Practical tips and advice for a successful time abroad
During your stay abroad you might be posted there by a Swedish organisation, get a scholarship or become a local employee at a foreign university or research institute. Your employment form exerts a major impact on your rights and your insurance cover but SULF have compiled some practical tips and advice that may be of general help.
The key to a fruitful, secure stay abroad is to plan well in advance with a realistic timetable. In addition to this the following may be worth thinking about:
Approximately 1 year before:
- Think of where you want to go and for how long.
- Get in touch with possible universities and institutions.
- Visit interesting universities/institutions as a guest lecturer.
- Consider what type of housing is best? Compare the cost of storage/renting/relocation.
- Examine employment/grant conditions, wage levels and the impact of the planned stay abroad on your pension.
- If you intend to travel abroad on a scholarship: find out application deadlines for funds and foundations.
At least 6 months before:
- Establish and keep in touch with your future host institution/employer.
- Establish first contact with a moving company and plan for the move.
- Begin the visa application process.
At least 1 month before:
- If possible: travel to the host country and seek accommodation before your final move.
- If you are travelling with family and children – get in touch with schools.
- Open a bank account in the host country (often a requirement to pay rent and so on).
- Check the Tax Agency in the country as to whether you should pay tax. Request a written statement.
- Get a Social Security number or equivalent.
- Contact movers and give your final address.
- Arrange insurance. Foreign home insurance can be linked to Swedish home insurance. The cost will be lower than in the host country where you have no credit history.
- What else should you consider?
- Continue applying for scholarships from smaller scholarship funds in Sweden. These funds can finance travel to/from Sweden.
- Try to create social contacts in the host country with both permanent residents and guest researchers.
- Get to know the host country, travel around and get to know the customs and habits.
- Stay in contact with friends in Sweden. You will return to them eventually.
- Monitor your holiday days. Your form of employment will determine the number of days you are entitled to. If you are on a scholarship, you can argue that you should have holidays according to Swedish tradition.
- Follow developments in the labour market at home.
- Plan your return move to Sweden in time: apply for jobs and submit research applications when the opportunity arises, even though you are staying on in your host country for some time.
- Remember that you may need to submit a tax return in Sweden for a number of years.
After your stay abroad
- The road back and readjustment to Sweden
- Be prepared for reverse culture shock, Sweden has changed since you left.
- Stay in contact with colleagues and friends in your host country.
- Do not forget to submit a tax return in your host country after your return.