Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: Universiteit Leiden
Study programme: Biomedicine
Exchange programme: Erasmus
Semester: Autumn semester 2011/2012

Arrival and registration

I arrived around 23:00, and they told us that someone of Global friends would contact us and meet us at T-centralen, but I did not receive a respond to my e-mail, so I contacted a friend, who already had been in Stockholm for a week. She also picked up my key for the accommodation, which was nice because the UAC centre is open at horrible, not student friendly times. I missed the first introduction day, because I could not get an earlier flight. But I did join the second introduction day, we got a lot of information, about the language course, the accommodation and also a lecture about the student health centre. Global friends showed us the campus and helped us with the library card and the KI card, which was nice.

Acommendation

I did apply for housing through the UAC, KI already made a reservation for us, so we were sure of accommodation, which was nice. I found the rent quite expensive, but everything here in Sweden is more expensive than we are used too. Compared with normal rent prices here in Stockholm, our rent was not that expensive. The accommodation was ok, the furniture is a bit old but everything you need was here. I had some problems with the heating, often it was very cold in my room, but they told us that they could not help us because the heating system worked automatically and was very slow. So, I did study very often with my blankets around my shoulders.

Leisure time and social activities

During my stay here in Sweden I joined the Bromma ladies volleyball team, we trained twice a week and played matches in the weekends. I did not join any of the social programmes that were provided for exchange students, this because we did a lot with the other international students from our corridor (having dinner all together, parties and trying to learn new recipes) and we did a lot with our own little group, the 11 Dutch students.

Pre-departure

I wanted to study Biomedicine at the University of Leiden because they offered the opportunity to do an exchange with KI in the second year of your bachelor. I was so glad when I heard that I was selected for the exchange. We got a lot of information, during a lecture but also during a special meeting and by mail from KI. During the specail meeting we filled in all the forms and necessary paper work. Glad we had some help with that. The welcome information letter, map and brochure of KI, we got a month before departure was very helpful and made me more excited about the exchange.

Courses during the exchange period

BIOX05 : BACH - Infection and Immunity
I found infection and immunity a very interesting course, I'm interested in our immune system. The course had many lectures, a bit too much in my opinion and most of them were a bit boring (this because of the teacher was not very good in telling his or her story). The labs were very clear and fun, learned a lot. I really liked our visit to the Biosafety level 4 lab, to see how the work is done. The examination questions were clear and suited the subject well.
BIOX06 : BACH - Integrative Physiology
Integrative Physiology was just good. The labs were fun and well explained. The lectures were interesting and clear and the teaching and supervison was good. I did not make the examination, because of bad news from the Netherlands, but I'm going to make the re-exam in the Netherlands. It was very nice that this could be arranged so quickly, I sent an e-mail to the supervisor and to the Netherlands and I heard the same day that I could make the re-exam in the Netherlands on the 9th of February.

Summary

I really enjoyed my exchange period at KI. Learned a lot, saw a lot and had lots of fun. Stockholm is a very nice city, with many things to see and to do. The musea are wonderful and for students not so expensive, even so is the opera and the ballet. Karolinska Institutet arranged everything very well and offered us a great time here, thank you so much.

Language and Culture

I did participate in the Studiefr√§mjandet beginner Swedish language course and I really liked it. First of all because it was offered to us. Before I came to Sweden I already decided that I wanted to learn some Swedish, but I did not expect that KI would offer a language course to us, it was a big suprise. Even bigger when we found out that they also bought us the language course book. (Now I can continue learning Swedish in the Netherlands). The beginners course contained 10 lessons (one each week) of 2,5 hours. I think that 2,5 hours is too long, after 1,5 hours I started to loose my concentration. We started with numbers, dates, names of the months and the days of the weeks, we continued with introducing ourselves and ended with talking about the weather, the simple past and the present perfect and reading short stories. The final lesson we talked about Jul and we watched a part of Den Lilla Sj√∂jungfrun (in Swedish ofcourse). I learned a lot, not only the language but we also learned some typical Swedish things and a bit of Swedish history. It was really nice to do and I am really glad I followed this course.

Studies in general

There are many differences between the Swedish way of learning, studying and teaching and the Dutch way of studying. In the Netherlands we have to study much more by ourselves, less lectures, more reading and more seminars. I really like seminars because it is a way to test how much you already know, for me it is an easier way of learning. So that is what I missed in Sweden. The relationship between student and teacher/supervisor is the same as in the Netherlands even so is the quality of the education.