Placement Year Abroad in Sweden

Alice O’Gorman – BSc Biochemistry

The international placement opportunities were a major factor in my decision to study at the University of Surrey. I had always wanted to spend time living abroad. Carrying out an international placement felt like the perfect opportunity to do so whilst having the reassurance of being able to utilise the university for advice and support. I also felt it would benefit me hugely in terms of personal and professional development- and I certainly was not wrong!

I carried out my placement year at Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. My main project was screening for identification of novel autoantigens in autoimmune diseases. In short, this involved working in the laboratory to identify proteins that the immune system mistakenly attacks in these diseases. This role provided me with great insight into the scientific world and allowed me to develop professionally, such as in my public speaking skills through giving many presentations. I feel incredibly proud of the scientific results I produced. The prospect of the results contributing, albeit in a small way, to bettering patient care is incredibly fulfilling.

Spending an extended period of time abroad allowed me to immerse myself in the gorgeous city of Stockholm. I fell in love with the stunning views across the water (or sometimes ice!) and got to know Swedish culture and customs. In addition, being a part of Karolinska’s international community allowed me to forge friendships with people from all over the world. I must also give an honourable mention to the Thursday Latin dance classes- these certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone!

I was fortunate enough to receive the Millett Award, something that enhanced my placement year experience and allowed me to travel to many destinations. These included: Abisko where I was lucky enough to see the northern lights and the Italian Alps where I skied for the first time!

After an incredible time abroad, I am excited to begin working on the international mobility team. In my role as an international placement peer adviser, I will be offering advice to students on their mobility journeys. If anyone has any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at:

To anyone considering a placement year, I would compel you to apply!