How to apply to the Swedish Institute (SI) scholarship

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Welcome to our second blog on the series of applying to Swedish universities. In this edition, we will go over the application process for one of the most prestigious Swedish Institute (SI) scholarship and hear some practical advice from current scholarship holders in several universities in Sweden. 

Some of the most sought after scholarships in Sweden are the Swedish institute scholarships which include the following list. 

  • Swedish Institute Scholarships for Global Professionals (SISGP)
  • The Swedish-Turkish Scholarship Programme
  • SI Scholarships for the Western Balkan, 
  • The Swedish Institute Scholarships for South Africa (SISSA) and
  • The Visby Programme

This blog post will solely focus on the first Swedish Institute Scholarships for Global Professionals (SISGP).  Before you continue we highly advise you to read the previous blog on this subject, which you can find with this link

The SISGP, a highly competitive scholarship with around 3% acceptance rate, offers 

  • Full tuition fee coverage. The fee is paid directly by SI to your Swedish university at the beginning of each semester.
  • A monthly payment of SEK 12,000 to cover your living expenses throughout the study period.
  • Insurance against illness and accident.
  • A travel grant of SEK 15,000. 
  • Membership in the SI Network for Future Global Professionals (NFGP) – a platform to help you grow professionally and build a network while in Sweden.
  • After your scholarship period has ended, you become a member of the SI Alumni Network. As a member, you get a unique opportunity for continued networking and professional development.

The online application portal will be open between 12 and 28 February 2024. We advise you to prepare all your documents well in advance and stay ready for when the application period begins.

The SI scholarship is open for applications once every year, for master’s studies beginning in the autumn semester. In order to apply you must:

  • Be a citizen of one of the 41 countries that is eligible for the SISGP; 
  • Apply for a master’s programme that is eligible for the SI scholarship;  
  • Be liable to pay tuition fees at University Admissions;  
  • Have demonstrated work experience; 
  • Have demonstrated leadership experience from current or previous employer, or from civil society engagement. 

Let’s see what you need to consider for each eligibility criteria 

1. Country of residence 

Citizens of the following countries are eligible to apply to the SI Scholarship for Global Professionals:

Armenia; Azerbaijan; Bangladesh; Bolivia; Belarus; Brazil; Cambodia; Cameroon; Colombia; Ecuador; Egypt; Ethiopia; Gambia; Georgia; Ghana; Guatemala; Honduras; Indonesia; Jordan; Kenya; Liberia; Malawi; Moldova; Morocco; Myanmar (Burma); Nepal; Nigeria; Pakistan; Peru; Philippines; Rwanda; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Tanzania; Tunisia; Uganda; Ukraine; Vietnam; Zambia; Zimbabwe.

2. Master’s programme eligibility 

The SISGP scholarship covers a wide range of study fields and over 700 of the 1000 English-taught master’s programmes in Sweden. You can find the full list of eligible master’s programmes for 2024/25 here.  

3. Liable to pay tuition fees 

In order to be considered for the SISGP scholarship, you need to be admitted (or conditionally admitted) to an eligible master’s programme by March 21. If you are on the reserve list, you can not be considered for the scholarship and there are no scholarships available for late admissions. Assuming you met these criteria, you are most likely liable to pay tuition fees. You can check who is required to pay tuition fees on this link

4. Work experience

To be eligible for the SI Scholarship you must have work experience.  However you do not have to be employed at the time of application. Valid work experience includes both full-time and part-time employment, for instance as an employee, freelancer or employer. You must be able to prove certification for your work experience by using the pre-structured template provided on the SISGP website.  

Applicants from Ethiopia must have at least 3,000 hours of work experience prior to 11 February 2024. You do not have to meet the requirement within one period of employment. The 3,000 hours must have been accumulated from a maximum of three employers

5. Leadership experience 

Leadership experience involves the experience to lead other colleagues/organizations, mandate to influence the development strategy for the organization you work at, allocate tasks to colleagues and/or have familiarity with decision-making processes.

The leadership experience has no requirement regarding a minimum number of hours. However, priority will be given to applicants with demonstrated strong and relevant leadership experience from employment. You must be able to prove certification for your work experience by using the pre-structured template provided on the SISGP website.

