Exchange report - incoming students
Campusområdet på Griffith, Gold Coast
Home university: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Study programme: Public Health Sciences (Master's)
Exchange programme: Erasmus Mundus Action 2
Semester: Autumn and spring semester 2011/2012
Name: Razia Gaida
Email address:

Arrival and registration

There were no arrival arrangements really. We were contacted by Global Fiends and responded but we did not receive any further correspondence from them. Luckily I arrived with someone from my home country otherwise I do not think I would have been able to cope. The money I had was incorrect. We were unfortunately told that we could come with Euros but they do not accept Euros in Sweden. Also the transport was a bit of a problem as we are not accustomed to using the public transport in South Africa. We ended up taking a taxi which was quite expensive for us. We also did not know where to buy groceries or anything to that effect so needless to say our first few days were really challenging. It would have been much easier if we had someone to get us at the airport and explain things. Other students I know told me about their experience with Global Friends and it had made things much easier on them.
I had not actually visited the health centre on campus. We just had the presentation but I didn't require services after that. The cross cultural communication lecture given by Professor John Alexander I think was brilliant. I really enjoyed it and thought he was really informative and entertaining.
Lighthouse, Byron Bay


I was really impressed when I arrived at my accommodation. It was the first time I was to be staying in a student accommodation and it was much better than what I expected. The room is spacious and the best part was that my floor mates were really great people. Sharing a kitchen did not really appeal to me at first, but I think the good floor mates I have really made a difference. We all kept the kitchen clean and were very friendly and respectful. I am glad that I have my own bathroom though. The idea of communal bathrooms would have really out me off. The shared laundry room is also not so bad. It was daunting at first but there are instructions in English. I applied for housing through the UAC. I applied for both buildings but I am really happy with the one that was allocated to me. The cost of housing here is horrendously expensive. Especially in the first month when we also had to pay the deposit, more than half of my monthly allowance was spent on rent and there wasn't much left for anything else.
Surfers Paradise

Leisure time and social activities

We had made some Swedish friends, but majority of my friends are foreigners as well. We basically created our own fun. I did not really participate in the activities Global Friends or the Student Union it may have been. Except the International Dinner/Party they had the first weekend. I actually thought that was a really good idea. I had a good time though with the friends I made.
Torquay, Melbourne


I wanted to go on an exchange programme abroad because I wanted to change my view of the world and also obtain knowledge I knew I couldn't in my home town. Both of which I did.
I chose KI university because it was the only university offering a post graduate course relevant to my undergraduate degree. Although a somewhat random choice, after checking out the KI website and hearing about the reputation of the university I decided that I had made a good choice and confirmed the choice.
The information provided by the scholarship group was good. I even managed to contact the professor at KI involved in the Global Health Department asking if my choice of course was relevant and worthwhile and received a positive response. KI provided us with a lot of information about the university and the accommodation and provided the relevant websites for us to have a look at. 
There were no vaccination requirements because of the country I was going to. Also because I would not be doing any hospital work so no vaccinations were necessary.

Courses during the exchange period

3GB000 : GH-Global Health
This course was great. It provided an overview of the Millennium Development Goals which set the scene for the rest of the courses. The lecturer really knew what she was talking about, was very friendly and very helpful. We had a variety of other lecturers for this module as well which was nice. It was interesting learning from people from different backgrounds.
3GB014 : GH-Health Policy, Management and Economics
Health Policy and Economics is not really my favourite section as I'm not really good with finances. However, the work was presented really well and it was made enjoyable. I will still not become an economist, it is very difficult work, but the lecturer inspired a real interest in the topic.
3GB016 : GH-Infectious Diseases - a challenge to global health: Clinical, social and preventive aspects (GH)
Infectious diseases was interesting to me particularly the antibiotic resistance given my background. Malaria was a really good module as well given that I come from Africa as well as the HIV and TB modules. The only problem with the HIV and TB modules given at KI was that it's not relevant for a South African situation, given that the epidemic is so advanced there. That was the only problem.
3GB013 : GH-Maternal and child health in a global perspective
Maternal and child health was a good module. The writing instruction part was really informative and the assignments were relevant.
3GB015 : GH-Non-communicable diseases, injuries, natural emergencies and conflicts in a global health perspective (GH)
This course has not yet been started
3GB001 : GH-Research Methodology
This was a module really useful to me because it provided me with a lot of information for the writing up of my own masters project at home. The epidemiology section was brilliant, The lecturer was really good and we all relate to him quite well. The only problem was that the level of information provided was much too high for the questions asked in the exam. As a result it was a very stressful five week module. Otherwise the information given was really helpful, I now understand many terms and concepts I didn't before I came here as my university did not offer a course on par with this one.
Campusområdet på Griffith, Gold Coast


I really enjoyed my time spent here in Stockholm and at KI. The only thing that I would have liked to be done differently would have been the arrival arrangements. Having someone from Global Friends or another foreign student willing to show someone around would be a real help. Otherwise it's a very stressful situation for someone arriving here for the first time.
Stranden vid Surfers

Language and Culture

I unfortunately missed my language course because of delays with the embassy and residence permits. However, I have heard from other students who attended the classes and although they did learn some things I don't think I was particularly at a disadvantage. I learnt me useful day to day words. Although I can't keep up a conversation I think I learnt enough to get by. Everyone is always willing to speak English to me and always perfectly friendly as well.
En av alla surfbilar

Studies in general

The studies at KI really impressed me. I felt that the standard of the lectures were really high and all of the lecturers were really experts in their field. The best part was that they were all busy working in the field at the same time of their lecturing. On the whole though the course was a little disrupted with the many schedule changes and problems with exams and the lack of authority of the course heads. The students were allowed to have too much input when it came to certain things like deadlines and exam questions and I felt it wasn't really conducive to a study environment. There had to be someone who was able to say no and someone with a firm hand. That was the only real problem I had. The teachers are very willing to help though which was really good. They were quite open and we were made to feel comfortable with them. Never before have I been able to call a lecturer on their first name. It was a little unnerving for me. We did not really have any clinical experience during the course. It was just lectures. 
There was much more authority at my home university. Students would not contest lecturers and whatever rules were set were not really negotiable. The assignments set were on the same level but the exams at my home university were of a higher standard but I can only say from my undergraduate experiences. I did not do any coursework on a masters level at my home university.
Griffith University, Gold Coast