On arrival at the train station, it's only a few minutes down cobblestone roads before the dark Svartån river comes into view, pouring under city bridges and around the base of Örebro's medieval castle.
Programs Offered: ÖRU offers a wide selection of courses taught in English, including Biology, Business, Chemistry, Communications, Computer Engineering, Criminology, Economics, Environmental Science, Informatics, Law, Math, Music, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Social Work, Sport Science, Statistics and more.
In Sweden, courses are held one at a time. Students write their exam after the final lecture and then move on to the next course. A standard course lasts five weeks and the semester is divided in quadrants with space for four consecutive courses, although some courses may vary in length and overlap. Exchange students are expected to take 30 ECTS credits per semester and maintain full-time studies. One UCalgary Half Course Equivalent = 6 ECTS credits. Additional information on the Swedish academic system can be found online.
Student Experience: "It was interesting to study European politics from a more local perspective, which I couldn’t have gotten in Calgary. We also did several field trips to various local governments to learn about how they implement programs to ensure high quality education and healthcare, as well as gender-neutral and family policies - something I’ve never had the opportunity to do in Calgary."
"[In Orebro] the classes were smaller (approximately 20 people), and the student-professor relationship was more casual. The papers/finals were also much less stressful because you only had one class to focus on at a time. In Spring, I took an Outdoor Education and Recreation course, which I would HIGHLY recommend. It was an absolutely incredible experience and an opportunity to see the more remote parts of Sweden (the course consisted of camping, cross country skiing, rock climbing, horseback riding, etc)."
The academic year is divided into two semesters. The Autumn semester runs from late August to mid-January and the Spring semester runs from mid-January to early June. It is possible for students to complete the Autumn semester in December.
Information on Traditional festivities and Public Holidays in Sweden.
Exchange students pay their tuition and academic fees to the University of Calgary. Other expenses are paid directly to the service provider. Also, remember to include things like visas, insurance, vaccinations, etc. in your budget planning. Though Sweden offers Student IN insurance to all exchange students, it is limited in scope so all students must provide their own travel medical coverage for the duration of their time abroad.
It is recommended that students budget around 8000-8500 SEK per month to pay for accommodation and living expenses. Below is an estimated provided by ORU (2019):
Food 2300 SEK
Student Housing 3300 SEK (average)
Amenities 500 SEK
Clothing 600 SEK
Leisure 500 SEK
Mobile Phone 150 SEK
Textbooks 750 SEK
Transit 300 SEK
TOTAL 8400 SEK per month (about $1200 CAD)
More cost of living estimates can be found online.
Örebro cost comparison vs. Calgary: Click Here
(keep in mind student housing costs are automatically subsidized in Scandinavia)
Don't forget to check with the Swedish embassy or consulates, or the government website regarding study visa/permit requirements, timelines, and costs.
Student Tips: "Buy a bike at the beginning of the semester – it is an easy and cheap way to get around the city. Also, make sure you pack warm clothes for the winter! The buses are easy and frequent, so go into town and explore when you can. The Music house has the best coffee on campus!"
I would definitely recommend going for brunch at Örebro’s water tower, named Svampen. The reasonably priced brunch buffet runs from 11-3 every day and the views are pretty cool! Toiletries and food (especially eating out), was expensive compared to Calgary, but rent and transit was quite comparable to Calgary or a bit cheaper. Sweden is also working its way towards becoming a cashless society, so you can use your card almost anywhere, including the bus system! I also used my ATM card to draw out cash to pay for smaller things or to just have on hand as well."
Did you know that you can take your UCalgary funding with you on exchange?
Since you remain a degree seeking student at UCalgary while on exchange you remain eligible for any awards and scholarships you are eligible to receive from the university as well as student loans.
Our office administers the International Study Travel Grant for students travelling on approved UCalgary study programs that are credit bearing. The amount changes year to year as the money is split evenly between qualified applicants. Students may only receive the study travel grant once. Please see the exchange funding page for more information.
Exchange students to ÖRU are guaranteed accommodation in "corridor-style" housing with shops, healthcare centres and other services within easy reach. Students are assigned a private room in a hallway with up to eight other students and a shared kitchen. Housing is located either directly on campus or in a residential area called Tybble located off-campus about five minutes walking distance. Monthly rent varies by year but is typically around 3300 SEK and includes use of laundry facilities and Internet. Click here for info on what to bring, and info on getting around in Örebro (including arriving to the university!).
Student Tips: "There are two student housing areas that you are randomly placed in, either Studentgatan or Tybble. Both are quite similar but Tybble is a bit farther from campus. I had my own bedroom and bathroom in Studentgatan (both of which were a decent size) and shared a kitchen and common room with seven other people. Studentgatan is a complex of 15 buildings on one corner of campus. It could occasionally get a bit loud on a Friday night but overall it was pretty quiet and clean. Each room comes with a closet and shelves, a desk and chair, bed and mattress, bookcase and bedside table. Rent includes internet but you generally need to provide your own router or ethernet cable along with your own bedding and shower curtain, and sometimes you need to provide your own clothes hangers and shower curtain hooks, depending on whether the previous tenant chose to take these items or not. Most of the kitchens are fully stocked, but depending on your own preference you may want to buy a few dishes or your own Tupperware. Each kitchen has two ovens and stovetops, two sinks, a fridge and freezer (where you will get your own shelf in each) and most also have a kettle, toaster and coffee maker.
