Exchange report - incoming teachers
Home university: Makerere University
Study programme: Medicine
Exchange programme: Linnaeus-Palme
Semester: Autumn semester 2008/2009
Duration: 27
Name: Hellen Aanyu-Tukamuhebwa
Email address:


How accommodation was arranged and the standard

Accommodation was arranged with the help of the International Coordinator who linked me to the University Accommodation Centre.

The standard was good; however the cost was quite high.


Advice on housing

This arrangement can be improved by providing the available options and asking the prospective teacher the preferred type of accommodation. This will go hand in hand with the cost implications.


Cost of living

The cost of living is generally high. The costs can be reduced by using cheaper accommodation preferably near the station of work.


I do not know of any useful links. 

Language and Culture

Language Used:

The teaching was conducted in English though it was not the preferred language.


Language Barriers

There were certainly language barriers; sometimes I could only rely on translation or be left out altogether. I imagined that it was not strange for me not to know Swedish but to the indigenous population, it seemed unusual that one didn't know the local language.


Some general sessions that I participated in such as the morning post admission case presentations always started off in English Swedish and could only be switched to English by request for my sake. If this request didn't come up then it continued in the local language so I'd be left out.

 At one ward, the head doctor insisted she could not conduct the ward round in English so I had to leave. This was quite insensitive - so I felt.


Swedish Culture 

I was struck by the fact that I had to find my way around.

This was in great contrast to my culture where by a foreigner/visitor is usually taken around. It felt quite unfriendly to be left on my own in a very new environment where people always thought you had to speak the same language as them. I was however helped a great deal by my host who, together with his family, did their best to make me comfortable. This was helped by the fact that he had been to Africa and understood my situation.


The food was unusual so I had to stick to what I knew.

The atmosphere was a bit cold though it seemed easy for people to just say "hej" and proceed. 


At home, I got the impression that parents could not much authority on their children as the state could easily take over their custody

if the child felt uncomfortable.




Leisure time

There was no special arrangement for me to get involved in social activities. I was informed that I could use the Tourist agencies but didn't really venture that far.


The social events I got involved in were initiated by my host such as going to his country home 250km away one weekend.

He also managed to link me to another friend and colleague's family with whom I went out for some site seeing.


I also managed to visit some places with the help of my Ugandan colleague who is pursuing her PhD and was there during the time of my visit.  This is in addition to my own initiative of trying to know the place. 


My main advice is on language problems. Not many people would understand Swedish if they have not lived there before so it's necessary for the indigenous people to understand this and try to make the teachers who don't understand the language fit in.


I came in at a time when the timetable had already been made so fixing a time for activities was not easy. This should be planned in advance.


Otherwise, generally speaking, it is a very useful programme.


Making the report is quite a process!!

Other activities

Other activities that I got involved in were:

Post admission case discussions

Visiting the Children's ward at the Huddinge hospital

Accompanied my host to a research meeting at the Research Institute


I think future collaboration is feasible.

In fact I got a request after my return to Uganda to support a proposal for future research collaboration.


How I knew about the opportunity to go on teacher exchange


I learnt of the opportunity to go on this programme through the Head of Department of Paediatrics. I also had an idea about it from colleagues who had participated in it in previous years.




Material: I prepared some reference material just in case I needed it. However I was informed that I did not need to do any specific preparation as most of the teaching would be dependent on the type of cases available in the wards.

Language: I did not prepare for language as I was going to use English which I normally use in my work.


Useful links

I was introduced to two clinical contacts at Karolinska Institutet, one of whom was my host-to-be. These, together with the International Coordinator provided the necessary information. I also got further information about the Linnaeus-Palme program from the websites namely and


Influence to me personally:

It was good to have some exposure outside my natural domain. It has helped me understand that there is another side to life; beyond what am used to and know. It also helped me appreciate other people and try to relate to them humanly. In addition, it made me realize what a foreigner can go through and how much help and company they may require being far away from home.


As a Teacher

I realized that a teacher is a great resource. A teacher is a medium of passing on knowledge.

It was fulfilling to be of help in situations termed "tropical disease'' - then I was the consultant.


As a teacher, I will endeavour to pass on the knowledge I have to my students.


What was good?

The exposure in general


What was less good?

Language barrier

The weather


The teaching activities included:

  • ward rounds with bedside teaching
  • tutorials/seminars
  • lectures
  • assignments/coursework

Comparison of teaching methods

  • Both use small tutorial groups with the whole class coming together for the main lectures
  • the teacher/student relationship is cordial - at my university, there appears to be a senior/junior relationship that is more evident with the senior colleagues 
  • some sessions in my university are student led and the teacher acts at the tutor
  • The resources are readily available for students in KI which is not as available in my university; e.g. reference through the internet

The examinations are quite similar - being structured and covering the sessions that have been studied during the semester

Teaching hours

The amount of teaching hours per week was about 12 hours.

This covered the four available days. The fifth day was usually spent for lectures that lasted the whole day

Seminars took about 25%

Individual/bedside teaching about 60% of total hours ( this was the main available time for me in the emergency unit).

Other activities about 10%