Exchange report - incoming students
Home university: The University of Sydney
Study programme: Medicine
Exchange programme: INK
Semester: Spring semester 2010/2011

Arrival and registration

My arrival went very smoothly.  I was contacted before I left by a student from Global Friends who arranged to meet me at the train station to give me the keys to my apartment.  She also explained where in Stockholm to find things that I might need.  I contacted the student health centre the week before the introduction day and was told what time and day I should meet the nurse to get swabbed for MRSA.  

I thought the introduction day was very well organized and provided a lot of useful information about KI.  I also liked the discussion about Swedish culture.  The speaker was engaging and interesting and gave a good overview about what to expect when living in Sweden.


I was a bit concerned about housing in Stockholm since I had heard that it was expensive and limited.  Before leaving, I applied for housing through UAC but I also contacted family friends living in Stockholm to see if they had any ideas of where to look for places to live.  I ended up getting a room in Pax which was conveniently located and had all of the necessary amenities.  However, I was a bit disappointed that it was exchange student only accommodation - I think it would have been more interesting to have a mixture of foreign and local students living together.  The cost of the room was very reasonable.  I was lucky to live on a floor where people respected common areas and kept them clean but other friends of mine on other floors weren't so lucky and had to deal with very messy kitchens and hallways.

Leisure time and social activities

I made some Swedish friends through family contacts who showed me around the city and invited me to social events.  I played Innebandy with them every week which I enjoyed very much.  The other friends that I made were the people that I lived with or other exchange students who were on the wards with me.  I didn't participate in the organised social activities because I had conflicting plans or didn't have time.  There was good access to information about upcoming events through e-mails from Global Friends and their Facebook page and the activities that were planned seemed like they would be fun.


I chose to go on exchange because I love to travel and meet new people.  KI was a good choice for me primarily because of its great international reputation, but also because I think Stockholm is a beautiful city and the exchange provided an excellent opportunity to visit.  The KI website provided most of the information that I needed for the exchange and any questions I had were easily answered by the exchange coordinators.  I did not need any vaccinations before arriving but on arrival I was required to be tested for MRSA.  Future students might consider getting tested prior to arriving at KI just in case they are positive and need to undergo treatment.  

Courses during the exchange period

ELAX21 : Internal Medicine - Emergency
This was a clinical rotation and I thought it was well organised. I spent most of my time in the Emergency Department and my supervisor organised for me to spend 1 day with the Anaesthetics department and 1 day doing an Ambulance shift with the paramedics. When I was in the Emergency department I was able to see some patients who spoke English on my own as well as assist with some procedures. The supervision was okay and I had regular contact with my supervisor but I felt like my role as an exchanges student was unclear to most of the staff working in the ED. I was given a written examination at the end of the term that was used to gauge what I had learned during the course.
ELA005 : Internal Medicine 1
This was also a clinical rotation and I spent it in the Emergency Department. I saw fewer patients on my own than in my first 4 weeks but I think that I saw more patients in total and helped out with more procedures. My role was also more clear and everyone knew who I was and they were very welcoming and friendly. There were lots of opportunities for learning and the teaching was excellent. I did not have much contact with my supervisor - he was available if I had any questions and he was very helpful in organising for me to spend time in different areas that interested me. I was attached to a different doctor each day and if other doctors had interesting cases I would join them when they saw the patient. I thought this was a good way to learn about Emergency Medicine but on the other hand there wasn't much continuity of supervision so I wasn't able to get a good idea of whether or not I was improving.


The thing that I enjoyed most about being on exchange at KI was my time on the wards.  The doctors and nurses that I met were wonderful people that were friendly and welcoming and happy to teach me and to speak in English whenever they could.  I did find that I was a bit frustrated sometimes when I was at the hospital since I wasn't challenged as much as I could have been because of the language barrier between me and the patients.  I would have liked to have had more responsibility and seen more patients on my own but a lot of patients preferred to speak in Swedish which meant that I had more of an observational role rather than an active role on the ward.  

I thought the exchange program was well organised and I enjoyed my time at KI.

Language and Culture

I did a beginner's Swedish course while I was in Stockholm.  It was well taught and I enjoyed it.  I didn't have much of a chance to put into practice what I had learned since I had to leave Sweden during the last week of the course but I was starting to understand the basics and was able to but some simple sentences together.

Studies in general

My rotation was strictly a clinical rotation with no structured theoretical teaching.  However, during my first 4 weeks at Södersjukhuset, my supervisor organised informal teaching sessions about topics that he thought were important in the Emergency Department setting.  He also had each student prepare a talk about common ED presentations to be given at teaching sessions for interns.  At Karolinska Solna I joined a group of Swedish students for a cardiology bedside teaching tutorial.  We saw several patients with different heart murmurs and then had a theoretical discussion about murmurs and heart failure.  

During my 4 weeks at Karolinska Solna I did not have very much contact with my supervisor and each day I was attached to a different doctor so I did not get any continuity in teaching and nobody was able to comment on my progress.  I would have preferred to have regular (weekly, for example) meetings to discuss my progress and get feedback about how to improve.  The different supervisors that I had each day gave good feedback and used each patient that I saw with them as a teaching opportunity.  So while I may not have had much structured teaching, there were plenty of teaching opportunities.  My study was essentially self-directed and each day I read about cases that I had seen that day.