Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: Università di Bologna
Study programme: Psychology
Exchange programme: Erasmus
Semester: Spring semester 2013/2014

Arrival and registration

After all the preparations the big day came and I had to travel to Stockholm. It was really busy for me personally because in January when the spring semester at KI starts it is the time were in Italy we are in middle of our exams. Nevertheless I was able to arrange in the way that I did all my exams in Italy and the day after I took the flight to Stockholm, exactly one day before the introduction day. This introduction day as well as all the arrival information and services from KI were really well organized and really helpful. You get so many important information about the swedes, Stockholm, KI and the normal campus life, you get in contact with other exchange students and can make already friendships.


I remember it as it was yesterday, the application for the housing, the internet and Google maps research to analyze which dorms are better, wherefore apply and than ones you applied the anxious waiting and checking the e-mails every day in the hope that you get something. The fact is that if you apply with KI housing you get an awesome support to find a room and so far I experienced and heard from other students most of the dorms are really nice. Additional I have to say that living in a dorm is a really nice experience and can be super fun, obviously it can also be a little horror if you don't come along well with the other students or have really lazy neighbors which don't clean the common kitchen, but it doesn't happen that often I think and you just shouldn't expect that. So back to my point, if you apply with KI housing it is a enormous advantage, because finding a place to stay, apartment or what ever by your own is super difficult in Stockholm and especially it is super expensive. Normally you don't even get anything if you stay less than a year, so I just can recommend the opportunity given by KI housing. I personally stayed in Pax 3 (Emmylundsvaegen 3, Solna), a really nice dorm, close to the university and well organized, also the room sizes are fine and for Stockholm prices it is kind a cheap. The kitchen cleaning was organized and worked without big problems, the kitchen stuff was common and the kitchen partys were awesome! The only bad thing I have to warn you of is that in such student dorms you have to be aware of bedbugs.

Leisure time and social activities

I participated in some fika (afternoon cake and coffee) as well as some of the KI parties organized from the university and the different associations as MF (medicinska foereningen) or global friends. There are many events planned by this organizations and they are very helpful to get to know new people and Swedish culture.


 Since I started University I knew that I would love to use the great opportunity to take an exchange year in an other country by the Erasmus program or any other one. This comes from the fact that I always really loved and still do love traveling, seeing other cultures, environments, see the differences and learn from it. Additional I think that there is no better way to do so than to live in a place and work or study there. So when I then started informing myself about the possibilities of an exchange I looked into the different destinations, which were offered by my university. There were a lot of destinations but sincerely only a few in English, which was a main criteria for me because my French or Spanish isn't that good to study in that language and by doing an exchange I didn't want to loose a year or to miss exams and so on. The fact is that for me it wasn't only important to go somewhere and have fun but I actually am pretty serious and focused on my studies and the opportunity to learn from other teachers in an other university attracted me. Next to that I think that it is a great advantage if you take courses in English and improve your language skills by that. So long story short when I saw the different options where I could have gone I saw that the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm was one and ones I saw that my decision was made. Not only because the city is really appealing but mainly because the KI as university is well known as a good place to go. Karolinska is simply a name which makes you believe that you can learn and see a lot in that university and which stays for academic proficiency. Ones I chose and won the place at the KI the big paper work started. The information from my University in Bologna Italy were really well structured and helpful but nevertheless it is a lot of work. Anyway it pays the costs of ones when its done! So just take your time and go throw it.

