Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: University of Liverpool
Study programme: Medicine
Exchange programme: Erasmus
Semester: Spring semester 2016/2017
Name: Heather Milne
Email address:

Arrival and registration

I was quite nervous about moving abroad as it was a long time since I had lived outwith the UK. However, Global Friends really helped by organising for someone to collect my room keys for me and meet me at the bus station! Thank you!
I only arrived on the day before my course was to begin and was a feeling a little lost but other students were very friendly and helpful and showed me where to get the bus and where to find my first class. The class itself was very welcoming with fika organised for the first day. Having had my first Swedish fika I never looked back! Cardamon and cinnamon buns - yum!
It was unfortunate that I was not able to attend the introduction weekend as I had teaching still at my home university. This did mean that I did not have the advantage of getting to know other exchange students as quickly and easily as I think some others did. It would have been good to have some more free events organised for after that weekend. However, I was able to organise my registration etcetera after that time, and although it took over a week for me to have a library card and be registered on my course (with access to the online resources) this was soon sorted.


I applied for accommodation as soon as I found out that I was accepted onto the Erasmus+ exchange programme. This was about 6 months before I arrived. I was very pleased to be offered accommodation as i believe it is very difficult to find housing in Stockholm. The accommodation was clean and light and I could occassionally see deer from my window so I was very happy. Also being so close to a T-ban station and bus stop was really helpful, although most days I walked into University. I also loved that I could walk for 5 minutes behind the accommodation and reach the water's edge and walk on lovely paths to waterfront coffee shops and right into the centre of town!
The only improvement I really had to make was to buy another the mattress. The mattress provided was so think that I could feel every slat through it and it was very uncomfortable. I felt like the princess and the pea!

Leisure time and social activities

The only social activity organised through the medical students association that I attended was a brunch in the first week. Other social activities were organised as part of my courses by the course organisers which were great and between people that I met on the courses.
I would have liked to attend more social events but many of those provided by the medical student's association cost money to attend and you had to pay a 6 month membership fee which was too expensive to be justifiable given the short period of time that I was going to be at the university.


Going on exchange as a medical student was a brilliant opportunity to learn in many ways. I wanted to know more about healthcare in a country that is so well known for having a good health and social care system and to compare and contrast this to the NHS which is struggling at the moment. Then on a personal level, I wanted to experience life in another country and through doing so to provide myself with the opportunity to reflect back on my own assumptions and goals for my career.
I chose to apply to KI because it is a world leading institution where I could experience studying in a different setting while still being taught in English, and hence, not jeopardise my medical learning through a lack of understanding. KI's provision of information on their website was excellent and was supported by the information provided by my home institution. Also, as I was coming from a EU member state and having already received all of the necessary vaccinations to study medicine there, I did not need to do anything additional except for the MRSA screening which is not usually required in my home country.

Courses during the exchange period

ELAX20 : Inflammatory Diseases
The inflammatory diseases rotation was a very special opportunity. I was intrigued to find out how KI is reorganising its care provision to bring together the multiple medical specialities that deal with inflammatory disease rather than following the more traditional organ based division of specialties (rheumatology, dermatology, respiratory, gastroenterology etc.). This seems like an exciting new approach and I hope that collaboration across disciplines all addressing diseases affecting different aspects of the body but with a similar pathophysiology will yield many steps forward in the field. My knowledge and understanding of the immune system, of inflammatory disease and of current research approaches in this area was improved greatly through this course.
5HK001 : Public Health Response in Disasters
This course opened my eyes to medicine's role in the global sphere and how NGOs go about assessing needs in crisis situations, assessing the risks associated with organising a response and planning that response. I had the opportunity to work with other students from multiple disciplinary backgrounds from around the world and learnt so much from them! It opened my mind and challenged me to start to draw together both my previous social science training and my medical training to think about how I might make a difference in the world. It was truely a unique and hugely valuable experience for me and I feel privelged to be taught by professionals involved in providing humanitarian aid from all over the globe.


Overall I had a wonderful exchange to KI and feel very priviledged to have taken part in two very special courses organised and delivered very professionally. Moreover I feel incredibly lucky to have made friends with people from all over the world as part of the exchange. I would have liked to have had more clinical exposure to the Swedish healthcare system and to have had more opportunity for learning Swedish but I suppose one can't have everything.
Thank you.

Tack så mycket och hej då sverige!

Language and Culture

I spoke no Swedish before I arrived. Grade 0
I had a brilliant teacher for my first Swedish course and really enjoyed trying to learn the language. I would have liked to have continued after the first 10 week course but I received no information about continuing, despite asking. I really tried to learn some Swedish and tried to use a little everyday. I would have liked to have had the opportunity to be more supported in learning this. Swedish class a couple of times a week instead of just once would have been good.
Also I am still waiting for my certficate from the course as I hope to continue learning the language.

Studies in general

I thoroughly enjoyed studying at KI. I undertook one 12 week lecture based course in the public health response to disasters and one month of study in inflammatory diseases. Neither of these courses were on offer at my home institution and both were well delivered and eye opening in their own way.
 Key to both of these learning experiences were the staff who organised and delivered these courses. They were approachable, encouraging and dedicated to delivering high quality education. On my public health course students and staff developed a good team working atmosphere. We learnt not only from the content of the course, but how to work together to address the hugely difficult problems faced in crisis situations.
University staff and medical practitioners alike were more approachable than in the UK. It is not that we they are unapproachable in the UK, but there was less of an implicit hierarchy, and the consultants were more accessible. For example, I do not know a UK consultant who would encourage his medical students to contact him on his personal mobile if they had a problem!
The clinical rotation contained a lot of information but for me, I would have liked to have more time on the wards and less time spent considering the details of research as I will be starting work in clinical practice shortly rather than in research.