Year — Fall 2019
Application deadline: December 5, 2018
Attending a local school and living with a host family in Sweden 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!
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.
Your program will begin in New York City, where you’ll meet your fellow AFSers from the US and attend an overnight orientation where you’ll learn some basic information about your first few days in Sweden from a cultural expert. Then you’ll travel together with the group to Stockholm where you’ll be met by AFS staff and volunteers.
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.
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.See where past AFSers have lived
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.
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.
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.
"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 feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.