For Parents

Welcome to parents of enrolled and prospective students!

Please consider this page a resource for information and support. For parents of enrolled students, we are always available to discuss any question or concern that arises before or after your student arrives in Stockholm. For parents of prospective students, we want you to know that we are more than happy to talk to you about any questions you might have about our program.

Preparing your student

We value your role in helping us prepare your student for a successful and meaningful study abroad experience. In that spirit, please discuss how your student will manage any pre-existing health or wellness issues while being abroad in Stockholm. Please encourage your student to take responsibility for pre-departure preparations, such as submitting the visa application on-time, meeting all other deadlines, and carefully reviewing informational materials, including our pre-departure reading on culture shock. By “owning” the pre-departure process, your student will feel more confident and capable of managing day-to-day life in Stockholm, especially during the initial weeks when they are likely to experience culture shock.

This New York Times article has additional suggestions for students and parents.

Health and safety

The health and safety of our students is our top concern. As a small program, we are able to provide personalized care for our students. You can read more about the resources we provide on our Health and Safety page. Students receive detailed health and safety information before departure, during orientation, and throughout the term. This information includes instructions for how to visit a doctor, counselor, or psychologist; what do in an emergency; and how to use the health insurance provided by The Swedish Program. We parter with local healthcare providers, including an American doctor in Stockholm who serves as our first point of contact for non-emergencies and can help students with most common issues or refer them to a specialist. Our staff are available at any time to help students with health issues. We ask students to contact us directly with any questions or concerns. However, if you learn about a serious issue of which we are not aware, we urge you to contact our staff in Stockholm directly.

Arrival and homesickness

We give considerable attention to the reality of culture shock. It takes time for students to adjust to a new society and culture. As background to this issue, we require incoming students to read ‘Writing Across Culture: An Introduction to Study Abroad and Culture Shock’ prior to departure. Issues raised in the book are followed up on during Orientation Week.

Students often feel some disorientation soon after arriving in Stockholm. Parents can be surprised when they initially talk to their son/daughter and he or she sounds upset. Please know that such anxiety or homesickness is completely normal. Of course, students who feel this way will, more than usual, stay “connected’ with their friends and family via phone and social media. Ironically, constant contact may only prolong their feelings of disconnection with their new culture. Students are more likely to overcome their initial culture shock when their focus is on the new cultural environment; only then do study abroad students start to gain confidence in their ability to navigate their new society. Please encourage your son or daughter to focus on their adjustment rather than attaching themselves to their phone during the orientation period.

If you believe your son and daughter is having a difficult time adjusting, please urge him or her to reach out to our staff in Stockholm. Of course, you are also more than welcome to call us — either in Stockholm or in the U.S. — if you feel that your son or daughter is experiencing adjustment problems or needs psychological/emotional support for any reason. In such a case, we want you to know that if you call us with information that refers to the well-being of your son or daughter, we cannot hold that information in confidence. Rather, we act on such information by contacting your student and discussing the issue.

Sending mail and packages to Sweden

All mail and packages should be sent to your student’s apartment or host family address. SSE does not accept student mail. Please do not send mail or packages to the school.

Please be aware that any package that your student receives from the US or any other non-EU country will be subject to importation fees, taxes, and delays. This applies to both personal packages (e.g., a care package from your family) and commercial packages (e.g., an order from an online retailer). Additionally, many shipping companies will not deliver the package unless your student is at home to personally receive and sign for it, which can be difficult to arrange. For this reason, we strongly recommend that students pack a semester-long supply of any products that they will need from home. If your student receives a package, please understand that they will be responsible for paying all import fees, contacting the shipping company if needed, and collecting the package. You can find more information about import fees on the website for Tullverket, the Swedish import authority.

In emergency cases, students can request approval from the Head of Administration to ship sensitive documents (e.g., a replacement for a lost passport or credit card) directly to SSE. It is important to make the request before shipping the documents so that the Head of Administration can inform the mail room at SSE to accept the package. Please understand that any packages or mail sent to SSE without prior approval may not be accepted by the mail room, and thus, returned to the sender.

Visiting Stockholm

If you are planning to visit your student in Stockholm, we are happy to provide you with recommended hotels, sights, and restaurants. Click here to download our recommendations.

As you plan your visit, please be aware that we expect students to be present for all academic classes and absence due to travel, including travel with family, is counted as an unexcused absence. If you intend to visit while classes are in session, please plan accordingly.

Student travel

Students are given two weeks of vacation time during which they often opt to travel within Sweden, Europe, or beyond. We hope that students use this opportunity to provide even greater depth to the study abroad experience! Students are provided with safety information including resources for travel warnings, embassies, and general security recommendations. We ask students to provide us with an itinerary for their travels so we can be of best assistance if necessary. As always, the Stockholm staff is available for support 24/7 in case of emergency.

We expect students to be present for all academic classes and absence due to travel, including travel with family, is counted as an unexcused absence. If you plan to travel with your student, please plan accordingly.

Calling Sweden from the US

To call a Swedish phone number from the US, dial 011 + 46 + the Swedish number. Many families choose to communicate with their student via Facetime, Skype, iMessage, WhatsApp, and other free services in order to cut down on costs.

Important resources

Travel alerts and warnings

Find a US embassy or consulate

Contact the Swedish Program in Stockholm

Emergency number for police, fire, and medical emergencies in Sweden: 112