Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: Panepistimio Kritis
Study programme: Medicine
Exchange programme: Erasmus
Semester: Spring semester 2011/2012

Arrival and registration

     Unfortunately I did not have the chance to attend the introduction day because I arrived later during the semester, but it wasn't difficult to find my way since everyone was very eager to help and everything was very well organized. Furthermore, I received an email soon before each clinical rotation with further information regarding my studies at each rotation.
     Regarding the MRSA screening, it was very easy to arrange when to do it. I just sent an email to the Student Health center. The answer came very soon with all the information I would need to find the place.
     The Global Friends weren't very helpful, since I received an answer from them several weeks after my arrival. Fortunately this wasn't a problem.


     The information on the KI and UAC websites regarding accommodation were very useful. I applied for accommodation through the University Accommodation Center. The prices were good, since electricity, water, heating and internet are included in the rent and the rooms are furnished.

Leisure time and social activities

Stockholm is a very beautiful city especially during the springs. There are many beautiful parks where you can just go for a walk or with a bicycle. There were many social events (eg parties, trips or barbeques) organized by exchange students. Many events are announced online (eg  in the Pax/Strix group on facebook), but I didn't participate in many social activities.
I didn't have much contact with Swedish students since we had different schedules, but those I met were friendly and polite.


     Studying medicine in a different country is a good opportunity to get to know how different health care systems work and Sweden is famous for having one of the best health care systems in the world. Given the possibility of continuing my studies and specialty training in Sweden, the Erasmus program offered me the chance to learn more details about working in Sweden and to see the working conditions in Swedish hospitals. But apart from studying, exchange programs allow you to live in a different country and to come in contact with a different culture.

     The reason I chose Karolinska Institute is because it is one of the top ranked universities worldwide. Further reasons for choosing Sweden and Karolinska Institute are:
 - There is the option to study in English. Furthermore it is easy to communicate since almost everyone in Sweden speaks English fluently. Moreover, you have the chance to attend Swedish language courses that are offered for free throughout the semester.
-Stockholm is a very beautiful city.

     Regarding the information given to exchange students, I could find anything I needed to know through the KI website and the international student coordinator was very helpful whenever I needed further information.

     As far as vaccination or other certificates are concerned,  I was only required to have an MRSA screening test, since I would participate in clinical rotations and I would come in contact with patients.


Courses during the exchange period

ELAX15 : Oto-Rhino-Laryngology 1
ENT was a useful rotation since you get the chance to come in contact with a lot of common diseases. Everything was organized. The rotation included time at different departments: emergency, outpatient clinic and surgery. Although I was offered a specific schedule, after discussing it with my supervisor I was allowed to modify my schedule (eg go to the emergency department instead of surgery). I liked the flexibility. The language barrier was a big problem, since there were many patients and limited time, although many of the doctors were very eager to explain everything. Regarding examination, I was given some common ENT problems that I should prepare and discussed with my supervisor during the last day.
ELA004 : Paediatrics 1
During my rotation I had the chance to be at different places eg the emergency department, neonatal unit, pediatric ward and outpatient clinic. Doctors there were very eager to teach me. We didn't have a final examination but we had 3 seminars for which we had to study several common pediatric clinical cases. The seminars were very useful and it was more like a discussion than an examination.
ELA003 : Ophtalmology 1
Like the other rotations everything was well organized. I received my schedule soon before the beginning of the rotation. I had the chance to be at different departments: emergency department, outpatient clinic, surgery, strabismus- pediatric ophthalmology, retinal ward and anterior segment clinic. So I came in contact with many common ophthalmological problems. The only problem was that there were commonly too many patients, leaving little time for questions and discussion with the doctor or to perform the examination of the eye myself. However on most occasions you can follow the examination through the teaching tube (although following an ophthalmoscopy is difficult if the doctor is in a hurry). There was no examination.


Generally I was very satisfied with my studies at Karolinska. Everything is very well organized and most doctors create a positive learning climate. The language barrier is a problem as far as clinical rotations are concerned and the Swedish language courses didn't seem very effective for me. But since everyone in Sweden speaks very good English and many patients are eager to talk in English the language barrier could be easily overcome and doctors should be more willing to talk to the patients in English when this is possible. Regarding the life in Sweden, Stockholm is a very beautiful city and it is better to visit it during the spring. One disadvantage is that it is very expensive.

Language and Culture

Swedish language courses might be useful, but I think that the success of the course is strongly dependent on the efficiency of the teacher. I participated in a language course (but only the first lesson), but our teacher could barely speak English and it was very difficult to communicate. The course was eventually cancelled after the first few lessons because most of the student stopped attending the course.

Studies in general

Studying at KI was a good experience. Everything was very well organized. I had a schedule for every rotation, which I  received soon before the beginning of each rotation. The first day of each rotation included a short introduction regarding our schedule and a "tour" around the hospital to get to know the different parts of the hospital. The stuff at each placement of our rotation was well informed about my arrival and eager to help me with anything I needed. Most of the doctors were eager to teach me and it was easy to ask questions, although there were exceptions.
However, on many occasions, time with each patient was limited leaving little time for me to ask questions or to have the chance to examine the patients myself. Another problem was that it was sometimes difficult to follow since everything was in Swedish and I was depending on the doctor translating to me. This is logical, but there were many patients eager to talk in English (almost everyone in Sweden speaks English very fluently) and on some occasions it was the doctor who avoided to talk with the patient in English. One important reason for choosing Karolinska for my exchange studies was the fact that there are options in English.
It would also be nice, if more clinical rotations included some theoretical parts (eg seminars or lectures). For example during my rotation in Pediatrics we had a 3hour seminar once a week, discussing  several common pediatric problems, which was very useful.
I was generally satisfied with my studies at Karolinska, although the language was an important barrier.