Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: University of Toronto
Study programme: Medicine
Exchange programme: INK
Semester: Spring semester 2015/2016

Arrival and registration

Before coming to KI I was in contact with the student who will be going to my home school as part of this exchange. He was very generous and offered to pick me up at the airport.  The arrival itself was a bit of a disaster (my flight was delayed 18 hours!) but I was able to get in touch with him and coordinate a later meetup.

There was no official introduction day for the rotation that I was participating in. I met with a rotation coordinator who showed me where my first clinical rotation would be taking place. Contact with the student health centre should be done as soon as you get in - there are very limited hours for MRSA testing! Ideally, try to do this on your first day. Try to plan as much as you can for your first day before you get in. Between finding your apartment, getting internet hooked-up and/or a phone, figuring out how transit works and where you are going there is lots to do in your first few days in Sweden. Because of my flight delay I only had 24 hours to do all of this and found it quite busy and ended up missing the first opportunity for MRSA testing and the next one on my campus was three days later.


I applied for housing via KI but ended up arranging for private housing. KI told me when I applied that it was quite possible that they would not have anything available. I found a beautiful and (relatively) affordable apartment on AirBNB which I ended up renting for the duration of my stay. Because I was staying for a long time, I was able to arrange a much cheaper rate than what is quoted as the nightly rate for this apartment. Finding an apartment was not without its challenges however - I messaged many Air BNB apartment owners and spent much time on many other websites before booking this place. 

Leisure time and social activities

I participated in social activities through Global Friends and through finding people doing activities that I like to do at home (rock-climbing, basketball, board games etc.) and made a few Swedish friends through my courses. I think that it might have been easier to make friends if I had lived in a student accommodation rather than in an apartment that I found on my own.


I was excited to learn that my home school offered an exchange in Stockholm. I was very interested to see what it is like to practice medicine in a different publicly-funded healthcare system. Sweden and Canada have many similar challenges when it comes to providing healthcare and I was interested to see how Sweden addresses these. My home university required me to participate in several workshops prior to me coming to KI - both a general safety abroad workshop and a workshop about practicing medicine in other countries. As such, I felt very prepared about coming here.  KI provided sufficient information. I got MRSA testing at home and this was repeated upon my arrival in Stockholm.

Courses during the exchange period

ELA005 : Internal Medicine 1
I spent half of my time in cardiology and half in emergency medicine. My rotation was focused on clinical experience and as such I did not participate in any formal teaching and had no examinations. These clinical rotations were similar to the way that they are structured at home.


Overall, I had a great experience and KI and would not hesitate to recommend the experience to other adventurous students. If you have the opportunity, pick warmer months than the dead of winter!  

Language and Culture

I tried to learn some Swedish on Duolingo! But did not participate in any formal courses.

Studies in general

There are many differences between studying medicine in Sweden vs. in Canada but I think that overall these are outweighed by similarities.  In terms of the differences, one thing that I noticed immediately was that Sweden is much less hierarchical - students refer to attending physicians by their first name. Yet in other ways, clinical interactions seemed more formal - for example, they always start with a handshake.  In Sweden, I think that there is also more time spent in an individual interaction - physicians really take their time with patients in terms of gathering information and making sure that the patient feels comfortable with the discharge instructions. Overall the pace is different as well, medicine moves at a relaxed pace and I felt like this allowed me more time to be thorough.

There was more Swedish than I was anticipating. Many of the elderly patients did not know much English and even some of the clinicians that I worked with were more comfortable in Swedish. This was at times frustrating but you learn to find ways to adjust - asking to see a higher proportion of young patients, asking for clarification after an encounter, etc. Things won't work exactly the way they do at home - be prepared to go with the flow!  If you are excited, keen and flexible, people will be happy to have you around and get you involved!