Exchange report - incoming students
Heidelberg Old town bridge
Home university: Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Sorbonne Université)
Study programme: Medicine
Exchange programme: Erasmus
Semester: Autumn and spring semester 2014/2015
Name: Lise Tecquert
Email address:

Arrival and registration

My arrival in Sweden was quite chaotic. I had to pass an exam in my french university in the morning, and to catch the plane in the afternoon. Of course I was very stressed, and of course I arrived quite late in the airport... And there was an abandoned luggage in the terminal, so it was impossible to reach the security point because the army was taking care of it. I finally didn't miss my flight, but almost!

In Stockholm, a swedish student was waiting for me in order to show me the way to my accomodation, thanks to KI's pick-up service. How nice, how welcoming! I think I would have been completely lost and scared without her... I couldn't actually figure out the names of the stations... It was written something, but the voice seemed to say something different... ? My first contact with swedish language was complicated.

The next day, I was able to take part in the last introduction day in KI. We listened to an interesting conference about cultural differences between countries. A good way for me to realize that my English was actually not that bad, since I was able to understand most of the speeches. I also met some exchange students this day, but I didn't keep them as friends afterwards. One of the girls I met actually said: "Oh, you are french? I HATE the French, they are so arrogant!"

I didn't take it personally and decided to see it as a challenge: let's prove to these people how nice french people can be!


I got a room with KI Housing... It was so easy, that's almost a shame to get an accomodation so easily! I had just to apply online, and wait for an answer. One month later, I received an email saying that my accomodation's temporary offer expired... I checked my spam-box, and saw that I had received an accomodation offer a few weeks before. I hadn't accepted this offer, since I hadn't read this email until then! Fortunately, KI Housing people are very nice. They extended the time of the offer, so I was still able to accept it.

I lived in Jägargatan. My room was 9m². It's quite small, but it's enough for 10 months, I think. Plus, we had a common kitchen, a common living room and a common bathroom. These common spaces were good ways to meet some people (mainly the kitchen and living room, though... I didn't try to get some new contacts from the bathroom, of course).

I didn't get any nice view from my room, or from my floor in general: I was living in -1 level. But I could enjoy the amazing view from other floors during some parties, and I could still enjoy the lovely walks along the water close to the dorm.

Leisure time and social activities

I could tell you that I didn't make friends with anyone, I didn't have any fun, I didn't enjoy my social life in Sweden... But you wouldn't believe me, and you would be right!

I truly think it is impossible to not feel any connection with anyone when you study abroad. Everyone is so open-minded during the Erasmus program! You can be yourself, nobody is judging, people are just accepting you the way you are. (Yes, they love you just the way you are, like the song!) Being abroad is also a good way to find your real self: as you are already discovering everything around you, it's much easier to try new experiences and to go over your prejudices and fears.

I partied a lot during Erasmus, mainly with exchange students that I met in my dorm... We were quite a big group to hang out together, and I got some very close friends that I will see for sure in the future (some plane tickets are already bought!). I had also some swedish friends, who helpt me to stay strong, took good care of me when I was sick, showed me a lot of the swedish culture (Amphiox, Semla, Midsommar) ...

I enjoyed some trips to Tallinn, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Aarhus, Gotland and to the North of Sweden. I saw the Northern Lights, which was one of my dream! I enjoyed ice-skating, a paintball session, a lasergame evening, a badminton battle, a canoeing afternoon, and a giant hide and seek game!

I fell in love with Stockholm through my touristic week-ends, going around with my friends, trying to know this great city as much as possible.

Christmas market


There is a french movie called L'Auberge Espagnole (The Spanish Apartment). Xavier, a french student, goes to Barcelona in order to study abroad for one year. He participates in Erasmus program. I saw this 2002 movie as I was a teenager... And I immediately wanted to participate in it.

