One of the items in ‘To do list’ of students, who got scholarship when arrival the country that they would study was open a bank account in order to receive the money.
In both Italy and Sweden, for each bank account, we had to pay monthly fee. I thought this thing was normal in many countries, but I was not familiar with. In Thailand, we did not have to pay the fee for bank account.
According to the Erasmus Mundus Student Handbook, before leaving Italy, I closed my bank account and I would open a new one in Sweden.
To open bank account, one required thing was Swedish Personal Number. To obtain this number, my resident permit had to be valid longer than one year. I would study in Sweden one year. It should be fine, but NOT. One academic year was 10 months, so my resident permit was valid only 10 months.
In short, I could not get the Swedish Personal Number. So, I could not get a bank account!
I contacted the officer at Student Center in order to get support. I told them that the scholarship would be transfer from Spain and I needed a bank account here. They told me that they would find a solution and they would email me back.
One week passed, I got nothing from them.
I tried to contact another officer, Lina. She told me that Student Center informed her and she was finding the solution.
Should she email me informing the progress? I started getting bored with this stuff.
One more week passed, Lina told me that I could not open bank account here. Before I came to Sweden, only one bank had allowed people to open bank account without Swedish Personal Number. But, that bank had just changed the rule. And, students that came to Sweden at the same time as me and studied only one year was the first group who faced this problem.
Finally, Lina told me to use the university account.
I sent an email to the officer in Spain. She told me that she could not transfer money to any account, except the account under my name. She recommended me to use my bank account in Thailand and use Western Union.
Lina agreed. She told me that it was likely to be the best solution.
But, I did not want it. From Euros to Bath and from Bath to Swedish Krona, plus the transfer fee across continent!!!
The officer in Spain gave me another choice which was flying to Spain to open bank account because in Spain, they only needed passport to open bank account.
Finally, I chose the first option. I told the officer in Spain to transfer the money to my account in Thailand.
It was not finished yet!
The officer in Spain sent an email to me that according to the rule, she just realized that she could not transfer money out of Europe. I needed to open a bank account in Europe.
The semester started; I had classes and I did not want to skip them.
One European friend recommended me to open bank account only with a bank in Spain.
I tried, but it required Spain residence permit. Anyway, I found that this bank also had branches in Italy. I decided to try with that one. And I could not open a bank account because my Italy residence permit expired last 2 weeks.
I was tired!!!
Then, I tried to open bank account with a bank in Germany. I could apply it, but I had to identify myself with a bank in Sweden and then, the bank had to submit the document to Germany for me. I went to 3 banks in Sweden, and as expected, no one did it for me. They told me that they could not do it. Well, my German friend told me that a bank officer did it for her because on that day she was about to try in front of the counter. She studied in Sweden for one year and she also struggled to open a bank account.
I just realized that when people here said “I could not do it”, it did not mean like that. They just did not want to do it!
I went back to Lina again and told her the whole story. Lina said sorry to me and she thought I already got a bank account. She looked angry, and she immediately called to a bank in Sweden and told them my story. Within one hour, the bank called her back and told her that I could open bank account with them, but I needed to show them the document that I got scholarship.
So, actually I could open a bank account ?!?!
It was the second time that I understood the meaning of “I could not do it” of people here.
The whole situation was very annoying! It took me two months to get a bank account in Sweden. It was the longest time for me to open a bank account!!!
P.S. My case is like a special case. If you are going to study in Sweden for only a year and you need to open a bank account, I recommend you to try to contact the university officers asking them about this in order to ensure that you will get a bank account or find the solution that fit you before you go to the country.