Exchange report - Student at KI
Home university: La Trobe University
Study programme: Midwifery
Exchange programme: INK
Semester: Autumn semester 2016/2017
Name: Johanna Serreau
Email address:


I was raised in France but the education system there did not allow me to achieve my dream of becoming a midwife so I decided to first study to become a nurse in Paris and then move to Sweden, my mother's birth country, to reach my goal. After having taken that step I felt I was ready to face another thrilling challenge. I saw the exchange as an opportunity to discover other cultures and countries’ ways of thinking. I believe that interacting with professionals and patients from other parts of the world is very rewarding as it leads to an open-mindedness which is hard to reach in other ways. I thought it would give me perspective and help me to question myself continuously in order to be a better caregiver. I would have many various techniques and points of view to refer to in my future professional practice. 

I got nominated for an exchange with La Trobe University in Melbourne, for a placement of 5 weeks at Mercy Hospital for Women. The international administrator at KI sent me all the information I needed to get started with my preparation, and was available if I had any questions. Once the partner university had accepted my appliance too I got more information from the international administrator there. 

We had a seminar at KI, prior to departure, with all the students who were going on exchange within the next weeks. We were taught about cultural differences and given important information about what to expect from our exchange. It felt like a good introduction to this adventure.  

The documents I had to gather before departure for the University were: 

- A Police Check 

- A Senior Level 2 First Aid Certificate, and a certificate of CPR kept up to date 

- An Immunisation and Health Record Form with my vaccinations kept up to date (Hepatitis B with a serology, Hepatitis A, Varicella or proof that I have already had varicella when younger, Diphteria Tetanus & Pertussis, Polio, Measles, Mumps & Rubella, a Tuberculosis Test, Influenza vaccine). As a KI student, with an extract from Ladok, it is possible to get vaccines for free at CityAkuten Vaccination & Resemedecin, Holländargatan 4, Stockholm. 

I also had to get a Visa. There are many different sites that offer Visas at different costs... I chose to look on The Australian Government department of Immigration and Border Protection site which is an official site that gives you access to a Visa FREE of charge (eVisitor subclass 651) given that you study for less than three month i Australia ( 

Arrival and registration

I was supposed to start my internship on a monday and was suggested to come to the hospital the thursday or friday before to get an introduction and a tour of the hospital, which was initially impossible for me as we were planned to have courses in Sweden until the friday prior to the start of the practice. After a discussion with both universities I was able to leave Sweden on the wednesday, missing three days of school which I caught up when I came back, and arrived in Melbourne thursday evening (30-35 hours travel and 10h time difference). The next morning I went to La Trobe univesity to get a tour on campus and some information from the coordinator at La Trobe International Services. I then met the responsible for the post-graduate midwifery courses at La Trobe. She helped me fill in my application for Working with Children Check, which is necessary if you want to work with children in Melbourne. We checked that all my documents were in order before she drove me to the Mercy Hospital for Women to meet the clinical placement coordinator. The coordinator took me on a tour of the hospital to see the different units I would practice in. Thanks to this day of introduction I felt less stressed when I came for my first day of placement on the next monday. I knew who I could ask for information and were to go. 


I would recommend following the links mentioned in "Departure" for vaccination, Visa, etc, as those extra costs can make a great difference in the end. Take your plane tickets as soon as you can and contact the universities on both sides to see how flexible they are with the dates and if it is possible to take a flight on a cheaper date. 

I personally let go of my apartment in Stockholm while I was away as I knew I was ready to move to a new place when I got back. This way I avoided paying two rents at the same time. Choosing a place to stay that is a bit outside of the city centre can prove to be cheaper, but it all depends on how long you are willing to travel every day to the hospital/university and what extra activities you have planned for your free time. 

For the food it is often easier and cheaper to go with the local products rather than desperately searching for what you are used to eat at home. It is a great opportunity to discover the countries specialties! 

KI can give financial aids to students studying abroad. I asked for financial support from MINC, Samfonden för Barnmorskestuderande i Stockholm and Stockholms Barnmorskestudenters stiftelse. It covered a great part of my expences. 


I was suggested to contact La Trobe Residential Services for accomodation ( They can offer rooms, depending on the availability, on or close to the Campus. After contacting them I realised I preferred to find an accomodation on my own closer to the city and preferably with other people as I was travelling on my own and yearned to meet Aussies and do some sightseeing in my free time. 

Airbnb is a good option as there is a wide range of offers in all parts of the city and for different budgets (though rarely for low budgets). 

I was also suggested to check on Gumtree ( 

In the end I searched in the Facebook group "Svenskar i Melbourne" and found a swedish girl who wanted to rent her room out for a few weeks in a shared flat with two australian young men. It was probably the best choice of my whole trip. I ended up having a very good time with them, learning to know their culture, having the best touristguides I could have dreamed of, and most of all I made very good friends. 

Studies in general

For impressions about the studies and my time in Melbourne, feel free to read my blog:

Courses during the exchange period

Courses corresponding to semester 3 at KI
I had no theoretical course during my exchange as it only was an exchange for practice at a hospital.

Language and Culture

I did not find it particularly difficult to make my placement in English. The midwives were very understanding and explained for me if I didn't understand a word. Their accent was a little bit complicated to catch the first days but I feel like I got used to it pretty quickly. 

Leisure time and social activities

There were possibilities for activities through the International Student Services, but I felt like they were more for students who were taking courses on Campus. As I was staying for a short amount of time I did not have time to enroll in such activities. The midwives and coordinators at the hospital gave me great advice on things to see though. I travelled around with my Tourist guidebook.


It was a fantastic experience! I met very nice people who taught me their way of living. I learned a lot about different practices through the placement at the hospital. I felt like I could compare with the practices in Sweden and take the best of the two ways. I now feel more confident and more spontaneous. I can relate to things I have seen and done instead of only referring to what I learned at school.