Professionals offer revealing career advice to Stockholm International School students

Did you know what you wanted to do with your life when you were 14 years old? Maybe – but probably not. But luckily students at Stockholm International School get career guidance from international CEOs, UN committee board members, foreign ministry officials, entrepreneurs, and more.

Professionals offer revealing career advice to Stockholm International School students
Students enjoy career day at Stockholm International School

When you’re in 8th grade, it’s hard to imagine what you’ll be doing when you’re 30.

For anyone growing up in an international family, it’s not just a question of what to do, but also where to do it.

The opportunities – and challenges – that come with an international career are common themes for the young people studying at Stockholm International School.

And every year they have the opportunity to hear first-hand advice and inspiration from an impressive range of speakers at the school’s annual Career Day.

“How many of you would like a job where you work and travel in seven different countries, across four continents?” asks Hans Vestberg, former CEO of Swedish telecom giant Ericsson, at the school’s most recent Career Day in March 2017.

Almost every hand in the audience shoots up.

But knowing exactly what they want to do in those seven countries can be a bit more challenging.

“When I was in the 8th grade all I wanted to do was play sports,” Vestberg admits. “I never imagined I’d be CEO of a big international company.”

Hans Vestberg speaks to Stockholm International School students at Career Day

He goes on to tell how his first job after high school was as a nightclub janitor, eventually becoming manager of the whole establishment.

“That’s when I started thinking – hey, I’m good at this, maybe this is what I can do. I can manage people,” he says.

It’s that sort of insight and honesty – from a global CEO no less – that sets Stockholm International School (SIS) apart from other schools in the Swedish capital.

Founded in 1951, SIS is the longest-standing international school in Stockholm and delivers international curricula to students from preschool to grade 12. With a school community representing more than 60 nations, there is a strong focus on global citizenship and developing students who are valued, challenged and prepared.

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In addition to Vestberg, students attending SIS Career Day 2017 also heard speakers from the US, Canada, Italy, Finland, Greece – including diplomat and lawyer Joran Bjällerstedt, Telia CEO Hélène Barnekow, Ambassador Faith Radebe, and investor Johan Stael von Holstein.

Vestberg is now an internationally known businessman, Chairman of the Swedish Olympic Committee, and board member of the UN Foundation – none of which seemed like obvious career paths when he was a sports-crazed teenager uncertain about his future.

“His description of his uncertainty of his career at my age was easy to relate to, which added to my interest of his career story,” 10th grader Leo H. tells Stockholm International School student newspaper the Quirky Quibbler of Vestberg’s speech .

Career Day 2017 speaker Madhuri Gogineni, an Indian-American woman now working at Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm, also stresses that uncertainty is normal for young people considering their career.

“I knew very early that I wanted to be a doctor – but I actually think it’s kind of crazy to ‘know’ what you want this early,” she says.

Gogineni was inspired when she visited India with her family as a child, and she watched her uncle, the village doctor, work.

“He wasn’t a doctor 9 to 5 – he was a doctor every minute of his life. People trusted him with all their problems.” Gogineni recalls. “I found his existence, his passion, and his role inspiring.”

Madhuri Gogineni shares career reflections with Stockholm nternational School students

Gogineni spent as much time as possible around healthcare after that, to make sure it was her calling.

“I volunteered and did research, all in an attempt to make sure I was making the right decision,” she says. “If you’re curious about something, shadow a professional and see if it really is something for you.”

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After a day of listening to dozens of professionals – from football coaches to journalists to ambassadors – the students felt inspired to find their own passions and shape their own career paths.

“We need to work hard and be committed – but it is useless if we don’t enjoy what we are doing,” concludes 10th grader Giordan Y, according to the Quirky Quibbler.

Of course, the emerging leaders currently enroled at SIS still have plenty of time to figure things out.

And the school, with its wealth of academic and career development opportunities, can help make the process a smooth one and ensure students are on the right track by the time they graduate – a theme that emerges in Gogineni’s message to SIS students.

“You don’t need to know in high school what you want to be when you grow up,” Gogineni says. “But you should start finding what sort of environment you thrive in. I encourage everyone to go to international school – and explore as much as possible.” 


This article was produced by The Local Client Studio with additional reporting by the Quirky Quibbler and sponsored by Stockholm International School.

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How much does it cost to rent an apartment in Stockholm?

The cost of renting an apartment directly in Stockholm has risen over the last year, but the price of sublets is stable or falling. Here's how much you can now expect to pay in Sweden's biggest city.

How much does it cost to rent an apartment in Stockholm?

Sweden’s housing market is tightly controlled, with rents from the big private and municipal landlords set in negotiations with the Swedish Tenants’ Association, or Hyresgästsförening. Subletting rents – theoretically at least – are supposed to cover the costs of the apartment without making a profit.

So far this year, the hikes agreed with the Tenants’ Association have been well below the headline rate of inflation, meaning rents are falling in Sweden in real terms. The latest statistics on sublets, meanwhile, indicate that, in many areas, rents have been falling even in nominal terms – without being adjusted for inflation.

“In the wake of economic crisis, interest rate hikes and inflation, more and more Swedes are seeing the need to rent out part or all of their property,” explained Fredrik Strömsten, chief executive of Qasa, which runs Blocket’s property listings site, in a report in April.

There had, he said, been an “explosive increase in the number of sublets”. 

How much does it cost to rent an apartment in Stockholm directly? 

The most recent rental numbers from Statistics Sweden data back to the end of 2022.

These show that while upmarket areas like Östermalm and Södermalm are the most expensive areas to rent in, so-called “first-hand apartments” (apartments rented directly via the municipality’s housing queue) there are only about a third more expensive than much less desirable areas of the city. 

These rates, however, give quite a misleading idea of the real cost of living in these parts of the city.

With queues for rental apartments in these areas running to longer than ten years, most foreigners coming to the capital are unlikely to ever get a chance to rent at such rates, and we’ll get to that further down in the article.

Nonetheless, rents across Sweden are rising more slowly than inflation and Stockholm is no exception. According to Hem & Hyra, the news site run by the Tenants’ Association, the big private and municipal landlords proposed hiking rents by an average of 9.04 percent at the start of the year, but by the end of February the Tenants’ Association had managed to bargain this down to 4.22 percent.

So if you’re lucky enough to get to rent an apartment directly from a municipal or private landlord, you can expect to pay about 5 percent more than the numbers in the table above. 


What are rents like outside central Stockholm? 

If you decide to live outside central Stockholm, rent can be considerably cheaper, but it can also more expensive if you live in the desirable municipalities such as Täby, which is home to the Danderyd area where many of Stockholm’s richest have their villas.  

How much does it cost to sublet an apartment in Stockholm? 

As a foreigner coming to Sweden, you are much more likely to end up subletting an apartment, using sites like Blocket or The Local’s own rental platform

Although Sweden’s rental rules are designed to prevent subletting for profit, in reality you will often find yourself paying a hefty premium.

But according to the most recent statistics from Blocket and Qasa, sublet rents are stable or falling as cash-strapped renters are forced to sublet rooms or their entire apartments.

The number of sublet announcements on their platform for Stockholm was 78.8 percent higher in the first three months of this years than it was in the first three months of 2022.

As you might expect, sublets in Norrmalm, Östermalm and Södermalm are the priciest, going for roughly double what you would pay for directly leasing an apartment in these areas.