When I firstly realised I am going to spend a month in Greece, it was amazing. It was amazing because I love the country itself, its nature, sea, people, customs and it was amazing also because I was the lucky one, who got the seaside city, Thessaloniki. Even more, I went there with my boyfriend. Everybody knows that the health care system in Greece is not one of the best in the world, so I told myself: „Well, if the hospital isn´t worth anything, I will have a great holiday by the sea.“
I spent my internship at the department of General Surgery, what was a little bit disappointing for me firstly, because I wanted to be at Pediatrics. However, I was really pleasantly surprised. My first day at the department was the best one I guess. From the first moment I felt like a member of the medical staff. All the professors, doctors, younger assistants and even nurses were so kind and pleasant. They acted like the group of friends, not just colleagues. I don´t have any negative experience with the character and behaviour of the people in Greece. The approach to the pacient or the relationship between the doctor and the pacient is much better than here, in Slovakia. Regarding to the internship itself, I had a quite regular schedule. I was coming to the hospital at 8.30 and the first thing during the day was the morning meeting and the round through the department. After that, I could do some little procedures like drainage removals, wound management or injections. Then there was an operating programme, so I could go to the OR whenever I wanted and watch the operations. If I wanted I could scrub in, too. I have seen so many interesting procedures and surgeries there. Then I also had some lessons, which professors had prepared for me. I could attend the emergency room, when hospital was on duty and put some stitches or help with whatever doctors needed. There was also a possibility to come during the night and help with the night shifts.
The second thing to talk about is the accommodation. It wasn´t the Carlton Hotel to be honest, but not the worst, as well. It was a small flat in the city centre, so we could walk to the hospital. I lived with my boyfriend and the guys from Spain and Canada. Even though I sometimes felt like a cleaning lady as I stayed with three boys, I enjoyed it and had a lot of fun with them.
As it was promised, we had one meal included in the price we have already paid. We had lunch in a very fancy restaurant and the food was really delicious. The only mistake was that we had to choose a meal from five choices during the whole month.
Least but not last, the social programme. I have to say that I have met a great number of awesome people as we were the group of twenty-five. It doesn´t matter whether they were Greek, Italian, Spanish, Canadian, Austrian, Indonesian or Polish, I like all of them and I hope we will meet again. The contact persons ensured some trips for us, like Halkidiki, Skiathos Island, Meteora, Santorini. The social programme was really rich and I have visited many places which are definitely worth seeing. Of course we had some parties, but we were also just hanging out and enjoying the evening wanderings.
Just to mention some advices when choosing Greece to be your exchange country, I would warn you that if you are non-smoker, be prepared to feel the cigarette smell everywhere. Almost everybody smokes there. The second thing, don´t be afraid to ask your tutor to scrub in or to do something. Greeks will definitely allow you to do that. The next one, if you are in love with the sea and the beaches, go to Halkidiki. It´s really close to Thessaloniki and the beaches are wonderful, much better than the beaches outside the city.
In conclusion, July in Greece is one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. If only I could turn back time…