Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: University of Minnesota
Study programme: Medicine
Exchange programme: INK
Semester: Spring semester 2012/2013

Arrival and registration

My arrival went really smoothly. With one email I arranged someone from the “pick up” service to meet me at the city terminal and take me to my housing. The person who met me came with a map of the transit system and helped me get my transit pass. She additionally showed me some nearby grocery stores and told me some highlights of Stockholm. In addition, KI assigned me a “global friend” to answer any questions via email regarding the trip before I left. This proved very valuable. My MRSA test with the student health center was easy and the nurse was so pleasant and welcoming. My first day of the rotation the physician mentor in cardiology had a great orientation day planned for us. We met many of the department faculty and spent the day discussing what each week would look like. In addition, she took us to both hospitals and showed us around so that we would not get lost. The other 2 international students had been doing other rotations, but I really appreciated the extra information!


I applied through the University Accomodation Center for housing and found the process quite easy. I stayed in Jagargatan for my housing, and would recommend it. The rooms are small but adequate. There is a bed, desk, dresser, closet and sink in each room. The kitchens, bathrooms, laundry room and living areas are shared. The dorm is filled with international students studying various health and science related careers. Having shared areas created a lot of opportunity to meet people. Many of the other students had great suggestions about what to do in Stockholm. Like any dorm, it can be a bit loud at times. I found my earplugs very handy.

Leisure time and social activities

If you are an outgoing person it will be easy for you to find people to explore Stockholm with. I am a bit more reserved when meeting new people so I spent the first weekend exploring Stockholm on my own and actually had a great time. I never knew how much fun a museum could be when you don’t have to worry about whether or not someone else is bored with the materials. Most Sundays I went out for “Fika” with my dorm-mates. I also went to a few museums on the weekends with some dorm-mates. By the middle of my 4 weeks I had plenty of people to talk to and go out around town with. Most of the friends I made were other international students. I only met 1 Swedish medical student during my rotation! For some reason there was only 1 global friend event while I was in Sweden. There seemed to be great events right before and right after my time at KI, but less while I was here. However, I did go to a few lectures that were open to international students (and in English). I found those really interesting.


I first learned about the option of doing an exchange rotation at the KI by speaking to a classmate who had gone the previous year. Having Swedish heritage and always being interested in traveling to Scandinavia, I was instantly interested. Additionally, I was interested in seeing first hand what a more socialized system of health care. With a little more research it seemed feasible to do a rotation at KI between Match day and Graduation. So, I applied the May of my 3rd year and found out in October that I had been accepted to the program. I left less than 24 hours after I opened my envelope on Match day. With a day to sleep and recover from the long journey, this worked out just fine. The University of Minnesota’s relationship with KI also made this an easy rotation to arrange. I did not require any vaccines or certificates.

Courses during the exchange period

ELA005 : Internal Medicine 1
I did a cardiology rotation that consisted of 3 weeks at the Solna hospital and 1 week at the Huddinge hospital. My first 2 weeks at Solna I was on the ischemic heart disease floor. I worked most closely with the training physicians. We would have rounds in the morning that were in part Swedish, part English. While I didn’t know any Swedish when I came, I was pleasantly surprised that the medical terminology was very similar and I could follow some of the conversation in Swedish as well. The conversations about what to do with each patient would be done in English so I could participate. The physicians were all great teachers and really did not seem to mind speaking in English at all. A few nurses were a bit more hesitant about their English, but overall, people were very accommodating and kept me involved. The patients mostly spoke Swedish, but seemed to understand English and know at least a few words. If a patient did speak English well, I would be able to take that patient as “my own”. I did not write any notes as I did not know Swedish, but turns out I didn’t miss the documentation part of medicine! I had the opportunity to follow a lot of my patients to the angiography lab, stress tests, echo, and other tests so there was great continuity in my learning. My next week was in the elective intervention ward for patients who needed planned procedures. Here, I followed patients who needed cardioversions, angiography, electrophysiology procedures, and other interventions. I spent a lot of time this week following patients to their procedures and watching. This week I got to watch a few TAVIs (Transcatheter aortic valve implantation) and Mitral Clip procedures. Both of these percutaneous procedures are experimental and not yet approved in the US, though in Sweden they have been doing them for years. I also watched some electrophysiology ablations for arrhythmias and angiographies for coronary heart disease. My last week was a week at Huddinge hospital. At this hospital I spent some time on the heart failure ward. In addition to time on the ward, I also spent time in the angiography lab watching heart catheterizations and biopsies as well as in the echo lab where I learned a lot about reading echocardiographies. In addition to my weeklong experiences, my physician mentor arranged for some really interesting additional experiences. I spent a day in cardio-thoracic surgery watching CABG operations. I also spent a day in the thoracic ICU, which is interestingly managed by anesthesiologists and not cardiologists. I also had an open invitation to the angiography lab, electrophysiology lab and echo lab and when I had down time I would go explore the procedures going on in those areas.


Overall, I really enjoyed my 4 week rotation at KI. It was wonderful to see the Swedish health care system in action and the physicians I interacted with were wonderful teachers. It might be fun to have a lunch once a month with all the international medical students so we could meet more of each other. Otherwise, I really don’t have any additional wishes for things to be different.

Language and Culture

I did not do any Swedish language courses during my stay as I was only here for 4 weeks and they did not work with my schedule. My peers that did have the opportunity said it was definitely worth their while.

Studies in general

I found the physicians on my rotation to be excellent teachers and very accommodating. They spoke in English as much as possible and really made me feel welcome. Overall, I got to see some interesting patients and procedures during my time at the KI. However, my favorite part was learning about their healthcare system in addition to answering their questions about the US. It was refreshing to have patients who did not have to stress about money during their hospital stay. However, it was equally interesting the frustrations that the physicians did have during their work.