Intern Abroad

Writing a Master’s thesis in Sweden

October 6th, 2023 | by
  • Business, Economics and Management M.Sc.
  • Sweden, Västerås
  • Scandinavian Real Heart
  • 04/2023 – 09/2023


First, a little context: In addition to my Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on R&D, Production and MedTech, I enrolled in the Business, Economics and Management M.Sc. programme at RWTH Aachen University. In order to wrap up my time at university, I was looking for an opportunity to write a Master’s thesis. Since I had already spent some time abroad for my Bachelor’s thesis, I wanted to dive headfirst into a new adventure. Preferably at a company with an interesting product. As luck would have it, a research assistant friend of mine knew of my ambitions and pointed me to an posting on LinkedIn where a company was looking for a student. I updated my CV, spent some more time refining it, and applied via the company’s homepage. I had my interview and was accepted. Officially, I was an intern there and not enrolled as a student at a university. This is important because it meant I could hardly take advantage of the benefits that Erasmus or Swedish students get.

If you are looking for an internship or a thesis, institutes are a good place to start because they often work with companies or at least are in contact with some. In my experience, research assistants and lecturers are happy to help or guide you if you approach them in a friendly way.

Accommodation and Living expenses:

After spending about six months here, I can say that Sweden was expensive for me. The company is located in Vasteras, an hour’s drive west of Stockholm. I would estimate that the cost of living in Sweden is the same or up to 20% higher than in Germany. However, this is highly seasonal and depends on where in Sweden you are and your standard of living. In addition, wages are lower in comparison. This is due to the non-financial and social benefits that Swedes, and Swedish students in particular, receive. You should always ask for student discounts as they exist in most places.

Although I was offered help with finding accommodation, this was not very successful. Good places to look for rooms or flats are, facebook market place or facebook groups. There you have a good chance of finding an affordable flat. Facebook market places and second-hand shops are also a good way to buy things you need.

It is important to know that Sweden is striving to become cashless.Some places don’t even accept cash and I personally haven’t used it once.For a Swedish bank account, you need a personalised number issued by the government, which might be hard to get if you stay less than a year.The Swedish equivalent to paypal, which is rarely found in Sweden, is called Swish.Most Swedes use it and you can even pay in shops with it.Unfortunately, it must be linked to a Swedish bank account. Make sure you can pay cashless and in Swedish kronor.

Everyday life/internship

I arrived in Sweden in April and stayed until September. There were about 15 full-time employees at the company’s headquarters in Vasteras. Most of them came from all over the world and it was fun to get to know and work with them. Typically, hierarchies in Sweden can be rather flat, so I got to know everyone and the atmosphere was fantastic. I was also introduced to the concept of fika, which are short breaks where you sit together and typically drink coffee and eat the famous cinnamon buns while talking about anything but work. I think that’s something I want to incorporate into my life in the future.

One slightly strange thing I didn’t know is that Swedes take four weeks off during summer, usually in July and August, which meant that I was the only team member in the office most of the time during those months.

Especially in these summer months, people spend a lot of time outside when the sun hardly sets. However, it took some time to get used to the excessive daylight hours. The sun set at 11pm on average and rose again at 3am in early summer. Since it doesn’t really get dark at night, more than once I woke up at 4am thinking I had to get up and go to work, only to find that I still had plenty of time to sleep. This gives you plenty of time to explore the surroundings. Although public transport is good in Sweden, many people walk or cycle in the cities. I highly recommend getting a bike and locking it up. For more exploring, you should either look for a bus or train connection.

Free time/tips

During my stay in Sweden I was very busy, so I spent most of my time either in the city or in Stockholm. I can only speak for the summer time, which is the best time to stay in Sweden according to the locals. If you like nature and exercise, you’ll get your money’s worth. You can do everything here: Hiking, cycling, kayaking, fishing, swimming, camping and much more.

There are many places to visit and weekend trips are a great way to see different towns and parts of the country. There are many Facebook groups you can join to find things to do. If you want to go out to eat, the lunch deals that most restaurants offer are a good and cheap option. I tried a lot of venues this way without breaking the bank. The Highlights for me where the midsummer bonfire, the northern lights and the nearby lake.


I enjoyed my time in Sweden. Since almost everyone speaks fluent English, you don’t have any problems communicating. I learned a bit of Swedish using an app and other resources. Which was fun because it’s very similar to German and English for me. I spent a lot of time outside and had a blast. But there are also some downsides. First, almost everything is expensive, and at least for me, the quality for what you get is not really up to par. Especially on a small budget, this can affect your time in Sweden and limit the options you have. Fresh produce is expensive and the quality and quantity was really lacking for me at times. The same goes for going out. Although Vasteras is one of the biggest cities in Sweden, it feels more like a small town. Depending on what you are looking for, you might be really disappointed. If you want to have a drink, you will also quickly find out that alcohol is very expensive. You can usually only buy it in special shops that close at 6 pm.

Overall, you should inform yourself about what you are getting yourself into. There is a lot of information to find out if Sweden is right for you. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot.

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