Should I apply for a masters in Global Health?

By now you have decided that you want to do your masters at Karolinska but you are not quite sure which course is best for you. I can’t speak for the other courses but here is some extra information about the Global Health course that you may not know. 

1. The Global Health masters is the only one year global masters programme at KI. For many of my classmates (and myself included) this was a huge deciding factor as many of us would have been unable to take more than one year away from our jobs, families or other general life commitments.

this is good

2. The majority of the class is made up of medical doctors with a sprinkling of other health professionals (pharmacists, speech therapists and dietitians) and social scientists. Speaking with one of my social science classmate the other day, she felt that she may not have applied to this course if she knew the ratio of medical doctors to other professions but saying that she is happy that she did apply. The class really benefits from having a mix of backgrounds. My advice to the ‘other’ (but equally awesome) professions who are thinking of applying for this course … go for it!

awesome

3. Our class is very international which really adds to our discussions as we are able to hear perspectives from around the world. We have  classmates from Myanmar, Pakistan, Uganda, Canada, Brazil, Portugal, the US, the UK and Sweden to name a few. Sadly we do have only a few Swedes in our class who have the responsibility of teaching us how to queue, how much coffee we should/must drink and songs about … well everything.

 tumblr_m8il3hUN4N1qmr5fb

4. As a class we spend A LOT of time together. We don’t always get the opportunity to mingle as much as the other courses due to our intensive schedule but it does mean that we have become really close as a class.

Our first international picnic.

Our first international picnic.

5. Group work and class discussions are a big deal in Sweden. Personally it took some time to get use to the teaching style but now I really enjoy it.

 teamwork

If you have any questions about the programme please feel free to contact me via email caitlin.longman@stud.ki.se or leave a comment below.

[Course Reflection Series One] Entrepreneurship in Life Science

Hi everyone, it is a while since my last post. Hope you had good time in October!

This blog is the first blog in the Course Reflection Series. In this series, I will give both basic introduction to my courses in MBE (Master program in Bioentrepreneurship) and personal reflection .

Let’s start with Entrepreneurship in Life Science, the first KI course we had. The purpose of this course is to lead us to think like an entrepreneur in the industry. There are three projects in this course, business idea project, scientific poster and peer review. The business idea project is group project, based on business modelling. The poster and peer review are combined, based on individual work.

For the business idea project, it works like 6 groups competing in a case competition. We need to identify a certain need in the market, and apply different models we have learned during lectures. The most important ones are NABE (Need-Approach-Benefit-Competition), SWOT analysis and CANVAS Model. It is the first time I work in a business modelling project, so I am very motivated to learn everything about it!  On October 21, we had the business idea presentation and it is really happy to see exciting ideas presenting by different groups. The winner won the golden coins!

Gold coin

As for the poster, it is very free in ideas and criteria. Our aim is to present the result of individual study on a chosen aspect of Bioentrepreneurship. In order to help us positioning the topic,  Hanna, our instructor, has invited plenty of guest lecturers on different perspectives of entrepreneurship. Topics cover life science market, intrapreneurship, social entrepreneurship, sustainable development, dissemination etc. Most of these terms are new to us, which enlightens us to explore more in our individual study. On October 30, we had a poster exhibition on the main entrance of lecture building. I was very excited to see a lot of fantastic posters!

Poster

Do you wonder what Bioentrepreneurship really is? Follow my course refelection series !

To be continued.

Yi

Overview of Course Nº1: Introduction to Toxicology

As I promised, my aim during my time as a Digital Ambassador is to give future student an idea of what it is like to be a Toxicology student, not only about how it is living in Stockholm and having fun, but also how it is to study this specific Master’s degree. So, a month has passed since we finished our first course at Karolinska Institutet: Introduction to Toxicology.

The first month in a new country, new city, new university and with a new culture is usually a bit overwhelming, scary and amazingly fun all at the same time. Therefore, it is logical to start your new master with a general course that will give you an insight about what you will be studying for the next two years.

In a more objective sense, this course is worth 7,5 credits and goes on for 4 weeks.

