Gothenburg is Sweden’s second-largest urban area, after Stockholm, and the Nordic region’s fifth-largest. The community is located on the west coast at the mouth of the Göta River. The city of Gothenburg was founded on the initiative of King Gustav II Adolf and received its city privileges in 1621. Due to its city planning, Gothenburg was called by the Dutch for many years New Amsterdam. In the 19th century, Gothenburg was largely industrialized by British immigrants and during this time Gothenburg was nicknamed “Little London”, as the city is still called today.
Gothenburg is hugely popular not only with students but also with companies. Since many people are moving to study and work in Gothenburg, there is a housing shortage problem. For this reason, students should start looking for accommodation as soon as possible.
Finding student housing in a popular city like Gothenburg can be a challenge, but not impossible. Watch on YouTube “Finding student housing in Gothenburg”.
There are two student housing companies in the city: SGS and Chalmers Studentbostäder. The Chalmers University of Technology usually provides international students with accommodation after they accept the admissions offer.
However, it is near impossible to find accommodation in a student house at the beginning of the semester for Gothenburg University (GU) students. In fact, it can take a year or longer before you receive an offer for student housing. As a GU student, you can register in both housing queues (SGS and Chalmers Studentbostäder) and start collecting points. You can register as soon as you are considering applying to the University of Gothenburg to maximize your time in the queue.
There are three types of student apartments in Gothenburg: (1) one-room student apartment with a kitchenette or kitchen, (2) multi-room student apartment with a kitchenette or kitchen, and a student room with a shared kitchen. Student apartments are usually offered unfurnished or with essential home furnishings (bed, desk, and chair). Moreover, some student apartments do not include electricity and internet in the rent.
Fortunately, there are other housing alternatives for international students, such as renting a room in an apartment or home. You can find a rental apartment/room through the portals like Boplats, Blocket, or Home Q.
There are also Facebook groups where accommodation is usually advertised:
Scammers are targeting students seeking accommodation from abroad. Lately, several foreign students have been asked to pay thousands of kronor in deposits before they have even arrived in the city.
– Always make sure to visit the room/apartment before you pay anything in advance.
– Be observant if the landlord lives abroad and wants you to pay rent in advance.
– Never pay rent or a deposit via Western Union e.g. or to an unknown bank account.
– Always make sure to sign a valid contract.
Public transport in Gothenburg consists of buses, trams, and ferries. Gothenburg public transport – from buses to boats – is operated by Västtrafik. There are over 200 trams and 12 different routes spanning the entirety of the city. There are so many that you shouldn’t ever be waiting more than 10-15 minutes during the day, though fewer services run overnight.
There are various types of tickets according to each municipality’s transport system. You can purchase a Single ticket, Period ticket (30-days, 90-days and 365-days ticket) or Day ticket (1-day and 3-days). There is no student discount for a single ticket (which costs 34 SEK for 90 minutes) and a Day ticket. However, students who are 20 years older may pay a youth price (7-19 years) for the Period ticket. Keep in mind that you must be able to show your ID and student ID with the public transport discount logo during your journey. You can take a bus, tram or ferry with the same ticket.
Keep in mind that you cannot buy tickets from drivers on buses, ferries, or trams. Instead, you need to buy your tickets in one of the following ways:
- You can use the app Västtrafik ToGo. The app accepts major debit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, Maestro and Visa Electron.
- You can use vending machines (only card payment is available) on trams. Unfortunately, buses and ferries don’t have vending machines.
- You can buy a ticket in shops displaying the Västtrafik logo, such as Pressbyrån or 7-Eleven.
Gothenburg has loads of dedicated cycle paths and flat roads, so it’s a cyclist’s dream. If you don’t have your own bicycle, you can use rental bikes called Styr & Ställ.
There are various passes; however, the most efficient offer is the Annual Pass (300 SEK), which makes the first 60 minutes of the journey free. As long as you return your bike within 60 minutes (even if you remove it immediately after again), you’ll get freecycling all year round.
You can rent a bike by using the app called nextbike, which also shows all the stations, the map of the city and its cycle paths.
If you want to travel to other cities/countries, Landvetter Airport is about 20 kilometres from the city. Flygbussarna takes you to the airport in 20 minutes. Further, Flixbus or SJ trains are also among the options. You can buy tickets from websites and do not forget to use Mecenat discounts.
When you accept the admission offer, you will receive an email from university personnel about how you can officially register as an international student.
Firstly, you need to visit Student Service to get your student account and password.
After activating your student account, you can register on Canvas (where students submit their assignments, receive their grades, and communicate with the professors), Ladok (where students receive their final/exam grades and official documents), and order a Student card (which works as an access card, library card at the University Library and for login on the university printers).
There are a lot of supermarkets in Gothenburg like ICA, Willys, Hemköp, Coop, or Lidl for grocery shopping. While the price can vary depending on the area, ICA and Coop are considered the most expensive supermarkets here, in Gothenburg. Besides, you can visit shops such as Orienthus or Babushka where you can find Turkish, Russian, Georgian and Azerbaijani products.
There are two main shopping centres in Gothenburg: Nordstan and Frölunda Torg, where you can find popular brands such as ZARA, Mango, H&M or Levi`s. Moreover, there are shops like Ahlens or Kicks which sell personal care and beauty products.
If you need to buy home accessories, furniture or home appliances, you can both visit IKEA and check the student Facebook groups for second-hand products.
Life in Gothenburg
With approximately fifty thousand students, Gothenburg is a student-friendly city. The University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology are located in the heart of the city or rather spread out across the heart of the city as they are city universities rather than a campus universities.
Of course, that means you are never far from cosy cafes and bars, city greenery and parks, culture and music, and so on. Gothenburg has so much to offer. You can catch the tram to the archipelagos, visit the Liseberg which is the most visited amusement park in Scandinavia, discover the many museums and galleries all over the city, go to the opera, concerts and trivia nights, go hiking up a mountain, explore islands, and swim in Delsjön in summer or even winter.
There is always something going on in Gothenburg so there are plenty of chances to get out and enjoy yourself!
Student Buddies are students who work on a voluntary basis to welcome international students to the university and organise events and activities throughout the year. They organise many social activities, especially at the start of the semester, but also throughout the year. You can already contact them if you have questions about student life in Gothenburg. Later on, you can join a buddy group and start building a network of friends before you arrive.