Studying in Sweden vs Germany – What are the differences?

By: Stefanie Kleemeyer

Coming to a new country with a foreign language not knowing the city and not knowing what to expect can be scary. But hey, some of us have been there and as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do one thing every day that scares you”, we are just following the advice a brave female gave. Since arriving in August, I have seen a lot and noticed some major differences between studying in Munich compared to Stockholm. Let’s jump right into it, shall we?
1. The Semesters

The semester is separated into Fall and Spring. This is the same for both countries. One familiarity to make you feel homey! At KTH each semester is divided into two periods. So instead of having five different subjects consecutively for one semester (like in Germany), they split it into two. Which may sound strange at first, but I really enjoy it! Less studying at once, is there anything better?

From the end of August until the end of October you have the first part of the subjects and write your exams in October. After that you might have a small break, although not longer than a couple of days. Then the fun starts all over again as you merge into the second period. Now the second part of the subjects are taught, and you will have anther exam period in January.

2. Examinations

If I just mentioned exams, there is a major difference! Exams at university Munich regularly took between one hour and maybe two, but rarely exceeds this time frame. At KTH one exam takes around five hours.

My face when I first heard about this:

Luckily it’s not as bad as it sounds. They want you to relax during the exam, the amount of questions is equal to an exam in Germany. The difference is that you have a lot more time to answer them. No rushing, hurrying or stressing needed. Maybe some more time to produce brain farts, though.

3. The Punchers

Another thing I’ve noticed is the number of holes a punch punches into paper. Here, Germans are the minimalists and use two holes, whereas Swedes like to go with the phrase the more the better. They punch four holes into each piece of paper.

4. Calling teachers by their first names

Here comes the weirdest thing for me personally. You call your teacher by their first name. I knew that but the first time sitting in class when a Swedish class raised his hand and shouted through the whole class, “Annika, can you explain that again” I was SHOCKED!

It is something that would be unheard of in Germany as teachers sometimes even want to be called by their titles as well.