I always felt safe in my living arrangements. It was really convenient living on campus, and it was really nice because all international students live in the little Studentgatan “village,” which created a sense of community, and rent was very reasonable. There was no gym in any residence buildings, however there was an outdoor gym in the Studentgatan dorm area on campus. Studentgatan was walking distance to everything on campus, the grocery store, and even a nature reserve!"
Is there a cafeteria or dining hall on campus?
No, student accommodations are entirely self-catered. However, there are many other options for getting meals on campus! These include several restaurants & cafés and the student-run pub/bar Kårhus. Check out ÖRU's campus restaurant listing (webpage only in Swedish) or look through the campus building tour (in English) to find where each one is located. Food can also be purchased directly in student housing at places such as Pressbyrån, Pasta La Vista, and Campus Pizzeria. For students living at the off-campus residence in Tybble, there is the nearby Tybble restaurant and grocery store ICA, as well as other nearby shops like the Almby Bageri Bullvivan.
Student Tips: "Although there are restaurants on campus, there is no dining hall. But there was a campus pizzeria which had great pizza and kebab right around the corner, as well as a convenience store, Pub, and Italian restaurant right in Studentgatan. On campus, the gym is quite nice, as is the library, and there is also more seating around campus available than I’m usually able to find at UCalgary."
This exchange is open to regular, full-time students in any faculty at the U of C, who have completed at least 1 full year (10 courses) at the post-secondary level, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5.
Do I have to speak Swedish?
No prior knowledge of Swedish is required for this exchange. ÖRU offers many courses in English. Furthermore, English is a compulsory language taught to schoolchildren from age 9 and is fairly well-spoken by most Swedes, so it's a minimal barrier to daily life.
Student Tips: "While the host institution didn't offer Swedish language training, the ESN network did, and several of the Swedish fadders (mentor students) set up an informal weekly class to teach us some basic Swedish or to help us with anything we needed translated."
What's special about Örebro?
Arguably one of the country's most accessible cities, Örebro is nicknamed the "bike capital of Sweden", known for its well-designed biking trails throughout the city core and surrounding region. Its more southern location alongside the large lake Hjälmaren lends to mild winters and humid summers - perfect for walking, biking, and camping year-round. With an abundance of parks and reserves, you'll find yourself quickly drawn in to the Swedish love of nature.
You can learn more about life here through Örebro's "Guide to Life in Örebro and Sweden".
Student Tips: "Each semester the ESN arranges a trip to Lapland, Sweden’s northernmost province. There, you get to experience the beautiful arctic and learn a lot about Sweden’s Sami culture. It costs around $500CAD, but it is absolutely worth every penny. Around the city, transit is very easy to use considering it is not a very large city. So many cool places to visit, but some top ones are the nature reserve, the castle, Svampen, and Wadköping. No places to avoid, the whole city was great!"
What resources are available to new students?
The local chapter of the Erasmus Student Network, ESN Örebro, is a group of predominantly Swedish students who coordinate many events for international students such as unique trips & tours and social gatherings throughout the semester. Örebro is also known for having one of the best orientation programs in Sweden (get a sneak peek here!).
Student Tips: "The first two weeks include an amazing orientation program where students are split into six groups and assigned 3-5 “fadders” or “big siblings.” They host tours, plan events and help you do things such as set up your phone and bus pass and whatnot - overall, they are great at helping you integrate into life in Sweden and hold sessions on culture, laws, academics, exams, and so much more! It was honestly so, so helpful and made adjusting to life in Sweden so much easier. After the orientation weeks, the exchange students kind of took over event-planning themselves. There is a Facebook group for all exchange students and usually someone would post something and those who wanted to would join in. About once a month after the first two weeks there was an event planned by ESN.
It can be a bit hard to make friends with the locals, as Swedes are quite reserved. Although almost everyone there speaks English, many of them are not confident in their English abilities and as a result come across as shy. They are friendly though. The best way to become friends with local students is to try and become friends with people in your corridor or to volunteer to work at Kårhuset (known as "Karen") on campus. Karen is the on campus restaurant/café/bar (basically Orebro’s version of the Den) and it is staffed by student volunteers."
What supports or services are available at Örebro?
ÖRU's Disability Services provides comprehensive support for students with accessibility needs like tutors, extended time for exams, adaptive technologies, or mentors.
For information on accessibility and support services at campuses across Europe, please check out Inclusive Mobility. For city-specific services and places in Europe, the Jaccede interactive platform (website and/or smartphone app - both Android and iOS) also provides a searchable user-built database to identify important accessibility information of public places and locations.
With a strong culture of inclusivity, Sweden is also considered one of the most friendly destinations for LGBTQ+ travellers! Click here to read a blog from an international student in Sweden, or click here for an accompanying video with several queer-identified students talking about their experience.