Är sommaren kort? (Is the summer short?)

I had some thoughts about holiday to write a blog post and these videos from Andrew gave me the final push :).

If you spend only fall and winter in Stockholm you did not imagine how this city changes during the summer. Not only the hours of light from the awful winter that Andrew also mentioned, but the city life and people resembles a different city. Many Swedes go for holiday during the summer and the rhythm of the city slows down, even there is special transportation schedule between June and August because there are a lot less people in the city. In my country that slowdown happens during Christmas and New Year time. For me is still strange to have that relaxing time in the middle of the year.

However the ones that remain in the city change their clothing to a more colorful and that means that the mood is also very different and more open. This summer has been something special, people say, because we have had long periods of temperatures around 30ºC. That is not really common, but has helped to have a more different city, yet.

You can find many activities in the parks or in the streets. I suppose that happens in every country with seasons, and summer is the most active period of the year. Anyway, you can find, for instance, open air and free dancing classes by 6 PM and later a get together to practice the dancing learning. Concerts of any kind of music, free or paid activities… June, July and August are plenty of things to do. It is a shame to stay indoors. Having my extra intensive Swedish course I noticed that is a nightmare to study during this time, specially of the high temperatures, but also because there is sunshine you will not have more in a couple of months.

Summer is something special in Sweden. As it is not usually warm as this, there is a saying I learned about: “Summer is an attitude”. Keeping this attitude is something that we would need in the forthcoming months. I think the next winter will be worst for me. Now I know the very light Swedish summer and in December and January I will miss it a lot. Another drop of wisdom I received about summer is that you have to enjoy the current day (carpe diem) because you do not know if tomorrow the weather will change and you will have weeks or cloudy and colder days. During this year it happened in June and I saw some light scarfs and jackets. And as the sunshine can only be today, I put this video of a song our Swedish teacher showed us: Sommaren är kort (summer is short) and its chorus says:

♪Solen kviner kanske bara idag♪ Sunshine can maybe be only today…(or so*)

*Somebody, a Swedish native speaker, told me that the translation of this short sentence is wrong, as I feared. She said that the meaning of the verse in the song should be something like “There will maybe only be sushine today…”

My Favourite & Least Favourite things in Stockholm

This is quite a self explanatory post all about my favourite and least favourite things in and around Stockholm! I have created this post through my Vlogs at separate times.

I must admit I have many things which I just love about Stockholm and must say that to think of the least favourite things I could not think of much. I believe that is testament to the city and I have found it so easy to live in and integrate into as a person, perhaps because of the friends I met immediately who were all in the same position as me and so that allowed me time to concentrate on the actual city experience and the pros and cons of daily life here.

Central Station at 1am.

Ultimately for me, Stockholm is one of those cities which while big and vast can feel homely and warm, maybe fika has something to do with it as well as the harsh winters but it has been an easy journey to fit into the city, which is not always so easy, at least from my experiences in other cities I have lived in. So here are my Vlogs, I hope these are helpful to understand more of Stockholm Life!

Public Transport

How do you get around Stockholm? How is it coming and going from the airport? These questions are answered in Vlogs on the prospective student at KI youtube page.

I have found the metro, train, bus and boat system in Stockholm to be one of the best of all the places I have lived, particularly for traveling such long distances and it is very punctual and clean. I have not experienced it yet however, but I have heard of the nightmare which occurs during winter whereby everything stands still due to snow and ice, this experience I will hopefully not need to blog about but this winter has yet to arrive!

Pick Up Service

The blogs from both Adeeb and myself continue and we have both taken time to acknowledge the Pick Up service which is provided by Karolinska for new students coming to KI. Additionally this year I myself will be a student representative whom shall be meeting these new students- maybe I will meet some of you then!

The premise is quite simple, a student representative will meet you at Central station and, if your room is in Strix or Pax, your keys would have been picked up for you. The student rep will answer any of your questions and bring you to your new home! Included below are Vlogs on the official prospective students YouTube page on the experience I had when I arrived and met my student rep as well as Adeebs!

Avail of this service by e-mailing the following to pickupservice@ki.se:
Day and time of arrival
Flight number and airport
Accommodation in Stockholm
Mobile phone number

Greetings from Taipei!

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re all in the same boat now.” 

                                      Martin Luther King Jr.

This year Karolinska Institutet is taking part in International Partnership in Health Informatics Education (IPHIE) yearly Master Class that iAttendeess taking place in Taipei and hosted by Taipei Medical University between the 21st and the 25th of July 2014. The Partnership includes Universities from all over the globe which have Medical or Health Informatics master programs. During the Master Class, students who are attending/have attended those programs together with professors and faculty members meet to discuss collaboration, share ideas and experiences.

Professor Sabine Koch, together with 2 students from the Health Informatics program at KI (myself and my colleague Pernilla Jacobsson) are taking part this year (as observers).

