General guide

 

I would like to begin by mentioning that the University does not have “university housing” as is common in many places. Student housing is provided by a number of private companies. This makes it quite difficult for a student applying for housing because it means that you have to deal with many different people and companies. 

As an international student your accommodation situation is quite different to an exchange student. The biggest difference, and disadvantage, is that you do not receive guaranteed housing. Unfortunately the University’s hands are tied due to Swedish law, which does not allow a public authority such as a university to sub-lease rooms, with the exception of to exchange students and guest researchers. While the government is looking at reforming this law it doesn’t help much for students coming to Sweden now. While the Student Union can help with many questions, they cannot arrange housing either.  

So what can you do?

Firstly, I would like to point out that it will take a lot of work on your behalf to secure housing. It is definitely not impossible but it is tiring. If you follow these steps you will have gone a long way to securing your housing. A comforting thought is that despite the apparent difficulty in getting housing all students end up one way or another having somewhere nice to live. This guide is going to be quite long, so please take the time to read and understand the information – you may even want to save it for future reference. 

Before continuing I recommend that you read some short documents prepared by the Student Union that explain the rather unique housing situation in Uppsala. What to expect: Difference in housing culture.

You can get an idea of how much things cost here: http://www.uppsalastudentkar.nu/en/life/cost

Now that you have read and understood how things work here, you should continue your search for housing. Remember, because of the shortage of housing it is important to not be too choosy – all housing in Sweden is of a good standard. Once you have moved in to a room, and have a roof over your head you can continue searching for your dream room or apartment. But make sure that you get that roof over your head first! I would even recommend looking at unfurnished rooms. Because you are staying two years the cost of buying furniture is not so great, relatively speaking, and also it opens up a much larger market to you. See the end of this email for some tips about finding furniture.

1. Heimstaden. This housing company does not have a waiting list or “queue” for its rooms, which is advantageous for students who do not have hundreds of days in a housing queue. Their website can be found at www.heimstaden.com

Check there regularly because new rooms become available often. The rooms are “corridor” rooms in a student area called “Flogsta”. Their site is available in English. The button for English is in the top right.

2. Studentstaden. This company is the largest provider of student housing in Uppsala. Their website is www.studentstaden.se You should visit their website today and register yourself and start collecting “queue days”. The more you have the better. Demand for housing is always greatest during the beginning of the semester, so if you have a place to live, but would like to move then doing it during October-November or March-June will mean that you will need fewer days to get a given room. They also have a special category of rooms called recentior rooms, available for newcomers, for which you do not need that many queue days, however there is a limited number of those and they are usually available at the beginning of each semester. They have a good English website and one can register in English as well. You can find the link down in the bottom right hand corner where it says "In English" and there is a picture of the cathedral and some trees and the river.

3. The nations. I am not sure if you have heard of the so called “student nations” in Uppsala. You can find out more about nations at the Student Union’s website http://www.uppsalastudentkar.nu/en/orientation/nations

Each nation has its own housing for its members. It is difficult to say just how much housing is available through nations, and it is difficult to generalise about how difficult it is to get such housing, but, the fact remains that many nations have housing, and at least some of it is available for you to apply for. Because the nations operate independently, there is no central place where you can apply for housing. You will need to visit the website of each of the nations (there are 13) and find info about their housing. A list of the nations (with links) can be found here http://www.kuratorskonventet.se/index.php?id=4841 It doesn't matter that this page is in Swedish because it looks the same in English!

There are four nations that do not require you to be a member in order to apply for a room and some of these have queues that you can sign up for before the semester begins. These are GH, Kalmar,  and Norrlands nations that also have queues, and Gotlands nation that you can apply for a room without being a member, but they do not have a queue. For all of these you will have to become a member once you have gotten a room, or better said in order to get a room. Specifically Norrlands nation has official room application until the 21st of April, while after that you can still apply for a room but without a guarantee of getting one. 

If the nation your are looking at does not have relevant information in English there are some key words that will help you.

