My exchange in Turkey was full of meeting other motivated medical students, seeing remnants from the Ottoman Empire, assisting in surgeries, and traveling across the country. This is a picture of my Canadian-French friend, Sousan; Evgenya from Russia; the best-contact-person-ever from Turkey, Bilal; and me in front of the Three Sisters Rock formation in the beautiful region of Cappadocia. I don’t think I have traveled to a country where the people are as hospitable and welcoming as in Turkey. The people I met made my experience above and beyond what I could have hoped for.
My exchange in Córdoba was everything I could have hoped it to be. The residents, medical students and all of the hospital staff were some of the most welcoming people I have ever met. The first night our host students took us to the fair and showed us Spanish culture, complete with a little flamenco dancing lesson. My rotation was in OB/GYN, and I was able to assist in C-sections and also to learn to do outpatient procedures like pelvic exams. I saw hysterectomies, mastectomies, and ovarian cysts removed. It was a privilege to witness IVF procedures and to see the happiness on the women’s faces after the procedures were successful. It was so enlightening to see how another country approaches healthcare and I am so thankful to those who made my trip as wonderful as it was.
Arriving at Western U COMP with just two bags of luggage, our Italian exchange student Ida learned to adjust to the hustle and bustle of Southern California. Even something as simple as a trip to Target to pick up groceries and supplies caught her by surprise. There was simply no such thing as a supermarket in Italy. In just a few days into her exchange, Ida picked up on American customs and became great friends with the students on her family medicine rotation at the WesternU Patient Care Center.
While on her exchange, Ida also caught the travel bug and visited Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and even Las Vegas. We also were able to show her a baseball game at Angel’s stadium and explored the distinct cuisines that make Southern California unique, although she was adamant that nothing could quite compare to real Italian food. All of us at WesternU had a blast hanging out with Ida during her exchange and hope to see her sometime in the future.
I had the pleasure of hosting Tomas from Portugal while he was completing a rotation here in Athens, Ohio. Tomas made friends almost instantly with everyone he met. He accomplished much while he was here, including seeing a few good ol’ American baseball games in Toledo and in Athens, exploring the town of Athens on bicycle, and getting to know OU-HCOM students at the pool. He also explored Strouds Lake on an overnight backpacking trip with the OU-HCOM Wilderness Medicine Club.
It was tough saying goodbye to such an outgoing and outstanding student doctor. We had some really nice discussions and I have come to know Tomas as my friend. It is my hope one day to reconnect with this talented and upbeat friend!
Charlotte and I hit it off on the first day. We talked about our individual clinical experiences, what we like to do for fun, and also about our family life. We are both so silly and enjoy watching marathon seasons of various shows. Still, we made time for some sightseeing. Charlotte was able to go visit a friend and spend the weekend in NYC. Also, we explored Old Man’s Cave and Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills. Charlotte and I also spend a lot of time with friends Uptown and she even watched her first baseball game while she was here. She is a lovely person, a great cook, and also a very good friend. I would love to see her again soon!
Jim, Turner, and Claudia, three American medical students, exploring Jordan in their free time with Yazan, an IFMSA Jordan officer.
One of the biggest reasons I decided to participate in an exchange in Jordan was because I wanted to see Petra. It definitely lived up to its expectations; I was amazed the entire time I was there. But the best part about my trip is that there were so many more incredibly interesting places that we visited and unique experiences that we shared. From floating in the Dead Sea to hanging out in a Bedouin tent in the desert, our hosts took us all over the place. IFMSA-Jo did a wonderful job of making us feel welcome.