Money and living costs
Before you arrive in Lund, you need to make sure that you have sufficient funds to cover both possible tuition fees (when applicable) and your living expenses.
If you are required to pay tuition fees, check the information on scholarships if you need help with funding.
Living costs in Sweden
Your living cost in Sweden will naturally depend on your individual lifestyle. Eating out and travelling around can be expensive and is something that you may want to consider when planning your budget. It is common for students to cook their own food and bring left-overs for lunch. Many stores and food outlets offer student discounts.
The Swedish currency is the krona. It is abbreviated SEK. To compare, SEK 100 is roughly EUR 10 or USD 12. Please see a currency converter for updated rates and for rates in your own currency.
Students requiring a residence permit must, by law, demonstrate that they have funds of at least SEK 8 370 per month of study.
Example of a monthly budget
Swedish students who have been approved for full students loans and grants from the Swedish government receive approximately SEK 9 000–10 000 per month. Many international students get by on a budget somewhere in between the required SEK 8 370 per month and the Swedish student loan amount, depending on their lifestyle.
Below is a breakdown of how a monthly budget may look, depending on your specific cost of rent and leisure activities:
- Food SEK 2 300
- Accommodation SEK 3 200–4 800
- Course literature SEK 400–1 000
- Other: clothing, telephone, leisure, etc. SEK 1 500
When you join Studentlund, you get a student card, ’Studentkortet’, that (together with your regular ID card) gives you discounts at certain cafés, restaurants and on travel tickets (e.g. Skånetrafiken and SJ,) as well as on computers, mobile phones, fashion and books etc., in shops and online.
Making purchases in Sweden
Cash is not commonly used in Sweden.
Most people use cards to make payments. Some cafes and stores do not handle cash at all and will only accept card transactions.
Most credit cards are accepted in Sweden. If you have a credit card from home you can use it in Sweden.
Note that in Sweden most credits cards come with a chip and a pin code. If you do not have a pin code, you can still use your card in most places, but there may be a rare situation (such as a ticket vending machine) which may require a pin code in order to process the transaction.
Banking in Sweden
In Sweden, banks are generally open Monday to Friday 10.00 to 15.00 (3pm). Some banks have extended opening hours on Thursdays. There are several different banks available in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. There is no specific bank connected to Lund University.
The different bank branches require different documentation from you as an international customer. Requirements for opening a Swedish bank account normally include a minimum stay of 12 months as well as a Swedish personal number (for some or all services). A Swedish personal number can only be obtained if you have a residence permit valid in Sweden for 12 months or longer. You apply for the Swedish personal number through the tax office (Skatteverket) once you arrive in Sweden.
It is strongly recommended that exchange students make banking arrangements from their home bank. Students staying in Sweden for less than six months will experience difficulties to open a bank account.
Opening an account
When you plan to open a Swedish bank account, please note the following:
- Most Swedish banks will charge you fees for different services. Ask about fees before choosing your bank.
- In general, the banks do not provide international students with credit/debit cards for online payments.
- Do not bring large amounts of cash to the bank. Money laundering legislation requires the bank to ask questions about large cash transactions. If a customer does not present identification or provide a satisfactory explanation as to why the customer wants the bank to perform a certain service, the bank is not permitted to perform the requested service under the risk of criminal penalties and sanctions.
- Do not use traveller’s cheques or bank cheques.
When opening a Swedish account you will get an IBAN nr and SWIFT nr, which enables you or your family to easily transfer money from your home account to your Swedish account.