Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: The University of Sydney
Study programme: Public Health Sciences (Master's)
Exchange programme: INK
Semester: Autumn semester 2015/2016
Name: Emmeline Agars
Email address:

Arrival and registration

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the well planned introduction week but the exchange office made special arrangements to meet with me once I arrived and attend to any issues I may have had. The office was very helpful. 

Once I met the faculty staff for my Masters I was also warmly welcomed and offered additional assistance in case I encountered any difficulties. Staff were very welcoming and accomodating. 


I arranged private accomodation through a personal contact, therefore I encountered little problem in this respect. My impression however is that private rental can be difficult to acquire and expensive and it seemed student options were a good solution for my international peers. 

Leisure time and social activities

There are many opportunities to be involved at Karolinska, through Global friends - the international students organisation, and MF - the student union. In addition there is a student bar operated by MF. I also had many oppurtunities to get to know and socialise with the peers in my course. Getting to know and learning with such a varied group of people with different study, work and cultural backgrounds was one of the highlights of my exchange. 


As a medical practitioner I had heard a great deal about Karolinska Instiutet and its reputation for international medical research prior to my exchange. This reputation and a personal connection with Sweden meant that the oppurtunity to participate in an exchange at Karolinska during my Masters of Public Health seemed an excellent oppurtunity. Karolinska also offered a Health economics, policy and management stream that perfectly suited my interests and complimented my broader education at The University of Sydney. 

I was provided with great support and information from the public health faculty at the University of Sydney and the exchange office at Karolinska during the application process and prior to departure. I was very fortunate to have friends in Sweden prior to arrival that made my transition even smoother. 

Courses during the exchange period

4FH004 : HEPM and EP Introduction to Public Health Science
4FH052 : HEPM- Financing health and medical care
4FH051 : HEPM-Health systems and policy
4FH050 : HEPM-Planning for health


My exchange at Karolinska was an incredible oppurtunity to gain a broader European perspective on international health systems and policy and one that I am truly grateful for. It was insightful learning from such a variety of lecturers with a wealth of international experience and a joy learning with such a diverse and warm international cohort. 
During my stay at Karolinska I felt very supported and consequently had no issues during my exchange. My experiences have meant I may look into further collaborative postgraduate research oppurtunities with Karolinska in the future and I am sure what I have learnt will guide my future practice as a clinician and researcher. 

Language and Culture

I was provided with a free Swedish language course through a private provider. This was an incredible oppurtunity and as I spoke a little Swedish prior to my arrival I was able to join a class at my level of Swedish proficiency. This class was well delivered and an excellent service provided by Karolinska. 

Studies in general

I found the Swedish university environment a bit of a contrast to what I was accustomed in Australia. Participating in one course at a time was far less stressful and allowed enough time for all homework, readings and assessments to generally be completed within normal working hours. This allowed for greater time to relax and explore Stockholm. By only completing one subject at a time it allowed me to engage more fully in courses and concepts in a deeper and perhaps more intensive or focused way. By participating in a streamed course with the same peers every day I was also able to get to know my peers in a quicker and better way as we spent a long time together.  It also allowed us to get to know our lecturers and course coordinators better and perhaps allowed for greater interaction and enquiry regarding difficult or interesting concepts. The only drawback was quite strict scheduling and long days of scheduled activities, making it harder to have a casual or part time job whilst studying or plan trips in advance. 
As I had already completed a semester of my course but was required to attend the introduction courses during my exchange at Karolinska I found some of the concepts we were learning simplistic and repetitive but during assessments and class discussions I was able to pursue ideas a little more further.