One major problem when arriving at a new place is finding all the useful things you need in your everyday life. Here is a list of some things that most people need, as well as some useful stores to visit when you arrive here. Note that you can usually find things cheaper if you buy them online, but then delivery takes at least a few days. Buying online sometimes required a Swedish Social Security number (SSN).
There are two major places to go when buying things in Linköping, the first one is the city center (often referred to as “downtown”) and the second one is the large shopping district Tornby. Generally speaking, the big stores are in Tornby, so Tornby tend to be cheaper if you know where to go. Downtown, however, also host a lot of good stores, and if you are looking to buy clothes then downtown is definently the place to go.
Having a bicycle is essential to getting around Linköping. There are many ways to find one, for second hand bicycles the following are useful:
- Linköping University Notice Board, link
- “International Student Association” on Facebook, link
- “ESN Linköping” on Facebook, link
- Bike shops
There are a wide variety of bike shops offering bikes at different prices. A relatively cheap second hand bicycle usually costs around 400 SEK, though it’s not unusual for shops to sell second hand bikes for 700 SEK. The cheapest new bikes are sold at Biltema for around 1000 SEK.
In case you need to repair your bike, the cheapest quality spare parts are usually found at Biltema in Tornby (map).
If you need to buy a lock for your bicycle, do not buy the cheapest lock you can find! Bike theft is relatively common, and the only way to prevent it is to use a proper lock. When buying a bicycle lock, look for the SBSC mark (picture on the side), it’s a very reliable certification that guarantees that the lock can withstand freezing sprays and bolt cutters. A SBSC lock at Biltema in Tornby or Clas Ohlson in the city (map) costs around 200 SEK. If 200 SEK seems like a lot of money you can find a decent lock at Clas Ohlson (map) for 80 SEK.
It is worth noting that the trust council in Ryd can help you repair your bike in the event it breaks down. They also sell spare parts very cheap, please see www.frryd.se for more details. They also offer bicycles that you can borrow (for free) in case a friend comes visiting.
When it comes to geting a cell-phone, most students staying only one year will get a pre-paid card. If you are staying for a 2-year masters program, getting a contract is usually cheaper.
If you bring a cell-phone from your home country, you can sometimes use the sim-card included in your welcoming package from Linköping University. If that works, you can disregard the rest of this section. However, Japanese cell-phones are usually locked to a specific Japanese operator, and thus most Japanese choose to buy a cell-phone for use in Sweden.
There are several operators in Sweden, and they all tend to be cheap if you call or message people who use the same operator. Last year, most Japanese chose to get telia, since they have a deal where you get a simple smartphone, 1 year worth of mobile phone internet and a pre-paid phone card for around 1000 Swedish crowns. However, you might be able to save money by looking at the alternatives. Also, note that the pre-paid card that comes with the “welcoming package” from the university is from “Comviq”, so if you want to be able to call other students cheaply then it might be good to have Tele2 or Comviq (they are the same company, and thus calling between them is very cheap).
Here is a list of the major mobile phone operators in Sweden:
You can buy and charge a bus card at a variety of kiosks and convenience stores in Linköping. In Linköping, the most commonly used ones includes the bus store at Linköping central station, Pressbyrån City, Pressbyrån Campus Valla and the kiosk in Ryd Centrum. There are also green self service machines in Linköping and Norrköping that lets you charge bus cards, but not buy new cards. Note that the kiosks and convenience stores in Sweden tend to have somewhat bad opening hours, so do not wait until last minute with buying a bus card. When traveling with the card, make sure to get youth tickets if you are 25 years old or younger (the “U” button on the machine in the bus). Note that you can use the bus card with all the Orange buses and trains in Linköping and Norrköping, as well as near cities. You can also use the same card for two people, simply use it once for yourself and then once more for your friend.
Furniture, eating utensils, bed covers, towels etc.
Well, you can probably guess, but IKEA is your place to go. They also serve a Swedish meat ball plate for only 19 Swedish crowns every weekday (Monday to Friday) in their restaurant. This makes for very affordable meal when you arrive here and haven’t had time to cook that much, since most restaurants in Sweden charge around 60 Swedish crowns for a meal.
