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 2015/2016
Duration: 25
Name: Abhijeet Jadhav
Email address:


I requested the coordinator of this exchange program Ms. Anna Dalherus to arrange accommodation for me and she did it through KI housing facilities at Jagargatan 20 and put me in touch with Ms. Catharina Nordenstam who coordinates housing facility there. I was given an apartment with separate bathroom & kitchen. It also had TV and good furniture. It was really very nice facility. The view of the lake from the window was really awesome and I won't forget it ever. Ms. Catharina Nordenstam gave all the instructions making everything easy. 

Suggestion: Costs of various facilities were not communicated before choosing the type of apartment. It will be helpful if costs/ rent of various facilities informed a priory to the coming faculties. It will also help them in managing the total fund.

Language and Culture

KI being an international institute, the teaching was predominantly in English. Even the informal discussions were in English as the students are from various countries. I had no difficulty at all in any academic work or interactions with students and faculty. 

I am from a country where there are many languages and cultures prevail and flourish. So dealing with different languages and yet making personal connections is not new to me. I personally like to observe, learn and be part of different cultures. Even though Swedish is the main language most of the people are able to communicate nicely in English, thanks to full literacy in Sweden. In India significant portion of population is not literate and among literate considerable portion takes education in vernacular languages making them difficult to communicate in English. 

Only difficulty I had was at the time of shopping as all the details of the product including the names were in Swedish. I always took help from others for shopping as I used to become completely illiterate and people used to misunderstand me. Products and packaging style is also very different than that of India which made things bit difficult. But over all there was fun in that process also. 

Even-though I didn't get much opportunity to mingle culturally, I could get to know about the history and the culture a bit through various museums. 

Leisure time

I used to get weekends free for my-self. In my leisure time I tried to explore the Stockholm as much as possible. This is a beautiful place and I was there in the best season. I spent my time visiting various tourist places, museums and city-parks. I could also visit Helsinki via the Cruise tour and it was a great experience. Moving through the Swedish waters in the Viking cruse is really a great experience.  


Nothing comes to my mind. 

Other activities

There were three main agendas in my mind at the time of visit to KI:

  • Pursuing the possibilities of collaborated work at institute level 
  • Finding additional areas where collaboration can take place for synergistic work across the two institutes 
  • Seek guidance from faculties working in my area of interest for further studies and collaborated work 

I was in constant touch with Prof. Cecilia StĂ„lsby Lundborg & Dr. Johan Von Screeb. Both of them visited TISS before and we met quite a long time back. I am based in School of disaster studies in TISS and working as assistant professor. My area of interest is occupational & environmental health. So I visited many faculties working in this domain and also visited their respective centers. 

  • I met prof. Gunnar Johansen and his team in IMM (center for environmental health) and shared my work.
  • We discussed the possibilities of working together. 
  • I visited COEM (occupational health center) and had discussion with Prof. Per Gustavsson. I understood many things from him in the prolong meeting about the Swedish system. We also discussed about the work that I am doing in India and got inputs from him. 
  • I attended a conference "Global health in conflict, poverty & fragility" on 30th May. We are looking forward for possible collaborative work and working towards it.


Organization & information prior to visit. How did you get to know about the opportunity to go on teacher exchange:

I got the information about this program through "International Students' office" - ISO of my institute i.e. Tata Institute of Social Sciences. I had applied two years back as well but this time it was successful. I also come to know about certain details from the faculties of KI who came to our institute. After getting this information I also read it over KI website and it was quite useful. I got most of the background details of the program. 

Preparation for the visit - Documentation work:

There was bit of preparation in the form of documentation work for Visa application and other local formalities. 

Work related preparation: This is one of the best opportunities for any young academician & research in the developing world. Obviously one will prepare mentally as well as academically so that it will be easy to communicate with the faculties over there in KI and engage them in constructive dialogue. Using KI website and interaction with last year's selected I could identify the department of my interest and departments where collaborations are possible.

Travel related preparation: Sweden and India are very different places- so I had to plan and prepare well. I took warm cloths along with me after looking at temperature range of that month. I also took some simple medicines for common-cold etc. As food habits are very different, I took some easy to cook and dry food along with me which was of my preference. People can take even more food like this as the cost of food in Stockholm is very high compared to India and one can save some money there.

