Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: Turku University of Applied Sciences
Study programme: Nursing
Exchange programme: Erasmus
Semester: Autumn semester 2012/2013
Name: Selina König
Email address:

Arrival and registration

Stockholm is near Turku that I didn’t have to think about travelling issues so much. I booked a cruise on the Viking line –ship three weeks before my departure. My boyfriend came with me and helped me with my baggage. Karolinska Institutet has a pick up –service for exchange students. That means they arrange someone to pick you up when you arrive to Stockholm. They also pick up your keys and show the way to your appartment. The pick up –service had arranged a girl to pick me up at the central station the day i arrived. She was so friendly and helpful and we really got along well. We became good friends during my exchange and are still in contact.

Karolinska Institutet arranged an orientation week at the campus. From Monday to Wednesday they had a language course and on Thursday and Friday the official orientation days. I didn’t have permission to participate in the language course because I am from Scandinavia. On Thursday I went to the orientation at the campus and got to know two girls that were also studying nursing and were doing a training in the hospital in Stockholm. The orientation wasn’t so good or useful for us, because there were many students who stayed for a whole year and studied something totally different than nursing.


I applied for an apartment at UAC (University Accommodation Center) and got a room with a bath and shared kitchen for the three months i was staying in Stockholm. The rent was reasonable and location good. I know a couple of students that didn’t get an apartment through UAC, so I was really lucky. There are few renting apartments in Stockholm and they are usually very expensive.

Leisure time and social activities

The global friends at KI organize different activities during the exchange, but the first activity during my exchange was in the end of October when I was almost leaving again. Because the most of the exchange students stay for a year, the global friends don’t start until then with the activities. The other thing is that when we went to the dinner in the end of October, most of the students knew eachothers from the school and we didn’t know anyone because we had been at the training at the hospital.

The two girls who were studying nursing lived near me and we spent our free time pretty much togheter. We cooked different foods and introduced our countries to eachother. We got a gym card on the first week we were staying in Stockholm and we always went togheter. Stockholm is such a big and interesting city that the activities don’t end. We often went to museums and shopping togheter. One of my friend loves second hand and vintage and Stockholm was a paradise for her. She also got me interested in second hand. The cute and cosy coffee houses and bars were my favorites, because we don’t have so much of them in Turku. Often we just met after the work day and sat the whole evening in a coffee house talking. As I mentioned before, the global friends did organize activities, but I left so ”early” that I couldn’t participate in many of them.

I didn’t meet so many other exchange students that were in Karolinska Institutet, but I, and my friends, were self active and got to know the most amazing people. A few of them were originally from Stockholm, others were exchange students from the Stockholm University. I was going to Stockholm to improve my Swedish, but I noticed that also my English got so much better from talking with all the other people who were from different countries.


When I started at my current school, I was determined to apply for an exchage period somewhere. I didn’t know what to expect or where to apply to. Our school had so many opportunities and so many schools that you can apply to. My first thought was to apply to Swaziland in Africa. I thought about it really much and it would have been a great experience, but we haven’t got so much practical periods in our education so we have to make the most of every one of the periods. I felt like I wouldn’t get so much out of the exchange in Swaziland if I think about my profession. I would like to go to Africa and work there once I’m done with my studies, but I didn’t want to ”sacrifice” a whole semester of my studies. My biggest goal was to learn a new language during my exchange. I felt that my English is pretty good, but my Swedish could need some exercise. That is the main reason for applying to Sweden. In Sweden the nursing care is also maybe even more developed than in Finland so I was excited to see that too. In addition I had the possibility to study and live in a big and beautiful city like Stockholm. The international coordinators of our school and of Karolinska Institutet made sure that I got training placements for the whole semester in Stockholm. I got really good information from the international co-ordinatior of KI and from the KI-website. 

Courses during the exchange period

1EE055 : Somatic Nursing
I did this clinical rotation in the child health center and maternal clinic in Skärholmen, 3 weeks in both. These two courses were my first ones, so my language skills weren't so good yet. That's why I mainly followed the nurses and didn't do so much myself. The nurses were really nice and helped me a lot. They always encouraged me to speak Swedish even though I wasn't so good at it. They also always said that they would speak also English with me, if I wanted to. In my degree I don't have to go to the child health center, but it was nice to see what the nurses do there. The maternal clinic was very useful to me. I learned really much about pregnant women during the clinical course.
SSKKIR01 : Somatic nursing, surgery - Clinical education 2
This clinical course was at the gynecology duty and at the maternity ward. At the gynecology duty I learned a lot about gynecological problems, expecially about misscarriages. I have been at the maternity ward before in Finland, so I knew a little bit before I started my clinical course there. It was really interesting to see, how different the nursing care is in Sweden than it is in Finland. The ward was so much more "baby-friendly" than we have it in Turku, because almost every room was for the whole family and the fathers were aloud to stay at the hospital. In Turku we don't have that. This practice was the most educational for me.


I’m so happy I chose to go to Stockholm. I learned to talk almost fluent Swedish and I improved my English. I met so many great people, that I know I will stay friends with. I’m going to go visit my friends in Stockholm in Febuary and my friend in Italy next summer. Also professionally the choise was really good. I had a training in a ward that I had been to in Finland also, so I could compare the two wards. It kind of opened my eyes that we could be doing things also this way in Finland. I learned also clinical skills in Sweden, that only doctors are aloud to do in Finland. In addition I learned a little bit how to be alone. I have always been the kind of person who needs someone to talk all the time. First I lived at home and then with my two room mates, so I was used to having people around me. Then I moved to Stockholm alone and was often alone during the week in the evenings. I even started to enjoy it. All in all, I’m really satisfied with my exchange.

I can recommend an exchange in Sweden. The Swedish language skill is such an advantage in Finland and expecially in Turku. After my exchange in Stockholm I have been working in the hospital and in three weeks I had four patients who rather talked Swedish than Finnish. They were really grateful that they got care and service in their mother tongue. An exchange looks also good in the resume and many people are interested in the customs of other countries and expecially of a country that is so near Finland. In addition Stockholm is such a beautiful city and the people are so polite and friendly. I spent the best three months of my life in Stockholm!

Language and Culture

Often when I tell that I was doing an exchange in Sweden, the people expect that my mother tongue is Swedish or that I could talk really good before I left. But that isn’t the case. I was so afraid to talk Swedish in the beginning. I made many mistakes and we had so many misunderstandings in the beginning. But I just kept talking even though I made mistakes and in the end I felt like I really could talk Swedish. Of course I still make mistakes and my pronunciation isn’t really perfect. But I’m not longer afraid to talk. 

Studies in general

On the second Monday my practical period started. I felt really dizzy after the first day at the training. I thought I would understand Swedish quite well, but after the first day I thought I’m the worst person ever who tried to understand or speak Swedish. But day after day my Swedish got better and I felt less dizzy after every day at work. The nurses were really nice and had so much patience with me. The first period was only three weeks so it was almost mainly learning the language and speaking a little bit more every day.

I didn’t have a big culture shock in Stockholm, mainly because the culture isn’t so different in Sweden than in Finland. One thing was that at the training placements everyone talked to you, introduced themselves and asked you how you are.  Also the doctors were really nice to the students. That’s often different in Finland. I didn’t have any big expectations about Sweden, I thought it would be like in Finland, just a little bit more developed in the nursing care. And that was also the reality.