Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: La Trobe University
Study programme: Midwifery
Exchange programme: INK
Semester: Autumn semester 2012/2013

Arrival and registration

Arrival Arrangements

My arrival in Stockholm was made so much easier through the pick-up service provided by KI. This worth of this service is something I cannot emphasise enough. Having a student guide show me and help me to by an SL travel card, phone SIM card, how to use the public transport system and take me to my accommodation made arriving exhausted after 22 hours of travel in a foreign city so much easier and less stressful. I'm extremely grateful for this service.


Introduction Day

The introduction day ran very smoothly thanks to the assistance of one of the KI staff members, who showed me around the campus, introduced me to necessary staff members, took me to the student health centre and to the hospital where I would be spending most of my time during my stay. It was nice to feel like I wasn't alone in a new country.


Student Health Centre

The contact with the student health centre was very positive - everyone I came in contact with was friendly and helpful, and it was very straightforward.


Applying through UAC

I was very concerned about not finding accommodation for my stay in Stockholm. I applied for housing through UAC, but I applied late as I wasn't accepted by KI until late in the year, and didn't hear anything from UAC until three weeks before my departure. This made it a bit stressful. However the actual process of applying through UAC was very straightforward and easy.


My experience of housing

Getting accommodation at Jagargatan through UAC was great. It was right beside the hospital I was doing my exchange at, and the facilities were very good. I've lived in student accommodatio before, and the kitchen here was great and very clean. I found the cost of accommodatio where I stayed very inexpensive compared to student accommodation I have lived in in Australia.

Leisure time and social activities

Being in student accommodation really helped to get to know people. Five weeks doesn't provide much of an opportunity to meet people, especially coming in part way through a semester when people already know each other, but everyone I lived with were friendly and chatty, which made it much easier.


Why did you choose to go on exchange?

The opportunity to go on exchange to Sweden was an opportunity that hadn't been available prior to this year, and I thought it was a fantastic opportunity to take before graduation. I'd heard and read so many things about midwifery in Sweden that I wanted to experience it for myself, and with finishing my studies at the end of this year, this was the only chance I would have to do it. I thought that it would be a great opportunity to gain extra experience and skills in the area of midwifery before I graduate and begin practicing next year.


What did you think of the exchange information given by KI?

One thing I did find difficult was not having much information about what was expected of me when I arrived and exactly what I would be doing. I wasn't provided with much informatio about the hospital/department I would be working in, so I didn't feel like I was able to prepare myself as much as I would have liked to - some written information about the course and expectations would have been helpful. However all of my contact with staff at KI was fantastic, and everyone was very helpful in answering my questions.


Were you required to be vaccinated or to bring certain certificates?

For this exchange, I needed to be tested for MRSA, which was made very straightforward through the assistance of one of the staff members from Karolinska took me to be tested.

Courses during the exchange period

2BM009 : Midwifery lead pregnancy, labour and postpartum care
My course was a five week clinically-based course. I spent all of my time at the hospital, with a few seminars provided. This was excellent as for me the clinical component was exactly why I was on exchange - to see differnces in midwifery practice and to develop new skills for my own practice. The assessment provided in the course was to provide a seminar, in which I spoke about midwifery practice in Australia.


I am so glad that I took part in this exchange. Being my first time overseas, it was quite daunting and challenging, but definitely worthwhile. I am able to take back new skills to implement into my pracitce when I begin working as a midwife, and it's an experience I will always remember.

Language and Culture

As I was only on exchange for 5 weeks, I did not participate in a language course. Almost everyone I came in contact with were happy to speak English, and I didn't have any real problems with language. However, I wish I knew more Swedish before arrival, if only so I felt like I could attempt some Swedish when people were going out of their way to speak English for me.

Studies in general

General Information About My Studies

My exchange wasn't a typical exchange, as this for me was extra experience rather than a necessity for my degree. This then actually made it less stressful. I didn't spend any time at the university and I didn't have any classes as such - my exchange was a clinical exchange, with all of my time spend on one ward at a hospital.


The Clinical Environment

I had one midwifery mentor for my whole stay, which was very different to what I am used to in Australia where we spend time with many different midwives. I actually found having one mentor was excellent in this situation, as I got to know her well and could ask her questions, and she got to know my strengths and weaknessses and could provide feedback.


Language Barrier

Not being able to speak Swedish proved not to be as big of a barrier as I expected - all of the staff were happy to speak English, as were the patients and their families, which made the exchange much easier. Of course there were times when there were things I couldn't understand, but this was expected, and my mentor would always translate for me.



There are many skills that midwifery students in Sweden learn that midwifery students in Australia don't until after graduation, and vice versa. There were many differences between health practices in Sweden and Australia which was very interesting to see, some good and some bad.