Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Study programme: Medicine
Exchange programme: Erasmus
Semester: Spring semester 2018/2019
Name: Maria Jose Ortega Fernandez-Reyes
Email address:

Arrival and registration

Unfortunately, I could not attend the introdution day. When I arrived, most of the exchange students had already started the semester. However, I had no trouble finding all the information I needed. One of the things I have enjoyed the most about Sweden is the fact that everyone is willing to help you, as long as you ask for it. It was really easy to set a meeting with the Erasmus coordinator, who gave me all the clues and put me in contact with the student health centre.


My accommodation in Stockholm was way better than i had expected. I was located in Pax, and my bedroom was big, clean and with and incredible view, as it was on the 9th floor. It was quite far away from all the hospitals I had to go to, so I had to wake up really early during my whole exchange programme. However, when I had the chance to visit a more centric accommodation, I noticed that I liked mine better, as it was newer and really well conected by metro. We were mostly exchange students in the building, and the social life there was satisfiying, while not overwhelming.
I got my room through KI housing, and it was easy to book and to pay monthly. The price was, in my point of view, quite fair. My only complaint about them is the fact that they close the office every time they get a chance, even if it is not an official KI holiday. It is not a problem if you don´t need anything from them, but once I forgot my keys and I had to stay in a friend´s room for 4 nights, because the office was closed from Thursday to Monday. My only alternative was to pay 2500kr (250€) to make the emergency service come and open the door for me.

Leisure time and social activities

As I arrived later than anyone else, and I was not taking any courses with more people (just the rotations), I was a little afraid that I was not goig to be able to get in contact with other students. However, I met a lot of people in my accommodation. I also joined some of the activities that the KI students asociations organised at the beggining of the semester: Pub crawls, sports day, sky trip... Those activities were great and I met mostof my international friends there. I made some swedish friends too, but this is not so common. I met some of  them in the rotations, and others in these activities. Coffe hour at karolinska is a very good meeting point if you want to meet swedish students.


I was not sure that I wanted to go on a Erasmus programme, as it is not a very common choice for medicine students in my home country. I did not want to waste one semester on my education, so I decided to apply just for the destinations that could be useful for my future. As KI is a very well known institution and it invests a lot on education and research, I only applied for it, and I certainly don´t regret it.
My home university was not very helpful on the application process, and it didn´t offer me many information.However, I could find everything I needed in KI webpage, and that, together with the advise from older students from my university that had already been there, was more than enough. At first I thought it was going to be a long and complicated issue, because I was required to go through the MRSA test and a health questionary when I arrived. I also needed to get a card for the hospital and another one for the KI campus. I decided to go some days before the begining of my first clinical rotation, in order to get everything ready on time, but it only took me one morning to fulfill all the requirements.

Courses during the exchange period

2EE090 : Emergency Medicine
This was the best rotation for me. I was allowed to work independently but always supervised.
ELAXX6 : Surgery 1
This rotation was very similar to the rotations I had taken in Spain. The doctors were really nice as long as you showed them your interest. Otherwise, they would just ignore you.
LÄK002 : Hand surgery
The organization for the students in the department was amazing. Wefelt really welcome and we learnt a lot about hands surgery, orthopedicts and general surgery.
ELAX20 : Inflammatory Diseases
For me, this was not a clinical rotation. It should have been called a course, as we had more days of theorical lessons that I had already taken, than clinical placements. What I really enjoyed was being with other students, both swedish and international.


In conclusion, I can say that my semester in Stockholm has been one of the best in my life. I have met many new friends, I had known many different cultures, and I have had the chance to see what we should improve in my home country but also some things that we really do well. I have learnt in a more practical and independant way, which will be useful for me in the future. I want to believe that I have opened my mind, and that I won´t forget everything I have experienced there.

Language and Culture

I took the free Swedish course that KI offers to medicine students. It was useful at first, specially for being in the clinic, but after some weeks most of the students quited, so it was just 2-3 of us. It was suposed to last for 10 weeks, but I quited before, because my teacher decided to take 2 lessons in a row every week, making 3h instead of 1h30. I just could not afford to waste so much time on that, as it was not being helpful anymore.

Studies in general

During my exchange programme, I took four Clinical Rotations in different hospitals. I found some of them really different from my home country, while others, the surgical rotations, were pretty similar. In surgery I went with one resident and sometimes with one senior doctor while they were doing their work, and sometimes I got the chance to do things on my own, while supervised. My rotation in emergency medicine was really different from that, and also from what we usually do in Spain. I got the chance to talk to the patients and to get the clinical record on my own very frequently, and I could really practice my skills. I got more trust from my supervisors than I am used to, and I think that it helped me to get more confident about my work and to take more responsability over the patients. Overall, I think that the relationship between supervisors and students is way closer in Sweden, and that made me feel really confortable and always welcome to ask questions. The student-patient relationship is also very different. In the hospitals I was located, the doctors were really young compared with doctors in my country. There is way less jerarchy in hospitals in Sweden, so patients are less demanding and more respectful towards young doctors or students.
In my last rotation, I got the chance to be with swedish students too, and to learn more about how they study medicine in KI. In my opinion, their education is more practical than ours, so they are more prepared to work as soon as they finish their studies, However, I think that there is some lack of theorical education. The amount of time they spend doing clinical rotations is bigger than in Spain, but I could say that they do not go as deep in the theory as we do.
I am very satisfied that I got the chance to develop my practical skills in one semester. However, I am happy to have studied the theory in my home country. I really learnt a lot about working in groups, and also how to establish a good relationship with the patients and with fellow workers.