Who else from your country is a new KI student?

Jenny and Louise with map

Tag yourself in the world map on our Facebook page, to find others from your country!

Hello to all of our fantastic new students! We hope that you are feeling taken care of by our staff and student representatives and that all your preparations are well on their way. Our team have had quite a few requests from students wanting to find their countrymen and women who are also on their way to Karolinska Institutet. Please take a moment to tag yourself in the world map photo we just posted on our Facebook page. That way you can easily see from where in the world your future classmates are, and befriend them long before your arrival in Stockholm.

As always, warm wishes from Louise and Jenny, international communications officers.

Accomodation Again

I know you have heard this until you are bored stiff – however – the questions keep coming. A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to make some of the calls to the new Global Health Students for the fall intake 2014. Of course the issue of accommodation came up. I cannot emphasize this enough – I cannot tell you soon enough that you need to start to look for accommodation. I know it is difficult to try to find a place to rent months in advance and even more so when you don’t know what the place looks like or you are scared of getting scammed. My first and foremost answer to this – is go through KIhousing.se. Even if this means that you take it for a few months while you find your feet and get to know Stockholm a little, and meet some people. Lots of moving happens throughout the year, people are not set in stone and few people are lucky enough to find a single place for the entire time you are here.

There are of course many, many blogs that have been written by the student ambassadors over the last two years on the topic of finding accommodation.

I thought I would direct you to them again – and hope that this helps. Also I have put the link to an earlier blog that I have written, about things you NEED to do before you arrive in Stockholm and in your first few days when you get here.

Please write to me if you want help or guidance I can of course do what ever I can do to help!



Sun powered batteries

A short post about nothing but everything at the same time. Of course, this is a repetitive topic but it is part of the Swedish state of mind, we always talk about sun and weather and you will realize how important it is after few months in this country.

Some days ago I was talking with a Colombian girl about how the Swedish mood changes with the light (or its absence). And we talked about how Swedish citizens seem to have batteries that are charged by sunlight. But not only Swedish natives but also all people living here during some months or longer time.

The clothing color is the external sign of the remaining charge of those batteries. As soon as the charge increases the color in the clothing becomes brighter. It is quite similar that spring blossom that fill of color the surroundings. The colors on people reflect the same phenomenon.

We all are aware of this and we sit to take sunbaths even if the temperature is below 10°C and the wind is cold and strong. Now we find tables outside, with available blankets of course, because people are taking the opportunity of seeing the sun face to face.

Now our batteries are plugged to the sun powered. And the light is going out quite late. Nature life is returning to StockholmIMG_3278 IMG_3279

Stockholm – a right place for young entrepreneurs to be!

Stockholm is well known as “Venice of the North”, for its beauty and style, and also as one of the most environmentally cities in the world. In addition to these facts, I would like to highlight another side of Stockholm – according to The New York Times Stockholm is recognized as one of the hottest start-up capitals in Europe! Let’s have a closer look “why”.

The list of examples of vibrant Stockholm start-up culture can be quite long, so take into account that list below is not complete:

  • Here some known all over the world start-ups have been started and are currently expanding to other markets: online music provider Spotify and e-commerce company Klarna are among them
  • Start-up incubators like STING and KTH Student Inc are gathering more entrepreneurs and investors attention
  • “Silicon Valley of Sweden” or “Kista Science City” is hub of IT-companies and research centers, located in the city area of Kista, where spin-off companies, based on the research projects, appear regularly
  • Stockholm is one of the cities in EIT ICT network, promoting innovation and entrepreneurship with focus on IT for better life in 8 countries across Europe
  • Not to be forgotten – Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship (SSES), which offers wide portfolio of courses, workshops and lectures for young students – entrepreneurs and organizes “Start-up Day in Stockholm” – an annual event for entrepreneurs with prominent speakers, investors and industry representatives attending
  • UK-based “Seedcamp” is coming to Stockholm to listen to young entrepreneurs ideas and provide up to 50000 euro of seed funding to the winners

And now comes Life Science Industry-related initiatives:

  • Digital Health Hack Academy – a program with goal is to support and accelerate the creation of digital health startups. It includes idea generation workshop, 48-hours Hackathon during which entrepreneurs will work on creating solutions, workshop on prototyping, workshop on pitch training and final pitch to the investors during Digital Health Days conference (see below).
  • Digital Health Days 2014 in Stockholm – one of the biggest Digital Health conferences in Northern Europe, gathering entrepreneurs, companies, investors, healthcare professionals and patients to discuss the advances in healthcare technology.
  • Karolinska Innovations – is an Innovation Office at Karolinska Institute, which helps employees and students to develop their ideas. Innovation Office offers free consulting services to evaluate the idea.

