To missing home

You stay home your entire life wishing that you were somewhere else. And when that does happen, you enjoy every bit of it. While you immerse yourself in understanding the new world there is a tiny part of you that tends to take you back home.

A lot of things from the moment I wake up have changed since I came to Stockholm. (I no longer have my own bathroom!) My niece and nephews don’t bang on my door asking me to open it at 5am. I no longer have “parathas” for breakfast because its too much work. I no longer go through the lectures I have to deliver, for I don’t teach medical students and military nursing students anymore, rather I check what I will be going through in class as a student.

I am not driven to my institute and it is not 5 minutes’ drive away. In fact I get on a bus to get to KI. By the time I am on my way back home it is not that late but pretty dark. Lahore was always bright and sunny. A little too sunny. Sunny enough to burn your skin most of the year. While the temperature is a reprieve, which can get to 45 degrees in the summer, you do miss the sunlight. Its like the world knows no balance.

Stockholm takes a breath as did Lahore when evenings set in. Some things are the same everywhere like the city calming down after a day’s work. But I no longer sit next to my father reciting the Quran while he watches BBC news in the evenings now. I don’t wake up during the night and see him praying in his room. I haven’t had a chance to have a heart to heart with some my friends who I know are equally occupied with work or family.

Those are the things I miss. But what I miss the most is visiting a beloved someone in the graveyard and hearing the call to prayer.

Moral of the story. A part of you will always long for something you could have and then for something that you used to have.


Stockholm through the lens

Coming to Stockholm was the first international journey I made on my own. And ever since I was airborne I started taking pictures (not selfies) of whatever I found interesting. My frequency increased when the pilot announced we were about to land at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm. From above I could see green land with patches of white.

Stockholm is without a doubt beautiful and it seems that it desires to be captured, with the lens or with the brush. The scenic sites devoid of pretence is what made me buy a DSLR. It had been on my to-buy list for a long time. I think it would have been unfair if I did not buy it now that I was in such beautiful surroundings.

Although it grows darker every day and you see the sun less and less yet you seem to find some form of beauty if you really look. Like the sky changing colours 6 times in an hour, the bare trees with piles of fallen leaves under them or the lights of the city from afar reflected in the water. As the temperature continues to drop and people start talking of snow I can only wonder what the city would look like then.


Internship Experience at ResMed


Change lives with every breath

It is been a month since I started my internship at ResMed. I reckon it is a good time to briefly reflect what I have done.

ResMed is a medical device company focusing on sleep apnea treatment. The widely used therapy is CPAP(continuous positive airway pressure) and more advanced treatment such as APAP. My project is to conduct health economic evaluation for implementing telemonitoring for this treatment. As E-health becomes a hot topic in healthcare, more and more technology assessment are needed for convince decision makers to adopt the innovation technology.

As this project is exactly the project I am interested in, I am now experiencing a steep learning curve. As technology assessment is an emerging concept for health care, I am trying to build up a model with few references, how exciting would that be!


Fika area


ResBar (lots of ‘Res’ in the company)

FYI, Resmed is located on the top floor (12th floor) at Jan Stenbecks Torg. Looking outside the window you can see the northern part of Stockholm!


If you stand on the Kista metro (kungsträdgården direction)

As I will begin modeling soon, I will come back to you with more interesting experiences.


My Office (finally have an individual office in my life!)


Why Public Health?

Sorry it took me so long to be back on the blogging thing, but this month has been crazy busy, and by the time I wanted to realize it’s almost December! You, prospective students, have two months left to submit your applications, and my fellow bloggers already talked about their programs, but, why would you choose Public Health?

Public Health is about understanding what make us be healthy and what causes us to develop diseases, and, of course, implement the measures to promote health and avoid disease in the population level. As (future) public health practitioners we care about developing a healthier society by studying the causal relationships between exposures and outcomes.

Now, if you plan to run an enterprise, be director and make money, this is the right moment to redirect you to my friend Adina’s blog, where she will tell you about the Health Economics and Policy Management track. If instead you are more interested in research, biostatistics and field work, Epidemiology is your choice.

In this program you will study the basis of what is Epidemiology and how we can study diseases in the population. And, a big part of this is Biostatistics, so you will become part of the little amount of people who can read the tables and graphs of the scientific papers and ACTUALLY understand them. But don’t be alarmed, even if you have never been friends with statistics before you will cover the topic from the very basic level so everyone can catch up. This is actually one of the things I find more interesting about this programme. My classmates came from very different backgrounds; we have physicians, pharmacists, sociologists, nurses, even lawyers!! And this mix gives us a broader perspective in the topics we cover, so we are always learning from each other! This is something that is called peer learning and that Swedes love, and it’s actually a great learning tool.

