Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: Universiteit Leiden
Study programme: Biomedicine
Exchange programme: Erasmus
Semester: Autumn semester 2010/2011
Name: Kirsten Ballering
Email address: kirsten.ballering@gmail.com

Arrival and registration

Upon arrival at the KI at first it seemed a little bit confusing about where to go. As a foreign student, you get to hear a lot of names like 'Lyktan' and 'programkanseliet' (or something like that) and everywhere you have to sign some papers, and find out what they can do for you while you're at the KI. The introduction day made a lot of things more clear. I haven't been to the student health centre as far as I can remember.

There is one thing that I would like to see different when it comes to my arrival. I was staying at a room in Pax, but in order to get the keys to my room I had to pick them up at the UAC between 1-3 in the afternoon. I was by accident a bit to late and arrived in the afternoon (because a global friend had picked up my keys allready after a lot of miscommunication), but I know about a lot of people who arrive in the evenings and are dependent on friends who were allready there (we came as a group) to get their keys.  I would like to see the key pick-up being done in another way, for instance to pick them up at Strix when you arrive at the caretakers office or something like that.
London Bridge

Acommendation

The housing arrangements were very, very good. I have applied through the UAC, and I got a room in Pax. There are really big rooms with their own bathrooms. This was a very important aspect for me, as it was my house for over 5 months. The costs of housing were low, especially in comparison with my home country when it comes to a room with the same square meters √°nd a bathroom.

The kitchens were not so clean though, and when caretakers came to check if the kitchen-duty was done properly, they only left a note with 'the stove is not clean, floor is sticky'. This way nothing really changed because a lot of people don't take their kitchen duty seriously.
Bishop Complex

Leisure time and social activities

I participated in a few activities of global friends and also joined a few fellow students on their weekend trips to for example Finnham or Solvik. It was very nice and I had a lot of fun! I made quite a few friends here. From time to time the information about the activities was a little bit late (mostly from global friends), so I couldn't register or had other things planned, but in general it was good!

Pre-departure

I wanted to join an exchange program because I liked the thought of being an international student and to participate in programs other then those of my home university. The choice for the KI was simple, because there was allready a stable exchange with my home university and all the ECTS were exchangable. This meant that I wouldn't get any delay in my study progress. I did not need any certificates, other then the proof that I completed my first year-courses.

The information supply was fine. In advance we received a guide with do's and dont's and ofcourse all the necessary forms, and also some papers with tourist spots in Stockholm, and information about living there.

Courses during the exchange period

BIOX05 : BACH - Infection and Immunity
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BIOX06 : BACH - Integrative Physiology
I learned a lot about Integrative Physiology. There were a lot of lectures, but most of them were quite good and all the tutors are good at english. It's hard from time to time but I think that's something that is part of every course.

Summary

I have had a wonderful time at the KI. The courses were interesting and al the ECTS were interexchangable so there was no problem with those at my home university. I have made a lot of friends and I have seen quite a lot of the Swedish culture, as wel as a glimpse of how my future life can be like in a lab, or at an university!

Language and Culture

I completed a program of the Studiefrämjandet, 25 hours in total. I learned more about the culture than about the language, mostly because the conversations I had with fellow students and teachers were in english and not in Swedish.

Studies in general

The study I did at the KI was, when it came to the contents of the courses pretty much the same as in my home country. The lectures were 'easy minded', so you wouldn't be stressing out if you didn't understand something properly but you could just ask without getting weird looks. The way of examination was a bit different from my home university (in KI there were no books allowed on the examination) but it is just another way of learning and in my opinion not worse or better than any other method.

What I missed in the study course were seminars. In my home university we have a lot of so called 'working groups'. In the module book there are quite a few questions about the subject, which you have to answer and discuss in your working group. This helps to digest all the reading material (and it was quite a lot) and to make sure that you understand it properly. Now at the KI I was reading my suggested pages, I was attending the lectures, right before the 'real' exam I made a few practice exams and read some more, and that was more or less all I could do to learn it all.

Mary Secole Building