Map to IKEA, Tornby
The rice cookers sold in Sweden tend to be much simpler than the typical Asian ones. Before you buy one, make sure one of your corridor mates doesn’t already have one. If they do, you can usually borrow theirs when they don’t use it. The most affordable rice cooker we know of is the ones found at Jula in Tornby and at Clas Ohlson in downtown Linköping. It costs 299 Swedish crowns and can boil up to 1,5 litres of rice, which is more than enough for most occasions. Of course, there are lots of more expensive ones around, so if you’re ready to pay a lot of money you can find better ones.
Travel backpack or suitcase
When traveling, you will need a bag that suits your needs. Depending on where you go and how you go there your requirements might differ, but generally you can find the cheapest bags at the following stores:
Note that XXL is a sports and wild-life store, so they mainly sell hiking and sports bags. The other two sells all kinds of bags, among many other things.
One of the hardest things to buy for a good price in Sweden is electronics. Generally speaking, buying electronics online is a lot cheaper than in stores, but there are exeptinons. You can buy cheap cables (network cables, speaker cables etc) at Biltema, Jula and Webhallen.
There are several big electronics stores in Linköping:
For some Apple products you can get a 5% student discount if you buy through Apples student store online. For information about how you can use student discounts, please inquire at the main Student Service Desk in Linköping (Zenit) and in Norrköping (Kåkenhus).
Most students living in Ryd go to Hemköp to buy their groceries, however, you can save a lot of money by going to different stores and by getting their membership cards. For most stores, the membership is free, but it requires a Swedish Social Security Number (SSN, sometimes incorrectly refered to as a “personal number” or “p-number”).
Here is a list of grocery stores with membership benefits, for more detailed information, see the Asian groceries in Sweden page.
- Hemköp – Hemköp Card
- Willys – Willys+ mobile phone application
- ICA Maxi – ICA Card
- Coop Forum – Coop MedMera card (100 Swedish crowns deposit, you can get it back when you leave)
For some activities you might want to buy some sports equipment. Since most international students don’t plan on staying more than a year, buying expensive equipment might not be interesting. Thus, here we outline where you can buy cheap sports equipment.
- Stadium (City, map; Tornby, map)
- Stadium Outlet (Tornby, map)
- XXL (Tornby, map)
- Inter Sport (City, map; Tornby, map)
- TEAM Sportia (Tornby, map)
Here are some examples of what some products cost at cheapest, if you plan on doing something more than once it is highly recomended to not buy the absolutely cheapest products, but this might still give some insight to what you might need to pay minimum for the products:
- Flying disc/Frisbee – 19 SEK at Jula and XXL
- Beach volleyball – 119 SEK at Biltema, 89 SEK at XXL
- Ice skates – 399 SEK at Stadium (Winter only)
- Badminton set (2 racket + 2 balls) – 60 SEK at Jula
- Tennis racket (3 available sizes) – 149 SEK at Biltema
- Soccer ball – 39 SEK at Jula and Rusta
- Table tennis set (2 rackets + 3 balls) – 99 SEK at Jula
- Basketball – 99 SEK at Stadium
Note that Stadium Outlet is an outlet store, that is to say they sell items that are either out of season or from last year extra cheap. So if you go looking for a beach volleyball in the winter or a pair of ice skates in the summer, that’s your place to go.
Also note that you can usually get help with pumping soccer balls and volleyballs at gas stations, so if you are in Ryd, Circle K in Ryd is your place to go.
Linköping has limited shopping opportunities compared to Asia, especially for what in Sweden is considered to be unusual sizes. As a guideline, average height for Swedish men is 181,5 cm and 166,8 cm for women, and many Asians have a hard time with Swedish clothes being too wide at the shoulders or having too long sleeves. We recomend you simply go to the city center and check out the stores, and hopefully can find something that fits you. It might also be good to know that bigger cities like Stockholm might offer better shopping opportunities for Asians.