Sweden Study Abroad Program

Summer 2019

Dates: May 26-31, 2019 (tentatively)

This course provides an in‐depth introduction to a global model for health services delivery and provides students with the opportunity to compare and contrast systems in Sweden and the United States. Participants will spend substantial time out in the field visiting Stockholm health facilities, historical sites, and the highly acclaimed Karolinska Institute.

The Organization for Economic Co‐operation and Development (OECD) and The Commonwealth Fund rank Sweden among the best healthcare systems in the world. In addition, the healthcare system in Sweden is often used as a model by other countries. This international health course explores questions such as these: What makes Swedish healthcare system one of the best? How much of that can be replicated in other parts of the world? Cross‐cultural learning will be facilitated onsite for the students through lectures by Swedish healthcare professionals, site visits, interactions with locals and diverse members of the student group, debriefing sessions onsite (cultural processing) and daily journaling of reflections. This course will bring together students in health disciplines from two different academic institutions, at various academic levels, which will allow for personal growth and rich exchange of ideas. For 2019, participating institutions will include Central Michigan University and Indiana University, Fairbanks School of Public Health.

Students will learn key facts about Swedish healthcare, specifically, historical and social development, governance (healthcare law, monitoring and policy, county councils, and the role of the patient), financing, and service provision (private vs. public, purchaser‐provider split, and public health services). In addition, the students will broaden their knowledge of European healthcare: What is local and what is European when it comes to healthcare system performance in Sweden? The students will analyze recent developments, such as patient choice as an engine for improved performance and provision of healthcare services to the elderly and refugee populations.

The course will be a combination of lectures and visits to local healthcare providers. Lecturers will represent or have experience working in prestigious universities (Karolinska Institute, Stockholm University and Lund University), county councils, the OECD, the World Bank, the World Health Organization, United Nations bodies, international consultancy firms, hospitals, etc. The course includes visits to many Swedish organizations, such as Stockholm County Council, a local governance organization; a private hospital with public contract; a research hospital; an NGO and a Public Health Department; and a primary care clinic, which is typically represented by about 15 physicians and managed by a physician or a nurse. The visits will be set to match learners' professional interests. We will learn about regional service provision and the recent developments related to the increase of asylum seekers.  According to J. Troub, a contributing editor at Foreign Policy, “A nation of 9.5 million, Sweden expected to take as many as 190,000 refugees, or 2 percent of the population — double the per capita figure projected by Germany, which has taken the lead in absorbing the vast tide of people fleeing the wars in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere” (Troub, Feb 2016).

This study abroad experience is a 3 credit hour spring course entitled, Sweden: Health Systems Around the World: Understanding Sweden's Healthcare System. All participants will be required to enroll in one of the following courses if accepted into the program:

  1. PBHL-H 455 (Undergraduate)
  2. PBHL-H 670 (Graduate)
Sweden Study Abroad Syllabus


Open to Indiana University students in good academic standing who meet these criteria:

  • Must have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA.
  • This program is designed for junior or senior undergraduate students who are interested in health and healthcare at an international level, but students of all majors are welcome to apply.
  • Students from other IU campuses will have the option to join the pre-trip sessions in person or via distance technology.
  • Although designed for students with a special interest in health, students of all majors and IU campuses are welcome to apply.
  • Graduate students from the Fairbanks School of Public Health may be permitted to attend with permission of the instructor (supplemental coursework will be assigned).
  • Students will be required to attend four mandatory pretrip sessions. 


The program fee is $3,200, which covers:

  • Housing (two to a room)
  • Some meals
  • Transportation to scheduled learning activities
  • Some excursions
  • Some tours and entrance fees

Additional expenses will include:

  • Airfare of approximately $1,000-1,400 for roundtrip transportation to Stockholm (students will arrange their own flights).
  • Spending money for meals, excursions, theater tickets, and other incidentals (recommend $300 to $500).
  • Study Abroad fees of $83 for the international study fee and $32 for insurance.
  • Tuition and related fees to cover the required three-credit hour course (amount will vary based upon residency status and full/part-time status); visit the IUPUI cost estimator to determine how the three additional credits will impact your Bursar bill for Summer 2019.

Please note that travel inside Sweden is exceptionally expensive. Housing and food costs are among the highest in Europe. We try our very best to keep costs as low as possible while maintaining acceptable standards and good value.

How to Apply

A total of 20 students will be accepted into the program. The application deadline is October 8, 2018. Preference will be given to Public Health undergraduate students, however, graduate students and undergraduate students of other majors are welcome to apply. Here’s what you need to do to secure your spot:

Complete your application