I love languages since I'm a child. Yeah, I know what your are thinking "Come on, this girl is french, she can't possibly love languages!" But yes, I do! I'm a french girl in love with languages, that's why I have wanted to study abroad since I'm a teenager!

I decided to leave France for my fourth year of medical studies. My English was bad, so I wanted to improve it by going to a country where I would receive an education in this language.

First, I had to pass a language test, proving I had the required level in English... I had forgotten a lot of my highschool English. That means, I had forgotten a lot of my already bad English. But I was so motivated, I worked everyday on it during two months before the test. And I finally made it!  

Then, I had to pass an interview with the french coordinator... I showed him I was determined to go, told him it was one of my dream to study abroad... He couldn't possibly take that away from me. And he didn't.

I was quite attracted by Scandinavia... which I didn't know at all (apart from ABBA, and the blond and blue eyes population cliché). I chose Karolinska Institutet because the education offers were quite similar to my french program.

It was time for a lot of paper work (university, bank, insurance)... Fortunately my motivation made it easier!

Courses during the exchange period

D8XX01 : Clinical Medicine - Surgery
This course filled the whole first semester. I studied anesthesiology, and some surgical diseases within orthopaedics, urology, gastro-enterology, oncology, ... I think this course was the best part of my education in Sweden. I learned a lot, as I had to study for the exam at the end of the semester. Our teachers were very good and motivating. I also met a lot of friends. Each exchange student was included in a group of swedish students. This system helpt me a lot to become friends with some Swedes and to become a real part of the class. Our teachers were very nice... And Lars, the course supervisor, is absolutely awesome! I felt more welcomed in this course than ever. First, a small trip on a boat has been organized by our teachers at the beginning of the course, as an introduction. Then, during lectures on Fridays, we got more free food than it is humanly possible to eat. Last but not least, Swedes helpt us to feel happy: organizing parties, dinners, celebrating our birthdays... I've found a kind of swedish family, in this class.
2EE082 : Clinical rotation, Orthopedic Surgery
I fell in love with Orthopaedics in Sweden. I'm not sure to become an orthopedist in the future, because I like other fields of medicine as well. But I have discovered it in Sweden and I love it. I received a nice view of the whole orthopaedics field: emergency, ward, operating room, plaster, ... I also got the amazing chance to operate a patient for a fibula fracture. The surgeon was next to me, telling me what to do. But I did everything by myself, and it was the best experience of my life!
2EE045 : Clinical rotation - Family Medicine (Primary Care)
I really like Primary Care, because we see a lot of different diseases. Plus, communication is a big part of it: making sure the patient understood your explanations, accepted the plan for his health, etc. As communication is such a big deal in Primary Care, it was sometimes difficult to actually learn something from it: most of the appointments with the patients were in Swedish. But I really liked the way this rotation was organized. Every week, the other exchange students and I met with our supervisor, in order to discuss some cases and present some medical litterature. The last Friday we met, we had to analyze a video of ourself, showing us interviewing and examining a patient we met in the Health Care Center. It was very nice to improve my practice by looking at myself with external eyes.
2EE090 : Emergency Medicine
In this rotation, I mainly saw surgical emergencies, such as trauma, wounds, fractures, etc. It was very interesting, because I was able to see a lot of patients in a short time, and I've learnt a lot. I also improved a lot my Swedish during these weeks. I regret to not have seen more medical emergencies, though.
ELAXX6 : Surgery 1
My surgical rotation was divided in one week of breast surgery, and three weeks of urology. In breast surgery, I learnt how to palpate a breast, and actually palpated some lumps. I saw several breast removals and noticed how important the aesthetic part is: to get a nice wound is more important in that kind of surgery than ever. It was also nice to see a woman getting a nipple tattoo on her operated breast, with a prosthesis. In urology, I got the chance to watch some robotic prostatic surgery. I was very lucky, since this type of operation is the future for most of the countries. In KI, it was the current way to do, and I'm glat to have received the possibility to see it.
ELAX20 : Inflammatory Diseases
Inflammatory Diseases was definitely the best rotation of my second semester! Ioannis, our supervisor, was very involved in our education. Our schedule was very precise and quite complete: I've learnt a lot of rheumatology, but also some dermatology, pulmonary diseases, neurology. The education was mainly theoretical: I was listening to lectures with a small group of exchange students, making it much easier to ask more questions and understand better. During this rotation, a big part of the education was research-oriented: our teachers were passionate researchers, and we saw some research conferences as well. I never considered doing research before this rotation... Now I'm quite excited about it!


