Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Study programme: Public Health Sciences (Master's)
Exchange programme: Linnaeus-Palme
Semester: Spring semester 2013/2014

Arrival and registration

We arrived at the partner university a couple of days before the course started that gave us some time to familiarize with the city arrangements in terms of housing, travel food etc. It also helped us to settle down and orient ourselves to the city and the student environment within the premises of Jagargattan housing facility. The half a day orientation programme by the international students coordinator helped us in navigating our way through the campus, set up the library system for us and orienting to the course requirements.
The exchange visit was under the “Linnaeus-Palme” programme. All costs including travel, accommodation and stay was covered through the programme. To manage the high cost of living, we were provided with a cheap housing option by KI and student travel pass was used for local travelling within the city.


The accommodation was arranged by KI housing at Jägargatan, about 30 minutes of train journey to the Karolinska Institute. The housing facilities were good and the cost was reasonable as compared to other living options in the city. It was a pleasure to find other doctoral students and masters’ students in the premises. The atmosphere was very pleasant and experience was enriching.

Leisure time and social activities

There was no officially arranged social activity. However, our professor organised a day-long trip with all the PhD and exchange students to the outskirts of the city.


Karolinska Institutet (KI) is a globally renowned organization in the discipline of medicine and public health. My decision to visit KI was supported by two key considerations: it would provide an international platform for learning and exchange; and it would also foster better understanding of the importance of public health from the perspective of global public health practitioners. Thanks to TISS and KI for offering this opportunity. The pre-departure preparations included engagement with the Professor at KI, preparing the travel itinerary and arranging VISA. The International Student Office (ISO) played a crucial role in facilitating the same.

Courses during the exchange period

4FH056 : HEPM-Health and Medical Care Management
As part of the exchange programme, I was enrolled for the health and medical services management module with the assumption that it would help me better understand the health system of Sweden and relate it with that of India and Odisha. Under the module, we covered key topics such as organizational capabilities, readiness to change management, collecting data and analyzing it to measuring performance of primary healthcare service delivery centers. We also visited two primary care centres. The overall experience was mixed. There were some key take home messages under the programmes. However, I felt the module could have been better organized, well in advance shared, especially about the local language requirements, and more time could have been allocated for data collection and analysis. Even for group work assignments, there wasn’t enough time to introspect and write the final reports. During the course, I fell sick for about a week and that added to the time constraints.
2EE011 : Project in Public Health Sciences for exchange students


This visit was very exciting in the beginning, ended up with a mixed bag of experiences. I participated in PhD thesis nailing, thesis defense, acted as an internal examiner for the master students, presented in India-specific seminar on my research studies from India, took guest lecture sessions for the global masters’ students on health systems, health policy. 

I also took this opportunity to interact with faculties and colleagues in the department. On the other hand, I felt selecting the right course could be crucial and a deeper understanding of the course curriculum in advance would be useful for prospective exchange students. I somehow felt my learning out of these dimensions of visit were far more diverse and enriching than learning out of the specific module.

Language and Culture

Most of the instruction during the course was in English except for the data collection tools. The accent of some teachers acted as a barrier in understanding the concepts. I took help from my classmates to understand the concepts which I could not capture during the class room discussion. KI did offer us an option to get enrolled for the Swedish language course, but given the shorter duration of the exchange programme, we did not enrol into the language programme.

Studies in general

Because of the inherent cultural differences, I faced problems in participating in the class room discussions, clarifying doubts and contributing to the final report. On the one hand, the diverse background and nationalities of the participants enriched my understanding of learning environments in KI on the other hand in many occasions I felt myself as an intruder into the masters’ students who were in themselves a cohesive group, off course, with variegated interests. The module coordinators and students could well have been informed in advance about the purpose, duration and expectation of participants attending these short courses as a part of doctoral exchange programmes.