Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: University of Minnesota
Study programme: Medicine
Exchange programme: INK
Semester: Autumn semester 2011/2012
Name: Elizabeth Bard
Email address:

Arrival and registration

The arrival arrangements went alright although I missed scheduling a meeting with the student coordinator which would have been helpful to have had early on in my time in Sweden. Meeting with the student health center went well although I had to reschedule since I didn't have my KI card prior to my appointment. 


I applied for housing through the UAC and I thought it worked out quite well although I wasn't quite sure what type of housing to apply for. I was conveniently located near the hospital in which I was doing clinical rotations. I thought the accommodation was clean and very adequate for my needs and the price was reasonable. The only difficulty I had was arranging to make my rent payments. I would have liked to pay for my entire stay all at once. The hours of operation for the rent payment center were difficult to coordinate with my rotation schedule. I did like being with other international students.

Leisure time and social activities

I did not participate in any organized social activities. Part of this was my own fault for not pursuing Global Friends more actively. I was not included in the emails for Global Friends and therefore did not know about any ongoing social activities. I did make some Swedish friends with people I worked with at the hospital.


I decided to delay graduation from the University of Minnesota Medical School by one year in order to spend 9 months doing exchange elective rotations in 3 countries around the world: Sweden, India, and Uganda. I wanted to learn more about the variety of health care systems in addition to gaining more clinical experience to help me choose a medical specialty. The KI and the University of Minnesota have a strong relationship of medical student exchange and the program came highly recommended from past medical students. I also wanted to see a form of socialized medicine and how that was implemented in practice. The exchange information provided to me by KI was very thorough. My only regret is that I didn't meet with my international student coordinator earlier and pursue the Global Friends program more actively. 

Courses during the exchange period

ELAXX6 : Surgery 1
The operating theater was quite slow during my rotation due to the change in the electronic medical record system that the hospital was undergoing at the time of my rotation. I did not get to scrub in on as many surgeries as I would have liked. I did enjoy getting to spend time on the anesthesia service and the urology service. I would have liked to have had some formal lectures for the general surgery portion as well as some objectives for material we were expected to be competent in at the time of the rotation completion. My mentors were excellent in including me in discussion and conducted rounds in English as much as possible for my benefit. I would have liked to have spent more time in the emergency ward when things were slow on the wards or not much was happening in the operating theater. I think the course broadened my knowledge of surgical practices worldwide and allowed me to experience some different ways of practicing surgery. I would have liked some more dedicated time for self study and to work on my patient case report.
ELA005 : Internal Medicine 1
Internal medicine was very well organized and I enjoyed my time on this service quite a lot. I was very much included in the treatment discussions of patients and much effort was made to conduct rounds in English for my benefit. I liked having the bedside rounds once a week and also enjoyed the lectures during the week that there were not bedside round patients that were comfortable enough with English. I also liked having an afternoon off each week for self study and to work on my patient report. The case report was a good way to complete the course and very appropriate for my experience level in internal medicine. My only suggestion is to make sure that the mentor a student is assigned to is comfortable with English and comfortable in attempting to do as much of rounds as possible in English or at the very least taking the time to translate. When this was not done, it really took away from the rotation.


I really enjoyed my exchange at the KI and would definitely do it again. The only things that would have helped enhance my experience would have been meeting with the student coordinator earlier and getting involved with Global Friends.

Language and Culture


Studies in general

I was not quite sure what the expectations were of me as a medical student. I would have liked to have had this made a little more clear for me prior to arrival. My home institution connected me with a Swedish student via email who had spent some time in Minnesota and I was able to get some information from him. Otherwise, I was quite unsure of what the expectations were and I think my supervisors were not sure what to expect of me either. I got along very well with all of my supervisors/mentors and enjoyed getting to know them professionally and personally. Interactions with patients were difficult as most were not comfortable speaking in English. I was more an observer than an active participant in patient care although this was somewhat mentor-dependent. Some mentors were great about finding ways to involve me and others were less so. I didn't have any theoretical coursework while in Sweden and I think the only thing that may have been a beneficial addition would have been a crash course in the Swedish health care system. I learned a lot by asking questions of my mentors but it would have been nice to have more background information before starting. 

At home, I have a lot more responsibility as a medical student. This was not possible in Sweden because of the complications of the language barrier. I also have clear objectives of what I am supposed to have learned at the end of a rotation and would have liked to have had some more clear objectives for my rotations in Sweden. I did like the discussion atmosphere when discussing patient management. At home, it's more of a quizzing atmosphere then a discussion. 

For improvement, I would suggest creating a list of objectives of things students are expected to have learned at the end of the rotation. These objectives could be discussed initially in order to determine how much students already know. Lectures and seminars could be then arranged based on where the student is starting in terms of knowledge and what they should know by the end of the rotation. 

I learned a lot about the Swedish medical education system as well as the Swedish health care system. These were both things I had hoped to come away with a better understanding of when I started the rotation so I feel the exchange was definitely a success!