Don’t worry, we got you covered. CIRC (Chalmers International Reception Commitee) has prepared more or less everything you need to know to survive your first days in Gothenburg. There will be Phadders, someone who will give you guidance about Chalmers and Gothenburg in general. There will be week of activities specially prepared for you.
So, what next? There are still a lot of things you must do when you arrive. Hopefully, I can cover all of them here.
I. ESSENTIAL STUFF
1. SIM Card.
You will get this as a part of reception by CIRC or buy it.
2. Västtraffik Card
This card is basically your life in Gothenburg. You will need this card to use Gothenburg’s public transportation: busses, trams, and ferries. You can get the card in a mini-market called Pressbyrån (located throughout Gothenburg) or go directly to Västtraffik outlet in Nordstan or Centralstation (Buy this card the first time after you arrive in Gothenburg)
3. Resplan Apps
Download Resplan (or reseplanerare = journey planner) on your smartphone to give you access to public transport schedule in Gothenburg, including how to get from one stop to another.
II. ADMINISTRATIVE STUFF
Now that you have reached your apartment, unpacked your stuff, participated in activities, made some friends, let’s move on to more serious stuff.
1. Come to the mandatory re-registration
Usually in the first day of the study. As the name suggest, it is MANDATORY. If you fail to come, your admittance status might be cancelled. If you are unable to attend this, make sure you notify Chalmers for late-coming registration.
Personnummer (literally means person’s number) is an identity number used in Sweden issued by the tax agency as the part of population register. If you are staying for more than a year, you have to apply for this. The number format will be YYYYMMDD-XXXX, consisting of your birth date, and other 4 digits number. For example, 19921022-0000 means that the person is born on 22th of October, 1992. To apply for a personnummer, you should go to Skatteverket (tax agency) in person (for Gothenburg, they are located in Rosenlundgatan and Hisingen). They are open from 10.00-16.00 (18.00 in Tuesdays). Don’t forget to bring all your documents!
3. Swedish ID
After abour 1-2 weeks, you’ll finally get your personnummer. The next step is to get a Swedish ID Card. You will need this card for virtually everything in Sweden. From opening a bank account, to joining a gym. You can come to Skatteverket again, but this time you will be charged 400 SEK and you’ll get your ID card ready in a couple of days.
III. NON-ADMINISTRATIVE STUFF
Now that you got your Swedish ID Card, basically you are a citizen of Sweden. You will get almost all the benefits of being a Swede. From (almost) free healthcare, opening a bank account, to various discounts. Here’s a list of what you can do as part of making Gothenburg your secod home:
1. Master your Swedish for FREE!
You can join SFI (Swedish for Immigrants), which is basically a free Swedish course provided by the government. You can register yourself by coming to Gothenburg’s SFI office in Rosenlundplatsen 2, next to ICA.
2. Doing your Hobbies
With your ID, you can register as a member in Biblioteket (public library) for free. You can also join a gym
3. Furnishing your apartment
Buy furnitures, cooking utensils, etc in IKEA (seriously, this should be super obvious) or Jysk. In Gothenburg, IKEA is located in Bäckebol, which is quite far away from Chalmers. For other home needs, Clas Ohlson provides quite a lot of stuff from printing paper and notebooks, to room heater.
4. Clothes...for the weather!
“There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothes”. Sweden is colder than many other countries, and worse, Gothenburg is a quite windy town...a bad combination if you don’t dress well, especially in the winter. You can buy clothes in H&M, Åhléns, or other stores located in Nordstan, Backaplan, and many other places. However, if you want cheap clothes, you can try secondhand markets such as Myrorna or flea markets usually held on the weekends in Kviberg.
Eating out in Sweden is, in fact, really expensive (compared to where I came from). The price of one meal outside can cover my groceries for 2 days (that’s 6 meals!). You will go to groceries often. Sweden-wide, there are (from the cheapest, according to my experience) Lidl, Netto, Willys, Coop, Hemköp, and ICA. But the cheapest is not always the best, as you have to consider the location. For example, you wouldn’t want to take 1 hour journey just to go buy a sausage in Lidl just for saving 2 SEK compared to Hemköp near your apartment.
Well, those guides should be enough for you to survive your first days in Gothenburg. Have fun studying in Chalmers. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!
Text: Kurnia Bijaksana
Images: Source below each image in the text; Thumbnail: Mrinalini Raina