
  • secure contacts with potential partner universities or companies as early as possible
  • start looking for accommodation early on
  • find people to do things with via platforms like BumbleFriends
  • take time to get to know the city and the surrounding area
  • don't spend too much money in the best second-hand shops

I'm sure I could think of more, but I think these are the most important points, at least from my point of view. One thing I learnt from Stockholm is how important it is to take breaks from work and how much you can learn about yourself by living abroad. The feeling of self-efficacy was particularly strong during this time and you definitely develop new solution strategies.