Student life in Göteborg #1 – University, dormitories and public transports

It’s 9am and time to go to University !

Ready to be surprised ? The university system in Göteborg might be really different than the one you are used to in your country.

Zoology building at the Biology Faculty

First of all, the University is divided in Faculties, spread out all over the city (See map). The whole city is your campus!

A semester is divided in two periods and you usually take one course at a time and one or two courses per period.

During the courses, you might be evaluated through group projects, oral presentations or written essays. At the end of the course, you have a final exam on table or at home that you can retake if you do not pass. One lecture is usually 1 hour 30 minutes divided in two sessions of 45 minutes with a break in-between to go to grab pastries and tea/coffee.

The hours of lectures might seem really few compared to other countries and – even if labs can also complete your formation, especially in sciences – it might look like you have a lot of free time. Beware ! Do not take it too much as “freedom”, university is based on a lot on autonomous work (“recommended” literature…) and exchange between the students. The teachers are usually really available and open to discussion even during the lectures. To study in groups or by yourself, nothing better than the numerous university libraries.

Time to go home”hemma

International students usually live with Swedish families or in student dormitories, also spread all over the city. The dormitories usually provide the services you might need (such as laundry) or even some you would never have thought about (such as a sauna).

Laundry time is also quite a Swedish institution. Most of the buildings have common laundry and Swedes have to book it in advance. Not joining an event because of “laundry” is a totally acceptable excuse and you should start to get organized about that =).

Some of the dormitories also have some gym, common rooms or cafés in which various events can be organized (movie night, language café}, board game evening…). All of them are usually close to bus or tram stops and close to grocery shops.

A daily adventure in the blue tram

Official map of trams, buses and student dormitories. Unofficial maps of faculties =).

To go from the university to your dormitory and vice versa, trams, buses and even ferries are available to travel inside the city. All of them are including in the same ticket and 1-month and 3-month pass can be bought with a student discount (450SEK/month).

So even if it looks like your dormitory is far away from your faculty, do not panic and mind the map. There is always a way to go where you need to go.

Have a nice stay in Göteborg,



3 thoughts on “Student life in Göteborg #1 – University, dormitories and public transports

  1. Hi! You mentioned that some students stay with Swedish families rather than in the university dormitories. Do you know of many students that do this? Or very few? Also, do you know if the students living with a family find it much harder to make friends?

    1. Well. Most of the exchange students get a dormitory through the university. But the one that cannot (there is not enough room for everyone) and the free movers need to find a room by themselves. A good way is to live with a landlord/landlady. About finding friends there is lot of activities organised for the new students and you can also meet people at university. So I’m not that sure is that harder. Might lack the common kitchen ambiance but this doesn’t exist in all dormitories anyway. I think the problem might be the distance sometimes that limit you to go out to late. But usually you always makes friends that can host you for one night =)

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