Diving into Western European Healthcare

Have you ever imagined interning at hospitals in Europe? As pre-med students, shadowing physicians is a very important part of our journey towards getting into medical school. Atlantis is a pre-med fellowship designed to connect students with physicians, while also immersing them in the local culture. Sightseeing, trying out the local cuisine, and standing next to surgeons in the operating room are just a few of the awesome memories I have made abroad. I’ll admit I was a bit scared to travel at first because of the language and culture barrier, but I got accustomed pretty fast.

I got the opportunity to shadow in many different departments, such as Orthopedics, Ambulatory Surgery, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Pediatric Emergency and Cardiology, Nuclear Medicine, Hematology, Otolaryngology, Microbiology, Urology, Neurology, and Neurophysiology. I enjoyed all the departments, but more so the ones who allowed me to watch surgeries. I got very good insights from anesthesiologists and surgeons on the type of work they do, and I am considering pursuing a career in the surgical world.

My favorite part of this trip was being able to give back to the physicians who helped teach us about their day-to-day job. We did so by helping them improve their English skills. My friend and I even held joined classes together with our physicians. That really helped them see what their level of English was, and what they needed to work more on. In one session, we sat through a few consultations and while the doctor talked to the patient in Spanish, we translated the whole conversation in English. Moreover, we worked on medical vocabulary, pronunciation, and improving communication skills. This strategy worked very well, because it is what they truly are interested in improving, and that is a patient-doctor conversation.

Alisia Tumac

Dr. Maria Artigas, on the left, and Dr. Olga, on the right, spend most of their summers abroad in Kenya where they volunteer at a children’s hospital. Speaking English well helps them understand and communicate with their patients easily and improves doctor-patient trust. This is very important, especially since most of the patients are little children.

Overall, studying abroad was a memorable experience. Every patient has his or her own story to tell and they all need a compassionate and caring doctor to take care of them. The physicians I met are very empathic, passionate, and humble people. Moreover, the welcoming culture of Portugal and Spain made me feel like home and while I got to enjoy all the beautiful sights and the cuisine, I also got to make long-lasting friendships.

-Alisia Tumac, Independent study in Spain/Portugal, Summer 2019

Summer Internship in Spain

This summer I had the amazing opportunity to complete my first internship abroad in Madrid, Spain. Since this was my first internship I had no idea what to expect but I was excited because one of my dreams was about to become reality. As it got closer for me to leave I started getting more and more nervous, this was my first time traveling alone and I had no idea what was waiting for me in Spain. Once I got there the first couple of days were not the best, I could not eat anything even if I tried and my body decided to get sick. I honestly wanted to go home but that was not an option for me because I knew I had to complete this internship and I knew it was for my benefit. After about 4 days I started to feel better, I could finally eat again and my throat stopped hurting. I started to be my usual self and enjoy this amazing opportunity that life has given me.

Leslie Magana

I can honestly say this was the best experience of my life, yes, it took me a couple of days to get used to the new environment but I would gladly go through it again because this internship not only helped me gain experience but it also helped me grow as a person. I had the opportunity to work for an international company and travel around Europe. My internship consisted of me creating posts on Instagram describing and marketing the company’s services, translating documents and presentations being shown to big companies such as BBVA and I also conducted research for them. Considering this was my first internship I think it went extremely well, I actually had work that helped the company and not just busywork like making copies and bringing coffee to people. As for my personal growth, I believe this abroad internship helped me be more independent and helped me realize where I want my career to be headed in the future. I now know how it is to work for an international company and all the work it takes to keep everything on track. I learned a lot during this internship which I know will help me in the future when I decide to apply to companies after graduation.

Of course, not everything was work, the program that I applied to had a couple of amazing events planned throughout the weeks. I had the opportunity to go to Toledo for a day, visit the soccer stadium and have dinner while watching a Flamenco show. Not only that but I also had the opportunity to go to Belgium for a weekend and it was amazing, the food was good and the people were nice and polite. My friend and I decided to take a tour that covered a couple of cites so we could get the most out of our stay.

As I said before, this was the best decision I have made in my life, it was a wonderful experience, where I not only gained professional experience but I also grew as a person and had the opportunity to travel outside of Spain. I 100% recommend this to anyone, not everyone has this type of opportunity so if you have a chance on going don’t let it pass, take advantage of it because it is worth it.

-Leslie Magana, Internship in Spain, Summer 2019