Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: Universiteit Leiden
Study programme: Psychology
Exchange programme: Erasmus
Semester: Spring semester 2016/2017

Arrival and registration

When accepted to Karolinska Institutet, I received an e-mail asking me if I wanted to sign up for the free of charge pick-up service from the central station. This meant a student from KI would be waiting there to pick me up, help me to get a travel card and take me to my room. This I would definitely recommend, since you immediately get in contact with someone and any questions you may have when arriving at central station (which can be quite hectic) will be answered immediately by someone who has been in your shoes before. 



I applied for KI housing by uploading a top 3 of all the housing opportunities KI offered. Unfortunately, my top 3 wasn’t available anymore, but the KI housing offered me a different accommodation instead, which was meant for exchange students as well. The price was not expensive and the rooms looked big and clean. The only disadvantage is that Varberg (the accommodation I am in) is quite far away from both city centre and university campus Solna. However, the other campus, Campus Flemmingsberg, is close by. Also, the tube station is a 5 minute walk and the bus stops across the street. Stockholm has a very reliable public transport network, so getting into the city or back home has never been a problem, also at night. 

The Edge House

Leisure time and social activities

The social life in Sweden was one of my most positive experiences. I made so many new, amazing friends, and I haven’t felt alone for a minute from the day I arrived. The minute I arrived I met some people in my housing, who were really friendly from the start. The day after, KI had organised an introduction day for which all exchange students were invited. From this day on there were activities organised by either ourselves, or by the student union from KI (Medicinska Föreningen), so there was always something fun to go to. With the new friends I made we also went on many trips, which gave us the opportunity to see the beautiful Swedish countryside, and the surrounding Scandinavian countries. Looking back I mostly made new foreign friends, and only met a few Swedes. However, the ones that I met were super friendly! 

Kära kollegor på Mulago!


The last couple of years I heard more and more students around me talking about the fabulous time they had during their semester abroad. Wherever they had been, for most of those students it had been the best 5 months of their life so far. I’ve always wanted to study at a different university myself, but I definitely wanted to go to a country I had never been to, and to a city which is not comparable to Leiden, so I would be able to develop myself and broaden my perspectives. Also, I would be able to discover a new culture and country. Eventually, my eye fell on Sweden and Karolinska Institutet was by far the best university for psychology offered by the exchange programme at Leiden University. As soon as I was admitted I was happy with the choice I made. Whenever I had questions regarding further application processes for example, I would have a detailed answer from the exchange coordinator at Karolinska describing exactly what the possibilities where or what steps I should take next. Also, the communication between Leiden University and Karolinska was very open.   

Nervösa för avresa från Arlanda flygplats

Courses during the exchange period

2PS015 : Clinical forensic psychology
This course was for me an eye-opener since the majority of the course was set up through an online discussion platform, and literature was ought to be searched by yourself. Also, the topic of forensic psychology was completely new to me. However, this course was extremely interesting and I learnt so much from replying to other students’ posts and finding relevant literature to back up your own arguments. Also, the supervisors were super helpful and provided us with the opportunity to visit an institution related to the forensic field, which was amazing!
AT1X01 : Community and Home Based Rehabilitation - Cultural Perspectives
At the beginning of this course I did not know what to expect, however it turned out to be an interesting course with many cultures involved. The only comment I have on this course is that I sometimes was not really sure if psychology was really included in the programme of the course. However, it broadened my view on the application of several project plans, and it was fun to come up with one myself!
2PS024 : Reading Course in Psychology
This course was very pleasant due to the flexibility of the supervisor. Everything was possible, and where help was needed help was given. I learnt a lot from writing a literature review, and it was fun that I could chose my own topic. It was harder than expected in the beginning, but the result was good!
2PS029 : Cognitive Processes


My overall impression over the past 5 months is one I would go back to the minute I get the chance to do this. When I had to go home, I felt homesick and missed Stockholm and everyone in it instantly! The past few months were an amazing experience in many ways; social, educational and cultural, and I would recommend it to anyone who is open to new experiences. 

Speenah Beach

Language and Culture

I signed up for the free language course KI offers to incoming exchange students. This I would definitely recommend, since it is fun to learn the language of the country you will be living in for half a year, and additionally it will help you understand the culture a lot better. In Sweden people generally speak advanced English, but from my experience it is always an advantage to know at least the basics. Also, it is fun to be able to order a coffee or something like that in Swedish! 

Studies in general

The first thing I notices when I walked onto the campus of KI is that everything is well-organised and the classes are much smaller than the ones I am used to in the Netherlands. Also, the relationship students have with their teachers is more informal than in the Netherlands, which I had to get used to in the beginning, but eventually was really helpful since I noticed it was much easier to, for example, ask a question. The library is also less formal, and more suitable for group work than I am familiar with. There is a lot of attention for physical and mental health for students, KI offers a free gym membership for all students and many other facilities.