  • Week 1: It is basically introduction to KI. We had a couple of lectures, but the main attraction was getting to know your way around the campus and meeting new people. For this, we had a Joint Kickoff (with Toxicology, Biomedicine and Bioentrepreneurship students) and a wonderful trip to Finnhamn with the Toxicology program (this is worth a whole blog alone).
  • Week 2: Full of lectures about very different things. The aim of this week is to give us an idea about what we will be studying in the future years, such as: drug metabolism, oxidative stress, cell death, in vitro toxicity testing, risk assessment, etc. Generally, the lectures by themselves are not enough to give you all the knowledge you really need in those subjects. However, we do not have to forget that this is just an introduction course and that all these things will reappear during the progress of the other courses. Believe me, you will hear a lot about ROS species, they are always implicated somehow!
  • Week 3: The epidemiology week. During the mornings we had lectures about cohort studies, case-control studies, bias, chance, etc. And in the afternoon we had group assignments with real life studies where we had to analyze them and get to understand everything we learned during the mornings.
  • Week 4: The last week of the course was focused on understanding and getting to know the importance of OECD guidelines for the testing of chemicals, GLP (Good Laboratory Practice), etc. During this week we also had group work analyzing some of these guidelines and interpreting the results. This week and this first course ended with our first exam at KI.

From my point of view, this is a very general course but also necessary. The main idea of it is to give us all a general and more or less the same background, because everybody in our class comes from different types of Bachelor’s degrees, for example Biomedicine, Biochemistry, Pharmacy and Medicine, being the most common ones. Taking into account your previous background this course will be more or less challenging for you, as a new student. If you are lucky enough to have already heard about what ROS species are, how drugs are metabolized and so on, enjoy this while it lasts; completely new things will come soon. Being in a new country, with all the paperwork involved can be time and energy consuming, so it is nice to not be so overwhelmed during the first weeks. However, if you feel like all this is new, this could be the perfect moment to get up-to-date.

To conclude this blog about the Introduction to Toxicology course, I would like to point out some fun facts about studying here in Sweden and at Karolinska Institutet (maybe some of these things are very normal in other countries, but they sure are not in Spain!):

  • You will get used to very short lectures. Every 45 minutes the class stops, no matter how long the actual lecture is, and teacher and students have a break for around 10-15 minutes. This means that if the class is planned to be 2-hours long, you will have two wonderful breaks in order to stand up, talk with your classmates, relax, have fika and get energy for the next part.
  • You have plenty of time to do your exam (at least for this first course! I hope it stays this way for the rest of them). In Spain, I was used to writing as fast as I could just to be able to finish the exam on time. Here, you have a bit more time to think, go to the bathroom and analyze your answers.
  • You can actually leave the exam room to go to the bathroom. You just have to sign your name before you leave to do so.
  • And last, you can have a snack while you are doing your exam!

 

Stockholm hidden jewels (first attempt)

A friend of mine in Colombia asked me to write something about some less known highlights of Stockholm, the interesting places, activities or traditions not included usually in tourist guides. I have not yet written it, so I am trying to think aloud here about this and the result could be less than the 10 he asked. In the meanwhile, if you read Spanish, you can check his fabulous blog about geography, politics, flags, history… http://blogdebanderas.com/

Disclaimer: although I mention some commercial brands I do not intend to advertise them nor I receive any kind of retribution

Nature, parks: Maybe going to a park and have a passive recreation is not for 3 day tourism but for people spending a lot of time in this city. If you have the chance to be one of us, go out and walk the city. Very soon you will find a green patch or a beautiful lake or sea shore. I love to walk by Djurgården island (north and south sides) or going to Haga Parken or walking by Norr Mâlarstrand, the little pond of Råstajôn near my home, Ulriksdal Castle and countless more. Do not miss this weekend the Day of dead’s in Skogskyrkogarden.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ice cream: Fryst. A Swedish friend of mine said it is the best Ice Cream place in Stockholm. It is a serious statement but I can say that the ice cream is very good, with non-traditional flavors. It is a very small place, the ice cream is to take away because it is very very tiny place and now that winter is coming they have fewer options and open fewer days during the week. Anyway, there are many good places in Stockholm to have a gelato, an ice cream.

Coffee: Johan & Nystrôm Koncept Butik, Drop Coffee. Two places to drink specialty coffee and to buy it for the consumption in your house. Those are the ones I know with beans from many different places in the world and staff really experienced and skilled. And they are very kind, also.

Mexican food: La Neta. It is not really hidden, it is well known but even the Mexican visitors say that it is a place to have decent Mexican food. Something that people from Spain cannot say about most of or all the “tapas” places around the city.

Art in Stockholm metro: there is a short guided tour by SL staff that starts from T-Centralen. You do not see many stations but it could be the first step to visit all T-Bana stations, many of them with very interesting artwork. Information in English http://sl.se/en/eng-info/contact/art-walks/

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Milesgården: The house that Karl Miles built and where many of his artworks are kept as well as his personal art collection. A peaceful place that also is an art gallery with beautiful temporary art exhibitions.

