Sweden is a very tranquil country which has many islands, sophisticated cities, medieval villages and pretty lakes. In Sweden, communication is easy, as most people speak English.
Students going on exchange to Sweden do not need to speak Swedish but a desire to learn the language is required. Students will receive material from YFU Sweden to begin their Swedish language learning before exchange begins.
Australian or New Zealand students might find Swedish schools non-authoritarian. Students are expected to be able to study very independently and take mature responsibility for their studies. You will address your teachers by first name and you will discuss with them more like adults discuss together. It is a freedom, not to be misused – a freedom with responsibility.
Swedish students study out of their own interest, not because their teachers tell them to. Students will attend school Monday through Friday, approximately from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Once you have begun class in a Swedish school, you will have the same set of classmates the whole year. There are approximately 30 students in each class.
Most host families live in small towns, suburbs or small communities in Sweden. Many also live in rural areas – only very few in big cities. Some families have children, and others do not. Sometimes the children live with a single parent.
The Swedish family is a close unit and they usually have dinner together around 6.00 or 7:00 pm and do some activities together on the weekend. In Swedish families, most parents work full time, which means that all family members help in doing the household chores.
Many Swedes are usually very fond of outdoor activities and sports. Many families have a cabin or Summer house in the countryside or at the coast where they spend weekends and vacations. Soccer and ice-hockey are very popular sports as well as golf, tennis, volleyball, handball, basketball, sailing and windsurfing. Many people enjoy hunting and lakes and streams provide excellent fishing.
You may find that in the Winter your host family members often stay at home due to the dark and cold climate but in the Summertime the Swedes are real outdoor-people enjoying the sun and nature like no other people in the world. Swedish teenagers are brought up to be rather independent and they often discuss matters with their parents in quite an “adult” way.
Parents generally set up boundaries and the children know where the limits are and what freedom they have within those limits. This privilege is given to children based on earned trust, so families may not be as flexible with their exchange students.
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