And, what are the job opportunities once you finish? Well, there is a wide spectrum of choices to consider. After completing this Master you can feel strong enough to start a PhD, which I think is a great choice if you plan to stay in Sweden, where PhD students are almost like normal persons, with a salary and (some, but not much) time to have a social life. But you can also start looking for a job in the field, from organizations such as WHO (World Health Organization), ECDC (European Centre for Disease Control) or UN (United Nations) to NGOs such as MSF (Medecins Sans Frontiers). Or maybe you prefer to go for a small insurance company or be a public health advisor in a hospital. To be honest, the possibilities are infinite, as long as you are committed and work hard to get the position you want.

These are the webpages where you can read more about the programme, entry requirements, how to apply, subjects…

And if you have any question, do not hesitate to email me to

Now go get your CVs ready and apply as soon as possible! See you next year in campus!

5 MUSTs before you start your second subject

So, picture this: you are immersed in a different life, talk different talks, build a dialogue with people you have just met, have a million new things to discover and get used to, and, most important of all, you now have a hundred new opportunities lying much closer to you. What would you do to be efficient and effective not just as a Master’s student, but as a Professional in your field?… Think!… Done?… Now…

I cannot fathom out your thoughts, but these are the things I did during my first module in the Programme that, to a great extent, inspired, enlightened, and brought me up to speed with the global and vibrant life that is taking place in the city I am studying in:

1. 21st Annual Mayo-KI Scientific Research Meeting


As the conference kicked off within the very first days of the Master’s Programme, it was a great head start to the professional world of operations, finance, investment and planning within hospital settings. However, next year the event will not be held on KI premises, but … my advice would be as follows: do look into KI calendar (KI events) well before your arrival in Stockholm. A lot is going on here on a year-round bases, so, just research, sign up and participate in any experience which seems worth investing your time in. Create an extra value by and for yourself! Listen about unprecedented methods, innovative solutions, practical examples, and meet esteemed presenters and participants during the conferences alike.

2. Reception at the City Hall


The main peculiarity of this event is that as an international student you are greeted by the President of the Stockholm City Hall. How great is that?! :) The setting is spectacular, the food served is delicious, the drinks are abundant, and it is a great change to meet international students from other universities in Stockholm.

3. Nobel Prize Announcement


This goes without saying and no comments are necessary. In a word, a MUST.

4. Get closer to KI right from the start

I simply could not help including this :)… if you want to diversify your student life at KI, apply for a Digital Ambassador role. The perks are almost endless. But the responsibilities come along ;)

5. The things that set the mood

To feel completely satisfied with the beginning of your Programme, it is essential to deliver your first excellent group presentation (my group mates are the best!:)) and pass your first exam. So, do participate in numerous significant and rewarding events, have an active social life, and in order to add a cherry on the top of your personally baked delicious multi-layer cake, acquire new knowledge during the lectures and pass the course ;) Feels preeeettyyy gooood…

Enjoy it. Live it. Benefit from it.

With best wishes,


[Interview experience] – Novo Nordisk Assessment Day


While I was napping in bed on Oct 28th, a phone call suddenly woke me up with +45 as the prefix of the phone number. I know something happened, and as I picked up the phone, a nice voice started, ‘Hello, is that Yi?  I am xxx calling from Novo Nordisk. We would like to invite you for an assessment day on November 3rd. Will you be available then?’ I was so surprised that I heard my heart bumping hard. This was in fact my first job interview offer and Novo Nordisk was my dream place to work!

Excited as I was, I immediately talked to my supervisor for my internship and took two days off from work. Then I booked flight ticket and hotel room (as Novo would refund) and checked essential info about Copenhagen and Novo. After that, I started intense preparation for the interview and felt more nervous as time past by.


Finally on the afternoon of Nov 2nd, I stood on the airplane flying to Copenhagen. I spent a sleepless night at a hotel in the central and woke up at 6am in order to arrive at Novo office in Bagsværd at 8am. It was a compact assessment day when we had aptitude test, two interviews, a group case study and presentation. I almost had little time to have lunch  and everything was quite demanding. However, we ended at 5pm after a whole day of brain storming and I went home more tired than ever before.

This was one of the most exciting moments I would remember. Novo is a fantastic place to work, people are super nice and the culture is international. Maybe you, my dear reader, would attend one assessment like this in the future, and I hope you have great fun!


Interview to Rachel Fisher, Director of Studies of the Master in Biomedicine

Hej hej vloggers!