Music hall: they say that Berwaldhallen is a nice music hall built in the rocks of a hill. I have not been there yet.

Strandvägen, from Raoul Wallengberg torg to Djurgården: It was my favorite place in Stockholm until I found Skeppsholmen.

Skeppsholmen: a small island very near the Grand Hotel and Kungsträdgården. There you can find, for instance, the Moderna Museet. But it is worth the walk and also going to Kastellholmen. In Skeppsholmen you can have a coffee in the terrace of Skeppsholmen hotel. Very calmed, very quiet. Although the coffee is not memorable, the place is.

There are many others places: The huge kanelbullar of Saturnus and Egoiste, Pain au chocolat from Petit France and Gateau, Crepes in Fyra Knop, afternoon tea in Grand Hotel, Akki sushi… As you can see my jewels are related to food :) And, for sure, you have your own jewels. You can talk also about the number of public pools, the baths (badet, hammam), the rooftop tours, balloon tours and all the towns surrounding the city, as Sigtuna.

Now I have some of the places I will include in the blog post for my friend but I need to do it three times longer with more pictures.

 

MBE Second Internship Time!

I have just begun my second practical placement of the course! As some of you may remember I did my first placement in Kradle life sciences, which coincidentally was also in Uppsala (Is god trying to get me to move here?!). This internship lasts 12 weeks as opposed to our first internship which lasted only 5 weeks.

Both PP1 and PP2 internships were attained through Karolinska. However for our PP1 we did not have a choice for which company we wanted to go with, but for our PP2 we got to choose based on priority and I was lucky enough to get my first choice and it is in GE Healthcare in Uppsala.. I am now in my second day and so far so good. Everyone is really nice and has been very welcoming. The most important thing for me was the project which I shall do as part of this internship and whether I would find it interesting or not. Luckily for me it is of great interest to me and I look forward to the coming 12 weeks! I have included a video blog below also, which rehashes some of what I have just said but also mentions a bit about which other companies my classmates have started working with.

Andrew.

Day Trip to Vaxholm

Saturdays have become my ‘tourist’ days. One whole day a week dedicated to exploring Stockholm and its surroundings. Except last Saturday: It rained, and I hadn’t bought an umbrella yet. So, I shopped instead. My favourite ‘Sightseeing Saturday’ so far has been a boat trip to the town of Vaxholm in the Stockholm archipelago. You can travel to and from there by bus using your SL card. I would, however, argue that you should at least take the ferry one way, even though it is slightly expensive. Why? Well, since a photograph is worth a thousand words, please find below my 3000-word essay on why ferries are the best form of transportation when you find yourself in the vast Stockholm archipelago with its 30000 or so islands and islets.

Leaving Stockholm

                 Leaving Stockholm

Trip through the Stockholm Archipelago or 'island viewing' for future purchase (it could happen!)

Trip through the Stockholm Archipelago or ‘island viewing’ for future purchase (it could happen!)

Autumn on the Baltic Sea

           Autumn on the Baltic Sea

The first thing you may notice when arriving at Vaxholm, apart from a boat petrol station, which is startling to an inland native like myself, is its fortress. It was constructed under King Gustav Vasa in the 16th century, though most of it was rebuilt in the 19th century. It protected Stockholm city successfully from the Danes in the 17th century and the Russians in the 18th (sounds like they had a lot of downtime between invasions). There is a museum within the walls though it is only open in the summer season. However, in my opinion, the importance of this fortress lies neither in its aesthetic features nor in its deeply-rooted history. It is the connection to my favorite childhood heroine: Pippi Longstocking. Indeed, this was the filming location for the pirate stronghold in the Pippi in the South Seas movie. As you can see, I am a pretty high-brow individual.

Vaxholm Citadel

                Vaxholm Citadel

The best thing to do in Vaxholm is to simply stroll around. No purposeful walking allowed in this idyllic location. Stroll along the harbour. And then stroll some more through the older parts of town (good strolling shoes required). Admire its picturesque, well-preserved wooden houses in colors as cheerful as red, yellow or pink. You may be rewarded with one or two surprises throughout the day – like a sculpture garden.

Vaxholm Harbour

                  Vaxholm Harbour


P1060712

'Waiting for the Wind'

‘Waiting for the Wind’

Last, but emphatically NOT least, there is a lovely place to go for coffee. Wherever one goes in Sweden, one must always ascertain on where to ‘fika’. We found this cute little café called Café Silltruten on the main port which had not one, not two, not three…but ten or so different cakes to choose from. I went for carrot cake, an old classic. But that raspberry almond cake I didn’t go for still haunts me. Life is full of tough decisions. :) IMG_20141018_140147

An Insight into Health Informatics

Over the past few months, since my admission to the Health informatics masters program at Karolinska Institutet, i have had to grapple with constantly answering two questions from friends and fellow students alike.”What program are you studying at KI?”,…which is usually followed up by,”What is health informatics?”….Making a quick flashback to this time last year,i seem to have had the same concerns though i had basic understanding of telemedicine and ehealth and knew health informatics was related to these fields.