Professor Sabine Koch presenting the Health Informatics Programme and Health Informatics Center at Professor

The first day was an introductory day that included keynotes by the professors and program directors from the universities that are participating this year.

The second day started with interesting presentations by the students followed by a description of the group work assigned to the students.


We were then given a tour of the efficient Taipei Medical University Hospital which is just few steps away from the campus.

The day ended with a very yummy Hot pot dinner that was supposed to be followed by group work which was altered because of the upcoming Typhoon.

Greetings from the hotel room where we are stranded because of the risk of  being hir by unidentified flying objects during the Typhoon :-)

The famous skyscraper Taipei 101 (the world's second tallest building) the night before the Typhoon

The famous skyscraper Taipei 101 (the world’s second tallest building) the night before the Typhoon


Special thanks to Pernilla Jacobsson for working on this post with me!

Accepted 2

So, a lot has happened since I last wrote, in the beginning of summer.

I previously wrote a piece on where I was going for my masters and how important it is to follow your heart in these matters. Well I was recently also accepted to Leiden University in the Netherlands.
Leiden University is where you go for your second year exchange when you do the biomedicine bachelor at KI (if you want to do an exchange, that is). We who went had a great time there and some of us decided to apply for their masters as well.

When I got accepted I started to look into the program even closer and suddenly I felt an excitement about starting there in the fall, which I’m afraid I don’t really feel about Lund University. So even though it’s a lot more hassle and also costs money for us to go to Leiden, we actually decided to do it.

Which means I am now also in the same position as many of you – sending in official documents, looking for accomodation and finance and finding out as much as I can beforehand.

I am really happy to be excited about starting school this fall. Without that excitement it’s really difficult to get all the papers in order and finding the drive to do everything that needs to be done. Without proper motivation there’s hardly a point to start anything.

So to you moving to Sweden soon – I hope you have made the choice that excites you the most!

One month and a half

One month and a half. That time has passed since my last post and a week less of my holiday. While prospective students are dealing with visas, housing, scholarships and other things (I dealt with those one year ago and continue struggling with money issues) I can tell you what I have done during this time.


Different from most of my class mates, I have not traveled. Firstly I finished my long run project of pictures on the art in Stockholm the metro, although use the verb “to finish” is not that accurate. I discovered that new art is available (not included in the reference I used to identify it) and it is impossible to capture every detail in each station. I took sample pictures of the artwork and some of them, like T-Centralen, have a huge amount of diverse kind of art. You can find a map I created in google maps with part of my pictures.


I took some other pictures of animals, plants and landscapes until my camera broke. Sometimes is not really worth to invest in repairing a camera and that is especially true in this expensive country. But the good prices for cameras are not found here either.

I am also studying, and learning, Swedish. I made an ultra-intensive course at Folkuniversitetet (Not part of Swedish for immigrants program) and next week I am going to have the second level, also extra intensive. Suddenly I started to understand part of the advertising in the metro stations and some of the headlines in newspapers. It a long road, I am only starting it but it is nice to understand more Swedish now.

I followed Colombian team in the football World Cup. I am not really a football fan but it is nice to see this event.

I have walked a lot. Although the summer weather is not always warm and sunny, it is definitely better than the one we had some months ago. Some people say that Swedish summer is an attitude and not a real summer weather as known in other places. So, you need to enjoy summer no matter how cloudy it could be and do not miss any sunny and warm day. It could be the last in weeks or months.

I am trying, also, to review some materials from my first year courses. I have been not successful with that goal. But I still have 6 weeks more.

I have been working in my reading aloud podcast. I prepared episodes for all summer and now working in a very special project I have (special for me at least).

I am planning to go to Norway, maybe go to Gotland but we have not arranged it and the time flies.

I have been active in Instagram, almost all of the pictures published during these weeks in the students account are mine. Here some other taken with my phone and the old “party” camera (point-and-shot one).

DSC06716DP DSC06735DP DSC06748DP IMG_2103DP IMG_3721 IMG_3735 IMG_3753 IMG_3781 IMG_3788

Methods for Outcome Evaluation of Public Health Interventions

Though a few weeks have passed since the end of the spring semester, I would be remiss to neglect documenting our final course of the year, Methods for Outcome Evaluation of Public Health Interventions. As I mentioned in this post, the three epidemiology courses that precede the applied epidemiology courses we will take in the fall semester of our second year are organized around the three core areas of epidemiology. Thus, this year’s final epidemiology course focused on the assessment of the outcomes of public health programs and policies.

The first two and a half weeks of class were dedicated to lectures, which drew heavily on the epidemiological foundations provided by the previous two epi courses. One of my personal favorite lectures was given by one of our former course directors and illustrated just how difficult it can be to conduct an evaluation of Public Health interventions, here using the case of an intervention aimed at reducing iron deficiency in indigenous school children in northern Mexico.

