Reserapport - KI-student
Lärosäte: La Trobe University
Utbildningsprogram: Barnmorska
Utbytesprogram: INK
Termin: Vårtermin 16/17
Namn: Jenny Gerdin

Innan avresa

First of all, I've always wanted to go to Australia! Secondly, having previous good experiences of studying abroad I felt drawn for another exchange. Thirdly, having the dream of working as a midwife in an English spoken country in the future, I decided to apply for the exchange.


Our midwifery course received information about offered exchange studies through a seminar held by representatives from the Midwifery International Committee (MINC) during the first semester. We were informed that Karolinska Institutet had collaboration with institutions in the Netherlands, Malawi, Australia and USA (Chicago). For more information, please visit the midwifery program’s international website: Since you apply for the exchange studies within the first two weeks during the second semester and given midwifery is a pretty intense education program, I recommend you to commence you application documents either during summer if you start the midwifery in January or in November if start midwifery in August.


I was thrilled knowing I was accepted for an exchange clinical placement in Melbourne, Australia! Even better was that I found out I was going with one of my best friends in my class. We arranged a meeting with the Midwifery Program’s international administrator five months before departure (December). She informed us about previous students’ preparations for their exchange studies; when to departure, where to look for a place to stay etc. We also arranged a meeting a few weeks later with Karolinska Institutets International administrative officer. She completed documents necessary for us to sign off before departure, e.g. Karolinska Institutets travel insurance and the grant from MINC.


Magdalena helped us getting in touch with the responsible staff at La Trobe University in Melbourne (the collaborative university). In late December we received an email from La Trobe that included a lot of information about which requirements were needed before departure. I’ve been trying to summarise these requirements in a list down below, just to facilitate for future students going to Melbourne and The Royal Women’s Hospital. There’s pretty much paper work, so make sure you start in time:


   Apply to La Trobe University

We didn’t have to apply to La Trobe University separately. According to our contact person in Melbourne at the university, the application in Sweden was enough.


         The following vaccinations were required from La Trobe University:

o   Diphteria, Tetanus, Pertussis (dTpa) (no more than 10 years old)

o   Hepatitis B (full course of 3 doses AND serology to confirm antibodies)

o   Hep A (full course)

o   Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR – Full course of 2 doses)

o   Varicella (Chickenpox) or serology confirming immunity

o   Poliomyelitis

o   Tuberculosis (QUANTIferon Gold or or Mantoux Skin Test (=PPD))

o   Influenza


All the above immunisation requirements are to be summarised and signed off by a doctor or Registered Nurse on the La Trobe Univeristy Immunisation and Health Record Form - My advice is to let a doctor or Registered Nurse working where you’ve been vaccinated before to fill out this form, since they have the records in the computer. In order to fill out the form, it’s required that you have some documents from your childhood – contact your BVC or “Skolhälsovård” in order to receive these documents (for example when you received the Poliomyelitis and MMR-vaccinations). I went to City Akuten in Stockholm who helped me with everything. I’d recommend you to complete the vaccinations at least three months before departure. Please read “Economy” for detailed costs.

   Swedish police check

La Trobe Universiyt require a police check (valid from the year you are travelling). You can order it from this website for a cost of 185 Swedish kr:

   Visa and passport

If you travel to Australia you must have a Visa. For a short exchange of five weeks it’s enough with a tourist Visa. It’s for free and is called Subclass 651 – you can apply online on this website: It took me one day to receive my Visa so this is a simple procedure. About your passport, make sure it’s valid at least six months after arriving home again.


Your CPR-certificate must be up to date. I contacted my latest nursing job where I was still part time employed and I could take the course there. Once it’s up to date, make sure the responsible for the course print and sign a document saying you’ve taken the course. La Trobe Univeristy needs a copy of this signed document.

   Working with Children Check

We were told that once arriving to Australia we should complete a Working with children check (WCC) with the help from our contact at La Trobe University. Once in Melbourne, we were told that we wouldn’t be able to commence our clinical practise without this check (a requirement from the hospital). Unfortunately, before heading off we hadn’t received what sort of check this was or what was required in order to complete it. As a result we had know idea that we needed two Australian identification documents to complete the check. Neither knew the staff at the university this. Luckily, instead of WCC we could perform a police check on our orientation day at the hospital. But in the future, please ask the responsible at La Trobe if this WCC really is necessary, or if there’s enough doing a Police check at the hospital as we did (you get more information about this police check from the responsible at the hospital). For the police check there’s only Swedish identification documents necessary.

