Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: University of Iowa
Study programme: Medicine
Exchange programme: INK
Semester: Spring semester 2013/2014

Arrival and registration

 Participants will receive information about the pick-up services in your welcome packet via the mail once you have been accepted. It was very nice having a Karolinska student pick me up at Central Station, especially since the student had picked up my room key for me.  If she had not picked up my room key, it would have been one more place to find my way to on my first day.  The keys are picked up at KI campus, which is a bit of a distance from student housing.


In regards to student health, it was very easy to contact and arrange an appointment or either come at drop-in times to perform the MRSA testing.


Maybe if I had arrived for the arrival day, I would have received this information but it would have been nice to have information on where to buy food, how to get a phone, etc.  This information is very helpful for when you are first arriving.


Prior to your arrival you must sign up for housing.  I would suggest doing it as soon as possible as there are students from all over the world applying for housing.  Pax and Strix have been suggested by many in the past as it is an easy bus ride to the Karolinska hospital.  Pax is located in Solna, a quiet and cozy little area.  If you are looking for a more hip vibe, then Jägargatan may be the place you would like to be.  Wherever you are staying, you will need sheets for your bed (don’t forget your pillow case like me) and a towel, but everything else is provided.  There is internet, but at Pax it is not wireless.  Overall the standard of housing is very nice and comfortable.

Leisure time and social activities

I did not have the opportunity to participate in any social activities with Global Friends, but I was only here for a month.  I did however meet with my global friend once and it was really fun.  I really appreciated her taking the time to show me around and introduce me to some of her friends.  Several people from work also invited me to their home or other activities around Stockholm.  It was nice to get a different perspective outside of the clinic environment.


 I decided to go on the KI exchange program because Karolinska Institute has a great reputation.  It also offered me insight on how a social health care system works in comparison to the American system.   It gave me an opportunity to take the best ideas from the Swedish system back to my America.


I felt like I received appropriate information from both my home institution and also from Karolinska prior to my arrival. The international coordinator was very helpful in answering many of my questions through email.   The most useful information I received was from my course director who had past student give information on both the course and living in Stockholm.


I believe that we were required to bring our vaccination certificaton.  There were no new vaccines that I needed prior to my travel to Sweden. 

Allting klart för avresa!

Courses during the exchange period

ELA001 : Dermatology and Venereology 1
This clinical course is very well organized. I received a nice handout that described the course well from the course director prior to my arrival. He also sent along information from past students that was extremely helpful. I was able to see a variety of diseases and treatments. My schedule was set for the entire month that I was here. My supervisors were also receptive to changing the schedule to give me more time in clinics of my interests. In some of the clinics, I was able to help with procedures. Additionally, since dermatology has many skin exam findings, there was always plenty to see on examination. One part of the course was to do clinical reports. We were required to do one per week. I think that it would be more helpful to do 2 for the time we are here. In place of that learning, I found it very helpful to look at cases with our supervising resident and have the resident ask us questions and figure out the diagnosis. The course was very relevant to my studies. I will practice emergency medicine and we often see urgent and chronic skin conditions in the ER in the U.S. Everyone that I worked with was extremely nice and I was able to learn a lot from the course. The only improvement would be working with some of the physicians more frequently.


Overall, this is wonderful exchange program that I would recommend to anyone. I was able to learn a lot both about medicine and Swedish culture.  I don't think that there is anything that I would have done differently.  Stockholm is a great place to call home.  I really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere.

Language and Culture

No, I did not.

Studies in general

 The KI student union building is very nice and welcoming.  I did not spend much time here because I tended to do my work in coffee shops.  Plus, most of my work was performed by doing a clinical rotation.  I did not have a great need to spend hours at a study environment.


My supervisors met with me at least once a week to discuss how things were going since I worked with different people everyday. All of the physicians and residents that I worked with were great!  While it was nice to work with so many different physicians, it would have been nice to work with some of them a bit more frequently to build a better rapport. For my rotation, we needed to write case reports on patients that we saw in the clinic.  My supervisors took time to evaluate my work and give well-thought out feedback. 


In regard to patients, they often spoke in English so I could understand the clinic encounter and were always welcoming to have me in the room.  The physician did a nice job of explaining the case if the encounter took place in Swedish.