Exchange report - incoming students
Utsikt över CBD (Central Business District) Melbourne
Home university: The University of Arizona
Study programme: Public Health Sciences (Master's)
Exchange programme: INK
Semester: Autumn semester 2014/2015
Name: Christina Manng
Email address:

Arrival and registration

I will admit that my arrival into Stockholm was somewhat difficult. I believe I was a rare case though because many other international exchange students told me of great experiences. Just to give a little backdrop, KI provides all international students with the opportunity to be picked up by a current student ambassador. There was a great deal of miscommunication between the individual who was supposed to pick me up and I ended up being stranded at central station for about two hours. Here is what I learned from this though: Swedes are EXTREMELY friendly and helpful. I asked an individual to borrow their cellphone since I had yet to get a Swedish phone, and discovered that my ambassador had given me the wrong number. Fortunately, this helpful individual looked her up in the Swedish directory for me. Because she did not pick up the first time, I asked another individual soon after and finally got in touch with her. My advice from all of this is be prepared to enter the public transit system on your own and do not panic!


Introduction days were fantastic. They are a wealth of information and they feed you constantly. I do recall having some difficulty with enrolling in the library system and getting a student login ID but only because of failure on my part to not fill out ALL pertinent information before arrival. But even with that being said, the coordinators are the friendliest, most reliable of individuals, and they’re incredibly knowledgeable so utilize them!

Caulfield campus


Whether or not you are EU or non-EU, APPLY FOR HOUSING IMMEDIATELY. As a non-EU student, you receive priority with KI Housing, and so I received my first choice and had no problems there, but you hear of stories like students camping out on the lawn of Stockholm University and realize, yes, Stockholm has a major housing problem. I stayed at PAX and highly recommend it to others (and found it to be very affordable, which is saying a lot since I attended uni in one of the cheaper US cities). Strix is right past the forest for others looking for slightly cheaper accommodation.


I did not come with proper linens, bath towels, etc. and struggled my first day, so I highly recommend you come with all of this beforehand (even if it takes space in your luggage, your pocketbook will thank you later). If you must buy these things and cannot make the immediate trip to IKEA, Solna Centrum is a small shopping mall that should have everything you need. Do know that you also need to purchase your own router. Wifi comes with your monthly bill, but they will only provide the cord and not the router. You can ask your friendly neighbor to borrow their password before having the opportunity to go to Media Mart at T-Centralen and buying one there.

Chapel street

Leisure time and social activities

Being surrounded by an international cohort was, hands down, one of the best aspects of my Swedish experience. What many individuals do not know is that 25% of the population in Stockholm is comprised of international students. With that being said, although I was surrounded by people all over the world in Pax and in my courses, I met few Swedes. There is this common observation that Swedes are very shy and standoffish when you first meet them, but that once they get to know you, and you them, they are a friend for life. I believe this to be very true from my personal experience.


I attended several social events—be sure to join the Global Friends group on Facebook to hear of the many FREE (and affordable) events they host. I also became a member of the Medicinska Foreningen but you’ll learn more about that at introduction days. I highly recommend attending Amphioxue and the Lucia Ball, which are comparable to American homecoming and prom respectively so be sure to bring a cocktail dress and a more formal below the knee dress, ladies, and a suit, gentlemen. 

Glad Hawthornesupporter på Footymatch på MCG.


My name is Christina Manng and I had the amazing opportunity to participate in an exchange at the Karolinska Institutet in Autumn 2014. I am from Chandler, Arizona (approximately 30 minutes from the Phoenix metropolitan area) and attended the University of Arizona for both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. I went on exchange in the final semester of my Master in Public Administration (MPA) because I sought to specialize on healthcare and thus enrolled in the MSc. Public Health Sciences: Health Management, Economics and Policy track.

I chose to go on exchange because I wanted to not only specialize my MPA in healthcare but also to broaden my knowledge base about health systems on an international scale. Often times, especially in the field of public administration, knowledge is limited to that of what is happening in the United States and although that may be okay in other specialties such as local government, I did not feel that was the case for healthcare in a growing globalized society.


The choice to attend KI was easy once I had the opportunity to research the opportunities available there. It is a top ranked university in the medical and health sciences, which was ideal for what I was seeking to do.


The process of applying for exchange appears daunting at first, especially for an individual who has never left North America, but this was one of the easiest, most efficient processes I had ever had in terms of an application. It was almost too smooth that I kept waiting for something to happen! The process of acquiring a visa was also not as daunting or long as I had thought it would be—so long as you have all the necessary paperwork, then you’re okay. My visa took less than a month to receive, from submission to acceptance. 

