Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: University of Dublin - Trinity College Dublin
Study programme: Physiotherapy
Exchange programme: Erasmus
Semester: Autumn semester 2010/2011

Arrival and registration

The arrival arrangements were excellent. My classmate and I arrived on a late flight and so it was really helpful that a member of the Global friends group collected us from the Bus and took us to our accommodation. He had kindly collected our keys from UAC that day so we were able to move in to our rooms straight away.  Unfortunately we had missed the Introduction Day but the International co-ordinator  and other members of the Physiotherapy Department kindly gave us a tour and a background of KI.

The Student Health service was easily contactable via email or telephone. They returned our MRSA test results by post to our accommodation.


I applied for housing via UAC during the Summer prior to my arrival in the Autumn. I was allocated a room in the student accomdation in Emmylundsvagen, Solna (Pax). The room was spacious with basic furniture and was an ensuite. There was plenty of wardrobe space! Essential for us girls!! On arrival I was informed of a Bed-Bug epidemic which was ongoing in the Student Accommodation! Although the company was doing all it could to try to eradicate the problem I was warned to be mindful of this throughout my stay. Thankfully I did not experience the bed-bug problem first-hand but some people in my corroidor did. 

Although I had my own private ensuite room I shared the Kitchen with the other 10 people in my corridor.  The corridor was made up of mostly exchange students but there was also two Swedish students. This was really good as the Swedish students were able to help translate information and I got more of an insight into Swedish student life. Not all those on the corridor were KI students some were attending other colleges in Stockholm. This also provided a great opportunity to discover what other unviersities in Stockholm were like compared to KI.

 Luckily everyone on the corridor was very friendly and neat so our kitchen was always clean. We arranged a corridor meeting in the first few weeks and made out a rota so that each week a different person was on Kitchen Duty. The person on Kitchen Duty was expected to make sure that everyone was washing-up after themselves and they had to bring the bins out and sweep the floor. We also started a collection of money so that we could buy washing-up liquid and other cleaning products.  Our rota worked very well and because everyone was neat and tidy anyway the person on Kitchen Duty never felt overwhelmed.  The Laundry room and sauna was located on the ground floor and was shared by those living in the two Pax buildings. Therefore it was important to book both well in advance to ensure you get the times you want.

During my stay Pax was undergoing renovations which thankfully didn't cause any inconvience to me as they were usually ongoing  during the day when I was away on placement.

Leisure time and social activities

The Gobal Friends group organised lots of fun activities during my stay. One weekend we went on a trip to Solvik which was probably one of the highlights of my exchange. We spent the weekend getting to know all the other exchange students and sharing our experiences. We were able to go swimming and canoeing. Even if it was freezing in the water it was still lots of fun!! They also orgained a ghost walk and a number of dinner parties. A trip to lapland was also organised but unfortunately it was after my exchange ended and I had to return to my home university for lectures. Many of these activities were free or only required a small payment which meant that you didn't have to worry about it affecting your exchange budget! I made a few Swedish friends through the Gobal Friends group and hope to keep in contact even after my exchange has been completed.


I chose to partcipate in the Erasmus exchange programme as I felt that it would be a great opportunity to experience how a different Health Care System operates. I wanted to meet Swedish  health care professionals and to establish whether there were any differences in the work that they preform compared to their Irish counterparts. I also wanted to experience the different equipment and treatments utilised by Physiotherapists in Sweden so as to broaden my skills and to be able to introduce new treatment methods into my future clinical practice. The opportunity to explore a new culture, people and language greatly appealed to me.

I chose KI because of its excellent reputation . My home university had already set up an exchange programme with KI which made the decision even easier. All of the students from the Physiotherapy Department who had previously taking part in the exchange gave a wonderful impression of their time at KI and had found the exchange to be of great benefit.

KI provided a very helpful information booklet prior to my depature which had lots of useful information about not only the course but Stockholm and Sweden in general. The international co-ordinator and those who were involved in my clinical rotations contacted me via email and were always quick to repond to any of my queries. My home university provided adequate information about the exchange but I found that emailing the students who had previously been on the exchange to be more helpful. It was often easier for them to answer my questions as they had first-hand experience of the exchange.

I was required to undergo a MRSA test prior to commencing my clinical rotations.