Are you thinking about applying for the Master’s Programme in Biomedicine at KI? Do you want to know more details about its syllabus, the personal profiles that could be interested in it or which selection process is followed by the university? Or perhaps you’d like to know which career opportunities students have after finishing the Master?

In this video I interviewed Rachel Fisher, the Director of Studies of the Master’s Programme in Biomedicine at KI, and she gives answers to all these sort of issues!

The video has 2 parts, so don’t miss the 2nd and very interesting part of this interview… that will come very very soon!

Thank you for watching and… keeeep tuned!




Instagram: @laurabarcelo

Application process, Part 2 (A lot to do!!)

Hej Hej!!

This is my second post about the application process. In the first one, I encouraged you to go deeper with your aims and goals in order to decide if now is the correct moment to pursue a Master study. This blog is for those who said “yes!!”.

About the application process:

First of all I am sure you already know, but to study at Karolinska, you don’t apply directly through the University. You have to apply through the Swedish Council for Higher Education at their website University Admissions (I will refer below as UA).

I actually found the website really well designed, with clear pathways to access the desired information and with a lot of helpful information to study in Sweden.

The main process to apply is:

  1. First of all you have to create an account. You just have to click on the blue “log in” tab at UA and follow the instructions until you have an username and password.
  2. Go to the tab “Find a course” and look for the programme/s you are willing to apply. Then click on each programme to see the specific information about it and click the “Add” button. If you have more than one options, you have to rank them.
  3. Once you have selected your programme/s, you will have to submit your documentation. This is the tricky part!!!
    • Certificates and Diplomas. Only the ones issued by an Academic Registrar’s Office. In other words: Bachelor’s diploma and further relevant studies (specialisations or other post-graduate studies).
    • Transcripts of completed degrees.
    • Proof of English language skills. IELTS, TOEFL or IBT. See the specific score’s requirement for each programme.
    • Specific entry requirements….. I know this doesn’t tell you a lot. But for KI, and more specific for the Master’s Programme in Bioentrepreneurship (MBE) this means the CV Form. I will talk about the CV Form and supporting documentation below.
    • Passport.
    • Signed Cover sheet. You can print it from your profile at UA.
  4. Pay the application fee (900 SEK). If you are from EU or Nordic countries, yo don’t have to pay. Check the fees rules.

As you can see the documentation required at UA is really easy, and also is very important to mention that you don’t need to send the documentation through regular mail. You can now scan (in color) all your documentation and uploaded at UA.

The important document for KI is the CV From. Here is where you have the chance to highlight your knowledge, skills and ambitions to be selected and join the programme. The CV Form consists on:

  1. Previous Education. Only bachelor’s and post-gradute studies.
    Note: there is section of Additional Information/Further Studies. I used this section tu put other education as MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses), Certifications given by institutions (in my case, Project Manager), so, if you have another relevant studies put it there.
  2. Ambition and Initiative essay. You have to prove your ambition. Describe how you think outside the box, how you are always looking for more, how you develop yourself, but the most important is to describe with examples.
  3. Relevant work experience. The key word is Relevant. This means that practical placements that were part of your bachelor don’t count. They also have to be longer than 3 months.
    Note 1: you will have to submit a Statement from your employer with the official letterhead of the company, the employer’s name, position and signature.
    Note 2: this may take a lot of time so start asking for it NOW!!
  4. Relevant research experience. Again, “Relevant”. If the research you are trying to submit is about your bachelor’s thesis, they won’t consider it relevant. Here is the place to put publications.
    Note 1: Again, you will have to submit a statement with the official letterhead of the Research Institution.
    Note 2: If you have publications, submit the abstract of them.
  5. Finally Statement of intent. This is one the most time consuming sections, but in my opinion, your statement should include: Who are you? Why this programme? How the programme will help you? Why should you be selected (what you have to offer to the university)? And your professional goals after graduation.
    Note: I asked five people with different backgrounds to review my statement and then improve it with their feedback. I changed it at least 6 times.

Make sure that you have a document to support each component of your CV Form!

Easy right?????

Guess what, if you are from Mexico or specially Latin America your work is not done yet.

First you will have to make sure that ALL you original documentation is in english. If not, you will have to submit two documents: the original and the official translation (perito traductor).

Second, in case you are not able to scan your documents, you will need a certified copy of the original and also get the official translation. This takes time and money, so please consider that in your application process.

Finally, make sure that you have everything. I recommend you to make a list of all the documents you need, ALL. I am attaching the list I used for my application. As you can see I put all the documents, I specified if it required official translation or certified copy, I also put estimated dates and finally i checked the document only if I have uploaded it or have the hard copy ready to send.


Finally don’t forget to check the important dates. And if you need further information, contact me.

