CAN-SWE Youth Exchange Program

For Canadians living in and travelling to Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland
KirstenfNew Member
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:31 am

CAN-SWE Youth Exchange Program

Post Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:44 am


I am a Canadian, who is planning on coming to Sweden this December, through the Youth Exchange Program. In doing so I will receive a work and residents permit for a year. However, I am a bit confused as to my "official status" in the country. From what I have read, I will be considered a non-resident. Im coming to Sweden, so I can learn the language and to be with my boyfriend. I was hoping to register right away into the SFI program (Swedish for new Immigrants), after I register myself & address with the municipality as resident there. And I was wondering if anyone has information about this SFI program or others who have attempted this? or knows of anyone who has come to Sweden though the youth exchange program!!!!
BondeNew Member
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2010 6:26 am

Re: CAN-SWE Youth Exchange Program

Post Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:46 pm


My partner (who is the actual person registered on this account...I'm Swedish! And, yes, she knows I'm writing this. :) ) came to Sweden through the youth exchange program a few years ago.

A youth exchange program work permit is for 365 days, i.e. "one year or more", which is important! While you're technically considered a non-resident, the fact that your work permit is valid for one year or more means you can go to Skatteverket (the tax authorities) when you get here and get a personnummer ("personal number" - amongst other things, a tax number. Ask your partner for the long explanation...basically, if you don't have your number, you don't exist in Sweden and can't do anything, from getting a library card to pay taxes.) and register as a resident (get "folkbokförd"), which you need to be in order to apply for SFI.

So, yes, you can do SFI while here on the youth exchange program. I don't know where you will be living, but it might be good to know that the SFI courses aren't always that crash hot and great. You might want to look around elsewhere as well to see if there's other places you could do Swedish courses. My partner did a full semester of Swedish at a folkhögskola and then two semesters part time at the university. Both were free of charge. She did go to SFI to check it out, but in her case the folkhögskola was a higher standard of teaching and was nicer with better resources, so she stuck to that instead. Just food for thought.

-- Wed Nov 10, 2010 2:41 pm --

Oh, and I realize I should have said something about SFI, didn't read your post properly.

SFI is put on by the kommun (municipality) you are registered in. Go to your kommun's website once you get here and look for information on SFI and then contact whoever is the SFI contact person for more information. It will most likely take a while before you can get started, as they take on new students on a first-come-first-served basis, so depending on how many people register for SFI in your kommun and how often new courses are starting (they're starting all the time, not only at e.g. semester start, but larger kommuns tend to have more immigrants and therefore more courses starting more often than smaller ones), you will have to wait for a longer or shorter time. Just guessing, I would say you'll have to wait at least a few months. My partner had to wait 3-4 months before being offered a spot on a SFI course and by that time she had already started the folkhögskola course.

Also, the SFI courses are for everyone. In some kommuns courses are split along previous education lines, but not in all. That means you might end up on a course with people who are hardly literate as well as people with PhDs. I have an Australian friend who did a great SFI course in Uppsala for people with tertiary degrees - he was fluent in six months and the SFI group consisted of people from all over. The SFI course my partner was to partake in didn't divide people according to education and apart from a French woman and my partner, all other students were Iraqi, Afghani and Somali.

My advice is to check out folkhögskolor and KomVux (adult education, run by the kommun) for Swedish courses, they will be free of charge. You'll also be able to do a university course free of charge, if you're here next semester (spring 2011). Starting fall 2011, Sweden will start charging tuition fees from non-EU citizens, but right now all university education is free for everyone, including international students.

That said, SFI in the city you'll be staying in might be great, who knows. But you might have to wait, and if you only have a year (to start with, anyway), you might want to look around elsewhere to get started as quickly as possible.
kfreadyNew Member
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:02 am

Re: CAN-SWE Youth Exchange Program

Post Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:53 am


Thanks for the great information, Bonde! And yes, you were right about the SFI program, it was terrible!!!

I had some questions about applying for a new visa, without having to return to Canada to do so and I thought you, or you or someone else might know something about this. I have meeting with the migration people at the end of the month, but the process has not been without its frustrations. So if you know anything about this kind of situation that would be awesome. I actually tired sending a PM, but it said my message looked too spamy, so I couldnt send any details exactly. But if you get this please send a pm or something!!!

Tusen tack,

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