Hello! My name is Eliška and this summer was very special for me. I decided to participate in IFMSA program and make my compulsory practice in surgery in Croatia. It was my first Exchange. Why Croatia? A lot of people from Slovakia are comming here in summer. Our countries have a lot in common and our languages sound a little bit similar. So you can´t be lost here.J
When I applied for Exchange, my first choice was Split. I really wanted to go there. However, there was big surprise in my Card of Acceptance. It was written – ZAGREB and department was TRANSPLANTATION SURGERY. So, I had to deal it with. Days went by and I became more and more excited.
I arrived to Zagreb on the 3rd of July. I travelled by bus. I found on the internet quite cheap bus company. Bratislava and Zagreb are not so far away. The length of my journey was approximately 6 hours. So travelling by bus was the best option for me. My contact person was waiting for me at the bus station. Her name was Ana and we had very good relationship. Ana picked me up at the bus station and then we went to my dorm. I bought also monthly ticket for public transport. It costs 400 kunas, so be prepared for this price J The name of my dorm was Cvjetno Naselje, which means something like Flower village in English. When I entered my room I was very surprised. My dorm was totally renovated. Everything was new and I felt very good there. I shared room with one Croatian student. She was very friendly and she was like my second contact person J. There was also one bathroom for each room. If you got in the mood to cook, there was also one small kitchen for each floor. That was how my first day looked like.
The next day was my first day at hospital. Our contact persons led us there. My hospital was called KB Merkur (Klinička bolnica Merkur). It was the smallest hospital in Zagreb, but our surgeon said us that there is the best transplant centre in Central Europe. It was located on small hill with beautiful view over the whole Zagreb. As I mentioned above, my department was Transplantation Surgery. My common day started with breakfast. I had no idea what I could expect. However, breakfast were very rich J Since that I was no hungry anymore. Then we went to department and in the afternoon we had lunch. It was very tasty and every day was different menu. We had two meals per day at the hospital and dinner was individual. Our contact persons borrowed us student cards for cheaper food in student cafeteria near the dorm. However, we usually went to the town hanging out with ohther guys, so we bought some food there. Zagreb is amazing city, you can buy cheap food also in the city center.
I spent the whole month at the department of Transplantation Surgery which was connected with Abdominal Surgery, too. Me and other 4 girls saw a lot of procedures. We spent a lot of time in operating rooms. If you were lucky, you would assist or you would finish the suturing. I saw transplantation of pancreas, kidney and liver. It was worthy to see. I learnt a lot of new things. Surgeons were very kind and they explained us everything what we asked them for. They all spoke good English and we had no problem in communication.
We were about 40 international students on this Exchange. I made a lot of new friends from all over the world. Medical students from Zagreb made for us very rich social program. Everyday was something special. We visited a lot of places, like parks, museums, popular places, villiges around Zagreb and we made a lot of activities, for example Treasure hunt, Escape room, National food and drink party, Salsa party and so on. They prepared suturing workshop, which was provided by one doctor and where you could practise some suturing patterns. It was very useful for me, because I finished suturing next day in hospital. J They also prepared National socail program (NSP), too. It means that all international students in Croatia are going together on the coast. So we went to Zadar, Krka national park, Split and Hvar Island. This NSP started on my birthday. It was very precious time for me because other guys surprised me. As we were travelling, suddenly they started to sing to me, they wished me all the best and later they gave me one small delicious cake. It was the best birtday I could ever imagine!
At the begging I was surprised with Zagreb. After one week I was really convinced it was the best thing what could happen to me. Zagreb is beautiful, peaceful city, full of parks, nice streets, good food and great opportunities. I have a lot of memories what I could share with you, but for brief review this is enough. I recommend you to go during summer on some exchange. I think you will not regret this experience. I had great time and I wish you the same J If you have questios, feel free to ask me. Have a nice day!