Before the Exchange
Once you have received confirmation of acceptance from the host university, you will have taken your biggest step towards an exchange adventure.
Now it is time to sort out the other preparations to make your studies abroad a reality. For example, you might want to arrange your accommodation as soon as possible, and if you are travelling to a country outside Europe you will normally need to apply for a visa.
You can receive help and advice from your International Coordinator, but remember that as a student you are responsible for the preparations for your exchange studies.
The host university can often help with accommodation arrangements for exchange students. In some locations, student accommodation is limited, and it is therefore important that you start looking for accommodation as soon as you receive your acceptance confirmation from the host university. The accommodation standard is sometimes lower than students are used to.
Rented rooms, shared rooms and a bathroom for a whole corridor are common. Sometimes the rents are higher than in Sweden. Start by checking if the university has its own accommodation agency or suggestions for accommodation on its website. You may wish to read travel reports to find out how other KI students before you arranged accommodation for their exchange.
Code of Conduct
Students at KI who carry out studies abroad must:
- follow the advice and instructions given in terms of personal safety, and hence avoid exposing themselves, fellow travellers or hosts to risks.
- follow the instructions given before travelling and while staying abroad, as well as the rules that apply at the educational institution, hospital, place of work or equivalent.
- show respect for the host country's culture and traditions, social structure and religion, and respect the dress codes and codes of conduct that apply in the country in question.
- show respect for other students, teaching staff, patients, families and health-care staff.
- provide a good example for other students, and not jeopardise KI's relationships with its partners.
- follow the agreed course programme and respect the host institution's pedagogical tradition and teaching methods.
Both before travelling and while staying abroad, the student has a personal responsibility to find out about the host country, how the student should act in terms of his or her own personal safety and the applicable dress codes and codes of conduct. In the event of any uncertainty in relation to whether an activity could contravene the code of conduct or otherwise put the student or someone else in danger, the student should first consult with staff from the host institution or KI.
Exchange Study Reports
Prepare yourself before your exchange studies by reading former exchange students' travel reports. In the report, the student reflect about everything from the first steps before the application is submitted to the experiences during the exchange, both academically and on a personal level. The appeal to their readers is to dare take the chance to apply for exchange studies - you will not regret it!
For travel to some countries it is important to check carefully and in good time which vaccinations are required. Immunization requirements vary between universities and countries. Most students have basic protection, which often goes a long way.
Students on some study programmes at KI are also covered by an immunization programme that has been specifically designed just for that study programme. Students on study programmes that are not covered by the full immunization programme can receive compensation up to this level if it is required for the exchange studies. Check if you need to supplement your vaccination protection in good time.
It is important to have comprehensive insurance cover for the whole duration of the stay abroad.
Insurance Through the Swedish Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency
Karolinska Institutet has entered an agreement with Kammarkollegiet (the Swedish Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency) on insurance for studies abroad (Student UT). The insurance is valid for all students of Karolinska Institutet who study abroad within the frame of an exchange agreement.
The insurance is valid 24 hours a day in the country of study for the duration of the studies or placement, for two weeks before and after in the country of study, and for direct travel between the country of study and the home or education location in Sweden.
Please note that you are not insured for travel outside the country of study or if you stay in the country for more than two weeks after the period of study. Prior to departure you will receive an insurance certificate and insurance card from your international coordinator.
Exchanges within Europe
If you are registered in Sweden or if you are an EU/EEA or Swiss citizen and you are admitted to exchange studies in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you are entitled to necessary care on the same economic terms as the inhabitants of the country. In order for this to apply, you must have a European Health Insurance Card.
Exchange studies are about more than just new knowledge and experiences in your future area of work. They are also an opportunity to practise your language skills. The international committee does not require you to take a language test to be nominated for exchange studies.
It is up to you to make sure that you have sufficient skills in the language of the host country before you start your exchange studies. Please note that your host university may require exchange students to present a certificate of documented language skills in the form of, for example, an upper-secondary school report or language test result.
With advance planning you may have time to repeat existing language skills or learn a new language before you travel. To brush up your language skills you can study language courses at an adult education association, university or higher education institution or take a crash course in the country in which you are going to study. Some host universities arrange language courses at different levels for exchange students. Sometimes there is a charge. There are also independent language schools abroad.
Online Language Learning Resources
There are several online language learning resources, both free of charge and those that costs money. Karolinska Institutet has participated in producing MedineLingua, an EU-funded project that aims to be a comprehensive resource to support learning of medical languages, and to prepare students and doctors for clinical work at hospitals. It includes (medical) dictionaries, anatomy charts, abbreviations and much more in several European languages. Most of the charts you can download to your smart phone and use during your exchange period abroad.
Finances during your Studies
You should consider how much your studies will cost, well in advance. Exchange students do not pay any tuition fees to the host university, but there may be other fees such as application fee, student union fees, insurance and costs for visa and travel. It is often also more expensive to stay abroad as you may want to take the chance to travel and treat yourself a little extra.
Grants for Exchange Studies
If you are accepted for exchange studies, you will receive a grant from Karolinska Institutet before your departure. The amount of the grant or travel allowance differs depending on the exchange programme (Nordplus, Erasmus+, Linnaeus-Palme, INK).
To qualify for the full amount of the grant, you are required to complete the whole of your planned exchange study period and, upon return, write a report for approval by the international committee for your study programme. The greater part of the funding will be paid before your departure, with the remainder payable after your return home and your travel report has been approved.
SEMP (Swiss European Mobility Programme) is a stipend program for students traveling on exchange to Switzerland. Because Switzerland is not a membe rof the European Community, the Swiss government awards instead this stipend to incoming students (both officially nominated or traineeship students).
SEMP and CSN
If you receive CSN you cannot apply for the SEMP scholarship at the same time. You can therefore receive an Erasmus stipend through KI and the international coordinator of your study program will send you the application form.
Here you can read more about organizations that you can contact to apply for external funds.
Student Aid from CSN
Normally only Swedish citizens are entitled to student aid from the Swedish Board for Study Support (CSN) for studies outside Sweden. However, CSN may make an exception from this rule for persons with a permanent residence permit and for EU nationals.
Visa and Passport
Check the rules that apply to visas and residence permits in the country to which you are going to travel in good time. Remember that it may take time to obtain a visa and that it is therefore important to allow plenty of time. Apply for a visa as soon as you receive an acceptance confirmation from the host university. Contact the country's embassy in Sweden for information on what applies to the country where you will carry out your exchange studies.
Check that your passport is valid for the duration of your planned stay abroad. Some countries also require the passport to be valid for a number of months after your arrival home. Note that passports (or international ID cards) are also required for travel within the EU.