AMSA Clinical Exchanges

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Welcoming Portugal!

I couldn’t imagine a more satisfying exchange experience than I had in Porto, Portugal. I observed and assisted in Plastic Surgery at the largest hospital in Portugal, Hospital São João. The surgeons were all incredibly welcoming and willing to teach me, not only about surgery, but also about their country and city. I was fortunate to meet so many medical students from all over the world (Taiwan, Brazil, Spain, Italy, Slovakia, Poland, Austria, Lebanon, etc.) who also participated in exchanges. Through the IFMSA social program, we traveled the beautiful country of Portugal, enjoying the rich culture, history, and of course, the Port wine.

Pictured are my fellow exchange students making an ‘international dinner,’ where everyone made a typical dish from their home countries. We made sloppy Joes and cookie dough to represent the United States! Also pictured is the Ponte Luis I, a bridge spanning from the city of Porto to Vila Nova de Gaia, where many Port wine cellars operate. I am so grateful for this opportunity with IFMSA, through which I met so many amazing people and learned more than I ever expected.

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Arrived in sunny Malta with an open mind and left with a broadened perspective

My clinical exchange in Malta was such a wonderful experience!  Learning medicine in another country broadened my world view and strengthened my interest in international medicine.  It was so interesting to see the similarities (and differences) in medical practice and in healthcare systems.  I was able to see patients in clinic, assist with gynecologic procedures and surgeries and even help with C-sections.  The exchange was well organized and there was a fantastic social program for international exchange students, including sightseeing and cultural activities.  The best part of the exchange was meeting other enthusiastic medical students from around the world.  It was fascinating to hear about each of their journeys through medical school in all the various countries.  After my month spent in sunny Malta, I came home with a broader perspective of medicine, a renewed interest in international studies and obstetrics, tons of new friends from all around the world, and a pretty nice tan!

Spelling MALTA on the beach and enjoying the boat ride to Gozo with a Canadian friend


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What A Fulfilling Experience!

During my exchange in Jerusalem, I was fortunate to have a fulfilling experience that I will never forget. I was able to work side-by-side with three incredible pediatric surgeons from whom I learned a tremendous amount. They were very interactive and engaging during the procedures I observed and assisted with, and used each case we saw as an educational tool. I was glad to work with other motivated residents and medical students studying in Jerusalem, who were as excited about medicine as I am. I was especially happy to have been placed in pediatrics, where I met several inspiring patients suffering from rare congenital diseases. During my stay, I was able to visit most of the West Bank and several of the refugee camps in the Palestinian territories, as well as several holy and historic sites such as the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, the Church of Nativity, as well as the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. It was a once in a lifetime experience, and it exceeded my expectations in the best ways possible!


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A Truly Unique Opportunity

I traveled to Budapest, Hungary where I participated in a 4-week Vascular Surgery clerkship. Having never studied abroad as an undergrad, I was so thankful for this unique opportunity. I was able to immerse myself in a medical environment much different than the one I’m accustomed to in the States, but also one where I was able to draw many parallels and appreciate just how universal the medicine is. Moreover, I met over 50 students from all over the world who embraced that one commonality, while being able to sight-see and celebrate the rich culture Hungary had to offer, day and night. This was an experience of a lifetime that I have truly valued. Pictured is me in front of historic Buda Castle, as well as me stirring a delicious pot of traditional Hungarian goulash we all made one afternoon.
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A Multicultural Experience

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. Image

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Unforgettable Spain

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.

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Ida’s California Adventure


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.