To conclude, Bioentrepreneurship program at Karolinska could not have been launched in better place: in one of the best medical Universities in the world and one of the best cities to start-up your business. The right place for young bioentrepreneurs to be!

Summer is coming!

It keeps baffling me how fast time is moving!

It feels like just yesterday I arrived in London, but now it’s already mid-April. Looking at the calendar, I keep finding things I’ve written down thinking “oh, that’s a long way down the road” suddenly happening next week!

One such example is Easter-break. For me doing my Bachelor thesis in London, university closes on Thursday and I won’t be back until Monday the 28th of April. Honestly, I really need and look forward to that break. I’m going home to see my parents and have them spoil me with fish, eggs and candy (which is what Swedish Easter is all about) at my dads tranquil summer home in the south.
I’ll be running my 9K track around the never ending farm fields and pens with horses, cows and pigs and be playing card- and board games.
As much as I am more of a “city girl”, like most Swedes I do enjoy the peace and quiet outside the city every now and then. (Another cultural difference I’ve noticed being abroad – in Sweden it’s very common for a family to have a “summer home” somewhere secluded in addition to your ordinary accommodation. Not so much in other countries.)

After Easter-weekend I’ll be attending Kings Day in the Netherlands for the first time, that should be interesting! And then, all of a sudden, it’s Monday the 28th of April! Probably my last week of experiments (apart from maybe some additional, I’m not sure) and then “just” thesis writing. All in all I have three weekends left in London and there’s still so much I’d like to do!

I’m quite happy I’ve been doing a project that has allowed for a bit of writing simultaneously as the experiments and also grateful for the long Easter break, during which I will definitely need to bring my laptop. But I can imagine I’ll still feel pressed for time by the end of it!
Never underestimate the time it takes to write a thesis… And how quickly time goes.

Here’s some tips that works for me about writing the thesis:
1. Write out the headlines. 
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what to write under them yet, just having some vague idea of what needs to be in there and having some text is a good start. You’ll probably figure out more headlines as you go along, so don’t get stressed if you don’t immediately have seven headlines in your introduction.
Just start.
Don’t wait for the perfect sentence. Just write something. You’ll be changing everything later anyway.
3. Don’t get stuck.
Sick of writing the introduction? Can’t find the words? Don’t feel like finding that reference? Then do it another day, write methods or something instead, it will also have to be there eventually anyway.
4. Save everything.
Have a separate document where you copy interesting segments from papers and their references, and facts that you need in your thesis but don’t know where to put yet. Also things you don’t need for your thesis but are good for you to know and remember belongs in that document.
5. Set goals.
Like “on Monday I’m writing underneath that headline.” or “that week I’ll only be dealing with references.”
6. Decide on rewards.
Like – I will now be effective for one more hour, then I’ll be allowed to watch TV/go for a run/read a book. Whatever reward gets you going. Or another type of reward: “I am allowed to eat this candy only when I’m writing my thesis.” (warning – thesis writing may make you gain weight.)

Recap of Semester 1: Basic Statistics and Computer Based Analysis

Biostatistics is a core component of the epidemiology track of the Public Health Sciences program. Around two weeks ago, we finished our second class in this subject, so it’s high time I documented the first course, which took place during the first semester. For Andrea’s take on these two courses, please click here. The word that struck me in her post is creativity. What makes epidemiology exciting to me is the creative process of coming up with and answering interesting questions about health. As she wrote, statistics is the tool that we use to answer these questions.CAM00562Because the students in our program have such diverse educational histories, the first goal of this course was to bring all of the students in our program to the same level of knowledge. Thus, each person’s experience of the first part of the course was inextricably tied to his or her background in statistics. By the second half of the course, though, we were all engaging with new material. Having already completed the second course in biostatistics, I can say that it was very helpful that the final component of the first course was previewing regression models, which were covered in depth in the second course.

