Exchange report - incoming students
Lissabon 2011
Home university: King's College London
Study programme: Biomedicine
Exchange programme: Erasmus
Semester: Autumn and spring semester 2013/2014
Name: Olufadebi Sunmola
Email address: olufadebi.sunmola@kcl.ac.uk

Arrival and registration

Luckily for me, when arriving, my family took this as an opportunity to have a short holiday for a couple of days in Sweden, so I didn't arrive alone making travel less difficult. Therefore, I didn't need any extra assistance arranged by KI. We arrived at Arlanda and took a coach (flygbussarna) to the central station. From there, we then took a taxi to my accommodation.

Acommendation

I applied through KI housing, it was easy to apply and the site had useful information on the different possible accommodations. Unfortunately, I was not able to access pictures of what the accommodation looked like to get an idea of where I would be living, this could be improved.


I was placed in J├Ągargatan, which in a lovely part of Stockholm. It is not far from grocery stores and transport and is in a ideal location not far from either the Solna and Huddinge, KI campuses and one train stop to the city centre. I really enjoyed my time there! The cost of housing was affordable and the standard was good.

Leisure time and social activities

I participated in social activities arranged by the KI language classes and by those arranged by global friends, who are a group focused on arranging social activates for international students at KI. There opportunities such as museum trips, trips to Skansen, ice skating etc. allowed me to have fun opportunities with friends and to make also new friends. These events are sent via email to all exchange students so are easy to join. They are also often free! Through my course, I made some good Swedish friends, who were friendly and welcoming and I made a wide range of international friends through my course and my flatmates.

Pre-departure

I chose to go on exchange because it's an easy way to be able to live and study in another country, something I really wanted to do. I chose KI because of it's good reputation and because it's in Sweden and the capital! This meant the chance of learning a new language and living somewhere new and experiencing a new culture.


The exchange information given by KI informative. Before going on exchange, I received emails and even leaflets sent home from KI. My home university were also helpful as I could email or call if I was having any difficulties with the application. However, the KI website was a little confusing. For example, the academic calendar dates.This made booking potential home return flight difficult. The navigation of the site could be made more transparent for incoming students.

Courses during the exchange period

BIOX09 : BACH - Pharmacology and Toxicology
This was interesting course. The quality of teaching was good and we there were different ways of examination e.g. oral exams and written exams. There were interesting practical work in the course and helpful activities afterwards. We had group work at the end of sections of lectures which helped for learning and an easy forum to ask questions when unsure.
BIOX08 : BACH - Tissue Biology
This was a short course but still managed a good mixture of lab work and lectures. Some of the course however felt, "stuck on" and a little random but I enjoyed the course nevertheless.
BIOX05 : BACH - Infection and Immunity
This was a good course however the organisation of the course could be improved. The lectures where good, the labs where interesting and felt appropriate for the course. The exam was based mainly on the lectures but needs to be studied well in order to pass.
BIOX10 : BACH - Biostatistics
This was a short course and was well taught and organised. There was an useful forum for doing exercises and where you can ask questions.
BIOX07 : BACH - Neuroscience
Neuroscience was a fascinating and well taught cause and has got me interested in studying it more in the future. We had a mixture of oral and written exams and lectures, labs and demonstrations.
BIOX06 : BACH - Integrative Physiology
This was a good course and was taught and organised well, there was a good mixture of lectures and practical work which was really useful in being able to ask questions and really good to help revise what you have learnt in lectures.

Summary

I thoroughly enjoyed my time and exchange period in Sweden.The university is a great standard and the city is beautiful with some much things to do. Stockholm can be very expensive and dark in the winter but it was less snowy than I though. I literally thought I would need specialised clothing and equipment just to get out of the house! But it's fine. I enjoyed learning about Swedish culture and a wide range of other cultures through other international students in my course and through my flatmates. I would do it all again!

Language and Culture

I took part in an intensive three day Swedish language course, which was offered but not run by KI. The course was helpful as it was at the start of the exchange period. so straight away you are able to meet new people who were also KI international students. The three day course was hit and miss in terms of learning Swedish, it depended on the teacher, but two out of the three days were very good and I learnt some helpful basics.


After that, I participated in an informal language course at KI, by KI students. It was good as you could learn some Swedish and have fika, coffee breaks in between. I participated in it for two semesters and it helped with my conversational Swedish. At the end of my exchange period, I was able to understand conversational Swedish and communicate in everyday situations in Swedish.

Studies in general

The way courses are taught at KI are different from my home university in the way that they are arranged. In KI the courses are intensive and taught one after the other, then a final exam after each module. Whereas, at my home university and in the UK this is not common. We have simultaneous modules and then our final exams in the summer for each module.

Also at KI, you may have long days e.g. 9am to 3pm. This was difficult to get used to at first, but then I began to enjoy being more focused in studying one topic at a time, even having specific lunchtimes. I still think, for me, it is more difficult way of studying but it was good to experience a change in learning styles.


Exams conditions in KI are more relaxed than in England. You have the opportunity to repeat the exams many times until you pass and the repeat grade is not capped. Also, at KI you are given a long time to complete and check over your exams. And in the exam hall before the exam starts, you can chat to your classmates and even bring food into the exam hall. This was really strange to me at first as in England you can't talk once you step foot inside the classroom and even a bottle of water must have it's label removed to prevent cheating!