Tag Archives: sweden

Semla Day!

The first time I heard the word “Semla”  was my first lecture this year. Not long after that, it was everywhere! Curiosity got the better of me and then I found out about Fettisdagen. This led me to decide to stick to tradition and wait to have my first Semla on Shrove Tuesday.


Semla is a cardamom-spiced bun which you can cut off the top and then fill it with almond paste and whipped cream. The cut-off top now serves as a lid which is dusted with powdered sugar. Sounds amazing right? Semla is very delicious that it is said that King Adolf Fredrik (a Swedish King) died because he had too many!

Semla was originally eaten only on Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday) as the last festive food before Lent. However, the tradition is not strict anymore as Semlor(plural of Semla) is sold everywhere weeks after Christmas till Fettisdagen. However, after today you’ll have to wait until next year:)

So, this was how I celebrated my Fettisdagen with other international students as we assembled our own traditional Semla. Thanks to the S-chapter!



Banking for International Students in Sweden

For new students that would be in Sweden for more than a year, you may be thinking of opening a bank account. You can find general information on the documents required to open a bank account in Sweden here.

Making the final decision for which bank to choose was more problematic than I envisioned and this is because I had to research for the services the various banks offered for international students. If you’re still trying to decide and just do not have time to go through every bank’s website. You are reading the right post! This post is a summary of the information you may want to know about the services some banks offer for international students.


To open a bank account at Nordea you need these:

  • Letter of acceptance from your University
  • Swedish ID
  • If you plan to transfer your tuition, it is best to take along with you the official document that shows the amount of your tuition.

Nordea offers the following services:

  • Savings Account
  • Transfer Account
  • Internet Bank
  • Mobile Bank
  • Telephone bank with personalized service 24 hours a day
  • Debit card
  • Swish

The charges for the above banking services are presently SEK21/month and will be deducted monthly from your account.

Please note that the above services are for students studying for more than one semester.  If you are studying for only one semester, Nordea can offer you a savings account which you can use to deposit or withdraw money at Nordea offices during banking hours but you cannot receive a bank card or online banking.


If you do not have a Swedish Identity Number,(personnummer), these are the services SEB can offer :

  • Personal bank account
  • Maestro card (SEK15/month)
  • Savings account
  • Online banking
  • payment service for internet  (this costs SEK120/year)

To open this account, you need to bring the following documents:

  • Certificate from the school you are attending including the study duration
  • Residence permit
  • Valid ID, please bring your passport

If you have a personnummer, then these services are available:

  • Personal bank account
  • Maestro card or SEB card
  • Internet banking with payment service
  • Personal telephone banking services in English
  • Savings account

For the services listed above, you pay SEK35 monthly. However, you need to bring your Swedish ID card.

For students with the Swedish ID, the services offered by SEB are free.


This offers the following service:

  • Personal bank account
  • Maestro card (sek300/year – this fee only applies after the first year)
  • Telephone banking self-service
  • Savings account
  • Mobile banking
  • Internet banking

To open this account, you need to bring the following documents:

  • Valid ID, please bring your passport
  • Personnummer

If you’re from the EU, you do not need a Swedish ID to open an account here.

For this bank, the Maestro card is all you get as a student as the other options are only available if you are working and your salary comes in through the bank.


For ICA, you get the following  services:

  • Master card
  • Banking via web, app and shop
  • No withdrawal fees
  • Double bonus when shopping on ICA with your ICA Bank Card
  • Welcome present: ICA extra virgin olive oil  750 ml

These services listed above are free, which means you pay nothing each month. However, if you want to use SWISH you need to have a Swedish ID.

Since the process to open an ICA bank is all online. Listed below are the steps involved to make it easier for you if you choose to open an account with ICA.

Step 1: Click on this link –  Student banking at ICA Then, choose the option that applies to you.

Step 2: Unless you already have a mobilebankID, you should click the other option.(To have a mobilebankID, you must have a Swedish bank account already).

Step 3: Fill the form and submit!

ICA will send you a mail in a week, containing your contract details (2 copies).

Step 4: Sign one and send one back to them in the pre-paid envelope they have provided.

About five days after you send the post, you will get your “ICA Banken” debit card by mail and a text message notifying you that your security “box” has arrived. However, if you are not home, the security “box” would not be dropped off in your mailbox instead you get a slip that tells you where to collect it. This is because you need to show a valid means of identification in order to collect it.