I greatly admire the philosophy behind the way that this course was taught, which was to teach statistics in a straightforward way and transform it into an accessible tool for our current and future research. As in other courses taught at KI, the emphasis was on understanding the concepts thoroughly. This principle has contrasted with educational experiences I’ve had in the past, in which much of my coursework covered a vast amount of material in a superficial way. One specific way in which the course director helped us was to organize weekly assessments in order to gauge our understanding of the material. He also emphasized attendance, which was very highly correlated with performance on the final exam.

Overall, this course in statistics provided a pivotal foundation for the courses that followed. Stay tuned this month for a post on our second biostatistics course!

More information about courses!

Hey everyone! Well I have completed a module so here’s more information it.

Applied Communication in Biomedicine 2

This course was the second applied communication course that we had. It had nuclear receptors as the common major theme. Hence, all the articles and lectures we had fell in this category. In this course, we were thought how to critically read and analyse various scientific articles. Following that, we were divided into groups and asked to give a short 10min presentation on the article.We were also tasked with a written assignment, where we had to summarise on scientific article allowing us to practice what we learnt from the scientific writing lecture.

During the span of this course, we had lectures that focused on pursuing a PHD at Karolinska Institute and a lecture on advice about careers that we as graduates could pursue. Overall, this module was informative allowing us to practice and improve our skills on scientific presentation and writing while giving us an insight of the options we had in the future after graduation.

Hope the information about this module was of some help. I will continue blogging about the rest in the following posts. More information about all the modules can be found on the programme page. http://pingpong.ki.se/public/courseId/7012/coursePath/5549/ecp/lang-en/publicPage.do

Reducing uncertainty

I will not talk about uncertainty in Cost-Effectiveness evaluation, one of the topics I am dealing with in my current course. But about that feeling we all had during our application process and all the steps that came after deciding to study at KI and finally arriving.

One of the purposes of this student blog telling our experiences is to show prospective students that coming to study at Karolinska Institutet and to live in Stockholm is not an impossible quest. And everybody, you and us, know that information reduces the uncertainty if it comes from reliable sources. During these days I have been answering questions from a couple of applicants that have been accepted. I see myself asking question and wanting to know everything. Each student has his* own concerns depending if his origin, background and other specific considerations. While receiving and answering questions I can see that the digital ambassadors job is actually helping others to make decisions, to focus on the important things and to reduce stress on others that can be managed when somebody else tells you how to do it.

I know that other Digital Ambassadors are also receiving questions and advice consultations, even more frequently than I have had. All of them are trying to do their best with their own opinion. On behalf of the prospective students we were I want to say thank you to them (us). And for admitted students, keep contacting us. If we consider the answers could be of interest for other people we will write a post here with them instead of answering directly.

You can find posts from KI Digital Ambassador addressing specific topics of interest for all of us. Here are some of many:

* I use the the pronoun “his” and not other because all of the admitted students that have contacted me are men. Political correctness clarification :) And because I understand that language could be sexist I am trying to avoid that inequity issue.

Summer coming to Stockholm!


So coming from a country that falls within the ‘tropics’ I have resliently and determinedly said that the seasons really do not affect me…. I was wrong. Here is Stockholm the seasons do affect you – however, every one is different and the affect is different in every case – in my case it was the scarcity of fresh fruit and vegetables that had the most noticeable impact. So yes, Sweden is part of the extended EU, and yes you can get most things here – however – for some odd reason – when it comes to fruit and vegetables… you dont really get that much here, and what you do get is not really the freshest. Having recently visited a couple of other countries outside of Scandinavia this became even more pronounced. Swedens fruit and vegetable selection is vastly influenced by the seasons!

So – when I wandered down to my little ICA store beneath my house and noticed that there was (albeit small) an increase in the selection of vegetables and a greater selection of berries. For me this was the first sign of summer – the first sign that the seasons are changing – and probably (for me) the most important sign!

