Foreign students are warmly welcomed at Swedish Folk High Schools, but please notice that many courses are taught in Swedish! Here we have gathered answers to the five most common questions foreign students usually have!
1. How do I apply to the Folk High School and what does it cost to study there?
Anyone wanting to take part in a course should write to that specific Folk High School and ask for information about courses, board and lodging, fees etc. Each school has their own application form. All tuition is free of charge at the Folk High Schools. You pay for literature, material, food and drink. And if the school offers on campus housing, room and board cost about 4.500 SEK per month. Students (Swedish students and non-Swedish nationals who have been living in Sweden for some years) can apply for a grant from the government to cover part of the costs.
2. Can I live at the Folk High School?
Yes, many of the Folk High Schools offer an campus housing and can offer rooms to rent. The element is an important part in many of the folk high schools. Studying and living at school creates a sense of community, gives possibilities of close companionship and the chance to exchange views during free time. But some of the Folk High Schools are just commuter campuses, especially in the big cities, and can not offer any possibilities for room and board.
Many schools offer cultural activities (e.g. concerts, theatre, films) and extracurricular activities (e.g. team sports and athletics) alongside the studies.
3. Can I study Swedish at the Folk High School?
Many Folk High Schools offer Swedish language courses. It varies between schools which level that is offered. It is possible to study Swedish language course on beginner's level at some of the Folk High Schools. Many of these courses are called Invandrarkurser (courses for Immigrants) and they are primarily intended for those who have lived and settled in Sweden and have studied SFI (Swedish for immigrants on basic level) before they come to the Folk High School.
The Swedish Institute arranges summer courses together with different Folk High Schools (Axevalla folkhögskola, Billströmska folkhögskolan, Malungs folkhögskola och Ålsta folkhögskola) . The courses are intended for those who have studied at least 100 hours of Swedish in their home countries. Read more here about the SI courses.
4a. As an EU/EEA citizen, do I need a residence permit?
Staying 3 months or less: On entering Sweden, citizens of EU/EEA countries only require a valid passport or a National Identity Card .
If you intend to stay in Sweden for more than 3 months, you only need to have a valid passport or an identity card showing your nationality. As a student and an EU/EEA citizen who has sufficient funds to support yourself, you are permitted to stay in Sweden for more than three months without a residence permit. You must, however, register with the Migration Board no later than three months after entering the country. More information can be found on the website of the Swedish Migration Board.
4b. As a non EU/EEA citizen, do I need a residence permit?
Staying 3 months or less: For a stay of less than three months, no residence permit is required. However, some foreign nationals however must in certain cases have visas in order to enter Sweden. To find out which countries, check the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
Staying more than 3 months: If you are planning to study at a folk high school in Sweden for more than three months, you need a residence permit. Your permit must be entered in your passport before your arrival in Sweden.
How to apply for the residence permit:
You may apply for a residence permit at the nearest Swedish embassy or consulate in your country. To obtain a residence permit for studies at a Folk High School in Sweden, you must show that you:
- have a valid passport,
- have been accepted to a full-time course at a Folk High School
- can support yourself for the entirety of the planned period of study. You will need at least 7 300 SEK per month for 10 months of the year (fact checked January 2012).
Normally, the permit will be granted for one year at a time. Please note that a residence permit for study purposes is time-limited. Even if the period spent in the country has extended several years, this does not normally lead to a permanent residency in Sweden. For more information about rules for visiting students, see the Swedish Migration Board.
5. How do I finance my studies?
Visiting students must be able to support themselves, either with scholarships grants or loans from their home country or by means of personal funds. At present, the Swedish Migration Board requires a sum of 7 300 SEK per month (fact checked january 2012).
Swedish study support for non-Swedish nationals: You can only be granted basic entitlement if you have been granted residency in Sweden for some other reason than that of obtaining an education. You must also be a registered resident and must intend to remain in Sweden. The main rule is that basic entitlement to support can be granted if you have lived and worked in Sweden for at least two years. Another condition is that you must have been granted permission to settle here - that is, you must have a permanent residence permit or a five year EU/EEA permit issued by the Immigration Board. More information about study allowances: www.csn.se (Central Study Support Committee in Sweden).