Visiting Riksdag, the Swedish Parliament


The weather over the last couple of days was not really pleasant with the sunlight barely passing through the thick layers of clouds. This is why I thought it would be much better to visit something with internal heating instead of strolling around the centre freezing to death. I chose Riksdag – unicameral parliament of the Swedish Monarchy.

Riksdag is located on a small island: Helgeandsholmen. I give the name because after living over a year now in Sweden I still didn’t know it, even though the place is probably familiar to most of us. To get there, you just have to follow Drottningsgatan – one of the most representative streets in Stockholm – in the direction of Gamla Stan. Upon entering Helgeandsholmen, Drottningsgatan will evolve into Riksbro and, subsequently, Riksgatan, where the entrance for visitors is located (Riksgatan 3).

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The Riksdag, as in many European countries, gives the goverment its approval and is the prinicpal decision-making body for a considerable period of time. The citizens elect their representatives every 4 years (if not a coup d’état takes places, of which I have never heard in the last years), who in turn make the necessary decisions and control the legislature of the whole state. The King – currently Carl XVI Gustav – as the Head of State in Sweden, has nowadays no political power.

Sweden utilizes the proportional representation system of voting, which means that the number of seats the party is granted is related to the absolute number of votes received in the election. To reduce the number of too numerous small political parties, there is a threshold of 4% of the votes in the entire country the party must receive in order to get into the Riksdag. Sweden is divided into 29 constituencies that correspond to its counties, from Norrboten to Skåne Södra. This denotes that the members of the Parliament come from all parts of the country. The overall number of seats in the Riksdag is 349, and the winning party – Social Democratic Party – got 113 seats in the last elections. What is interesting, the SocDem party rules over Sweden in coalition with the Green Party, having 25 seats, which still does not give them the majority of votes. Saying that, the coalition, in order to pass the bill, still has to convince the members of at least one other party to support them. The two biggest opposition parties are: Moderate Party (Mod – 84 seats), and Sweden Democrats (SweDem – 49 seats).

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Overlooking the waters of Stockholm, the Riksdag is still tightly connected to the other ruling bodies, including Ministries, the Government Office and the House of the Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven.

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Voters must be Swedish citizens and 18 years of age by election date at the latest. Almost 86% of the entitled people participated in the last elections, which is an extraordinary result when compared to the world standards. Next general election is scheduled on the 9th of September 2018.

The former Second Chamber (in the photo above) in the East Wing of the Riksdag building is currently used as a meeting room by the largest party group, aforementioned Social Democrats. The largest opposition group, the Moderates, meets in the former First Chamber.

The Riksdag building complex was designed by Aron Johansson in the neoclassical style. Whereas the interiors of rooms for committe meetings are mostly wooden with shiny, just polished tables and bookcases, the corridors along with staircases are filled with green marble covered by endless carpets, making it look very distinguished and sophisticated.

To all of you interested in visiting the Riksdag, where all the most important issues for Sweden are discussed, there are tours with English- and Swedish-speaking guide every Saturday and Sunday at 1.30 p.m.

As always, don’t hesitate to ask me questions regarding all the matters connected to studying and living in Sweden.

Take care,


(sources: Riksdag promotional folder and

Defining Global Health

When I started looking into courses in Sweden I was open to anything that might offer a link with my background in medicine while helping me expand further. I looked into biomedicine, public health, global health and other similar courses. Even after I was enrolled into global health I was still a bit clueless about what exactly the difference between global health and public health was. They seem to sound similar yet at the same time a tad different. Well they are different.

This blog is for all those people who have recently asked me the same question I had a few months ago myself. Both public health and global health, as their names indicate deal with health issues but while public health deals with health issues, epidemiology, and economics in a HEALTH SYSTEM, global health takes these concepts from public health and applies them to the GLOBAL POPULATION. This means we talk about populations in countries not populations in communities.

With emerging refugee crisis, Ebola epidemic, continuing malarial and AIDS issues and debates about global surgical burden of disease, a degree in global health seems to offer a good connection to your previous studies. If these are your areas of interest, then global health deserves a serious consideration.

I have also been asked about future prospects after a masters in global health. This particular subject has not taken flight in my country, but it still remains rather new here as well. There are not any tailor made opportunities for graduates in this course. But the positive aspects of this degree are to do with its vastness. Being a vast subject it allows plenty of opportunity to explore and expand your horizons. How you do this certainly depends on you and how you manoeuvre your degree into getting into a place where you think you can apply what you have learnt.

So far the people I have had the pleasure to meet in my course have been the ones who felt the need to explore with a global objective set somewhere in their mind. If you feel the same, I find no reason why you shouldn’t think about global health.

Good luck!