Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: Monash University
Study programme: Medicine
Exchange programme: INK
Semester: Spring semester 2010/2011
Name: Fern McAllan
Email address:

Arrival and registration

I was met at the train station by someone from Global Friends with the keys to my room, which was a huge help. Getting settled into travelling around in Stockholm was quite easy and the student from GF was able to answer some of the basic questions I had. The introduction to other exchange students and Sweden provided by KI (and the Global Friends events) were quite helpful.

I arrived with some time before my courses started so I could get settled in and found this to be really helpful.


As advised by KI, I applied for a room through UAC. I stayed in Pax, a convenient location with lots of exchange students around. It was easy to get to KI and to the different hospitals I needed to, as well as being close to the city centre and shops. The people I met on my corridor were great, although none had similar courses to myself.

When I arrived I bought some decent curtains and as the kitchen on my floor had very little in it I needed to buy most of my own kitchen things. The room was adequately furnished and a good size, but the communal areas weren’t always particularly clean.

Leisure time and social activities

Global Friends organised lots of events which were a great way to meet people and a good role model to organise our own dinners etc. Pax was also a great place to meet lots of exchange students. I found that most of the Swedish students were friendly, but tended to keep to their own social circle outside university.


I applied for KI because of the fantastic reputation of the Swedish healthcare system and because I was interested in going on exchange. The information provided by KI and Global friends before my departure was good. I was well informed regarding what I would need to do to apply for a visa and accommodation etc. This was all a relatively smooth process. All of the vaccinations required were already covered by the Australian system.

Advice on where to find the exchange reports before I arrived would have been useful, as no students from Monash were available to talk to about the courses I did.

Courses during the exchange period

D10X01 : Clinical medicine-emphasis on reproduction and development
This course was predominantly practical, with one week of lectures before each half and a day of lectures each week but otherwise time on the wards or in clinics. It was divided into half paediatrics and half women’s health (obstetrics and gynaecology), but examined together in a written and OSCE format at the conclusion of the course. I found the majority of the doctors to be very welcoming and happy to teach. I found the practical part of the paediatrics course quite tough due to the language barrier, therefore it is challenging to practice clinical skills in this population. This was much less of an issue in obstetrics and gynaecology. The teaching (lectures and seminars) to support the time with patients was useful and tended to cover key points although a reasonable amount of self-directed learning is expected to supplement this (as reflected in the written exam). Some of the most beneficial clinical experiences were the days/ half days spent with the clinical teachers, for example in the paediatric emergency department or a gynaecology clinic. Some more practical time for paediatrics would have been beneficial, as would more directed teaching, ideally in a bedside format although more seminars could also be valuable. Overall, the similarities to Australian clinical teaching outweighed the differences.
2XX001 : Sexual and reproductive health in a global perspective
This was my short elective course. It was an interesting broadening experience and had students from a variety of backgrounds (midwifery, public health, human rights, medicine). The structure of the course was to have two presenters per day, allocated approximately three hours each. The assessment consisted of writing a brief literature review and producing a poster from this. Overall an interesting course and topics I wouldn’t otherwise have been exposed to in such depth in my course.


I really enjoyed my exchange at KI and learnt a lot. I’ve also made some fantastic friends that I am looking forward to keeping in touch with. Although the language made some of the clinical activities quite challenging I still feel that I have gained a lot from my exchange and would happily do it again.

Language and Culture

I did the beginner’s Swedish course, as organised for us by KI. I found it really helped me to be able to recognise the gist of conversations going on around me in the hospital and to be able to ask targeted questions about the consultation. The course sometimes progressed quite quickly over language concepts, especially as I've not learnt another language before, but overall it was valuable.

Studies in general

Overall, I learnt a lot during my courses at KI. I found that I generally felt welcome amongst the staff on the wards during my clinical placements and the doctors were always open to students asking questions. The benefit I got out of my clinical time increased as I started to understand a little more of the Swedish being spoken around me. The relationships on the ward were a little different to what I was used to - doctors on the wards tend not to ask questions of medical students (exchange or local) and ward rounds are much more inclusive of the nurses.

The integration between the theory and practical in one of my courses was fantastic, whereas the other was purely theoretical.