Ankomst och registrering

Since the flight was 22 hours and given the time difference (9 hours) we decided to arrive in Melbourne four days before introduction. We slept in a hotel at the airport the first night and took a taxi to our apartment the next day. We spent our first days in Melbourne as tourists, strolled in the city and explored the most visited tourist attractions (such as St Kilda Beach, Victoria Market and Yarra River).


On our fifth day we were invited to La Trobe University and we completed the final documents that were necessary before commencing the clinical placement. I felt really welcomed and left with an uplifting feeling. Website La Trobe University, Melbourne:


The next day we had an orientation day (full day) at The Royal Women’s Hospital with two of the midwives taking care of all students at the hospital, both local and international. There was a team of seven midwives (the CSM-team, Clinical Support Midwives) at the Women’s who exclusively were employed to organise students’ clinical placements. The day resulted in a lot of information about the hospital itself and its holistic and respectful approach towards the care of women and their health. The CSM-team also showed genuine interest in our personal goals and objectives and made us feel very welcome! I felt ready for the next day – the start of our clinical placement!

The Melbourne Star - View of Melbourne


Down below is a list of expenses necessary for the exchange:



                         Swedish kronor


Flight tickets   9500 kr ToR


Living  Hotel the first night, 1400 kr/night

              Airbnb-apartment, 10 000 kr/person


Vaccinations  1000-2000 kr

La Trobe University Immunisation

and Health Record Form” – certificate, 550 kr.


Passport 385 kr


Swedish police check 185 kr


Insurance You receive this from KI

(KI has a agreement with Kammarkollegiet when

studying abroad)


Public Transport MyKiCard 8 AUS + minimum 4 AUS/travel


Grants INC: 4500 kr

“Vårdförbundets” travel grant: 3000 kr

“Samfonden barnmorskeförbundet”: 3000 kr

“Stockholm barnmorskestudenters stiftelse": 5000 kr


My expenses in Australia were quite the same as in Sweden, at least when it came to food and public transport. The currency didn’t differ much from Sweden. We had the nearest (and also one of the biggest in Melbourne city) supermarket located a three minutes’ walk from our apartment, which was really convenient. I would say that we held our costs pretty low thanks to buying and cooking all our meals except one or two times a week when we ate out.


We chose to rent an apartment through Airbnb ( because we wanted to live by ourselves, not in a student dorm. Even though this chose probably was a bit more expensive than living in a dorm or renting a place to stay through La Trobe University ( and we could keep our costs down by walking (30 minutes) to the hospital each day instead of using public transport. We also saved money since we could walk to the supermarket instead of traveling by bus or any other transport.

Our Airbnb apartment in Melbourna

Studier allmänt

Midwife studies - Australia vs. Sweden and Karolinska Institutet

To start with, there are three ways of entering midwifery in Australia. First, there’s the combined nursing and midwifery program (four years). Secondly you’re able to enter midwifery if you’re a postgrad, i.e. as in Sweden. You’re already a registered nurse and enter midwifery for a year. Thirdly and at last there’s a straight midwifery program, quite newly introduced.


Seen through a student perspective, there are some differences worth to mention. For example, when you study midwifery in Sweden and at Karolinska Institutet you’re taught suturing, perform fetal scalp electrodes and also artificial rupture of membrane (e.g. with a amniohook). This isn’t included in the Australian midwifery education, which for us going to Australia meant we weren’t able to practise these skills at all. We weren’t allowed to perform them as student. In Australia these skills are learnt the first year as a midwife, but what I saw during my weeks in Melbourne it’s common doctors perform these skills in practise.


The midwifery education in Sweden demands that a student before graduation completes at least 50 births (with a maximum of five cesarean sections) and taking care of at least another 50 women. In Australia the students need 30 normal vaginal births (i.e. no instrumental deliveries or cesarean sections) and another ten complicated deliveries, e.g. these ending with forceps.