Swedish Life – Going to the cinema

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Credit: Unsplash/Erik Witsoe

 

I must admit something: I love going to the cinema. But since I have been living in Sweden, I have not been to the cinema so much. And one of the reason is… the price. Indeed, Swedish cinema is VERY EXPENSIVE. One ticket costs 140kr (around 14 euros) for a student – it is twice as expensive as French cinema.

E-tickets only

To get tickets, you have to book them on the internet on Linköping’s cinema’s website – if you are going to Linköping’s cinema.While booking you also choose your seat and get e-tickets you show at the entrance.

I think you can also buy them through the machine located in the entrance hall, but I have never done that.

Salted pop-corn

Once you are at the cinema, pop-corn can be bought of course. But: it is only salty. I was surprised at first, because in France you can choose between salt and sweet pop-corn. And obviously I used to pick the latest. Now I guess I learned to like salty pop-corn…!

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Swedish toolbox – How to get a bank account

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Photo: Unsplash/rawpixel

This week I finally received my new Swedish credit card! I can finally pay in Swedish crowns everywhere I go, and that is pretty useful given the amount of fees certain banks take for every payment you do. However, it is complicated to get a Swedish bank account. But I am determined to explain how you can get one.

1. Get a personal number

First, it is necessary (not required but really easier) to get a personal number – I explained how to get one here. You can definitely get a bank account without any personal number, but I don’t know how to do it,  so I will stick to my experience. Worth noting: I also waited to get my Swedish ID Card, before beginning the process (I will explain how to get one in a later post).

2. Get an appointment at the bank

This is the tricky part. I personally went to three banks to get an appointment in November, and they all inly had appointments in… January. Thus, I really advise you to begin the process really early after arriving in Sweden. I finally opened my bank account in Swedbank, but other offers for students are available in SEB or Handelsbanken. Some banks are also online, such as ICA Bank (but I never tested it).

3. Create your Mobil Bank-ID

Once you have opened your bank account – usually it takes you 30min at the bank and you have to wait for your turn since dozens of people have an appointment at the same time – you can create your Mobil Bank-ID. Swedes all have a Mobil Bank-ID directly linked to their bank account, it allows them to identify in a more secure way. The 6 digits code allows you to unlock your bank application, to pay taxes or to use Swish.

4. Get your credit card & code

Once you’ve done all previous steps, the bank will send you your card and code by mail within a week. Then, you are all set!

 

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Snow has arrived! – How to survive in the cold

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Photo: Unsplash/Brigitte Tohm

 

Last Tuesday, I just finished writing my article complaining about the warm weather and the lack of snow… when it actually started to snow. It was still a pretty thin layer, and today it has almost disappeared. But I hurried out to take pictures in Ryd, my neighborhood, that you can see below. The temperatures have also dropped: yesterday it reached -7°C (which I think is still ok).

 

 

With the cold comes up a significant question: how to survive it. Well, first, I would advise you to buy a big and impermeable coat such as a ski jacket. Then you must multiply layers of clothes and do not hesitate to wear tights under your jeans! Regarding shoes, simple sneakers are risky. Indeed, snow tends to freeze on the road so you might slip and hurt yourself. That is why I bought some warm and impermeable hiking shoes, allowing me not to freeze when I am walking in the snow!

 

How can you go around the city?

At first I had thought about taking the bus. But since the cycle paths are very well taken care of despite the snow and ice – they are salted almost everyday – I keep biking. Hence the need for a ski jacket, because the wind adds up to the cold! I also wear ski gloves to avoid my fingers being frozen.

In any case, I enjoy how Sweden can offer a real winter – far from the grey rainy weather which usually happen in Paris.

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Swedish Toolbox – How to find housing in Linköping

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I remember being extremely stressed out about finding housing in Linköping. I started to look for it last May, and found it after a couple weeks of internet searching ! From the info I had gathered, I knew I could find housing for a rent between 3.500 SEK and 4.000 SEK (between 350 et 400 euros). That is the average budget in Linköping.

As a master student you don’t get help from the university to find housing – it’s different I think when you are on exchange. To get student housing (a room in a corridor), you need to queue. In order to do that, you must create an account on the website of Studentbostäder and start collecting points. The longer you are in the queue, the more points you get, the more housing offers you get.

However, I started to queue only in May – not early enough to get a good number of points. So I started to look for housing on Blocket, a website where you can buy second-hand products from other people and where owners put their rooms to rent. That is where I found the room I am actually renting.

Another mean to find housing is Facebook. Many groups exist where you can put up posts about what kind of housing you are looking for:

You can also look for housing on the university online board: Anslagstavlan. There, you can put up your own post or answer to some offers.

I live in Ryd, the student area. However, I am renting a room in a house I share with six other people. I found it on Blocket as I said and I must admit my Swedish helped a little! My only advice is not to give up, you will find a place to stay !

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Swedish toolbox – Why you need a Swedish personal number

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When I arrived in Linköping, I did not know how long I was planning to stay in Sweden – to be honest, I still don’t. However, in some cases knowing how much time you are going to spend here is necessary. Getting a Swedish personal number is one of these cases.

 

Applying for a personal number is not as much as paperwork as it sounds. Copyright: Unsplash/Cytonn Photography.

 

In this post, I am going to talk from experience and thus only tackle the situation regarding students coming from an EU country.

What is a personal number?

Every Swedes have a personal number from their birth. It is created from their birth date, to which are added four random numbers. Like the following: YYYYMMDD – XXXX. Swedes use this number during their entire life to accomplish the smallest daily things. For example, they need their personal number to open a bank account, for a phone subscription or even to register to the gym. With one number, they have access to all their activities history.

Although it might sound a bit creepy, this number is very useful and you might need it in two cases: if you plan to stay more than a year, or if you plan to work in Sweden. It allows you to be registered into the Swedish population.

However, if you plan to work for less than a year, you will only get a coordination number, which is not similar to the personal number, since it is only temporary.

How to get a personal number

In order to get a personal number, you need to register to the Tax Agency Office – Skatteverket – as soon as you can. If you are studying, you need to prove you will stay in Sweden for more than one year – thus, you have to study a two-year master. (If you need a coordination number to work, then you need your work contract.)

Skatteverket. Copyright: Flickr/Magnus D.

In any case, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Skatteverket’s website and fill in the online form, available here. (You will need to print it afterwards)
  2. Gather all the following documents:
    • The printed form
    • Your passport
    • Your rental agreement (to prove you live in Sweden)
    • Your letter of admission to LiU
    • A certificate from LiU to assert you are really studying there (in my case the student card worked).
    • (A work contract if you are planning to work)
  3. Go to Skatteverket – in Linköping the address is the following:

                             Kungsgatan 27 (hörnet Kungsgatan – S:t Larsgatan)
                             Linköping

There you just have to say you wish to apply for a personal number and give them your documents. Skatteverket’s employees are usually very friendly and all English-speaking. If no document is missing, you should receive your personal number within a few weeks.

 

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