October, 26th 2023
Overall, my experience in this program solidified my passion for being part of a holistic medical team. Through Doctors in Italy, I learned how to read people in a new way. I became hyper-aware of my facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice, which trained me to know what someone is conveying even when words were not helping. This is helpful when
patients are telling you one thing, but what do they really mean and what do they need?Despite not completely understanding the patient, she grabbed my hand and asked that I hold hers before her laminectomy. The language barrier only signified that there is nothing a little effort cannot fix, making interactions with patients even more memorable.
In this medical internship, I was taken under the wing of physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses who were more than willing to teach and answer my many
questions. Observing them highlighted how it is easier to accomplish collaboration and
efficiency if everyone is passionate about their role. I was also exposed to their differing
healthcare model, which is centered on the Good Samaritan philosophy of medicine: a person of any background, religion, socioeconomic position, or immigration status can receive free emergency services. This pure inclusivity and emphasis on healthcare as a fundamental right captivated me the most. There are aspects in both of our healthcare systems that we can learn from one another.
I was reminded of the vital part of traveling, which is humbling yourself to be open to another culture and system. As a life-long learner in healthcare, a similar mentality must be maintained when contributing to the fast pace of advancing medicine. These experiences equipped me for potentially working with medical mission teams, such as Doctors Without Borders, serving the overlooked minority in developing countries by providing everyone’s right to proper medical care. My experience in worldwide travel has taught me to be adaptable and to carry this ability in the constantly evolving field of science.
Aside from shadowing in the hospital, we were given the independence to take day trips to beach towns and weekend trips to various cities like Florence, Portofino, and Monterosso. It was an amazing opportunity to travel with a group of people I met for the first time, in a region we were not familiar with. However, this tested our responsibility through navigating public transportation and figuring out how to get back to our hotel in time.
Given I chose the smaller city of Genoa, Italy, I was placed with a smaller group of three other girls each from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas. This allowed for deeper connections and lifetime friendships. We learn from the people we spend the most time with, and I believe surrounding myself with different perspectives, cultures, and worldviews will positively influence my mindset as a future physician.
Have questions? Connect with our fellows!
Send a question directed to our alumni and you’ll hear back from them.
In the spotlight
Get to know the Doctors in Italy Fellowship Alumni