Eating in Stockholm is an expensive affair – especially if you like fresh produce. I have found a few tips to get around this and try to get your daily intake of vegetables and fruit:

1. Shop at the Lidl in Sveavagen – for some odd reason the vegetables and fruit there are very fresh. The selection is not fabulous but it is fresh – and the turn over is fast so you will find that there is a different selection every time you go in. This is  a big deal as a lot of the fruit and veg is not fresh even when it is on the shelves.

2. Savoy Cabbage and Fennel – both lovely – both healthy and both really easy to obtain – so perhaps stock up on some recipies that use those vegetables -

3. Baby Marrows – also easy to obtain and they last a long time – these are worth finding recipies for

4. Frozen food – sadly I have to admit that many of my vegetables have come in the frozen form this year – broccoli, peas and soya beans are my three staples in my fridge – versatile.

Hope you find this helpful!



The day I met Bill Gates

Not many days of mine begin at 4am. As a full-time masters student doing her thesis, days begin when they begin, usually before noon but that is also negotiable. But on Monday, March 31st (a Monday even!) I woke up incredibly early to get ready to chaperone Dr. Bill Gates around my campus. Saying I was excited and nervous and full of anticipation is such an understatement; I could barely sleep the night before!!

Now I know you’re not used to hearing “doctor” before his name but this is due to a bit of school pride. Karolinska Institutet gave Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates, honorary doctorates in 2008 and so as Hans Rosling affectionately said, “at KI, you are Dr. Bill Gates.”

I dragged my tired eyes out of bed and headed to campus for the morning meeting where I was a part of a team of Karolinska staff and student ambassadors (students that represent the school and help out at events). As a Digital Ambassador and a Masters of Global Health student, I was asked to lead this famous man around the day’s activities and I could not have been more honoured.

Time has a funny way of moving extra quickly when you are least expecting it to so in what felt like no time at all, people started filing into the auditorium and I anxiously waited in the lobby for one of the biggest advocates for global health of this century to arrive. Another global health advocate and personal hero, Dr. Hans Rosling, was giving the introductory speech in the auditorium at this time. Imagine my excitement and luck to meet both of my global health heroes in the same day, sharing the same stage, halfway around the world from where I had admired them…I was in global health heaven!

The events of the day were unrolling in the auditorium as I was downstairs, being told that Bill Gates was pulling up to the university. The doors of his vehicle opened and out stepped the man of the hour. Our wonderful Chancellor and Provost Chancellor stepped forward to welcome Dr. Gates to our university and then it was my turn to step forward to shake his hand. I was thankful it was a bit chilly outside so my shaky hands could be attributed to the cold and not my utter nervousness of being face to face with a hero of mine. But to be honest, I shouldn’t have been nervous. This man that we have seen, followed, and revered for decades was standing in front of me smiling and unassuming, what everyone hopes a man in the media is like in real life.

I led him and his team to the green room, then down to the auditorium with the other panelists for the main event and then around to afternoon meetings and interviews, where it was an absolute pleasure to be a fly on the wall.



A fly on the wall during a Bill Gates interview

I can’t say I remember much of these events as it has all blurred together in my mind, it was a whirlwind of a day. I also can’t say that I flung myself onto him and asked him his opinion on every global health topic under the sun (even if I had wanted to!) because while I was leading him and his team around to meetings after his presentation, I felt this man could use some peace. He had such a presence in a room; everyone either wanted his attention or stood back to let him impart his wisdom. I wanted to be useful and polite and perhaps a bit invisible, don’t we all deserve a few moments in a day where we aren’t being asked something? I did however, mention how we shared the same fascination with rotavirus, the disease that got the Gates Foundation involved in global health. He was happy that I had studied it. We shared the same joy in its vaccine development that has significantly reduced the number of diarrheal deaths in children less than five years of age in the past few years. Rotavirus and a rural community vaccination campaign was the subject I did my undergraduate thesis on and I felt such a sense of pride when he mentioned on stage that this is the issue that started the flame for his involvement in global health. I share the same starting point in global health as Bill Gates. That sentiment is going to stick around for a while…


Professor for the day :)

*All of the days events can be found in video format online at http://ki.se/en/bill-gates-meets-hans-rosling-at-ki 

-Caity, global health