In addition to the above criteria, you need to provide a curriculum vitae, two letters of reference and a motivation letter according to a template provided on the official SI website

 N.B Starting from 2023, selected few candidates were called for a self-recorded timed video interview. 

Now let’s hear the advice and experiences of 2023/24 SISGP scholarship holders from different backgrounds. 

 

 

Dr Yohannes Mengistu Balcha 🇪🇹

Karolinska Institute

LinkedIn

 

I would like to offer advice to prospective applicants for this scholarship. It is crucial to remain focused and dedicated throughout the application process, despite the numerous responsibilities healthcare professionals face. With a clear focus and sufficient time dedicated to the application, one can excel in this scholarship opportunity.

I am very pleased with the scholarship coverage I have received. It has exceeded my expectations by covering the expensive academic fees for my two-year master’s program. Additionally, I receive a sufficient stipend and my health insurance is also covered, which allows me to focus solely on my studies. Furthermore, the support and scholarship community provide various opportunities for engagement that aid in my personal development and growth.

 

 

Nkuncho Giellet Abingwo 🇨🇲

Umea University 

LinkedIn

 

Start preparing your application early, early doesn’t mean a month before. It takes time to contact referees and tell them exactly what you need. 

Use past templates and start organizing your ideas.

Sustainable development goals is the main objective of the whole scholarship program, so always make sure your work or community service is linked to one of the goals. 

It is of high  importance to work with non governmental organizations and community services, it’s alright if you don’t have experience in these domains, you can start volunteering with them as soon as possible. It’s not a must but it is necessary.

The scholarship stipend is very much enough as long as you are not planning to live an extravagant lifestyle in Sweden. Irrespective of the financial disparity between cities, it is very possible to rely only on the stipend for daily living, since the fees are already taken care of completely.

If I knew what I know today, I would have l researched everything that needs to be known about the application process early. 

Exercise patience, if it doesn’t come on the first attempt, be patient and seek advice from those who have been through the process before.

 

 

Dr Kerario Mwita 🇹🇿

Umea University

LinkedIn

 

Motivation letter is key – my motivation letter was sound, It explained what I do, what I have achieved and the impact my work has had in a nutshell, & had a consistent story in Connection to what the referees said

On the proof of work and  leadership experience: show practical related examples using STAR approach backed with statistical numbers and percentages

It is important that your referees elaborate your leadership skills and potentials to contribute to SDG goals with some examples. I have seen that some referees wrote vaguely, not because they are mean but because of cultural differences, I think. In some cultures, being confident may be seen as arrogant, being shy may be seen as polite. When you ask for a recommendation letter or write a motivation letter, think from the western perspective. Be confident, don’t feel bad about promoting yourself. But, be honest!

Make sure, your 1000 characters motivation letter (on the SI Scholarship portal) and two recommendation letters are consistent in telling who you are, what you can do and what you are going to do after your study

I hope these will help you on your journey of application. And, yet, we all need a bit of luck in this level of competitiveness. So, wish you all the best.

 

 

Dr Michael Endale Mengesha 🇪🇹

Umea University

LinkedIn

 

Seek mentorshipScholarship application process can seem complex and daunting. The same is true for the Swedish institute scholarship; atleast at first glance. However, seeking mentorship and finding guidance can help you identify areas of focus and craft your application deliberately to meet the requirements of the program. You use the plethora of information available on the study in sweden website to guide you throughout your application process. In addition, I would also suggest using LinkedIn to search and connect with students who have already passed through the process you are currently going through.

The Swedish institute scholarships are known for their strict rules and formats when it comes to document structuring. You need to pay absolute attention to the details of the requirement and adhere to it since a single mishap could make your efforts fruitless. But, not to panic, the SISGP website will clearly highlight all the steps

Patience is a virtue. Indeed, this holds very true in the scholarship application process as it could take up to a year until all your documents are processed and you finally begin your journey as a student in one of the Swedish universities. Long, late nights could end up with an email-response-waiting frenzy for days, weeks or even more. Keep in mind to never let the cumbersome process discourage you and make sure to consistently apply your best effort in every document you prepare. 

Pro tip- Check your email inbox regularly (including the spam folder)

The Med In Ethiopia team wishes you the best of luck on your pursuit to study in Sweden. Please leave a comment if you have any inquiries and make sure to follow us on all our social media platforms. 

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