Emma Carter
Jaycie Hitt

November, 7th 2023


Article credits

Tennessee Tech University

By Jonathan Frank

The fall semester at Tennessee Tech University may be winding down, but a group of four students are still reflecting on their summer of a lifetime spent shadowing doctors in Italy


Jaycie Hitt, a senior nursing major from Mount Juliet; and Emma Grace Carter, a senior biology major from Cookeville; spent two weeks shadowing doctors through the Doctors in Italy Fellowship Program.

Emma and Jaycie, centre, getting ready for an exciting morning of surgery shadowing

Launched in 2018, the fellowship aims to “create a generation of healthcare professionals who share the vision of a world where language and culture are not barriers in healthcare.” It invites aspiring healthcare professionals to shadow doctors and surgeons while sightseeing in Rome, Milan, Florence, Genoa and other notable cities. 



Carter, who plans to return to school to get her accelerated Bachelor of Science in nursing after graduating this December, said the study abroad program helped her remember why she was passionate about the medical field. 


“Italy was somewhere I had always wanted to visit,” said Carter. “After talking with Amy Miller in Tech’s study abroad office, I knew this program would be a great educational experience in the medical field while getting to explore the beautiful country of Italy.” 

Emma and Jaycie completed the Pre-Health Program

Rome, Italy

  • 20+ clinical shadowing hours per week
  • Discover 4+ different specialties
  • See how healthcare is practiced IRL
  • 24-hour on-site support

For Hitt, who aspires to become a cardiac intensive care unit nurse after graduation from Tech, the study abroad opportunity was another way that Tech puts students first.

In describing her experience in Rome, Hitt explains “For two weeks, I was shadowing doctors at the San Giovanni Addolorata Hospital in Rome. During that time, we were able to see every part of the hospital including surgery, the emergency room, the nursery, the ICU, and so much more. Although differences in the way the hospital worked was shocking at first, it was still very clear that San Giovanni takes pride in caring for their patients. With that being said, shadowing at the San Giovanni Addolorata Hospital ignited my desire to become a passionate nurse who will always remember the hard-working Italian medical teams.”


“Being a student at Tennessee Tech has allowed me to gain opportunities I never thought I would have,” said Hitt. “I know that I would not have taken the leap to go to Italy if it was not for the program Tech offers. I have always felt that I could make all my dreams come true here.” 

Making ther most of free weekends on the program to visit nearby cities with new friends such as Florence

While the Tech students who traveled to Italy all say they came away with meaningful learning experiences and lifelong memories, Nadia Neytcheva, CEO and co-founder of the Doctors in Italy Fellowship Program, adds that the program benefited from Tech’s students, too. 

“Jaycie and Emma performed their duties with excellence during their time in our fellowship program. They will make outstanding healthcare professionals and will continue to represent Tennessee Tech well,” said Neytcheva. “We value our partnership with Tennessee Tech and know we can count on the university to send us hardworking, dedicated students who are eager to learn and grow their understanding of other cultures.”

Emma making sure she will be back in her host city, by throwing a lucky coin into the Trevi fountain!

Have questions? Connect with our fellows!

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In the spotlight

Get to know the Doctors in Italy Fellowship Alumni

Gianni Martin Future Veterinarian From Alabama A&M Shadowed Veterinarians in Milan, Italy

Gianni Martin

Alabama A&M University

"I learned about different aspects of veterinary medicine including animal nutrition and behavior, clinical skills, and caretaking"

Nthabeleng MacDonald Future Doctor From Gallaudet University Shadowing Doctors in Rome, Italy

Nthabeleng MacDonald

Gallaudet University

"There are not many deaf doctors in the world right now, and I want to fill that gap"

Eliana Diaz-Aceituno future doctor from James Madison University shadowed doctors in Italy

Eliana Diaz-Aceituno

James Madison University

"In Italy, the doctor and patient have more of a personal relationship than here in the U.S."