Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Sorbonne Université)
Study programme: Medicine
Exchange programme: Erasmus
Semester: Autumn and spring semester 2013/2014

Arrival and registration


I was picked up by a Swedish student, which was reassuring, because I didn’t have to search for the key and I could ask practical questions about transport, shopping, how to use the laundry, etc,… During the first week I had first language classes and then the introduction day. I meet lot of friends during this time and I had time to discover the city. We were shown the university during the introduction day and were given documents useful for our stay. It was well organized, as usual in Sweden, but it is all very reassuring and helpful when you come from abroad. I had to do MRSA screening test since I work in the hospital, and I had time for this during the introduction day.



It was easy to get an accomodation, I just applied through the University Accomodation Center and got an answer in July, before arriving in August. I lived in Pax, this was my first choice of accommodation. I rented through KI housing AB. I paid approximately 400 euros per month. I was very happy with it because in my home town, Paris, it is difficult to find a decent student room under 700 euros. I shared a well equipped kitchen, mostly with Swedish students that weren’t there so often. As a result my corridor was calm and clean. It was great to leave there since it well situated : only 7 minute to the central station with the metro that is close to the building (Vastra Skogen) and 15 minute to Karolinska hospital and university by bus, and most of my friends also lived here. The room was big enough, and the furniture were of good quality. All in all, I was very satisfied with the accomodation.

Leisure time and social activities


Global friends made several events during the year: it was possible to visit Skansen, the Vasa museum, the nobel museum for exemple. They also rented Solvik one day for us and so on… It was nice to meet new people there or go there with friends. The student association at KI also organized  parties during the year, where Swedish students were also present, and MF pub every Fridays which was a nice way of meeting people at the end of the week. I made Swedish friends but it was mostly within my class of the surgery course, and also during the preparation of the Nobel Night Cap.



I wanted to do an Erasmus exchange since I first heard of it in high school. For me, it is a great opportunity to study in a different university, in a different country and in a different language, and you meet people from all around Europe! I choose to study at KI because it is known as one of the best medical university in the world. And the students who went on exchange before me were very enthusiastic about their experience at KI. Also, I wanted to go to Sweden, since I like northern country and I wanted to see if what was said about the Swedish social system, gender equality and environment was true.

I got good information about the application process, the programs, and how to prepare before departure on the website of KI. When I had questions, I could ask them to the coordinator and got quick answers. I also got information with the documents I received when I was accepted for the exchange.

I don’t remember if I needed to be vaccinated since it is already a requirement in my home country to work in the hospital. I had to do an MRSA test when I arrived in Sweden.

Courses during the exchange period

D8XX01 : Clinical Medicine - Surgery
A very well organized course, with rotations in many different wards : general practice, general surgery, surgical emergency, orthopedic surgery and orthopedic emergency, anesthesiology, urology. There are lectures every fridays and small seminars during the week, with one teacher for 5 students. Swedish students and Erasmus student are mixed in the groups so that it is easier to meet the Swedish people. We had to do an evidence based médicine project and we had writtent, practical and oral exams at the end of the course, which encouraged me to study. It is possible to see quite a lot of different surgeries and sometimes to assist the surgeon. The course started with a cruise which created a good atmosphere for the whole semester. So far this is the best course I had during the whole year. I highly recommand students to do it!
ELAX16 : Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Different parts of the specialty are covered in this rotation. I went to the delivery ward, to the outpatient clinic, to gynecological surgery and emergencies. I assisted a C-section. I followed doctors but also midwives to see uncomplicated deliveries. There is seminars once a week during which we meet the other Erasmus students and lectures at the beginning of the rotation. We had to present an evidence based médicine project at the end of the course about a topic of our choice in gynaecology or obstetric. It would have been good to have a theorical exam instead to evaluate our progress.
ELAX20 : Inflammatory Diseases
A very nice course, with lectures concerning different specialities (pneumology, nephrology, neurology and rheumatology of course) and seminars. We also go to clinical practice in rheumatology, in consultation or in the ward. At the end, we had to present a patient we had seen during clinical practice. This course could have been longer in order to see more patient in clinical practice. Also it was not easy to present a patient case without access to the medical journal in Take Care. I was very satisfied from this course otherwise, I learnt a lot with the lectures.
ELA001 : Dermatology and Venereology 1
I think this rotation was a bit too intensive since we had to do a lot of evidence based medicine projects and write about the patients we had seen during the rotation. As a result, I saw my friends very seldomly and spent most of my week ends working. I wish there was more time to study dermatology theory, because despite all the time I spent working during this rotation I didn't learn enough. It is a shame since there was a lot of interesting patients to learn from, particularly in the field of inflammatory skin diseases.
ELA005 : Internal Medicine 1
You can ask in which medical ward you want to be placed in this rotation. I went most of the time in the emergency room. In this department it is easier to do things instead of following the doctor every time. I could see my own patient first and report to the doctor later. It was nice to have some autonomy, and to think by myself of the possible diagnosis and of the tests to do. I also did on-duty nights. And I went with the doctor to see very acute patients. There was no lectures or seminars during this rotation. The learning environment was good because there were enough doctors in the department for the number of patients, and we had time to discuss patient cases.