These last 10 months have been the best 10 months of my life. I loved every single moment I spent in Sweden.

KI team, teachers, Swedes in general, have been very welcoming, always trying to help or to make it easier for me. Sweden is quite different from France, but I felt home in this country. I have a lot of new friends, all over Europe. I know myself better than ever. I also think I am happier than ever... Well, maybe not... I'm back home now, so I'm definitely not happier than I was in Sweden. But my mind is full of nice memories, sending positive waves all around me.

I'm more alive than ever. And life is awesome.

Language and Culture

Studying in Sweden was a kind of linguistic challenge for me.

The education I received in KI was in English. I didn't speak a good English before going to Sweden... I was able to understand, but my expression was terrible. I was stuck with my thoughts, with my jokes, and I couldn't express any of them properly. At the beginning of the year, I couldn't understand my friend Palany, who is a native English speaker. I noticed my progress thanks to him: I was more and more able to get what he was saying. With time, I actually became fluent in English. Now, I'm not a perfect English speaker, but I'm very satisfied with my level.

I didn't speak any Swedish before going to Stockholm. There, I took some free lessons thanks to KI. These lessons taught me the basics of Swedish, such as the pronounciation (which is very weird when you are not used to it) and the basics vocabulary.

In the hospital, I heard a lot of Swedish: patients often prefer to talk to the doctors in Swedish. In some rotations, I had to write some day notes about my patients. I usually wrote it in English, and then tried to translate it in Swedish with a bit of my knowledges and a lot of help from Google Translate and Swedes. My Swedish actually became better with this method.

At the end of the year, I was able to understand most of the medical Swedish. I can follow a conversation between a patient and the doctor, and understand most of it. I'm very proud about it!

Studies in general

That's amazing to see how spoilt I was! In KI, the medical students are in the center of their education. That means their teachers actually care about them, try to make them to understand, and are very understanding about the difficulties that may occur.

It should be normal everywhere, but it's not. I love my studies in France, but sometimes I have the feeling that our teachers don't care about us. When we are in the hospital, we have to help, mainly with the paper work. And sometimes we get something to learn out of it. In Sweden, I was learning all the time during the practice, or almost. And when it was not interesting for me (talks with a patient in Swedish, paper work in Swedish, ...), they were ok for me going home in order to study. "Stay if you think you can learn something from it, go home if you think it's more useful for your education. It's up to you." is a speech I heard several times.

Students are considered as responsible adults. If you think it's better for you to go home, you are grown up enough to decide by yourself.

I also liked very much the way swedish teachers try to improve their methods by asking you all the time what you thought about their part of the education.

The education was mainly practical. In France, we have quite a lot of practice, but the theory is the main object of the exam. In Sweden, practice seems to be much more important. The students learn what is common to see in the hospital, and learn less the atypical cases and uncommon diseases.

Today, being back home, I'm late on the french program because I didn't study enough theory in Sweden. I will have to study hard to fill the holes in my knowledges... But it was definitely worth it, I've learnt a lot about surgery, endoscopy, imaging, sutures, ... 

During the first semester, I got the chance to attend the Surgery course with swedish students. It was so good to get the possibility to actually know some Swedes, and to become friends with some of them!

During the second semester, I attended different clinical rotations, which was a good way to discover several fields of medicine, and to meet different exchange students every month.