years-experience access-alumni-network airfare airport-pick-up assistance-with-application-process community-service-placement continuous-support cultural-trips domestic-transport emergency-support field-trips global-competence-certificate grade-transcripts host-family-placement housing individual-contact-person internship-placement language-instruction meals medical-insurance orientations-during-your-time-abroad other pre-departure-orientation product-materials re-entry-orientation school-dipolma school-materials school-placement school-transport school-uniform stipend teaching-materials vaccinations visa-and-passport-fees visa-application-assistance world-wide-presence

Attending high school in Sweden and living with a host family will provide you with an ideal opportunity to learn the language, make lots of new friends, and expand your horizons. You’ll be totally immersed in Swedish society and really get a feel for what it’s like to be a teenager in a completely different environment from the one you’re used to. Get ready for an adventure unlike any other!

Things to know

At Easter (not to be confused with Halloween!) children in Sweden dress up like witches with brooms and go door to door with their friends to collect candy. Swedes are generally calm and collected and they dislike confrontation, it’s a good place to work on your diplomacy skills! After school kids often go to youth centers, called fritis, where they can play games, hang out with their friends, or do homework until their parents get back from work.

What's included in your experience

  • 70 Years Experience


Graduates Eligible? No, participants cannot have graduated high school prior to program start
Minimum GPA 2.5
Age Range 15yrs, 8 months to
18yrs, 0 months at start of program
Language Skills No language requirement
COVID-19 Vaccine Not Required

Your Journey to Sweden

In the months before your departure, AFSers have the opportunity to participate in various preparatory activities, including an online Student Learning Journey, which is an interactive course that brings AFSers from around the world together to learn how to develop essential global skills, intercultural communication techniques, and practice social impact, maximizing the outcomes of the AFS learning experience. 

AFS-USA will coordinate and share your international travel with you. You will need to coordinate your own travel to the point of international departure. From there, your journey in Sweden will begin when you land, where you’ll be met by staff, and volunteers, and meet your fellow AFSers from around the world. Shortly after arrival, you will attend an arrival orientation and get a crash course on Swedish culture, living with a host family, safety, and support structures.

On your way to your host community, you’ll get a chance to see some of the sights of the Swedish countryside. Most of the population lives in small rural towns, and while the major cities are populous and modern, many still have some medieval architecture and cobblestone streets, where you’ll see Swedes hanging out and shopping for groceries at local markets. You might also get the chance to see some traditional colorful festivals celebrating nature and the return of spring.


Meeting Your Swedish Host Family

You could be placed throughout Sweden, though most host families live in the countryside or in small towns. In Sweden, family life is very important and each family has its own unique structure and lifestyle. In a typical family, both parents work.

Swedes tend be fairly patriotic and your host family may be excited to talk to you about their country’s achievements. Sweden is one of the most egalitarian societies in the world. One of the most notable aspects of the Swedish value system is their respect for the environment and commitment to sustainability. They are a global leader in organic agriculture, recycling, and renewable energy.


Settling into daily life in Sweden

Teenage Life in Sweden

When spending time with peers, you’ll likely go to more small get-togethers than big parties. Most teenagers in Sweden enjoy reading, going to concerts and plays, and watching movies or TV. It’s quite common for a bicycle to be your main form of transportation. In general, Swedes are very sporty. Skiing, ice hockey and bandy (a type of hockey) are all popular in the colder months, and when it’s warm they take practically any opportunity to spend time outside.

Foods You’ll Encounter

Common Swedish meals include potatoes, cheese, seafood, meat, fresh vegetables, salads, and open-faced sandwiches. Smorgasbord, a bountiful buffet, is common for special occasions. Meatballs, lingonberries, and smoked salmon are popular delicacies.


Your High School in Sweden

School in Sweden begins in mid-August and goes until mid-June. The day generally begins at 8AM and ends around 3 or 4PM, though the class schedule varies between programs. Your school schedule will be determined based on your interests and the classes you’ve already taken. Swedish schools offer a wide variety of programs but some of the most common are Natural Science and Social Science. No matter what your schedule focuses on, you’ll take Swedish, Mathematics, and English.

Available Scholarships

AFS-USA scholarships are made possible by the generosity of numerous donors who all have a deep connection with AFS and value intercultural exchanges as necessary for the promotion of peace and justice in the world. Upon submission, applications will be reviewed and matched with the most applicable scholarship, if available. All scholarships are partial, and scholarship award amounts will be determined based on program length. For additional funding resources, check out our Fundraising page. You can view all available national and local scholarships on our Scholarships page.

What's Included

  • 70+ years of experience delivering high-quality programs through a worldwide network of 50,000 dedicated volunteers
  • Accommodations with a vetted host family
  • Round-trip international airfare for the designated program dates
  • School enrollment fees
  • Worldwide, 24-hour emergency assistance
  • Access to an in-country support team and network, as well as our Participant Support Department based here in the U.S.
  • Orientations and intercultural education before and during your program
  • International secondary medical travel coverage
  • Visa support and guidance
  • Inclusion in a worldwide returnee and alumni network of over 1,000,000 people

Visa Info

Do I need a visa/residence permit for Sweden? YES. Residence Permit
How do I apply for the visa? (By mail, In-person, In host country) In-person
Visa/Residence Permit Process Difficulty Level (Easy, Average, Complex) Average
Estimated Visa/Residence Permit Expenses
($ – $$$)
Frequently Asked Visa Questions Visit our general visa FAQ page for more information.

Returning Home

“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad. “Transformed” is another one.
When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.
That transformation isn’t only visible to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers. Second language fluency, intercultural competence, creativity, and critical reasoning will help you succeed, whatever path you take. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning.
It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found while attending high school in Sweden.

In fact, our alumni reviews have made AFS one of the top-rated organizations in the study abroad industry.