Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: Universiteit Leiden
Study programme: Biomedicine
Exchange programme: Erasmus
Semester: Autumn semester 2018/2019

Arrival and registration

My arrival was pretty well organized. I was picked up by someone of the pick-up service at T-centralen and brought to the student housing of KI, which was a good start and easier than going out on your own trying to retrieve your keys in the weekend. The introduction days consisted of a three-day Swedish course to learn the basics, which provided me with some initial contacts among the international students, and two days of introductory lectures and a campus tour. Overall the introduction week gave me a fairly good impression of the university grounds and main areas of the campus, although the tour could have been more extensive to my taste. 


I was housed in the student flat Strix, run by KI housing. I applied for housing via this website because it was recommended for the ten students coming to KI from Leiden annually, and the application was fairly easy. About 1 week before arrival I heard the details of the room that had been assigned to me. I was housed in a corridor with 11 other international students, all students at KI, with whom I shared the kitchen. From the beginning there was a nice atmosphere and together we set up a cleaning schedule to keep the kitchen clean. Whenever something in the kitchen or my room was broken (my drain got clogged one or two times) I filled out the maintenance form on the website of KI housing and they fixed or replaced the broken things fairly quickly. Overall this was good service. The one drawback on the housing was that in the period I was there, there was quite a lot of construction going on in the building to replace the electrical connections. This resulted in quite a lot of drilling noise during the day, which was annoying.

Leisure time and social activities

During my stay in Sweden I built up quite a large social life. I joined the choir of Medicinska Föreningen, the student union of KI, and got to know some Swedes there. In addition I visited several Global Friends activities (cruise to Helsinki, buddy activities) and met up with my Global Friends buddy over fika several times. I also joined an international church congregation in the center of Stockholm and visited the Bible study for young adults every week.

The information on activities for students was quite extensive in the introduction week, and events were greatly promoted via Facebook.

Surflektion med faddergruppen på Surfers paradise


I wanted to go on an exchange because it interested me to see how other countries and universities set up their study program and what types of learning methods are used. Also I wanted to make friends with people from all over the world and learn more about culture differences and how to deal with them. My bachelor biomedicine in Leiden offered an exchange with KI, so I signed up and was selected together with 9 other students. Consequently the choice for KI was not conscious, but I did know KI was a renowned university and a good place to study. The information we got was quite extensive because this exchange is organized every year, however this year the program was changed for the first time and therefore some incorrect information was provided to us. Therefore we were required to make more inquiries ourselves. I was not required to be vaccinated or bring certain certificates, because I am a member of the EU and therefore these cooperations are easier to set up.

Courses during the exchange period

1BI043 : BACH - Biostatistics
The biostatistics course was well taught. However, it was a revision of the statistics I had already had the year before my exchange, so most of it was already familiar. However it was refreshing to hear it all explained in a different way and it also sharpened my view on statistics and what knowledge is. The course aimed not only to teach about statistical methods, but also to create a critical view on what knowledge is and what good science is. The examination was a good representation of the course.
1BI040 : BACH - Tissue Biology
Tissue biology was also a combination of new and old knowledge. The home university system discusses the histology of all the organs in different courses, but here all the histology was combined into one course. A clear overview was given of all the typical characteristics of different tissues. Part of the examination was writing an experimental set-up with needed supplies. This assignment was rather unclear in what was expected from us, and it took quite a lot of trouble to get it right and according to expectations. The final exam was representative of the course.
1BI041 : BACH - Immunology and microbiology
The Immunology course was divided into two parts: the first part concerned microbiology and the second part the body’s response to invasion: immunology. It was not always entirely clear how detailed we were expected to take in the knowledge taught in this course, but in the end we managed to pass the exam. It was an interesting course, and the teachers of the immunology part were enthusiastic and in general good teachers.
1BI042 : BACH - Neuroscience
The Neuroscience course built up from the small properties of single channels and neurons to sensory and motor pathways, to finally the higher brain functions. This was a good set-up to start at the basics and connect different topics and mechanisms in the brain. The three oral exams, in the form of seminars, helped to clarify difficult parts of the study material and promoted understanding of the different systems and pathways. Also a patch-clamping practical was included, which was a lot of fun as it gave a short look behind the scenes of neuroscience research.


I had a lot of fun living in Sweden and studying at KI, meeting a lot of new people and learning new things about cultures from all over the world! It is a pity that the study program from Leiden did not entirely overlap with the Swedish courses, so I have to catch up on some courses now that I am back in the Netherlands, but overall I am satisfied about the whole exchange.

Language and Culture

In the first week I was in Sweden, during the introduction week, I was offered a free three-day Swedish course at KI. This provided me with the basics of the Swedish language, which was enough to find my way around the public transport system and the supermarket (with some help of Google translate). The teacher of the Swedish course was enthusiastic and kind, and she gave us some interesting facts about Swedish culture. I continued improving my Swedish by practicing words in the app Duolingo, trying to speak Swedish in the choir I was a part of, and listening to the Swedish news on the Internet.

Studies in general

My studies at KI were quite different from the studies in Leiden. There were far more lectures and less self-study compared to Leiden, which resulted in a more passive learning style. I also did not need to buy books for my course, because most of the information was supplied in the lectures. The facilities at the university were great, with a good library with extensive opening hours and enough places to study. The practicals were pretty well organized. Supervisors and teachers were fairly approachable (which in Sweden is more common in itself, due to the less hierarchical structure of society). I did kind of miss the smaller group sessions in which one can discuss the studied matter and make it more a part of inherent knowledge rather than something you studied once and do not quite remember. Although some people prefer listening to lectures, I myself am more the type to read and self-study new material and then talk about it with others to really let it sink in. 

One thing I did learn while studying in the international Biomedicine program of KI is to cooperate with people from all cultures. The Dutch nature is quite straightforward, so I learned to be less direct in giving feedback and taking people’s cultural background into account when discussing topics.

Exchange Fair för alla nyfikna studenter!