Maureen Schmid

Future Doctor

July, 12th 2023


Article credits

The Knox Student

The student news site of Knox College

By Yuchen Wang

Doctors in Italy is a health start-up launched by Bocconi University, one of the most prestigious economics universities in Europe. Its mission is to internationalize health care, making it more accessible through technology and more multicultural through education. In line with its mission, the Doctors in Italy fellowship program was launched in 2018. 


The program aims to provide future medical professionals with international experiences and help them to prepare for their future careers in a world that has become increasingly borderless. Students will complete rotations at different hospitals tailored to specific specializations. The fellowship also immerses students in Italian culture by providing field trips to different cities. 


Senior Maureen Schmid took advantage of this opportunity by participating in the shadowing program of the start-up. She had heard about this project from the pre-health advisor. 

Maureen holding a baby that had just been born!

“I wanted to be a doctor, and I wanted to study abroad. But it has never worked out because of my pre-med schedule, and I didn’t want to take a term off and be away from my friends. So this program fits perfectly with my goals,” Schmid said in regards to why she chose this program. 


The program takes about three weeks, with Monday to Thursday filled with eight hours of shadowing. For Schmid’s program, they spent two weeks at a hospital in Milan, and a week in a clinic. Specialties were rotated every two days, and Schmid was able to gain insights into a wide variety of fields, including Cardiology, OBGYN, and Cardiac-Rehabilitation. Fridays were usually filled with recreational activities, such as field trips and group dinners. 

Maureen completed the Pre-Health Program

Milan, Italy

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

Schmid outlined a few challenges she had to confront. “There was obviously a language barrier. Some doctors spoke broken English, while others spoke none. So they have to communicate to us through nurses who did. Also shopping in Italy was hard because a lot of them didn’t speak English.” Schmid said.


But according to Schmid, not all the differences in shadowing were negative. “I was able to be more hands-on than my experiences of shadowing in the US. They were much more open to letting us watch surgery. The patients were very welcoming, and asked a lot of questions and were excited to have us there.”  


It was among these differences that Schmid found the highlight of this experience. 

“My favorite part was when we were in Neonatal and OB GYN. I got to see fifteen c-sections in total, and stayed a total of an extra six hours just to see it. My most favorite part was when a doctor handed a baby that just came out to me. I was the second person to hold it in the world.” Schmid said. 

Maureen making the most of her free weekends on the program with a trip to Rome and the majestic Colosseum!

When asked to recap her experience, Schmid was excited to share her praises for this life-changing project. Most importantly, she wanted to advise other Knox students who are interested in shadowing to do the same.


“Definitely apply to this program. The application was easy and the interview was welcoming. Before this, I was never abroad. So I learned a lot of independence and about myself. It made me even more sure that medicine is what I want to do.”

Maureen and new friends travelling across Italy on their free weekends, including to the world's smallest country -The Vatican City

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In the spotlight

Get to know the Doctors in Italy Fellowship Alumni

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."

Anika Rao

Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine

"Italy. Animals. Sounds like my kind of thing"

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"