The home of IKEA, ABBA and salty liquorice, Sweden has a lot to offer. You may find some aspects of the culture very different – from mustard and mayonnaise in tubes to the national Eurovision obsession – but the friendly people, beautiful surroundings and modern cities make Sweden an ideal exchange destination.
It’s no secret that Sweden’s location in the Arctic Circle makes it prone to cold, dark winters – but you’ll be rewarded during summer, with lots of sunshine making Sweden one of the most beautiful places to be. It’s the third largest country in Western Europe, and the most sparsely populated, meaning there are thousands of kilometres of forests, mountains, lakes and rivers untouched by humans to explore – though you’ll have to share them with the 400,000 wild moose who roam the woods! Most of the population lives in small rural towns, and while the cities are populous and modern, they retain their ancient charm with pockets of medieval streets and architecture.
Swedes feel a strong emotional attachment to nature, and Swedish art and culture celebrate this bond. After the long harsh winter, Swedes spend the warmer months outdoors—swimming, hiking, or visiting family and friends. During the summer in the North of Sweden, you will experience the sun not going down at all—known as the midnattsol (midnight sun).
As an AFSer in Sweden, you’ll spend an academic year living with a host family, going to a local high school, speaking Swedish, and experiencing this progressive and beautiful country. If you have the opportunity, Sweden is a wonderful place to go on exchange.