Higher Education in North America
The United States and Canada have similar higher education systems. In the first year of higher education, students take so-called freshman courses that are designed for beginners in post-secondary education. As an exchange student, in order to receive credits for your studies abroad we recommend you to take courses within your discipline.
It is important to know that in the United States and Canada, students take several courses (usually 4–5) at the same time. Student performance is assessed via papers and written tests throughout the semester, and each course often ends with a comprehensive so-called final exam.
Courses at US and Canadian universities are usually worth 3–4 credits each, and a course load of 15 credits per semester corresponds to 30 Swedish higher education credits. If you are a Master’s student and take courses at this level, a course load of 12 credits corresponds to 30 Swedish higher education credits. If you are a Master’s student but take courses at the Bachelor’s level, a course load of 15 credits corresponds to 30 Swedish higher education credits.
Students need strong English skills to be able to study in North America. Some universities require a passing score on a standardised test of English as a foreign language (TOEFL or IELTS). For more information, see under each respective university below. If you want to apply to a university that requires a TOEFL or IELTS score, we recommend that you register for a test as early as possible as seats are limited and often fill up quickly.
It's important to be aware that studying abroad in the USA and Canada can be expensive, so you should start looking for scholarships as soon as possible if you're offered a spot.
For exchanges in the USA, the following costs are usually applicable: English language tests such as TOEFL or IELTS (approximately 3,500 SEK), visa (approximately 6,000 SEK), insurance (between 6,000 and 10,000 SEK), as well as any additional minor fees for using services at the partner university. Exchange programs in Canada tend to be slightly less expensive because the visa is not as costly, and it's common for partner universities to accept the insurance you have from the University of Gothenburg. Otherwise, living costs such as accommodation and food are somewhat more expensive than in Sweden.
For studies in the USA, a Financial Statement is required to demonstrate that you have the financial resources necessary to sustain yourself in the country. Such a statement is often submitted alongside your application for a residence permit. Some universities may also require you to provide a Financial Statement when applying for admission to exchange studies.
A Financial Statement can, for example, be a certificate from CSN (the Swedish Board of Student Finance) if you have applied for financial aid for studies abroad. It can also be a bank statement confirming that you have assets, such as your parents certifying that they are responsible for your support.
Information about scholarships for studies abroad is available here.