Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Study programme: Biomedicine
Exchange programme: Erasmus
Semester: Autumn semester 2011/2012

Arrival and registration

I arrived at the airport Arlanda from where I was using the Flygbussarna to Stockholm centralen (45 min). You can also use the train if you want to be faster and pay more. The tickets for the bus and the train are available at ticket machines. As I had to learn, this machines only accept credit cards. So if you don´t have one you either find a friendly person with a credit card, who buys a ticket for you or you can also buy the ticket online (,  

I didn´t arrived early enough to participate in the introduction days and so I  had to make an appointment with Malin. She was really helpful with the matriculation and the Erasmus formalities.  

At the KI a group called “Global friends” takes care of exchange students.  You can ask them to pick you up at the airport and/or to bring you your key from the UAC office. I didn´t used this offers but really appreciate the possibility to get help.


Previous to departure I applied for housing at the UAC. As I was already a little bit late, I didn´t get the room at Pax. Instead,  I stayed in Jägargatan. The keys were placed in a key box and I got the code for the building and the box in an e-mail. If you are staying at Pax or Strix you would have to go to the UAC office on campus Solna. But, I find it ways easier the way it is handled in Jägargatan. The rooms are smaller compared to the two other accommodations and you have to share the bathrooms and the kitchen but both are cleaned every day and in a good condition. In some rooms the windows don’t close very well but I didn’t have this problem. At Jägargatan you have access to the Internet by w-lan and get your user name and password in an e-mail. In Pax you need a cable. Each floor has a laundry room with washing machines and dryers. You can´t order them. At Pax you have a laundry room in the basement and have to book it.  

Beside busses the nearest stations are Stockholm södra, a station for pendeltåg and Zinkensdamm, a station of the red tunelbana. The fastest way to the city and the campuses Solna and Huddinge is to go by pendeltåg. Stockholm centralen or T-centralen is the main station for trains, tunnelbana and pendeltåg. To use public transportation you need an SL card, which you can buy at SL centre or pressbyrån. If you want to use a student ticket you need a student ID and for this you have to be member of a student´s union. You can also get the student ticket by proving your status to the SL but have to renew this after 60 days. 

In the direction of Solna you can use all lines. Next to Stockholm södra are an ICA and a LIDL and next to Zinkensdam is a Coop. LIDL is possibly the cheapest one but the others offer more options. 

Leisure time and social activities

I didn´t really make Swedish friends also people I was talking to were really nice. But, as I was living in Jägargatan with other international students and some of my friends from Heidelberg were in Stockholm at the same time I already had some people around me. It would have been nice to make Swedish friends but I didn´t grow lonely. 

The only Swedish person I was in contact the entire time, was a member of my group at the KI. The other members were in Sweden for some time but originally from Germany or Russia. Nonetheless, I could discuss with them anything about swedish culture and language I came across. Especially during lunch we were talking a lot and consequently often about food. So I learned about Kanelbullar, Lucecatter and Semla and that Wiener Schnitzel is in Sweden accompanied by fish. As me group had the tradition to eat cake on friday, I wanted to bring a Schwarzwälder Cherrypie. This wash´t as easy as I had thought. Apparently there is no usage for cherry preserves in Sweden and I had to travel some shops to get my cherries. Also sweden is not this far away and different from Germany there are a lot of differences where you don´t expect it.  

My other swedish contact persons were the people from "Global friends". I attended a trip to Solvik, a cabin outside of Stockholm and a Kanelbullar backing lesson, they organized. Both of it was a lot of fun.

For Halloween a friend of me and I went to a students dinner. The food was good and there was a program and a lot of singing. The program seemed to be pretty funny but as it was swedish we did not really understand it. Some of the songs we could understand and sing with the help of the program. 

I spent most of my free time with a friend to walk Stockholm visiting churches and museums. Especially the Vasa museet and Skansen and of course the castle I can highly recommend. But also the Fotografiska with changing photo exhibitions was really nice. 

Compared to Germany it is rather expensive to go out for the evening, resulting in a lot of funny kitchen parties ;)

If you stay over December you should try to visit a lucia concert and see the firework for New Years Eve from Slussen.

Outside Stockholm I visited Drottningsholm where the royal family is living and went by train to Upssalla for one day.

Also always funny, especially with a lot of people from your accommodation, are the cruises to the other Baltic countries. I visited Helsinki, Tallinn and Riga and especially Tallinn is worth a travel. You can also go to Kopenhagen and St. Petersburg but for the last one you need a passport, which is valid at least half a year. The cruises start in the evening and the next day you reach your destination where you can spend the day and then go back to Stockholm in the evening. Especially if you share your cabin with others and bring your own food it is a really cheap way to travel. Other advantages are that you can see the archipelago skärgarden by Stockholm and of course the duty free shops on board.      


In my Master program at the University of Heidelberg the modul “IZN lab rotation” gives us the possibility to work in different  labs and learn as much as possible about different topics and methods. Furthermore, the University of Heidelberg and the Karolinska Institutet are partner in the “Life Science for Health” program and therefore I decided to use the possibility of an exchange with the Karolinska Institute. 

The informations provided by my university were a little bit confusing. But, luckily the webside of the Karolinska was more helpful and I managed to get everything together. 

I wasn't going to attend specific curses but wanted to do an internship. Therefore,  I started to contact groups I wanted to work with, after I got accepted by KI. All groups and short information about the research are available on the KI website ( There you also find contact addresses. After finding a group I applied for housing ( where I had to state the name of the head of the group. As I wasn´t going to work in a hospital I didn´t need any vaccinations or certificates.

Courses during the exchange period

2EE008 : MAS-Biomedical project for exchange students
As already mentioned I did an internship in a laboratory. The people in my group and from the other group we were sharing the lab, were really nice. I got my own little project and could work on it by myself after I learned immunogold labeling and the use of the electron microscope. But, I was also always free to ask anything which was crossing my mind. During my time in the lab we also went to a network meeting, which was hold on a ferry, boat to Riga. My group and the others groups participating in it, gave short presentations about the ongoing research and it was interesting to see how they try to connect and support each other. At KI different seminars were tacking place I was free to attend and I also gave a short presentation in one of it.


Stockholm is a really nice city and a good place for an exchange. It offers something for everyone and despite it is the biggest city in Sweden it is still pleasantly small. The people are nice and with the KI you have the possibility to work at a really good institution and learn a lot. But you are also encouraged to take your time to get the country known and I think the working atmosphere is a little bit more relaxed. In any case I can only recommend coming here.

Language and Culture

In general and at least in Stockholm you can talk English with nearly everyone. Especially in the lab and with other exchange students but also “normal people” like bus drivers. So you do not really need to learn Swedish but I would recommend it though. There are a lot of similarities to German what makes it easy to learn at least some basics and to me it seemed that the Swedes appreciate and show a lot of patience if you at least try it. Also if you perhaps don’t use your knowledge this much to speak you will in any case improve your understanding and reading skills. I attended a course of the Sprachlabor in Heidelberg. I also wanted to attend a course for advanced speakers at the KI but this one didn´t start because of to less interest.

Studies in general

Compared to the working atmosphere in Germany I would say that working in Sweden was pretty relaxed but nonetheless productive. And I really have to mention the very tasty sandwiches, which were offered during the seminars ;)