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Biomedical Research Internship Karolinska Institutet - Sweden, Solna

Datum:13 juni 2022
Auteur:Anouk van den Brink
Northern Lights in Stockholm!
Northern Lights in Stockholm!

In November 2021, I started my biomedical research internship as part of my Master’s study program at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. Here, I was going to perform research in the research group of Prof. Gabrielsson, which was focused on the role of extracellular vesicles in urinary bladder cancer. Karolinska Institutet is a very renowned and well-known medical center in Europe. It has two campuses in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. The campus on which I performed my research internship (and lived) was very nice and modern.
 The daily life on weekdays was most of the time the same as in The Netherlands. I spent most of the time in the lab doing experiments, at my desk to analyze results and read papers, or visiting seminars. The main research topic of the research group I joined was the role of extracellular vesicles in several pathological conditions. My project focused on their role in urinary bladder cancer. Here, we investigated whether these vesicles contributed to adapting the tumor microenvironment. During this internship, I learned a lot of new soft and hard skills, such as new research techniques. In addition, I got to know a lot of new people.

Sweden, Solna
On my way to the lab.

Next to my internship, the daily life in Sweden was most of the time the same as in the Netherlands. Yet, there were some remarkable differences between Sweden and the Netherlands. For example, the Swedish culture. Swedish people live with the motto ‘Let’s do fika’. Fika means having a break with friends or colleagues while enjoying coffee and a treat (fika bread, such as cinnamon buns, cardamon bun, princess cake, and many more!). This is not just a break as we know in the Netherlands, but the idea is to really relax, unplug, slow down, and unwind. My favorite fikabread were the hasselnötsbulle (a bun with hazelnuts and hazelnut cream) and pistachio semla (only available around Semla day). Another example is the weather. During winter times, it was very cold, of course. One week it was -15 °C. Although the winter last year was not as cold as it used to be, we still had quite some snow and all rivers were completely frozen. 

Sweden, Solna
My favorite fika!

During weekends, I explored the city and its surroundings, such as the Stockholm Archipelago and student city Uppsala, with my friends and roommates. Of course, I also had a lot of fika.  Also, I joined some activities organized by other (international) students in our accommodation, such as Trivia night and Eurovision Song Contest night. Besides, I was very lucky to see the Northern Lights in Stockholm.
I am very grateful that I got the opportunity to do a research internship abroad, especially with a wonderful research group at the Karolinska Institutet. During this period, I really learned a lot. Not only from the internship itself but also from living abroad. I am very grateful for the contribution of Stichting Groninger Universiteitsfonds! This made it partly possible to go abroad.