Courses during the exchange period

1EE017 : Clinical rotation 1 for exchange students - physiotherapy
My second placement was in Paediatrics in the Rikscentrum Barnobesitas in KI Huddinge. Here, I got exposure to the problem of Childhood Obesity, something which is only now being highlighted in Ireland. I learned a huge amount about the comlex nature of Childhood Obesity and the issues which arise from it during adulthood. Although I didn't get my own patients as such, my supervisors allowed me to participate in any part of his/her patients' treatment I could e.g. exercise testing . I also gained a greater insight into the roles of other members of the multidisciplinary team such as dieticians and psychologists and the importance of teamwork in treating children with this condition. My fellow exchange student and I also got to lead a number of different gym and pool class which will prove very vauable in the future as we learned a great deal about motivating children and adolescents. Indeed the concept of motivational interviewing is something which was first introduced to me during this clinical rotation and it something that I think will benefit me in all areas during my future clinical practice. My supervisors also kindly arranged for me to meet and participate in other paediatric specialities such as CF, Repiratory, Oncology and CP. This was a great opportunity to see the wide range of treatments and methods used in paediatric physiotherapy. I also attended a number of meetings with physiotherapists and other health professionals who were undertaking research studies in the area of Childhood obesity and it was quite exciting to listen to the research that they are conducting. I think this placement was extremely beneficial as I not only learned more about Childhood obesity but also the work of physiotherapists in other areas of paediatrics. Since paediatrics is a core area in our degree programme and is one in which I have particular interest I feel it was a very relevant clinical rotation.
SSVK13 : Literature Review
I was very pleased with the Literature Review course as I was given two weeks without any other course scheduled to prepare the Review. This allowed adequate time to choose a topic and to search for relevant articles. It was great to be afforded the freedom to choose the topic and the articles which I wanted to use. This provided a great oppurtunity to practice my search skills and to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant articles. It also meant that I could choose a topic I was interested in which always makes an assignment more enjoyable. My contact person in the Physiotherapy Department was always available via email to answer any questions I had during the course of preparing the Literature review. The process of complying a Literature review was very relevant to my degree as I must complete another Literature review when I return to my home university prior to obtaining my degree. Therefore it was very useful to have prepared one during the course of my time at KI as it was good practice for my next one. My contact person arranged a meeting to discuss my Literature review which was a wonderful idea as it allowed me to discuss my findings and to recieve some helpful constructive critisms.
1EE016 : Clinical rotation 2.1 for exchange students - physiotherapy
My first Clinical rotation was six weeks spent in the Neurology out-patient area in Danderyd's Hospital. Here, I got exposure to a wide range of patients with many different neurological conditions. Over the course of the six weeks I was given my own caseload and was allowed to choose the treatments I thought would be most effective. My supervisor was easy to approach and he always discussed my treatment plans prior to my patients arrival. I found that there was an excellent balance between allowing me to choose treatments but having my supervisor to correct any faults with my plan and to suggest alternative treatments. Many of my patients were very high level something which we often don't see in a clinical situation in Ireland so it was often chalenging to come up with treatments which could improve their problems. I also got exposure to alternate treatments which are not so popular with neurological patients in Ireland e.g. Ai Chi/ Qu Gong. I was introduced to some new outcome measures also which are currently not utilized in Ireland. I felt that this placement was very relevant to my degree as Neurology is one of the core areas in the Physiotherapy degree and I feel my experience in Danderyds will be very valuable not only for my degree but in my future practice also. The only way in which I feel it could have been improved is if I had been able to spend a little more time in the acute wards so as to gain a better understanding of were my high level patients had come from.


In conclusion I feel my exchange was a wonderful experience and I gained not only valuable clinical experience but also learned what student life is like in another country. I have made great friendships and have made lots of great memories during my stay. I would  highly recommend particpating in a KI exchange programme to any one wanting to participate in the Erasmus Scheme. 

Language and Culture

I participated in the Language course but I did not feel that it was of much benefit. I only went once a week and I feel that there was too much of a gap between the classes for me to really improve from week to week. So perhaps it would have been better to have opted for the twice weekly course.  Although this was probably not the only reason my Swedish didn't improve greatly. Our teacher began with conversational Swedish and grammar in the first few weeks. I think it would have been better to start with simple phrases, words or counting. She expected us to be able to pick out verbs and re-arrange sentences in the second week whilst I was still struggling to learn the meaning of the words. Therefore I learned most of my Swedish during my clinical rotation and from the Swedish people living on my corridor. 

Studies in general

My overall impression of the Swedish study environment is an excellent one. There is access to many private and group study areas in the Library  and the Library stafff were always available to assist me with any problems I had locating books or accessing other material. The Library books can be easily borrowed for a considerable amount of time which means that you do not have to rush through reading the books but instead can go through them thoroughly. Books can be easily renewed on-line which makes it even simpler. The access to articles published on databases such as Medline is brilliant and I was even able to acess articles which were very recent something which often proves problematic at my home university. Printing of articles is easy and with the free printing of up to 100 sheets which is provided to each student further ehances the study enviroment. It provides an incentive to print articles rather than being worried about the cost of printing. The large number of computers located in the KI campus added further this excellent study enviroment.

The relationship between student and supervisor  was quite different to home. The hierarchal  system  that is often extremely evident at home was not so obvious between students and their supervisors here. The supervisors were more open to new suggestions, more approachable and were happy to discuss any problems or questions I had. My supervisors displayed a good balance between awarding me some freedom with planning treatments whilst still being available to me if I was unsure of what treatment would be best. Another difference between the supervisors here and at home is that they would often sit with us at lunch and have conversations about how we were getting on in Sweden and how we were finding being away from our home and families. Overall the supervisors were much more friendly and easy to communicate with.

I spent a total of 10 weeks on clinical rotation and 2 weeks preparing a Literature review. Therefore I didn't have lectures and so it  is difficult for me to comment on the theory versus clinical education.