This brings me to the first course i undertook at KI which was structured to provide answers and clarity on what health informatics is all about and scope of health informatics. Am going to highlight my personal understanding so far ,but will provide further personal insight on my experiences about the program on subsequent blogs.

Widerströmska huset lecture block for some HI courses

Widerströmska huset lecture block for some HI courses

20140901_152546

What is Health informatics all about?

The first course we covered in the HI class was to provide an introductory information on the health informatics program including program structure and standards for scientific writing at Karolinska Institutet.Health sector in most parts of the world is still dependent on very unreliable paper based records management systems and coming from Uganda i have first hand experience of how expensive and inefficient  it can be and is definitely not any different from most other countries.Integrating Information technology in all aspects of the medical care provisions chain seems to be main objective of Health informatics program.

Different professionals complemented the HI lecturers to provide insight on how technology can be useful to nurses,doctors,pharmacists ,researchers,biomedical experts and the role of  Health informaticians in a typical medical project.What made it interesting was the engaging lectures and assignments and ….I have to admit by the end of the course..slightly over five weeks i had a more clear picture about what i had signed up for….health informatics.

Analysis of some health informatics on going projects and their presentation at the end of course seminar by different groups of students.  Provided in depth understanding of medical systems in range of  countries around the globe and innovative improvements to these projects using better technological systems.

Interested in technology and Health

The HI program at Karolinska Institutet is a mixture of  students from medical and technology fields who have a common passion for improving on the medical service and  acknowledge that Information technology is can be at the center of revolution to  medical care more efficient and reliable.

I have a background in computer science and have been fascinated by the groundbreaking transformation it has made in finance and education even in rural communities..Healthcare is one of the fields information technology can have a revolutionary impact that makes me proud to be part of health informatics team.

Official Information about the Health informatics program can be accessed at from:http://ki.se/en/utbildning/5hi12-masters-programme-in-health-informatics

You can send me an email on:yesho.simon@stud.ki.se

The Stockholm archipelago and a “plausible foreign underwater operation”

visby

Sweden has been in the foreign papers for the last couple of weeks, as the local navy (and the world’s press) focussed its attention on what lurks (or lurked) under the now rather frigid waters of the Stockholm archipelago.

On Friday the navy called off its week-long search for a “man-made object”, believed likely to be a damaged midget submarine, after alleged distress calls were intercepted in Russian on October 16. Whilst not explicitly accusing Moscow of being behind the “plausible foreign underwater operation” (1), history suggests Sweden’s rear admiral Anders Grenstad, has reason to be suspicious.

During the 1980s, frequent underwater incursions were made by the Soviet military during what became a decade-long game of cat and mouse in Swedish waters (2). The only time the Swedish navy has actually managed to capture a Russian submarine was when one struck a rock and ran aground on the south coast in 1981 – armed with nuclear warheads.

However this blog entry is not to comment on international relations of the Baltic neighbourhood, but rather to highlight the unique beauty of the surroundings in which recent events played out.

20140906-169

Consisting of some 30,000 islands, the Stockholm Archipelago (skärgård in Swedish, literally meaning “skerry-garden”) is a treasured natural playground for the capital’s inhabitants. Many will have summer cabins dotted amongst secluded forests or by small private docks at the water’s edge.

Recently I was fortunate to get out to the archipelago on a couple of occasions, and I’d strongly encourage anyone visiting Stockholm to add it to their list of ‘to-dos’. Here are a couple of reasons why (and some tips to get you there):

Highlights:

Waxholm: in many ways the heart and access-point of the archipelago, Waxholm is reached by both bus (670) and ferry (see below). The trip takes about 50 minutes one-way. When there, don’t miss visiting Hembygdsgårds Café and Bland Kobbar & Skär, and enjoying a quiet stroll through the neighbourhood streets and around the water’s edge.

Hiking and island-hopping: the beauty of the archipelago cannot be understated. And what better way to explore the islands but by hiking? Numerous published guides and maps provide details of the many well-maintained hiking trails that criss-cross the archipelago. In some cases, it’s even possible to shuttle-row your way from island to island!

