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

Arrival and registration

We were part of a large group of international exchange studens. So already during the introduction days we aready could get to know each other. The introduction days were informative and Global Friends also arranged a get-together.

Acommendation

The housing was very well arranged. I applied for housing through the UAC. The prices seemed normal and the rooms were clean and spacious. It is also helpful that many international students live together, everyone is new and we easily made new friends. The only downside of the housing arrangements was picking up the keys. This was only possible during weekdays during opening hours. Many students, including myself, arrived during the weekend or late in the evening. I arrived in a group and we had arranged one fellow student who preceded us to pick up all our keys. But other students found themselves unable to get into their appartments. I would advise the UAC to have alternative opening hours in the first weeks of the semester, so everyone can get into their appartment directly upon arriving.

Leisure time and social activities

The best part of my stay in Sweden and KI by far has been the social aspect. Fistly, Global Friends hosted a few meetings and parties at which we could get to know the international students better. Furthermore, MF has hosted a few parties at which we have been able to connect with the Swedish students. The Swedes enjoy a cup of coffee during breaks, so we had ample time to get to know them over a cup of coffee or tea. Stockholm has a wide variety of bars, clubs, restaurants and caf├ęs. Unfortunately for me, the entrance age is usually 20, and I am 19, so I was not allowed into the clubs. The greatest social part was the life in the student flat where I lived together with many other international students. We have set up parties for Halloween, Oktoberfest and many moments where we simply played poker or sat together having a drink. I have made many friends among my fellow international students and they have contributed the most to my exchange experience, making it unforgettable.

Pre-departure

The possibility to go on exchange was proposed during the information days of the Biomedicine programme, back when I was still in secondary school. I was already interested in studying abroad, so the exchange was an excellent chance to persue this dream. So now, in the second year of Biomedicine, I have been to KI to study for one semester. The paperwork was relatively easy; everything was provided by my own university and KI.

Courses during the exchange period

BIOX05 : BACH - Infection and Immunity
During this course, we got a detailed description of the immune system, viruses and bacteria. The quality of the course was good, we got many lectures, a few group sessions and practicals. The examination was a wirtten report and the quality and content was similar of that of the course itself.
BIOX06 : BACH - Integrative Physiology
This course focused on the physiology of many aspects of the body, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, the nervous system and more. It seemed like a lot to take in at first, and especially for the written exam there was a lot to learn, but all in all the lectures were good. Especially the practicals were clear and very well guided, they really helped me understand the subject better.

Summary

The exchange between my home university and KI has been fantastic in all aspects. The application for everything, like housing, Erasmus and KI itself was easy and we were guided by the international coordinator. I would actively encourage others to participate in an exchange, and Sweden is a fantastic destination.

Language and Culture

KI offered us a Swedish language course upon arrival. I took this course, which consisted of three days in a row in which we got 3 hours of lessons each day, followed by one lesson of 2.5 hours once a week for another 6 weeks. The quality of the lessons werent very good, but of other students who were in other groups, I heard that their course was fine, so in the case of my group, the teacher simply was not very inspiring to put more effort into learning the language.

Studies in general

During my studies at KI, I took the couses Infection & Immunology and Integrative Physiology. The Swedish way of studying is different from the one I am used to in The Netherlands. Back home, we often have 'work groups' in which we discuss the subjects in small groups and we answer questions, additional to lectures in which the subjects are explained. Here in Sweden, we predominantly had lectures. I find this way of learing more passive. The student has to try and understand it by him or herself. The way Swedish students solve this is by studying toghether and answering each others questions, trying to understand it together. Still, this is without the supervision of a teacher, so when erroneous conclusions are made, no one can tell them so and a related question on the exam will be answered incorrectly. All in all, I feel that I learn more detail and have a better understanding of the subjects whilst studying at my home institution.

I also found that the Swedish in general are more open to each other. Students call their supervisors and teachers by their first name. Back home, we call them by their surname, it is found disrespectful to call them by their first name. Still, I did not find that here in Sweden, it is not a lack of respect, but simply the conventional way.

Lastly, the study amenities at KI are brilliant. The libary has many group rooms and places where you can study quietly. Moreover, many computers and books are available as references.