“Bostäder” is Swedish for “housing”. Look first for this link – usually nations have a special person who is in charge of housing. If you can’t find “bostäder” look for the word “kontakta” or “kontakt”. “Kontakta” means “to contact”. A good person to contact is the First Curator (Förste Kurator in Swedish), often known as 1Q. The 1Q has the highest responsibility at the nation and will be able to help you out. When contacting people in the nation’s world it is a good idea to try and write somewhat more personable in your email. Nations, and in particular the first curators (1Q) get many many emails, and it is easy for them to ignore a mail that is written in the following manner:

”Dear Sir, 

Please get me a room.

Thank you”

Feel free to use the first name of the 1Q or whoever you are writing to if you can find their name – for example if you see “Förste Kurator Markus Jonegård” you may write “Dear Markus”. Small things like this make your letter seem much nicer and will help you to get a good response.

All of the previous methods will result in you signing a contract with a housing company – that is you are leasing directly from the housing provider. However, there is also a large sub-let housing market. To sub-lease housing means that you will be leasing it from a private person instead of a company. For example, I may have a contract with Heimstaden and I might decide to go to Singapore and study for 6 months. Instead of cancelling my contract I can decide to lease my room privately to someone for that 6 month period, and then continue living in the room when I come back. So that is sub-leasing! The advantages with sub-leasing are that there is no waiting list and that rooms are almost always furnished. This disadvantage is that you have a restricted amount of time that you may live in that apartment/room, and if you haven’t signed a contract it is easy for the person to change the rental period/rent – not that this happens very often but it is a risk that you don’t have when renting directly from a housing provider.

4. The Student Union. The Student Union has arguably the largest sub-let housing database in Uppsala. It is called “studentboet”. You can find a link here:

http://www.studentboet.se/en/startsidan

When you find a room that you are interested in you need to contact that person yourself using the contact details you can find there. It is recommended to both email and ring/SMS the person, if possible. It may help to buy an international phone card or to use a program such as Skype to call internationally cheaply.

5. Blocket. This is a popular Swedish site where people buy and sell things, including housing. This site is entirely in Swedish, and there is no guide in English, but if you have some capabilities with a Scandinavian language, or you have a Swedish dictionary then you may find some interesting results here. Clicking on this link should help you to find the right page http://www.blocket.se/li?ca=10_s&cg=3020&st=u&w=1&m=113

If it is not correct then follow these steps: open www.blocket.se click on “Uppsala”. Where it says “alla kategorier” click and scroll down until you find “lägenheter”. Finally, click the button which says “uthyres”. Then click “sök”. Don't be afraid to contact a Swedish person, almost all of them speak good English and might be willing to rent out their room to you!

6. Finally, you can even try the local newspaper. The website is www.unt.se Look in the left menu until you see “bostad”, then you can click on that and use their search function.

7. If you still do not have a room and you will soon be travelling to Uppsala – I recommend that you check the Student Union’s website for information about extended stay accommodation, a comprehensive list of youth hostels and bed & breakfasts in Uppsala.

8. You can also try looking at the notice boards that exist at the various departments and at the Student Union. The words in Swedish that you are looking for are “rum uthyres” which means room “for rent”.

Help with Swedish language:

http://folkets-lexikon.csc.kth.se/folkets/

There is also a lot of info about housing in the Guide to the bostadsjouren

http://www.uppsalastudentkar.nu/en/guide_to_bostadsjouren

9.Contact your contact person at the department and ask for help finding housing. It is possible that they have contacts on the housing market, or indeed have their own solution to the problem. This is the first thing you need to do. It is also a good general piece of advice to maintain good contact with your contact person. This will ensure that you have a smooth start to your time in Uppsala.

Finding furniture:

You can get a bed and a desk quite cheaply from many different places. If you think about it, the cost of a bed and a desk spread over your two year stay is quite small relatively. Places to find cheap furniture: Ikea. This is a large warehouse which has beds from 500 crowns and desks from 159 crowns.

Second hand shops such as Myrornas (two shops, one at Kungsängsgatan 20 and one at Sysslomansgatan 16 – 18); Sirius Loppmarknad (Sturegatan 5).

 

Good luck!