Upon arrival at airport it is bit confusing for a new person to get into a taxi and find the address. I was told that a taxi was booked for me but it was not there. So it was bit problematic to wait there for long and then get into a taxi. So I suggest a person should also be told what to do in case the booked taxi doesn't appear and how much it can cost, in advance.


  • Personal reflections- 
I really feel that I am lucky to get this great opportunity to visit KI and interact with the various great faculties and scholars. Just understanding their great scientific and academic work gives me inspiration to excel in my research work and give my students to be better professionals or researchers. For me it was a great exposure to an extra-ordinary place of work and I really believe that I can inculcate some of those practice in me and my surroundings here in TISS. 

Personally I am also looking for opportunities higher education and this visit helped in getting clarity as well as personal contacts in the domain. 

  • Broader perspective-   
Exchange programs like this is a great contribution of Swedish government and institutes like KI for the development of low & middle income countries. Faculties like us get life-time opportunity to explore academia from the developed world. There is lot that can be learned from institutes like this for us- young professionals & researchers from this part of the world. This will also help in improving institutions here as well as expand the possibilities of synergistic work bringing out meaningful research and filling crucial research gaps. 


It was a great academic experience to visit one of the best institutes in the world. Karolinska changed my perspectives about devoted and meaningful work. This exposure is really very important for early career researchers like me. 

Teaching and student interaction: 

  • I worked with Masters' students of global health after listening to their thesis presentations in rehearsal seminar for the improvement of their presentations. 
  • I actively participated in the final thesis presentations of most of the global health masters students over a period of three days and gave my inputs as an external. These presentations were from 9 am to 5 pm for three days- 23 to 25 June. It was really a good insight of the overall quality of students' work and their quality of teaching and inputs.
  • I also gave inputs to some students who came to me for additional inputs and suggestions after these presentations.
  • I also attended the assignment presentations of Masters in Public health students for three hours on 2nd June. 

Academic activities at KI:

  • Presentation in India seminar on 17th May. My presentation topic was "a pilot study in Roro hills: environmental exposure of asbestos". I could listen to many researchers across the globe working on various public health themes in India. It was was really helpful and broaden my understanding about many issues and ongoing projects. 
  • I participated in the seminar on "Diabetes as a self-managed disease: strengthening community collaborations" which gave a good accounts of various efforts/ studies for this thematic area. 
  • I participated in the research meet of antibiotic resistance group. It was helpful for me to get to know various scholars in the domain and also to find synergies for my future work in the domain. 
  • I also attended a conference on "global health in conflict, poverty & fragility" on 30 May from 9 to 5.
  • I met many senior faculties and heard many international scholars n professionals working in this thematic area. 
  • I attended a lecture on 26th May (9 am to 11:30 am) about how to write grants for post doctorate scholars. I participated in research seminar of Ms. Frida Lundborg and gave my in-puts.

Differences in KI & my institute in teaching etc:

  • I am research coordinator for our masters' students and I have brought many changes in the process at my School. I closely followed the research presentations and got fairly good idea about the overall process at masters' level in KI. We don't have peer reviewer from the class-mates and we don't allow working on secondary data or review work for the thesis and in TISS it is compulsory to gather primary data by the student and work on it. But apart from these basic procedural differences I felt the scientific rigor among the KI students is much better than our students. Students also take their thesis work very seriously. I feel we need to improve upon that. Our students do primary data from the field they have better insights from the community which crucial here as this is primarily a social science institute.

Teaching hours

I came there in KI for three weeks and I was in office for all the working days. I came in the last part of the semester end in KI where most of the teaching was over. So my teaching was mainly in the form of one to one guidance and inputs for research work as well as presentation of their research work.

I worked on students' presentations and gave my suggestions for improvisation to them at practice seminars on 20th May full day (around 7 hours).

For three full days- 23, 24 & 25 May I was there to support students and gave my inputs in their final thesis presentations and after that I gave additional inputs to many students at individual basis. This constitutes 24 hours. I gave my inputs to MPH students for one assignment presentation on 2nd June from 9 to 1. (4 hours).

So in all the actual work was more than the mandated teaching hours. It required 30 hours for me (10 hours per week) and did around 35 hours. 

I am giving roughly the percentage of my work categories: 

  • Engagement in the student research presentation process and teaching - 40% 
  • Attending seminars, lectures & conferences- 30% 
  • Meeting with Ki faculties and other scholars for seeking collaboration work and guidance- 30%