As an international student, it might be difficult to know how the healthcare works and the various types of healthcare in Sweden. Or the insurance for that matter. Then there’s the task of keeping fit – what activities can be done, or the various avenues available for you to explore.
(Note that most, if not all the information here will be specific to Chalmers International Students).
First things first, as an International student, one of the most important pages I visited was the Chalmers’ Insurance page
on the student portal. It does an extremely good job of linking to several pdf’s on the kammarkollegiet’s website
(The Swedish Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency) which prevented me from doing all the tracking down and hunting myself. If you are a fee-paying student, then rest assured that your health insurance is covered by Chalmers under the FAS+ policy. What this means is that it covers accidents, illnesses, dental care, home transport, liabilities, and legal fees. This is also applicable in the Schengen area 24 hours a day. In Sweden, the FAS+ policy also contains property coverage.
This all sounds great, but I was still uncertain to as how the healthcare works. When getting to Sweden, I found out that you will automatically be registered to a Vårdcentral (Medical Centre or clinic). Generally, the Vårdcentral you are going to be registered to will be the one closest to where you live. You could always use the 1177.se website
to find out which centre that is, and its exact address and other helpful information. You can also get contact details to book an appointment, or for general advice. Please note that the centres are only open from 8 am to 5 pm, and after that, you shall have to go to a Jourcentral
(Emergency clinic) if there is an emergency.
Then again don’t hesitate to contact an ambulance, the police or the fire department at 112 which is Sweden’s emergency number that can be used 24/7. The other number that is useful to know is 1177. It is the medical advice line, and you only pay for the cost of the call. You can get in touch with a nurse who can provide help and advice 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Sometimes (as a lot of my friends became over the course of their studies) you might be physically drained and just need someone to talk to or to take care of your mental health. Chalmers provides a service to students at the Akademihälsan
(Student Health Centre), where you can get general advice about studies or healthcare, or book an appointment with a physiotherapist or even a psychiatrist to talk about difficulties in your student life or even getting accustomed to the city in general. An appointment lasts roughly 50 minutes and is kept confidential. Even if you don’t know what to say – that’s okay. They have trained therapists who are there to help you with that.
Alright then! That should cover the most critical aspects of healthcare. But now you’ve just got the flu, and you don’t need to head out to a doctor for that. Or the sun has been hiding for too long and you need your dose of Vitamin D (This is a more common issue than you would think). There are several state-run medical shops in the country called Apoteket which are nicely distributed all around the city, so you should find one close to wherever you are. They sell a variety of pharmaceuticals, most of which are generic or Apoteket brand meaning they are cheaper than brand-name drugs. These can be bought over the counter without a prescription as well. For those of with busy schedules or for some reason hate going to shops, you can purchase the pharmaceuticals online from their website or even apotea.se.
Text and title image by Sangeeth Gandhi
subsequent images by närhälsan and akademihälsan