Exchange report - incoming students
På ett barnhem i utkanten av Kampala
Home university: Universiteit Leiden
Study programme: Biomedicine
Exchange programme: Erasmus
Semester: Autumn semester 2010/2011
Name: Meghna Ramesh
Email address:

Arrival and registration

Prior to my arrival I found out that there would be no one from Global Friends to receive me at the station. This was unfortunate as I had to get my keys, but the UAC was closed. Also, I had no idea where I had to go to. Fortunately, some of my friends had already arrived in Stockholm, so they knew the ins and outs. Also, it turned out that someone from Global Friends had managed to pick up my keys for me and was able to hand them over. I think it would help students travelling all alone if the arrival arrangements were better coördinated, as these people won't have a clue what to do and where to go - especially if they arrive late in the day.


The introduction day was nice and it gave us a nice opportunity to meet other international students immediately.

Bild som är tagen från balkongen på vårt första boende, en man som putsar skor.


I have to say that I'm extremely pleased with the housing I got. I lived in Pax 1 and the condition of the building and room is better than my room back in the Netherlands. The room was spacious and contained all the necessary furniture. A great bonus was having my own bathroom, which also had a generous size and was in a good state. I think I had a very reasonable rent for the quality of the room.
Edge house, Makerere university

Leisure time and social activities

I met so  many people and made so many new friends during my stay in Stockholm. It was nice that Global Friends organised some activities, that helped, but I feel they could have done more. They organised a weekend in Solvik, which was so much fun, and it would have been nice if they had these activities more often. In the end, it was more out of our own initiative that we international students got together. It helped a lot that most of us were living in the same building. Some of us also got to know each other through the language course. Maybe Global Friends could also have informed us more on what there is to do for students in Stockholm. We had a bit of trouble in the beginning findng out what the best places were to go out etc.


Regrettably, I did not make many Swedish friends. There were those living in my corridor, but on my course there was hardly any interaction. I do feel I tried in the beginning to communicate, but it didn't seem anybody was really interested in getting to know us. It would have been very nice to have more contact with Swedish students. 

Fridfulla elefanter i Queen Elisabeth national park


Our university has an agreement with KI, which means that every year tne second year bachelor students of Biomedicine can study for one semester at Karolinska. When I first heard about this opportunity, I was keen right away. The idea of studying in an international atmosphere and experiencing a different culture greatly appealed to me and I was therefore very happy to be selected. With regards to enrolling and arranging accomodation, I cannot say I have any complaints.

En sjö vi passerade i västra Uganda

Courses during the exchange period

BIOX05 : BACH - Infection and Immunity
I found the immunology component of the course quite interesting. However, for the majority of the course the focus was on pathogens and giving superficial summaries of the various types. It would have been more interesting if they had elaborated on mechanisms disease-causing organisms use to invade their host and sustain themselves there.
BIOX06 : BACH - Integrative Physiology
The course itself was very interesting, but I was not very pleased with the exam. The questions were not formulated so well, meaning that sometimes the examiner wanted particular components to be included while these were not asked about in the question. Other times you basically had to write down everything you knew about the function of an organ, which is of course a lot of information.
En typisk avdelning på Mulago hospital


Generally, I was very pleased. I met many wonderful people who I hope will be friends for life and Stockholm was a great place to live in. I think the atmosphere at KI is great. I do prefer the method of teaching at my home university, but it was all the same very nice to experience what it is like in another university.

Language and Culture

I attended a Swedish language course which was paid for by KI. I was quite keen to learn Swedish upon my arrival, as I am very interested in languages. However, I found the quality of the course somewhat substandard. We were never given any homework and the classes themselves were very slow. We were asked to buy a study book, but consequently only covered a few pages of it. I would recommend shortening the lessons by an hour, as two-and-a-half hours is really very long.
En flicka på hennes veranda i en by utanför Kampala.

Studies in general

There is quite a contrast between the way of studying in Sweden and in Holland. To be honest, I found many aspects easier in Sweden than back at home. I only had one seminar during the whole semester, while in Leiden I usually had at least one every week. There were also hardly any assignments given and the practicals were of a considerably lower level. We weren't even required to write reports most of the time.


I find the examination strange at Karolinska. The questions that were asked were literal. What I mean by that is that we had to memorize exactly how some processes worked and had to describe them. In the Netherlands the questions were formulated such that you had to apply your knowledge to work out a problem. I cannot say one way is easier than the other, because at home we can keep our books with us during the exam since we are tested on our understanding of the material. In Sweden on the other hand, the questions themselves were easier, but it was difficult anyway, because we had to memorize a whole book. Also, the formulation of questions in an exam here and the point distribution are not correct. Often I did not receive full marks for an answer, because the examiner wanted me to mention some things which were not asked for and sometimes quite irrelevant to the question.

Mulago hospital