Sovande koala

Courses during the exchange period

4FH004 : HEPM and EP Introduction to Public Health Science
Very broad, introductory course that centered a great deal more on epidemiology as compared to health economics, policy and management. I look back and wish I would have actually applied myself more in this course and done the course readings in order to take advantage of the researchers and lecturers who visited the class. The group project/presentation is very basic, and they prep you for the examination by weekly quizzes (that are not graded).
4FH051 : HEPM-Health systems and policy
My favorite course from KI and from my entire graduate career for the matter. The course leaders demand a great deal from you, you will be provided with a wealth of information and you’ll receive amazing lecturers. The most difficult aspect will be the amount of information you’ll receive; especially given it is during the holiday season. This course sought to utilize a method of thought called Health Systems Thinking in order to perform research about the impact and value of polices and programs. There are several factors that affect the success of a program, and this course walks you through many of those possibilities from a broad point of view. Do know that KI does not have an official winter break—this is up to your course professors and you will still be assigned work during this period, so plan accordingly.
4FH052 : HEPM- Financing health and medical care
This was a good course. What this course lacked in my opinion was passion and application to the real world. I would have preferred more case study work, and less theory since you can read theory beforehand and attend class after. Also, you spend the first two weeks learning basic economics given that not everyone has studied economics. Again, you have a group project/presentation, an individual assignment, and a final take-home examination. I learned how seriously feedback is taken when my peers heavily criticized our group project, so l would recommend not taking anything personally. It’s all a learning curve. The take-home examination is a monster—don’t underestimate it just because it is open book.
4FH050 : HEPM-Planning for health
This is a really short 2.5-week course and we had some issues because the instructor was replaced last minute. With that being said, my instructors were extremely kind, flexible and eager to teach. Don’t be afraid to speak up and participate during discussion. It was also this course that they begin to relate work to real-life—so if you are given explicit instructions on how to format your research proposal, as well as page limits, follow instructions or be ready to answer for it later. This course sought more to teach us how to plan a program and write proposals for use in the field as our examination—there was little time to really study theory.
Svarta svanar vid piren i St Kilda


I had an amazing experience and speak highly of what I learned at KI and on a personal level by being immersed in a different culture and in such an international setting. I can’t speak highly enough of the coordinators for being readily available throughout all of this. Have courage, be open and kind, and you’ll have an amazing learning experience as well. Best of luck.

St Kilda i solnedgång

Language and Culture

I do recommend enrolling in the Swedish language courses KI offers exchange students, if not to simply meet individuals and make friends right off the bat (the first individuals I met in my course ended up being my best friends throughout my time there!) but to respect the Swedes by making some attempt to understand their language, history and culture. I certainly did not leave speaking fluent Swedish but I know others who did. It is common knowledge that it is difficult to practice because 1) Swedes speak amazing English and 2) because they also love to practice their own English! Take it as an opportunity to be a student and a teacher.

I would further recommend signing up for the Swedish language courses provided by Global Friends as well-- I heard great things about them simply because they teach you how to speak functional Swedish so it's less formal in a sense.

De tolv apostlarna på Great Ocean road.

Studies in general

Coming from the insane work and study culture of the US, it took some getting used to studies at KI. My first week at KI, I kept thinking I was back in grade school where you were in a single classroom, with the same people, from 8am until 3pm, and a lunch break between. You begin to appreciate this study culture and the environment once you stop comparing it though. That is something I do have to note—throughout your experience in Stockholm, and elsewhere for the matter, don’t try to compare it to what you perceive as right simply because that is what you grew up with and were comfortable with from your home country. The Swedes value work-life balance and so you will have many breaks (fikas!) and there is a great amount of respect your course leaders will show you because they understand that you are the next generation that will lead the world.


One of the best aspects of the courses at KI is the fact that you will often times be learning about a subject area by a major researcher in that field. I had several lectures from individuals from WHO and such, and it inspired where I am now, so understand the value in this and connect with such individuals! Our course leaders are providing these resources for a reason!


There was a major learning growth curve for my courses as the semester went on. My first course was not so great, but my last course was spectacular. My reason for saying this is because as a Master student, I expect to be challenged and to be put through rigorous work, but simultaneously, I understand that my first course was an introductory course, and it was an opportunity for KI to level the playing field given the many different paths my peers and I had come from. One of the most respectable aspects of KI though is their constant desire to grow and evaluate themselves—take those evaluations seriously because you’re helping them and future students.


Do know that planning trips within Europe may be a little more difficult given the course structure, but you are given the schedule ahead of time and have the opportunity to plan trips accordingly. I do recommend a quick train to Copenhagen, boats to Helsinki and Talin, and going north to see the Northern Lights in Kiruna. My only regret is not exploring Sweden itself more—don’t be afraid to take a train to Uppsala or Gothenburg for the day, or to explore the beauty that is the Swedish countryside.

Clayton campus