In Sweden, digitalisation is seen as a key way to increase efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of society. KTH is a big believer in this mission, which is why digitization is actually one of its pillars. Throughout my time as a student, the number of apps in the “Sverige” folder on my phone has only grown, but it’s made my life here easier to manage. Here are my top suggestions:
Apps for: Swedish
Välkommen till Sverige! If you’re like most international students, you won’t know much Swedish upon arrival, and that’s alright.
- Google Translate – still an essential app for me. The scan-translating function is really useful.
- Folkets Lexikon – (“the people’s dictionary”) the most accurate Swedish <> English translator, though you can only search individual words. It’s a great tool for Swedish class.
- Duolingo – For learning Swedish on your own time, this can be an engaging (and free) starting point.
Apps for: Transport
While living in Sweden, I’ve rarely ridden in a car. Planning my path from A to B has never been easier, thanks to a few apps and Stockholm’s infrastructure.
- Google Maps – In my case, for determining whether taking my bike is faster than jumping on the metro.
- SL app – Short for “Storstockholms Lokaltrafik” or Greater Stockholm Local Transport, this is Stockholm’s public transport app. I buy tickets in the app and then scan the QR code to access any SL bus, tram, metro, ferry, or commuter train. (See SL ArtGuide for learning about the history and art installations in the metro stations along the way).
- SJ – Short for “Sveriges Järnvägar” or Sweden’s Railway, this is your app for booking a longer-distance train trip.
Apps for: Staying informed
This is the catch-all category of apps I use to manage my life and stay informed about everything from classes to the weather.
- Canvas – Canvas is the digital learning platform used by KTH. Although it has a web version too, I use the app to keep an eye on my coursework, updates, and communications for studies.
- The Local – A popular news outlet in Sweden which writes informative articles in English, though the free version has limited access.
- Naturkartan – For finding everything from hiking trails in national parks to local swimming spots, this app is one of my favourite guides to the outdoors.
- Aurora – An app for keeping an eye on the geomagnetic conditions (especially from September to April). Earlier this year, we saw the northern lights from Stockholm.
Apps for: Discounts
These apps are a good foundation, but for more tips on saving money as a student, check out other blog posts.
- Mecenat; Studentkortet; ISIC – Once you have proof of registration for your first semester of studies, you can activate your digital student card in all of these apps to access all kinds of discounts. When people ask for verification of student status, Mecenat is what I usually show here, as it’s specific to Sweden.
- Too Good to Go; Karma; OLIO – Apps like these are great for reducing food waste while saving money on things like produce, bakery goods, and takeout.
Apps for: Finances
One thing that makes my life simpler is having my credit cards in my phone’s digital wallet; contactless payment is very normal here. As for the apps that fall under this category – most of them aren’t necessary until you’ve registered for a personnummer and bank account. But still:
- Your bank’s app – There are many banks in Sweden, and most have an app. I use my Swedish bank app for a lot of things, like paying my rent or transferring miscellaneous debts to friends.
- BankID – It’s basically an authentication app that can be used for many things, from verifying payments to signing documents. You can read more here.
- Swish – An app for making instant transfers or payments directly from your Swedish bank account to someone else’s, requiring only their phone number to do so. BankID is used to authenticate and confirm the transaction.
For even more information on how to prepare for studies in Sweden, be sure to check out the upcoming KTH webinars. Good luck with your digital, and other, preparations!