Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: Monash University
Study programme: Medicine
Exchange programme: INK
Semester: Spring semester 2017/2018

Arrival and registration

My arrival in Sweden was quite comfortable (despite the long flight and jet lag) thanks to the help of the student pickup service. It was really helpful to have someone to guide me from the City Terminal to my accommodation as well as help introduce some practical information on living in Sweden. I'm sure I would have been very lost without them! The introduction day was pleasant and a good introduction to the university in general. It was great to hear about some aspects of Swedish culture as well and to meet the other exchange students there. 


I stayed at accommodation provided through KI Housing. The application process was quite straightforward and my application was successful and finalised around one and a half months before my exchange. The rent was really quite good compared to what I was used to back home and I was quite pleased with the living arrangements there (private bathroom, shared kitchen). The kitchen was sometimes a source of contention on the floor (as always!) but my floormates were friendly and open and it was great to meet them and hear about their backgrounds. It was in an ideal location as well - right next to a subway station, a small store for groceries and a bus stop that headed to both KI and the hospital. There was some greenery and a great path for running nearby as well - particularly beautiful in the Spring. The laundry was shared and times had to be booked in advance, which generally worked well enough. I paid rent through the online system which worked most of the time, though there were sometimes a few hiccups trying to work with my card internationally.

Leisure time and social activities

I was keen on being involved in one of the musical societies at KI and was very lucky to have come upon the chamber string group that was part of the KI medical association. I hired a violin in Sweden as I did not bring my own from back home, and had tremendous fun meeting and playing with the other members at rehearsals and even at gigs around the hospitals and other events. Everyone was very friendly and open to a great night of playing music. Spending time with the group was truly one of the highlights of my exchange. There was quite a lot of information provided by KI on other such societies and social activities and I'm sure there would be opportunities suitable for exchange students with other varying interests such as in theatre, choir and sports. 


I chose to go on exchange to broaden my perspectives and learn about opportunities abroad. KI was participating in an exchange agreement with my home university and I was particularly keen on this program as KI had a great reputation and I thought I would be able to learn a lot about a variety of things not purely limited to clinical medicine. I was appreciative of the information provided by KI for exchange students coming to Sweden as there were a lot of administrative and just general lifestyle considerations (e.g. banking, residency permit) that were necessary before leaving. My home university had also provided some very helpful information written by a previous exchange student in the same program. The administrative paperwork mostly went smoothly and I think there was sufficient information to get things organised before arrival. 

Courses during the exchange period

D10X01 : Clinical Medicine - emphasis on reproduction and development
The course was generally well integrated across the various themes of reproduction and development and I was very pleased with the teaching. The paediatrics portion was organised very well, and there was always enough information to navigate to placements. Seminars were great learning environments and I found it very useful to be able to work on cases beforehand and discuss after already having thought about them. Lectures were a bit more variable, and I generally found the more interactive lectures to be the most engaging. We had a large variety of placements, which meant we rotated every week - this was good in some respects as we could see a wide breadth of settings, but I would have liked to stay in some placements a little longer. The obstetrics and gynecology portion had placements that were more spread out geographically so it was somewhat harder to find them at times, but the medical staff were extremely friendly and always happy to involve students. Both facets of the course had practical and written examination components, which were quite well targeted. The written component had some fairly challenging elements, but I think it consolidated what we had learnt quite well. I really enjoyed the genetics portion of the course, which was composed mostly of lectures and a small assignment early on; it would have been nice to have some more clinical components in genetics.
DVPX01 : Research oriented project, 4 w
I was interested in undertaking a research project at KI and while the unit was very short, my supervisor was very kind in helping me with a project that was suitable for the time period. It was initially a little difficult to find a supervisor as I had to do this before I went to Sweden, but I found that the professors were mostly receptive to potential exchange students. I was able to apply some statistical and programming experience I had gained from previous research stints at my home university and I found it useful to practise applying these again. As it was a research project, most of the learning was independent but I always had help from both my supervisor and other lab members to learn some of the fundamental background necessary for my project. My project culminated in a written report and oral presentation for the lab, and I found these very fulfilling as I got to summarise and see what I had accomplished in my short time in the lab.
2EE110 : Elective literature review
The elective literature review was a short one week unit, but I felt it was extremely useful to my medical studies as I not only got to investigate an in-depth topic related to our clinical course, but also practise conducting a review and appraisal of the literature. The scope of our literature review was very open, which I thought was excellent as I got to choose a topic that I was personally interested in and I think this fuelled a lot of my enthusiasm for the unit. While the time frame was quite short, our course leader was very generous in giving us time to write up our project which I felt enabled me to be more careful and composed with writing things up. The unit culminated in the written report as well as an oral presentation with our classmates, and to me, this was a valuable experience as it was interesting to hear about what the other students had learned from their own literature reviews and the topics themselves always proved to be novel. I think the unit was overall very useful to explore an area of interest in depth and to practise skills in reporting and presenting your findings.


I was very happy with my exchange experience and it felt like the time to depart came much too soon. The course was generally well-organised, and I got to experience a broad range of placements during my exchange. Whenever there were any bumps along the way, there was always someone to ask and I found the exchange went very smoothly thanks to the receptiveness of a lot of the administrative staff. 

Language and Culture

I had no knowledge of Swedish before starting my exchange, so I participated in an intensive two-weekend Swedish course that had been suggested through KI. I found it very helpful, especially as it was quite early in my exchange, as our teacher explained quite rigorously some elements of the language which were really great building blocks to expand on. It would have been nice to have a more sustained Swedish language course throughout the exchange, but I think there were ample opportunities to practise some Swedish in everyday life. It was a little harder to get myself to practise speaking Swedish as everyone, including the patients, tended to speak English very well (and often it feels like a bit of a burden if you can communicate perfectly fine in English!) but I found people were very happy to practise if I asked specifically to converse in Swedish. Listening was difficult, but it did not take too long to reach a fairly acceptable level in reading specific texts thanks to the similarities in English and the standardisation of texts in the medical world. 

Studies in general

In general, I was very pleased with the studies at KI. I think there was a noticeable difference in the emphasis of some of the teaching at KI compared to my home university. I think the clinical studies at KI were more practically-focused and highly tailored to producing junior doctors ready to enter the workforce very soon. It was always highly emphasised about what you would do in clinical situations and a lot of the seminars and teaching were centered around short cases to hone in on why information we were learning was relevant and useful. The clinical placements were quite good, though in general I feel that I got to do more personally in my home university's placements (perhaps because there is less of a language barrier and doctors are more familiar with what to expect from their own university's medical students). Theory and clinical education correlated quite strongly, and it was great that the course planning had put a lot of the most useful seminars/lectures at the very start of the course. The learning environment was very friendly at all placements and teaching sessions, and all the medical staff were very open to students.