Monday, September 2, 2013

The road to Stockholm..

Leaving Sri Lanka for my second year of studies at KTH, I realized, how the time flew fast. On the 16th of August 2013, I reached Stockholm. This was after a break of 1.5 months in Sri Lanka for the summer. I had some Euros with me, which I wanted to convert to SEK, when I reached the Arlanda Airport North (ARN).

I am staying at Kista student apartments, which is on top of the Kista Galleria, close to KTH Kista campus, where we will have most of our lectures. Unlike Lisbon, reaching our apartments or the city centre from the Arlanda Airport is not that economical. Taxi is pretty much expensive. First I bought the SL travel card for 20 SEK, which also costs 790 SEK per month for the monthly allowance, without the student card (they didn't accept the Portuguese Student card, and they require a Swedish card, where we are yet to receive our KTH Student card).

Airport Express and Coaches
I have tried multiple travel options to reach the airport, and reach the apartment from the airport, during my stay in Stockholm for the past few days. First I used the airport coach Flygbussarana, which accepted my Portuguese Student card and gave me the student discount. So this was an economic option, as I was able to reach the central metro/train station in 50 minutes for 79 SEK (When I checked again in the October, I was told that the student discount is no more offered to the airport shuttles even with the Swedish student card. So I had to pay 99 SEK.). These tickets can easily be bought from both the airport and the T-Centralen central metro station from the airport shuttle ticket machine.
From the T-Centralen, the central metro station, I took the metro blue line leading towards Akalla, and got off at Kista. Similarly I tried the airport express train to go to the airport on the 23rd of August, from the central station. They didn't accept my Portuguese student card as an international student card. So I had to pay 260 SEK, which is pretty expensive. With the KTH student card (or any other international student card that is in the acceptable format - that is, a smart student card. :D), you will receive a 50% discount on the fare. This is the fastest option, as it lets you reach the Arlanda North (ARN) station in 20 minutes. ARN consists of the terminal 5 International Terminal, and Arlanda South (ARS) consists of the other terminals.

There is also another airport coach from Flygbussarana that goes directly from Arlanda Airport to Kista/Sundbyberg/Bromma Airport. You can get down at Jan Stenbecks torg bus stop and walk towards the Kista apartments. I have never tried this option myself - somehow missed it. (Thanks Shelan for the update. :) )

Public Transport
It is also possible to use the public transport to Kista from the airport, which I tried on my way back to the apartment on the 27th of August. With the SL card, this will be free, as we are using  the public transports. Just go to the bus terminal 15 at the airport, and go to Märsta station by the bus number 583 that operates between Märsta station and Halmsjön. At Märsta station you can take the commuter train to Helenelund, and from there Kista is in a walking distance, and can also be reached by the bus 523 or 603.

Student status letter, indicating I have been admitted to a Swedish University and Insurance Document were sent by the university, as early as the mid of March. We also received the student agreement, stating that we will receive the scholarship to cover our expenses in Sweden. Information regarding the Swedish residence permit is found at the EMDC website.

Residence Permit
We applied for Swedish residence permit online from Lisbon in March itself. Since we already have the visa to enter Schengen region, we didn't have to provide our biometric data (finger prints and the photograph) from Lisbon or from our home country (Since Sri Lanka doesn't have a Swedish Embassy, I would have to go to New Delhi for this, otherwise). Rather, we provided them once we reached Stockholm. The residence permit to be sent to our address in Stockholm.

Migration Board
Reaching the migration board is pretty easy, from the central station T-Centralen. Just take the commuter train to Solna. However, as we are staying in Kista, we rather took the metro to Solna Centrum, and then bus 502 that leads towards Ulriksdals Station and get off at Pyramidvagen. Appointment should be made prior online, for the biometrics data, and it takes just 5 minutes. Once you have booked the appointment, it is easy to cancel or change the appointment to another date or time.

Receiving Letters
Make sure to check your names in the post boxes when you reach Kista Galleria apartments. If your name is not posted on the right post box, they will return the letter, even if the address is entered right in the post. That also means, if you want to receive a letter for someone else, they must put your name as c/o. My first receipt for the rent payments returned, as my name was not posted correctly on the postbox. So I had to ask the KTH student apartments to resend it after posting my name in the appropriate post box.

Weekly Posts
As I did from Lisbon, I hope to keep the blog updated with the information on my stay at Stockholm. This post comes with the information specific to how I reached my apartment from the airport and applied to the Swedish visa, where the "weekly posts" will follow up in the other posts. You may also like to read "The road to Lisbon", which discusses the visa application process to Lisbon.

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