Q\ What is the general purpose of the DIS internship program in Stockholm?
An internship at DIS is a great way to gain hands-on experience in the field of international education and become an integrated part of a multicultural workplace. The overall goal for DIS is to create an outstanding experience for every single DIS student. This requires dedication behind the scenes, an aptitude for teamwork, and a resilient positive attitude. You must be prepared to work hard and diligently to meet the high expectations of fellow DIS staff and students. This means that you will work long hours sometimes. The busy times vary between departments and fluctuate throughout the year.
DIS is a collaborative, dynamic, and social work environment. You are entrusted with a high level of responsibility and therefore expected to be a self-starter, have confidence, and carry out your tasks with professionalism and commitment.
At DIS you will:
- Assist DIS staff, students and faculty with daily operations and program development
- Contribute to an active learning environment with curiosity and enthusiasm
- Bring fresh ideas and energy to each task you undertake
- Collaborate with colleagues who are committed to your development and well-being
- Assist DIS faculty and fellow staff with daily operational tasks and program development
- Act as cultural translators by bridging the gaps between DIS students, faculty, and staff by applying your own experiences as former DIS students
- Enrich the DIS work environment with your academic background and enthusiasm
Q\ How is a DIS internship different?
Since everyone may have a different concept of what an “internship” entails, it is important to be clear about what DIS would expect from you as a DIS intern:
While an American intern position is often short-term, unpaid, and part-time, a DIS internship lasts at least 13 months, pays a livable stipend and is full-time (37 hours a week). This is an administrative internship; as a DIS intern, you will have some of the usual “intern” tasks of making copies, filing, and arranging food and drinks for class events; but, you will also be responsible for much of the day-to-day operations of your office. This means you will have a much higher degree of responsibility than an American intern (and hopefully gain more experience and skills as a result of the internship). Like any job, the workload can be exhausting and exhilarating at different times. An internship with DIS is exciting, but you must expect to have to adjust to living in a different country while working a full-time job.
Q\ How long does an internship last?
Minimum for a 13-month period. In June a couple of internships start with a duration of 15 months to have an overlap of two interns during peak seasons in particular departments.
Q\ What are the working hours?
Staff with full-time employment contracts have a 40 hour week, excluding one-hour for lunch. Normal business hours at DIS are from 8:30 – 17:00. You can expect to spend the bulk of your working time between the aforementioned times, however, some tasks, such as organizing and facilitating events, happen during the evenings.
There is no overtime pay at DIS. Instead, you can have “approved absence time” to recuperate after a particularly strenuous period (dependent on the arrangement with your supervisor). During certain times of the semester, it is expected to work overtime, this applies to all staff. Examples are orientation week, concluding weeks, and during the International Educators Workshop. It is part of the internship to work on Arrival Days every semester and during the summer. In the spring and fall semesters when Arrival Days takes place on a weekend, interns must expect to work a full day. In compensation, they will receive one approved absence-day for working on a weekend day.
Q\ What do I wear to work?
DIS is a fairly casual workplace. Most staff wear jeans and a nice shirt every day. Of course, you are welcome to dress up as you like.
Q\ Do interns receive a stipend?
Yes, interns receive a monthly stipend of 28,840 SEK before taxes which amounts to approximately 16,800 SEK after taxes.
Q\ What does the stipend mean in terms of living expenses in Stockholm?
It is possible to live on the salary from the internship with intentional budgeting. There is generally a huge range of housing options available and, like anywhere, price depends on location and what you’re willing to put up with. Our estimation is that 10.000 to 15.000 SEK is the general price for your own place centrally. If you’re willing to commute upwards of 40 minutes, you could find a place of your own in the 8.000-9.000 SEK range. Finally, if you’re willing to have roommates you could probably find something centrally in the 8.000 range or on the outskirts for about 5.000 SEK. No matter how you end up living, your salary from DIS should be enough to live on if you are sensible about food and entertainment expenditures. However, during the first month of stay, the intern must expect extra expenses to get settled in before receiving the first paycheck.
Q\ Do I pay Swedish taxes?
Yes, you pay Swedish taxes. For interns living in the Stockholm municipality, approximately 30-32% of each month’s pay will be automatically deducted.
Q\ What about taxes from my home country?
If you are an American citizen, you are still required by U.S. law to file taxes in the U.S. You won’t owe any money on your income in Sweden, but you still have to file. You can get the necessary tax forms at the U.S. Embassy or download them online.
More information can be found here and here.
If you are not American, please consult your national government’s tax authority.
Q\ Will I have a Swedish bank account?
All DIS Staff members must have a Swedish Bank Account in order to be paid, as all paychecks are given by direct deposit. The banks that many foreigners use are Swedbank, Handelsbanken, Nordea, or SEB. The process of opening a bank account will require that you have a personal ID number and thereafter you can open a bank account by going to a bank in their opening hours. It takes about a week before you receive your VISA card after you have ordered it.
Q\ What about health insurance?
When you have obtained your unique Swedish personal ID, you are covered through the national health insurance. This provides the right to basic healthcare in Sweden. When seeing a Doctor you will pay a small fee for the consultation.
Information about the Swedish national health insurance can be found here.
In addition to the Swedish national health insurance, DIS provides interns with an additional benefit of comprehensive health, accident, and liability insurance during your internship. You are covered from your first day of work to the last day. Personal travels outside of Sweden are also included with the DIS insurance. If you are required to travel for work purposes such as Study Tours, DIS provides additional work travel insurance.
The detailed description of the Insurance Conditions can be found here.