Courses during the exchange period

2PS029 : Cognitive Processes
Cognitive Processes was the first course I took in Sweden, the practical part of the course, especially the experiment we had to conduct was one of the most helpful experiences I made at KI and I really enjoyed working on it. For me personally it was great to get this opportunity, work on a own hypothesis and see the all the steps from the initial hypothesis until the writing and the presentation. To get a feeling for scientific research working. Another thing I was positively surprised of was that in the first part of the course, statistics, which was originally in Swedish I got the great service to get personal lectures in English. A really good service I would have never expected. The theoretical part of the course with the lectures and seminars was variable, since some professors were really good in explaining and keeping the class interested and some were more confusing. The quality of the course in general and of the topics was really high I have to say and I enjoyed almost all lectures and seminars. Especially the emphasis on the neuroscientific basis's was impressing and appreciated by me personally. The exam I have to say was much bigger or longer as I am used to and that was a bit stressful because the questions were so general that you had the possibility to write a lot.
1EE089 : Reading course in social psychology
The reading course in social psychology consisted in searching an argument, writing about it and presenting it to the professor. In my case I was the only one taking this course so the dates and everything were really flexible and I want to thank my professor of this course therefore. The experience with this course was really important and great for me because I got the chance to choose an argument which is important to me and work on it, write about it and get the feedback about this. The text I wrote on this course will be helpful in my future thesis and the experience I made by working on it, next to the feedback I got about my writing will be central for future thesis's and so on.
2PS003 : Social Psychology
The course in social psychology is really well organized, the lecture rooms but especially the professors didn't change that often and that was a big advantage in my opinion. In this course I had really good professors and I found it easy to follow their explanations and to learn it than. Next to the lectures we had to do some writings which I really enjoyed. Next to this we did also a little group work at the end which was useful but not that much for me actually, because most groups did their presentations in Swedish so that I only worked on the presentation of my group and didn't even hear the other ones (obviously because I wouldn't have understood them). I can understand that they preferred doing it in Swedish but for me it was a pity because it would have been interesting listening to the presentations. Another part of the course were some mandatory lectures, and the funny thing was that exactly this lectures were in Swedish, and that nevertheless they were also mandatory for me. I would have had the possibility to skip this lectures and do some homework but it didn't seem worthy to me, so I went to the lectures got the slides in English and sad there as long as I had to. This was one of the few things I have to criticize of this course because it wasn't only un-useless, but it was also simply boring and time wasting. The final exam of this course was based on study questions from previous exams which I got in part translated from one of my professors and in part I translated them by myself, for future students it would be more equal to already have them in English but it wasn't that big deal to me. Anyway I want to repeat that the quality of the professors and the lectures was really good and that I enjoyed and learned a lot. Especially I liked the linkages with the neuroscientific parts of social psychology.


In the end I can just say that I passed amazing 6 months were I got the opportunity to learn a lot and make so many beautiful experiences. I am more than happy that I took this semester at the KI in Stockholm and I can not even imagine how it would have been without this great period. An exchange period is something I think you will never forget and were you make so many friendships, see so many things, travel, enjoy simply your time more then ever, you really learn how to do as much as possible in short time, you get to know another culture and experience so many new things... I believe that this is something everyone who has the possibility should do because it is a really unique chance you are given, and this are experiences which makes you grow and influence your future a lot! And as I said in the beginning, for me the academical part was very important and I choose KI therefore, obviously I can tell you now that I know that I took the right decision and that I don't regret it. Because KI is an excellent university, where you can learn so much and I really appreciated that. Personally I can conclude by saying that this was one of the best times I ever had, one of the most informative one as well and that this experience really has a big impact on my future career. So for everyone who is one the way to KI, believe me it will be awesome!

Language and Culture

For every exchange student afraid of not understanding anything and coming into a strange speaking land I can only say no worries! In Stockholm I experienced that almost everyone, from the grandmothers with their grandchildren, to bus-drivers, or bank employs speaks English. In fact even if Sweden is not a native English speaking country you can live your daily life easily without understanding Swedish that much and just with speaking English, therefore it is also a great opportunity to improve your English. But if you have the time you should try to take a Swedish course and learn this lovely language. KI actually offers some courses, were there is one especially offered to exchange students. I paid 200 SEK and took that one but unfortunately I have to say that I didn't enjoy it that much and that I quitted it than.  

Studies in general

 I came to KI in the spring semester of my second year undergraduate studies in psychology. I had the luck that the courses offered by KI in English matched very well with the courses I would have had in Italy in that specific semester. The fact that these courses weren't actually always in English but only if any exchange student took them and it was needed therefore was something I didn't know in the beginning. It was funny on one side when the professors changed the language ones I came in the class but on the other hand it was a bit embarrassing. I wasn't sure how happy the other students were about me being there since everything had to be in English for me and sometimes it was actually a bit difficult to find people joining my group on presentations and so on because otherwise they would have done it in Swedish but nevertheless it was a great service from my point of view. So as you can guess I took normal lectures in a normal class full of swedes. The differences between Italian university or classes and Swedish ones are huge. For example I was surprised by the size of the class or the number of students ( around 70) which was much less than Italian undergraduate studies, the lecture halls changed nearly every day which was quiet confusing in the beginning but you get used to it. The Professors changed almost as often as the class room which was good and bad on both hands. On one side you have the big advantage that the professor holding the lecture is actually working on exactly that argument and doing research on it, so he is an expert therefore. But on the other hand you got the feeling that some professors weren't as familiar with the concept of teaching and had therefore some difficulties in explaining, from my view some professors were just not that good in explaining and probably they just didn't have as much time to explain things well. Therefore I had some lectures were the professor were awesome and kept the interest of the students awake and some which were more confusing. In any case the online services with study questions, slides and so on is simply perfect and really helpful. Also all the practical parts of the lectures, experiments, seminars, group presentations and so on were new and at the same time very informative for me. Next to that one of the things I mostly enjoyed was the way to take lectures and the fact that in lectures students got the possibility to discuss about topics, think critically and ask questions.