October, 19th 2023
I am a senior at Middle Tennessee State University. I am a biology pre medicine major double minoring in psychology and chemistry. My goal is to attend medical school in the coming years to pursue a career in medicine. I had the opportunity of participating in the Summer 2023 2-week program in Genoa. Initially I was very nervous to go to another country all alone and do a program with people I had never met before. I was also concerned about the language barrier. I had no idea what to expect when I applied for the program, but I was excited to learn and experience international healthcare.
When I arrived in Italy I was greeted and welcomed by the Doctors in Italy team. I instantly felt at home in Italy by the love that was shown to me by my project coordinator Elva. I had the opportunity to get completely immersed in the culture by trying new foods, traveling to different parts if Italy, and learning some Italian during my stay.
My days at the hospital were spent in different areas such as; pathology, radiology, emergency medicine, orthopedics, and surgery. I had a translator with me in each department to explain what was going on and help me communicate with patients and other hospital staff. This immediately relived my stress of the language barrier.
One of my favorite moments during my time in the hospital was working in the critical care unit. I was able to round on patients and see first-hand how to handle patients in critical care setting. I also learned valuable ways to communicate with families with loved ones in a critical care situation.
Communication with patients and families is one of the most important parts of healthcare. I also had the opportunity to help a family that was traveling to Italy that had a heath issue that put them in the hospital while traveling. The family spoke English and they were in destress about the language barrier. I was able to help them understand what was going on and get them the help that they needed. It was very rewarding to help patients during my time in Italy. My goal is to become a critical care physician and these experiences helped me solidify my passion for helping patients in these types of situations.
My weekends were spent traveling to places like Cinque Terre, Portofino, and Florence. My peers and I grew very close in these two weeks spent together and we enjoyed spending afternoons at the beach in Genoa or seeing the local sites in the beautiful city. We tried new foods and became locals for 2 weeks.
We had the opportunity to meet the mayor of Genoa during an event at the hospital and he thanked us for our commitment to healthcare. This was one of the highlights of my time in Italy because it was so rewarding.
Overall my 2 weeks spent in Italy was one of the most rich experiences that I will carry with my through my medical career. I am so incredibly thankful for my project coordinator Elva, who made my experience unforgettable. I also and very thankful to all of the doctors that spent time with me daily and believed in me enough to let me get hands on experiences in the hospital. The Doctors in Italy team helped me make connections and build relationships with peers all over the United States and in Italy.
I am so very excited for my next steps in medicine and to see where this long journey takes me. This experience will stay with me all throughout my career and I hope to go back to Italy as soon as I can. I now have a understanding of international healthcare and I have grown in my passion for public health.
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