Healthcare for international students in Gothenburg

​Being ill in a foreign country can be scary and overwhelming. Luckily in Sweden, affordable healthcare is accessible even to international students.   
Picture of Teanette desk with medical drugs on it

In March 2021, I received a positive test result for Covid19. I was lucky – my symptoms were not severe, I could continue my studies and part-time work from home, and I had my fiancé to look after me . After two weeks of isolation (and with lots of chicken soup and vitamin C) I was back on track and fully recovered. However, my experience made me realize that, no matter how careful you are, nothing can completely eliminate the risk of becoming ill. Here is what I learned about seeking healthcare in Gothenburg, Sweden. 

1. Get your Swedish personal number 
If you’ve started preparing for your stay in Sweden, you’re probably sick of hearing about personal numbers. But it cannot be emphasized enough: if you are eligible for a personal number, get it as soon as possible!!! It entitles you to the same health benefits as Swedish citizens, and makes the whole healthcare process a lot simpler. 

2. Find a Healthcare center
There are a couple of different ways to get in contact with a doctor in Sweden. The easiest for me was to go to www.1177.se, where you can create an account, find healthcare centers close to you, book appointments, and find relevant health recommendations. You can also contact 1177 by phone to get medical advice from a nurse, and (for those who aren’t yet comfortable in Swedish) there is even an option to get information in English. 
Alternatively, you can call your registered healthcare center directly. If you have a permanent address in Gothenburg and a personal number, you will automatically be registered to the health center closest to you. You can change your registered healthcare center on 1177.se. Note, this does not limit you to only visiting that healthcare center! 
If contacting 1177 seems too intimidating to you (let’s be real here, nobody actually enjoys phoning the doctor’s office), you can phone the friendly Chalmers Feelgood healthcare center first, or visit their website at student.feelgood.se. Their goal is to help students find the appropriate medical care for their situation. They specialize in study-related illnesses and can support students through physical appointments or web-based visits. If your illness does not fall in the scope of what Feelgood can assist you with, they will provide relevant advice and refer you to different care provider. 
In case of emergencies or urgent healthcare, you can phone 112 which is the common emergency phone number in Sweden. 

3. Fees
Although I could take a covid test for free because I had symptoms, there is usually a small fee when you seek Swedish healthcare. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how affordable professional healthcare was in Gothenburg for those who have a Swedish person number. Although patient fees may vary, a standard doctor’s visit can cost between 150-250 SEK. I’ve heard from a friend that students without a person number can expect to pay anything from 400-1400 SEK for a doctor’s visit, although this depends very much on the reason for the appointment and the consultation itself. For students without a personal number, getting a good health insurance to ensure affordable healthcare is very important!

4. Personal Experience with Healthcare in Gothenburg
I contacted the health center at Gibraltargatan, which is less than 200 meters from Chalmers library. They were able to help me quickly and efficiently in English, and I was able to go for a Covid test (and receive the result) in less than 48 hours after I first suspected I was ill. For free! On my 1177.se account I received the relevant information I needed to take care of my Covid infection. After two weeks, I was contacted to confirm whether I was fully recovered. The most unpleasant part of the experience was having to use the Covid self-test kit – I never again want to come close to a cotton swab...

My fellow student ambassador, Sena, also visited this health center for a physiotherapy appointment, although she had to book it a week in advance. How soon you get an appointment varies on the severity of your symptoms as well as the individual health center. In her opinion, it was one of the best medical appointments she has ever been to, because the physiotherapist took a holistic approach to health. Not only was her physical injury considered, but also her habits around the injury, her feelings towards the injury and her mental approach towards healing. Hearing about this made me happy, and confirmed what I had heard about Sweden’s high-standard medical service. 

Lastly, it is important to note that dental care in Sweden plays by different rules than other medical services. Up until the year that you turn 23, students can receive free dental care in Gothenburg. I managed to get a free appointment just before my cutoff age, and found the service to be helpful and professional. However, for those of you that are older, going to the dentists requires a hefty fee. Best get that smile checked out in your home country to be safe!

Remember: prevention is better than cure! My Swedish friends love advising multivitamins, healthy diets, exercise and taking fikas in the sun as the best medicine against illness. That being said, medical advice and care is easily accessible if you need it. Let’s all do the most to take care of ourselves!

Picture of Teanette


Author: Teanette​

Page manager Published: Mon 07 Jun 2021.