Sweden Today

Semester in Sweden Program Overview

This program runs Spring of odd years. Participation is limited so early application is recommended.

The Country

Experience living and learning in Sweden, a modern, multicultural and diverse nation that is both a unique northern European nation and a country integrated with the rest of Europe. A century ago Sweden was still a poor, undemocratic, agricultural nation with a homogeneous population. Since the 1850s, there had been an increasingly larger emigration from the country. A large percentage of these Swedish emigrants settled in the Midwest United States. Since the 1950s, there has been immigration to Sweden instead, including laborers attracted to booming industries in the 1960's and then, starting in the 1970s, a great influx of refugees attracted by the positive notions of Swedish egalitarian values and aided by Swedish immigration laws. A transformation of this order, however positive it may be, does not come without tension and the constant need to make rational choices. While the majority of Swedes may accept and even like living in a dynamic, globally interconnected world, more “traditional” Swedes may fear that their country is losing its national identity and that changes are happening too quickly. At several venues throughout the country and in conversations with both “traditional” and “new” Swedes, students will have many opportunities to learn about Swedish history, politics, cultural values, environmental issues, landscapes, and the increasing diverse nature of Sweden today.

Description and Location

The 2019 Sweden Today program will provide participants an opportunity to experience Sweden via a variety of excursions, activities, lectures, tours with an emphasis on discussion, reflections and writing. Tentatively, participants will begin the semester in January in Mora to take intensive Swedish language classes. At the end of the month they will visit the north of the country (Umeå, Jokkmokk, and Östersund) and travel progressively south, returning to Mora before travelling to Gothenburg, Växjö, and Visby, among other places, before ending in Stockholm. Coursework will be connected to each location and the unique opportunities that they provide, and will focus on the Sami, the environment, diversity and politics, and current issues in Sweden. This year, there will also be an emphasis on Swedish music. Students will come away with a deeper understanding about present day Sweden.

Program Structure

Students will meet informally during Fall semester to get to know each other and there will also be a required pre-departure orientation. Once on-site, students will have enough time to explore each location independently, and additional excursions and day trips will also be integral to the program. Classes will take place in formal and informal settings. The Gustavus faculty leader faciliates the entire program and local host nationals serve as course instructors or onsite experts. In order to take advantage of the people and locations, the course structure will be very different from taking courses on the Gustavus campus. Some courses may be taught only during part of the term, whereas others may span the entire time in Sweden. Frequent group discussion/debriefing times will also play a prominent role.

Deposit and Financial Aid

Upon acceptance into the program, a $500 deposit will be required to hold a participant’s slot. This deposit will be applied to the final program fee. Generally, all Gustavus financial aid (scholarships, grants, institutional aid and loans) will apply to off-campus study, with the exception of work-study. We will share details about the cost of your program with the Gustavus Financial Aid Office, but please check with Financial Aid to understand how your indiviudal aid package will apply.


Students in this program are free to make their own arrangements to travel to and from the program site. This will allow students to fiind the most cost-effective tickets and take advantage of student fares, arrive early or stay late, and use frequent-flier miles, if available. More details about the itinerary will be available closer to the program start. In-country transportation may include plane, train, bus and automobile.

Housing and Meals

Students will live mostly in university and Folkhögskola (folk college) dorms and student hostels. Generally three meals per day will be provided through group meals or a meal stipend. Students will need to cover their own housing and meals during the Spring Break period (the dates for this Spring Break will differ from the Gustavus on-campus Spring Break).

Excursions and Events

A variety of special excursions and events will be included as part of the program fee. More details will be available closer to the program start.


Tentative program dates are early January through mid May.

Passport and Residence Permit

For U.S. citizens, a passport and Swedish residence permit are required for entry into Sweden. Gustavus CICE will coordinate the residence permit process, but participants are responsible for obtaining their own passports. Information on how to obtain a passport is available from CICE Website or the State Department website at http://travel.state.gov.

Vaccination and Health Information

The Center for Disease Control recommends that all routine vaccinations are up-to-date. The faculty leader may also require immunizations and/or medications as necessary. http://www.cdc.gov/.

Faculty Leader

Spring 2019

María Isabel Kalbermatten, Associate Professor of Spanish, Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures will lead the Semester in Sweden program in 2019.