Hello my dear fellas! I hope you are all fine and enjoying sunny days! This time on my blog, I want to discuss a very significant topic: The Swedish education system. I thought it would be interesting making a comparison between the education system at Latin America and Sweden. During this blog I will emphasize on five aspects that the Swedish system has over others. Finally, I will discuss why this education method has proven to be so effective and practical.
1. One course at time
The first aspect I want to mention regarding Sweden’s education system involves the courses’ repartition during the semester. About one year ago, when I was registering for the first course, I did not understand why I was enrolling to only one course instead of all the three courses the semester encompassed. Shortly after, I realized that in Sweden courses are imparted one to make the learning process smoother and deeper. This means that course one starts, say, on September 31 and has its ending on October 31, then course 2 starts on November 1 and finishes on December 1 and so on.
Compared to the system in my hometown (Mexico), but also to countries such as Spain and Portugal, in which if the semester comprehends five courses, you must take all those courses at the same time, the Swedish system considers more effective and efficient to fully focus on one course at time. After the past scholar year at KI, I conclude that I rather to have one by one courses than all at the same time. This is because focusing in one subject improves my attention, understanding and gives me more free time.
2. Learning based on group work
Group work has been a common denominator in several of my blogs and my fellow DAs blogs. However, working in groups is a big and very important part of the Swedish education system. This is because sharing our knowledge, discussing and building new ideas together, is in my opinion, the best way to learn. During my bachelor’s education in Mexico, I also had to work in groups but in a very different way. In my hometown, group work consisted mostly on preparing short presentations on different topics or presenting lab results. Indeed, the learning process was mostly based on lectures and homework and only few times we had to discuss in groups or work on group projects.
In Sweden, group work is always present during all courses. It is also very well organized and planned and it always aims at making the learning process more dynamic and interesting. I can say that after all these months, Now I am used to do group work and I can say that I have learned a lot from group discussions.
3. Programme’s organization and planification
The structure of every course at KI is carefully planned for each academic year in order to allow the programmes’ contents flow the best as possible. For instance, each course has its own schedule containing a detailed description of all activities (lectures, seminars, workshops, group work, presentations, exams), dates and times programmed for such course. Besides, two or three weeks before a new course begins, students get the schedule for the upcoming course. Thus they can prepare for what will come. In my old system we only had a general overview of the course for the full semester. Something I totally love about education at KI is the careful and detailed planning of every single day and hour.
To sum everything up, I think that the more you plan, the better you control the unforeseen. For example, during the last academic year, and despite the pandemic, the programme’s planification allowed us to satisfactorily meet all learning goals, as well as to finish on time all our course contents.
I know workload is an important topic for many of you, given that having free time to do other activities or to hang out with friends is very important. In my personal experience, the workload during the programme will depend mostly on the course. For instance, the longest a course is, the more workload it will imply and vice versa. However, due to the programme organization and one course at time, I would say that me and most of my classmates have had enough free time to perform other activities such as, writing blogs 😊, practicing sports, go bar etc. To conclude this section, I think that it is on each one of us how we want to manage our time and tasks during the academic year.
5. Presential exams
In contrast with my experience taking exams in Mexico and now in Sweden, I can say that there is a world of difference between those. First, the Swedish way for examination is a very formal process. In such process, none of the course teachers is present (instead two other people are watching you). Then, the exam is carried out in a special room, where you need to bring a valid ID. Next you sign the exam, put a number instead of your name and follow all instructions. Indeed, all these measures are implemented in order to avoid copying among students. In addition, such measures allow 100% transparency and impartiality during exam revision and correction. Altogether, these factors are meant to objectively evaluate the students’ progress.
I must confess that when I experienced my first examination at KI, I was extremely nervous and shocked. This is because I have never been thru a so strict examination before. Indeed, I was used to ask the teacher help during the exam. Also I used to have several exams on the same course during the semester. However, with the time I started to like this evaluation system. I realized that is the best way to really prove my knowledge without any aids.
I hope that this analysis on the Swedish education system at KI is helpful to go thru the next academic year. If you had any questions do not hesitate and contact me! I am always happy to help!
Aline Colonnello Montero
My name is Aline Colonnello Montero, I am twenty five years old and I come from the wonderful but busy Mexico City. I consider myself to be a perseverant person who works hard to meet all my goals and ambitions. I have a bachelor’s degree in Biology and I currently study the Master’s programme in Toxicology at Karolinska Institutet. My job as part of the digital ambassadors’ team consists on writing blogs