I spent the whole July in Monza in General Surgery Department, San Gerardo Ospedale. It was my first choice from the beginning. The hospital was very big and the accommodations were quite new as many departments were under reconstruction. The doctors were many and very friendly trying to explain everything, even throughout surgeries! My schedule every day was different and I had many options either stay at the wards or attend surgeries or be at the outpatient department. As I’m very passionate with general surgery it was never boring and I got to see many patients and lots of surgeries. I was allowed also to perform some minor surgeries like biopsies or cyst removal but only because I already did some before and I had experience and also because im in 6th year. But simple procedures like stitching were allowed to the other 2nd year student I was with. So you had the chance to practice or learn how to perform some basic things.
We were 10 international students in exchange to Monza, in different departments but I was living with two of them in the same house with our hosting student. The house was very big with a kitchen and everything and it was in a quiet neighborhood at the suburbs of Monza. And yes, I was living 5km away from the center of the city but thankfully a bus was going to the hospital straight from the house. I think my only problem with my exchange was the location of the house and the transportation. Yes there was a bus but it would take 45 minutes to take me to the hospital so I had to wake up at 6 in the morning to be at the hospital at 8 which is really tiring to do it every day and especially summer. Also, this bus was working only from 6:30 till 20:30 Monday-Friday and no during weekends! So I could go out during nights and also during weekends if wanted to go somewhere I had to ask for my hosting person or my contact person to transfer me. Other than that, my hosting person and my contact person were extremely nice, were cooking during afternoons (they were friends) and I had a lot of fun in the house. Generally, the whole team of students organizing the exchange was very organized. They organized BBQs, cooking challenges, riding bikes at the park, traveling to near places and they were trying to find the best ways to travel if you wanted to do some individual trip.
We were given pocket money to use as we wanted but the best way to spend it was transportation and also tickets for the hospital canteen. The hospital food was excellent! Freshly cooked, very tasty and every day different.
North Italy has a more “European” life style than the south which has a “Mediterranean”. But everyone is found of good food, wine and coffee. I got to meet the Italian culture through gorgeous Italian people especially my beloved contact person, Alessandra and my fun hosting person, Nikolo which taught me and introduced me to their way of life over many many dinners, coffee breaks and lots of wine! I had also the chance to visit Milan, Florence and Venice which are just beautiful and to live for one month the Italian dolce vita. It was fun and if someone would ask me if I would do it again, well.. “YES”.