Note that neither the Swedish national health insurance nor the DIS health insurance cover medication, dental, optical, or treatments not given by a doctor or hospital (for example mental health or physical therapy).
Q\ What about vacation?
You will have 27 days of paid vacation for a 13-month contract, and 31 days of paid vacation for a 15-month contract.
Q\ Do I go on Study Tours?
Many staff members at DIS have the opportunity to be Study Tour leaders during the short and long Study Tours. The assignment of tour leaders is based on faculty interest in participation and the staff’s academic, social, and cultural leadership skills.
You will be assigned to lead or co-lead at least one Study Tour or adventure trip during your internship as an essential part of developing your leadership skills and thus furthering the overall goal of the internship. There is no guarantee on specific destination or duration of the Study Tour or adventure trip you will lead. We will make sure you receive training about going on Study Tours before leaving.
Q\ What about cell phones?
Most students use Tele2 or Comvig. Telia is, however, the biggest provider.
Q\ How do I get a work and residence permit?
If you are offered an internship position and you accept the offer, DIS will prepare the necessary documents and mail them to you. After that, it is your responsibility to complete the forms and submit them as soon as possible online.
The current visa fee is SEK 2,000 (payable online through Migrationsverket’s website) + $235 (Swedish Consulate fee in Washington) + $20 (Service fee).
Q\ Does DIS offer a VISA and travel stipend to help me with some of the charges?
DIS will reimburse travel and VISA expenses up to 1,200 USD. Items that may be included with this is all costs related to obtaining a visa, paying the fees to the consulate, the international airfare to/from Stockholm, as well as any travel expenses you may have in connection with the visa application process.
Please note that the travel stipend will probably not cover all of your expenses, but will provide some substantial help. You are expected to finance the remaining costs yourself.
As soon as an incoming intern has signed the contract it is encouraged that you start to look for flights, as prices will increase the closer you get to your start date. The expenses will be refunded to you by DIS after you have started work in Stockholm. Therefore, remember to save all receipts to receive the reimbursement.
Q\ What about housing?
As is the case for most cities, the majority of Stockholm’s (student) apartments are advertised online. The allocation of apartments is often based on a queue. That means that you are more likely to get an apartment the higher up on the queue you are. Therefore it is important to sign up for the queues as early as possible in order to increase your chances of finding an apartment.
There are ways to avoid the queueing system altogether, but finding an apartment down this road is harder and craves generally more time and effort. Many Swedish and international students, however, find their first accommodation through one of the following channels until their place in the queue has improved sufficiently Depending on what you are looking for, several queues might come in handy:
- Blocket is by far the most popular forum for landlords to advertise their apartments on. It is up to the landlords themselves to charge a rent that they think is appropriate, and the living conditions, contract, and other agreements can vary heavily among them. In Sweden, it is common to rent a bedroom or part of someone else’s apartment for a retribution. This way, house owners can share their rent with you, while you have a place to live. You become what is called an inneboende (‘in-living’) in Swedish.
- Akademisk kvart is another website where private landlords publish their apartments, but especially for students.
- Private landlords also advertise rooms of their apartment they want to rent out in several groups on Facebook. The Swedish word for accommodation is bostad. Try searching on a combination of the words ‘bostad,’ ‘apartment,’ ‘Stockholm,’ or ‘inneboende,’ join the groups, and keep a close eye on what is published!Worst case, you could even find a (temporary) place to live on AirBnB. As most people tend to rent out their homes for shorter periods of time only, this could be a good start if the other options are not working in your favor. You may even be able to agree with a house owner to rent the apartment for a longer period of time.
- Bostadsförmedlingen Stockholm is the general website where you can indicate your interest in specific apartments. An annual fee of 200 SEK needs to be paid in order to register. You can only register if you are over 18 years of age and are in possession of the Swedish personal number (personnummer), but there are exceptions for foreign students. On the website you can also find specific categories for student apartments or apartments for youngsters. As the queues are generally quite long, this website will suit you best if you are planning to find an apartment long term.
- SSSB and Huge are two separate queues especially for students. This means that you will not have to wait as long to get an apartment as you would at the general queue. However, you have to be enrolled in a university that is part of the SSCO-network in order to join this queue.
- Start searching early! If you are starting your program at the end of August, you will want to start looking for apartments around April or May. During the summer months a lot of students will be looking for a place to live, so getting ahead of them increases your chances of finding accommodation.
- No answer is also an answer. As the pressure is high, private landlords renting out (parts of) their apartments can get up to hundreds of answers from people looking for accommodation. This means that you will need to be among the first respondents in order to have a chance. If the landlord does not respond to your messages – take no for an answer and search further. With such an overwhelming response, landlords do often not manage to get back to every single person.
- Finding a place to live in Stockholm is hard, but it is even more difficult if you are abroad while trying to. It could be a good idea to move to Stockholm some weeks prior to starting your internship. It is a lot easier for landlords to sign a contract with you if they have met you in real life and get a better sense of who you are. Simultaneously, it can be good for you to get a better overview of the apartment itself and the people who might already live there, especially if you choose to become an inneboende.
- Unfortunately, some people try to take advantage of the housing situation in Stockholm by advertising rooms that they do not own, or that do not even exist. Listen to your gut feeling – if something feels off or too good to be true, then in most cases there is something wrong. Never sign under a contract or pay a fee without having seen the apartment or having called or met with the owner.
- A lot of the advertised accommodations, especially when rented out by private landlords, are published in Swedish. Practice your Swedish or find a Swedish-speaking friend to help you out!