This year has been amazing! I meet so many different people from all over the world, I had time to explore the town  (which is beautiful) and some parts of the country. I discovered the Swedish health care system and worked in many different wards. It was extremely interesting to compare the educational system and the health care system to my home country. The rotations were always well organized and doctors and teachers were very welcoming and helpful. And I learnt some Swedish! I will keep an extremely good memory of this experience.  

Language and Culture


At the beginning of the year, KI offered for exchange student to take a language course. It consisted of 3 intensive days and three evening courses after that. Unfortunately, I didn’t learn that much during the course, since our group changed a lot of time of teacher, who started from the beginning again and again, and focused too much on pronunciation when we didn't even know how to say "how are you" or "good bye". I bought books to learn Swedish in the end since it is very helpful in the hospital. Most of the consultation were done in Swedish and the doctor translated later for me, even when both the doctor and the patient could speak English. At the beginning it was difficult and boring to witness a conversation between the doctor and the patient without understanding anything, but after a few months I could understand most of it and asked only to be sure I understood correctly and for additional information.

So I strongly recommend future exchange students to buy a book to learn Swedish and to listen to the language before departure, if you are going to work  in the hospital.


Studies in general


In general, compared to my home country there is more budget allocated to education and it shows: we had access to training center with advanced simulators and mannequins, we had a good access to computers, and there were less students per teacher, with sometimes only 5 students for a seminar. The teacher/student relationship is quite informal, with less hierarchy (and this also apply to the work at the hospital, with easier communication between senior doctor and residents or between doctor and nurse for exemple). It is easier to ask questions and to discuss cases due to these facts, and the teacher never try to humiliate students if they don’t understand something or ignore something.   The patients expect the doctor to call them by their first name, which would be unrespectfull in my country, or very familiar at least. There is also more importance placed on research since the students are expected to do a research project during one semester of their studies and I had to do several evidence based projects while I was there. The students are less stressed because they don’t have to compete to choose their specialty. And there is less competition in the Swedish system in general. Attending lecture or seminars is sometimes more important than having excellent result during exam, it is the opposite in my home country. In Sweden, we were very often asked to give our feedback, about a teaching, a rotation, a seminar.

Clinical practice starts approximately at the same time during the medical studies in both countries. But the Swedish students see a lot more since they change of ward every week or two weeks, they see almost all specialities. As a drawback they are less integrated in the ward and have less responsibilities than French students who stay several months in the same ward, and sometimes I felt a rotation was too short because there was still a lot of pathologies of a given specialty that I didn’t have time to see before changing of ward. Also, clinical practice take most of the time, and there is no specific time dedicated to studying by yourself. Sometimes, I wished I had more study time in order to benefit more from clinical practice.