Frequently Asked Questions: Stockholm Internships

Q\ What is the general purpose of the DIS internship program?

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 some times, and short hours at other times. The peak seasons fluctuate from one department to another and you will help with tasks outside your key work area.

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.

DIS Internship Objectives include:

  • First-hand experience in a challenging international work environment
  • Further develop your organization, management, leadership and communication skills
  • Enhance critical thinking and creative problem solving skills
  • Develop project work skills
  • Challenge your assumptions

Your overall role at DIS:

  • Assist DIS faculty and fellow staff with daily operation 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
  • Set the highest standards for yourself and your work
  • Seek to be a giver in the broader societal sense

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, has a living stipend attached 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-months 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. 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 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 an internship to work on arrival days in 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, for certain occasions you are welcome to dress up and don’t forget your cold weather gear!

Finances

Q\ Do interns receive a stipend?

Yes, interns receive a monthly stipend of 14.500 SEK before taxes, which averages to approximately 10.000 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. Renting a room in the city should cost ca. 5000 SEK per month including utilities. That will leave you around half of your salary for other expenses, which is 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?

What about taxes from my home country? Yes, you pay Swedish taxes. For interns living in the Stockholm municipality, approximately 30-32% of each month’s pay will be automatically deducted.

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 STO, but you still have to file. You can get the necessary tax forms at the U.S. Embassy or download them online. Much 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.

Benefits

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.

More information about the Swedish national health insurance can be found here.

In addition to the Swedish national health insurance, DIS provides interns an additional benefit of a 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 an 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).
What about vacation? You will have 27 days of paid vacation for a 13-month contract, and 31 days of paid vacation for a 15month 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 and adventure trips. 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.

Logistics

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 from DIS’ side 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 2000 (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 1200 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 obtaining biometrics at Swedish Embassy.

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 a future intern has signed the contract it is encouraged that you start to look for an airfare 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.

Please note that the Swedish visa rules are often subject to changes. However, DIS will be fully updated on any new regulations and requirements by the time a candidate is offered a position.

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 in 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. Depending on what you are looking for, several queues might come in handy:

  • Bostadsförmedlingen Stockholm is the name of 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 apartment 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.

There are ways to avoid the queueing system all together, 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:

  • 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. 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.
  • 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. And hey, maybe you could even agree with a house owner to rent the apartment for a longer period of time for a discounted price?

General tips

  • Start searching on time! If you are starting your programme 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 programme. 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 who you are. Simultaneously, it can be good to 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 their advantage from the housing situation in Stockholm by advertising rooms that they do not own, or that do not even exist. Our advice is to 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 skills or find a Swedish-speaking friend to help you out!