20140906-106

Getting there and around:

SL: Public buses access several of the larger islands via bridges, which can make for a nice round trip when combined with a return via ferry (see below). All buses accept the regular SL tickets or transport cards. See http://sl.se.

Waxholmsbolaget: the larger of two companies serving the archipelago’s islands, Waxholmsbolaget runs regular commuter ferries every day of the week. Boats depart from several points in Stockholm, tickets are reasonably priced and can be bought on board. See http://www.waxholmsbolaget.se.

20140906-074

(1) http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/24/sweden-calls-off-hunt-submarine-stockholm-archipelago

(2) http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2014/10/24/surprise_that_russian_submarine_in_stockholm_got_away_from_the_swedish_navy

What to remember when applying to study at the Karolinska Institutet…

Applying to study overseas can be a little overwhelming. Having gone through the process before here are the websites and blogs that I recommend you look at.

adventure

  1. Have a look at http://ki.se/en/education/admissions-to-global-bachelors-programmes to find out about the different Masters programme at Karolinska.
  2. Go to https://studyinsweden.se/how-to-apply/ and follow the step by step instructions. The website is very easy to use and provides a huge amount of information from applications, to visas and scholarships.
  3. All applications need to be completed through https://www.universityadmissions.se/intl/start, you can select up to 5 different programmes (and different universities).
  4. Look at potential scholarships. I can’t stress this point enough, as a non-European student the cost of living in Stockholm is huge and I would not be here without a scholarship!

I would recommend reading Alexandra’s blog post on scholarships http://studentblogski.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/scholarship-applications/.

Another post I found useful was Preethi’s blog about what to do after you have applied http://studentblogski.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/after-application-2/

  1. Double check that you have filled out all the documents (and that you have done this well before the deadline!). An awesome motivation letter or letter of recommendation doesn’t hurt.

Good luck!

think about your life

Student Social Life

Hej!

It is an obvious fact that students in Stockholm do not spend all their time reading textbooks in a library or talking about medical problems in general. What’s more, Karolinska Institutet puts a lot of effort to make students socialize organizing various interactive activities. After being at KI for over two months, I observed three main kinds of interaction most of the student will face while being here: compulsory, voluntary and spontaneous socializing.

1) Compulsory socializing – by numerous group activities during your programme. I suppose all the programmes are based on, apart from lectures, a huge amount of group work, where you cannot choose the members of your team and the teams are mixed quite frequently. In my opinion this kind of interaction is the most troublesome, as you might be forced to work with people who are not your favourite companions in order to achieve a mutual goal. Some believe that ‘overdosing’ the group work in the curriculum may create more enemies than friends. Others claim this will not prepare us for real work because we are working on abstract cases where resposibility is not that huge so students don’t take problems seriously enough. Finally, some people just do not like working with the others and it takes time until they are able to cooperate, at least to some extent. Nevertheless, this is how the programmes are constructed and the official goal of all the group work is to reflect the situation in the genuine medical companies, where you must work with people regardless of your personal preferences.

2) Voluntary socializing – by signing up for events organized by KI, student unions and other institutions. Before going to study at KI, you will be asked to take part in the Introductory Week that is not compulsory though. Since you will spend most of the time with people from your programme, it is highly recommended to participate in the introductory weeks even to meet people from other programmes and have fun with basics of Swedish language together. During the academic year, you can also meet some of the students mainly during two events: Coffe hours (Thursdays, 4 pm – 6 pm), where you can taste some food, drink coffee and play games with others, and MF Union pub (Fridays from 5 pm), where you basically do the same drinking beer instead of coffee. MF union occasionally organizes theme parties (like Oktoberfest) as well. Other voluntary activities include KI Swedish course, organized by students for students, which takes place in the evenings from 6 pm to 8 pm (the day depends on your Swedish level and personal preferences), career fairs, visiting professors lectures and so on.

3) Spontaneous socializing – the most enjoyable one. You do whatever you want and with people you like the most. There’s not much to say about this type of interactions, since they are the same everywhere. You can party in a bar, pub, club or house party (these are held quite regularly in Lappis – student area in Stockholm). Anyway, my suggestion is to visit the most places in the region you can before it’s deadly cold and dark in the early afternoon. For instance, you can go to Uppsala for 150 kr (round-trip ticket) having your student SL card and admire the beauty of one of the oldest cities in Scandinavia, or buy a ticket for the ship to Helsinki (round-trip ticket and cabin for 4 people around 40 EUR with Viking Lines). Alternatively, you can always go for a walk to some of the parks in Stockholm to enjoy beautiful Swedish autumn.

September and October in pictures:

Radek