Exchange report - incoming teachers
Home university: Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Study programme: Public Health Sciences (Master's)
Exchange programme: Linnaeus-Palme
Semester: Spring semester 2014/2015
Duration: 21
Name: Sivakami Muthusamy
Email address:


IRO at KI arranged the taxi to pick me up from the airport to my accommodation at the Jagargatan 20, KI Housing AB (JA-1-27). It was well organized with good information. Arranging a taxi by KI was very helpful as it was my first trip to Sweden and after long flight I felt convenient with taxi arranged by KI. The accommodation was good with shared kitchen, washing machine, dryer, iron etc. However, I would have preferred individual WC/shower. Further, the room provided did not have light blinder. Having a light blinder will help due to long daylight during summer in Sweden. The office was kind enough to help me with old curtain however it had to be manually put every day in the night and remove during day time as there was no proper hook. The cost of living is high in Sweden but the money provided was good to manage food and transportation.

Language and Culture

The teaching activities, masters’ thesis evaluation, seminar and other interaction were in English. It was a great and wonderful experience to blend with Swedish culture. Students were very interested especially to understand the cultural context of the respective issue. I found that some of the students take great interest to understand the local context for their work and see how the experts knowledge (in this case me) on the local context benefit their work.

Leisure time

Leisure time activities are plenty in Stockholm and Sweden. Upon arrival, IRO has given me a map of Stockholm, KI and different modes of travelling within Stockholm which was very helpful. The easy local transport with the transport card helped me navigate within Stockholm. Apart from the local museums, overnight cruise to Helsinki during the weekend is highly recommended as India does not have such opportunity. I would recommend booking the ticket in advance in order to avoid spending huge amount on the ticket. People at KI were always open to help me when I needed any advice on the sightseeing or any other question about leisure time.


Overall, I had great experience during my three weeks stay. The teacher exchange is very good and it must continue between TISS and KI.

Other activities

There was great interest from students and researchers from KI to visit and collaborate with TISS faculty and take part in courses and field work. The possibilities of research collaboration with TISS and KI was also discussed. Some of these discussions have already taken concrete shape in terms of planning of joint publications. Some discussion has also taken place in developing a course for doctoral students on gender and health and guide students in the global health program with the data available like DHS (India NFHS) and DLHS. Some discussions have also taken place to write proposal jointly for grants in the future.

Following are the people with whom I have discussed about teaching activities, planning joint publications, research proposals and collaborations:

  • Prof. Cecilia Stålsby Lundborg, Global Health - Health Systems and Policy (HSP), Department of Public Health Sciences (PHS)
  • Dr. Mariano Salazar, Post Doc, Global Health, (PHS)
  • Dr. Gaetano Marrone, Post Doc, Global Health- Health Systems Policy (PHS)
  • Dr. Ingvild Odsbu, Post Doc, Global Health- Health Systems Policy (PHS)
  • Dr. Joel Monarrez-Espino, Associate Professor, Global Health (PHS)
  • Dr. Ayesha De Costa, Associate Professor, Global Health (PHS)
  • Dr. Claudia Hanson, Post Doc, Global Health, Health Systems Policy (PHS)
  • Dr. Senia Rosales-Klintz, Post Doc- Global Health-Health Systems Policy (PHS)
  • Dr. Zarina Kabir, Associate Professor, Division of Nursing, (NVS)


Linnaeus-Palme teacher exchange program between my institute and KI has been running for several years. An email with information regarding the exchange program is sent out every year to faculty and students in advance by the international relation office (IRO) at my institute. I also knew about the program through my colleagues who went last year and also the incoming faculty from KI. IRO at my institute connected me with the IRO at KI about my visit through exchange program. My dates and the local host at Health Systems and Policy, KI was finalized with Prof. Cecilia during her visit to my institute. The IRO office at KI provided excellent information regarding the trip along with letters needed for visa. IRO office at KI also helped me book my tickets.


My experience in teaching activities and other interactions for future collaborations at KI was one of the fantastic academic trip I have had in the recent period outside India. It also exposed me to other issues in global health in general and antibiotics in particular. I was also part of the day long strategy meeting of the antibiotics group at the Health Systems and Policy Research which gave me an interesting perspective about how to build a team who work together from different parts of the world. Team building is very important in today’s context and what I saw with antibiotics groups at HSP was very different than what I see in my institute and India in general.

Further, I also benefited from the use multiple modes of teaching at KI which will be put to use for teaching my institute. Further, upon my visit to KI, the two incoming faculty Dr. Ingvild Odsbu and Dr. Joel Monarrez-Espino, visit from KI to TISS was also finalized. These two faculty would actively take part in teaching activities for students at my institute and also build collaborations with faculty in TISS.

My experience during the entire period of the faculty exchange program at KI was very good and wonderful. I would highly recommend it for anyone as it has immense potential in helping one grow professionally and personally.


I evaluated masters’ theses submissions in the global health programme at KI. It was a unique experience as the system for grading is very well-detailed, makes the process smooth and also transparent. As part of the evaluation, I had the opportunity to be present for number of thesis presentations and provide oral feedback apart from the written feedback that I already submitted. Both these opportunities helped me understand the quality of thesis at the global health programme. There are clear differences in the kind of theses submissions that students submit at KI and my institute. This is probably to do with the way the respective programmes are framed and each has its own advantages. I am very impressed with the overall quality of the theses at global health programme as many of them of the publishable quality. I am also impressed by how much students can accomplish even without intense guidance from faculty. This could be probably because of internet and other facilities available. This is clearly different from my institution as students require intense supervision by faculty for their thesis. I was also part of a class on child health and nutrition in the global health program where I shared Indian experiences on the topic.

I was also part of a student seminar on trends and determinants of neo-natal morality in Uganda where I helped the student with verbal feedback. Guidance to Ph.D student Su Guobin at the Health Systems and Policy, Medicines, focusing antibiotics on his power point presentation.

I gave a seminar (during the India seminar) on Migration, Vulnerability and Access to Maternal Healthcare and Child Immunization in Mumbai, India

Teaching hours

Average time per week spent on teaching activities was around 12 hours which was depended on the schedules of the courses. The last two weeks were particularly intensive due to masters theses evaluations and oral feedbacks during the presentation. 90% of this time was related to teaching activities/assessments and the rest in supervision of students. Discussion on research collaborations with different groups at Health Policy and Systems (HSR) and other departments of KI also took part due to their interest in collaborating with TISS.