At the end of the third week, we broke into groups and attended two of six half-day seminars on special topics. In my case, my group was assigned lectures on both suicide and chlamydia prevention in Stockholm County. Our group prepared a team paper and presentation on one of these topics and acted as an opponent for the other topic. The rest of the course was spent on this project as well as preparing for a final exam.

20140604_145051Group presentation underway

After turning in our final exam, we students stayed to attend a meeting with key leaders from our program that we had requested. This meeting allowed for a constructive discussion about possible ways to improve the program going forward. Over the past year, I have been impressed with KI’s openness with regard to student feedback. Hopefully this meeting will have been one reason that future students in our program will enjoy an even more positive experience than I have had.

P.S. Here are all of my course posts from our first year in the correct chronological order in case you missed them:

  1. Recap of Semester 1: Introduction to Public Health Sciences
  2. Recap of Semester 1: Methods for Studying the Distribution of Health
  3. Recap of Semester 1: Basic Statistics and Computer Based Analysis
  4. Recap of Semester 1: Qualitative Methods
  5. Epidemiological Methods for Studying Determinants of Health
  6. Advanced Statistics in Epidemiology
  7. Collecting and Organizing Data



Practical placement 1: Course Review

I have now completely finished my courses and presentations and have received final grades for the final course of the year ‘Practical Placement 1′ in Karolinska. This I feel is an appropriate time to relay my experience and my overall assessment of the course for those of you coming to KI or just thinking of applying.

I will begin with the benefits of this course which unfortunately do not outweigh the flaws, which I truly hope will change come next year based on current student feedback. As I have stated in previous blogs I was working for Kradle Life Sciences, a company located in Uppsala. The experience within the company itself was a very pleasant one and I was so grateful to have the opportunity to learn from my supervisor who was so inspirational and dedicated. I also enjoyed working with my co-worker Stefania and we both put so much effort into our work, and thoroughly enjoyed our project and meeting with stakeholders and conducting interviews with such influential individuals in the medical device industry.

Regarding the actual grade of the course this was not based on the working period but rather on the final report and also on an ‘individual reflection’ which was to be written about your experiences and how you felt the work proceeded throughout the internship.

I, along with many classmates, have suggested that next year the actual work and perhaps feedback from the supervisor in each company be taken into consideration for the final grade, as this is a 9 credit module it is quite important to get an overall view of the student work and participation. This was quite evident as some of my classmates were working every day 9-5pm within a company while others worked perhaps 1-2 hours a day. Unfortunately in this instance many students were unhappy with the final grades received for the course. This was in part as a result of the perceived lack of understanding of the student needs. Their was quite a lot of disorganization within the course and some of the grading criteria was quite unclear, particularly when it is so important special attention should always be given and the grading criteria should always be as clear as possible, this was not the case for this course with many students confused and thus the results received were met with disappointment and a feeling of unfairness, given how much work many of us had put into this course. Hopefully this shall all be improved next year for the incoming students as we, as a class, must submit a ‘course feedback’ document illustrating the weaknesses and strengths of the course to the course directors whom shall assess the information and, hopefully, make the relevant changes for the following year.

This I hope is done as this module was interesting and exciting within my very first placement, but I felt the actual grading was so far removed from the practical placement aspect, that it almost felt like 2 separate modules. Thus the grading system and subsequent confusion, over something as important as grading criteria, have been unfortunate drawbacks which I hope will change for all of the incoming Bioentrepreneurs.

Hej Då.

Deer hunting: part two

Descending deeper and deeper into the heart of Stockholm, my hunt for the elusive City Deer became an obsession (or at least a fun curiosity to pass the time). Their unpredictable appearance at different locations confused and confounded me to no end. Who made them? Why deer? When did they get put up? And were they still being made and placed throughout the city? Was there a pattern that I could follow to find more?

Too many questions to be asked. But luckily, enough deer to seem to be able to answer some of them. :)

When walking through Vasastan just north of Odenplan, I managed to stumble across two.



Whereas the previous deer seemed to be doe’s, these ones looked more like fawns. They were breeding! Of course! That’s the only explanation for young street deer! Still yet another doe near Odenplan.


Here was another doe near Slussen.


But it looks like there’s some writing under this one…? What’s it say? “Ingen reklam tack”? Let’s google translate that..

“No advertising thanks”.

Ok. I guess there’s a message there, or something. Our street-artist seems to be a street-activist. I can dig that. What else do they want to tell us?

There were a few near St. Eriksplan. Here was one braving the rainy weather.


And this one seemed to be waiting for the buses near the Karlberg Pendeltåg station.


This guy seemed to be checking out the touristy spots near Gamla Stan.


And finally, a little guy near Mariatorget…


Looks like this doe has a message for us as well.

“Doing what you’re told”

Seems to be the same sentiment as the Andre the Giant/Obama hybrid to the left.

That was all for now. My hunt for the Urban Doe’s continues. And to those of you in Stockholm, keep your eye peeled. You never know which street sign you’ll find these guys hiding behind.