STEP 6: The letter you receive would give you instructions on how to activate the “box”

STEP 7: Once you activate the box, ICA would send you a final letter called “rekommenderade brev” which would enable you to activate your debit card on here

STEP 8: Select the option “logga in med dosa” and click “personlig dosa”(security box)

Your card is activated!

Download the ICA Banken app.


It was really hard getting anyone who has an account to give a personal opinion but from their website, they actually offer free services to international students.

These are the services they offer:

  • Personalised counselling
  • Mastercard Direct
  • Mastercard Bankcard
  • Accounts
  • Internet banking + internet development
  • Mobile and tablet apps
  • Swish
  • Travel insurance

To register, click on the link below:

Student banking at Danske

You register online and then they ask you to go to the bank to verify your passport and Swedish ID. Then your account is set up!


So, I heard about this bank because I was so curious on how you hardly hear about a savings account that pays interest. So, with SBAB, you get a 0.65% interest rate and you can save monthly. It is all done virtually. Here is the link if you are interested in knowing more or you want to open such an account:

SBAB information


There goes the end of the list and I hope this post helps you make your decision!

This post won’t have been possible without help from the following people: Hsin Ting, Lian Yi, Ioannis Thermos and  Andres Amezcua. Thanks, guys!

And she was astonished…

If you’re reading this right now, WELCOME ON BOARD! This is my first post as a KTH Student blogger (YAY!) and what better way to get this exciting part of my journey started than to let you in on the first few “Stockholm Signatures” that caught my attention.

So, I moved to Stockholm a month ago and it has been interesting so far. “Interesting” feels like an odd adjective to describe the beauty that Stockholm holds but this post is about the first five things that caught my attention in my first week!

Without further ado, let’s get the ball rolling:


The above icon means the restroom is regardless of gender and to my astonishment, most of the restrooms even at the University have signs like this. I found this very surprising because, in Nigeria, I can’t imagine boys and girls using the same restroom. The thought alone cracks me up! I recall having to use the restroom at the central station and the sign just read “toalett”. I walked in and only saw men! (lol). My natural instincts told me,” Oluchi, you might be in the wrong place” but I had three seconds conversation with myself where I said, “you’re in Sweden; this is totally normal” (LOL!)


source: genderpowersexuality.wordpress.com/page/2/

source: sweden.se/society/gender-equality-in-sweden

These pictures above are very prevalent in Stockholm. As shocking as it is to see this a lot, I absolutely love it!  So, the same way we have maternity leave in Nigeria and in most part of the world, the Swedes have parental leave.  Parents can share the 480 days between themselves of paid parental leave when the child is born or adopted.


You know that sense of entitlement about not cleaning up after eating in public and letting “some people who have those set of duties in their job description take care of your mess?” This ideology has to be erased from your mind. Yes, there are some restaurants that you do not need to clean up after yourself but some like the ones in IKEA and McDonalds and most restaurants at the KTH Campus operate in this way. So, after eating, you throw your trash away, stack your dirty tray in the provided area for that. In summary, you clean up your table for the next person.  So, why is it on this list? Because even in small school cafeterias in Nigeria, most of us do not clean up after eating. There are actual people who have it in their job descriptions to do just that (LOL!) To me, it was an interesting twist and look at it this way, you just eat and then leave seconds after. You do not need to wait for your check or have to tip anyone.


I studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Lagos, Nigeria and during those five years and beyond, it has been glaring to me how unlikely you find women taking technical jobs independently. Let’s get past engineering, you hardly see women as drivers for the public transport system and even when you do, they are in the minority.  However, in my first week, I was astonished when I was walking down Brinnelvägen and a lady was working all by herself at the construction site. As I was still basking in my new finding, I got to the bus station and guess who the driver was? A woman! You might say it may be two out of 100 but I beg to differ. I am studying sustainable energy engineering and to the best of my knowledge, we have an equal ratio of boys to girls in my programme. Personally, I love this! It shows Sweden is really on the forefront of gender equality in the workplace.


This is something I had to get used to seeing a lot, especially at the university. Some people just come into the restrooms just to get drinking water from the same sinks you may wash your hand in after using the restroom. So, yes, tap water has proven to be very safe in Sweden and because of this, you find most people with water bottles as opposed to buying bottled water when they are out of their houses.


So, there goes my list of the first five things that caught my attention in the first week. Does my list match yours? I would love to hear from you.