I spent August of 2016 in a Serbian town called Kragujevac. Since it was my least wanted choice, I was a little disappointed by being placed in this city. To be honest, I didn′t know much about it and had no idea what to expect. In the end, I was left with mixed feelings of being disappointed by the hospital and on the other hand being thrilled about all the good people I met and all the wonderful travelling I did. I was placed in the Department of General Surgery. I was assigned to one surgeon along with two other students. Unfortunately, the doctor didn′t show much interest in making our exchange worth it. He mostly sent us to the OR or to the small operating room where rarely something happened. Very few surgeries took place in the summer due to holidays. They were performed only in emergency cases or when a tumour was diagnosed. The small operating room was a place for small surgical procedures like stitching up a wound or doing biopsies. We usually just sat there and waited for the patients whose number was surprisingly low while nurses offered us typical Serbian coffee (which is in fact Turkish coffee, they just call it domestic). As I wrote above, the clinical practice was the worst part of the exchange. Accomodation was provided for us in a dormitory. I had one roommate – we were two people in a 3-bed room which was very convenient. Each room had a bathroom and also there was free WiFi in our rooms. The only thing I missed was a kitchen, even a small one in the hallway would be sufficient, just to make some tea or coffee or to cook for International dinner. We had lunch in hospital caffeteria which was okay but by the end of our exchange it had become a little repetitive. We also got dinners every evening, the food was very similar to the hospital lunches. Since Serbia has very cheap groceries and also restaurants, nobody can ever be hungry there, palačinke and čevapi being our favourite Serbian meals. I have to say, Serbian people are the most generous I have ever met. My contact person Dušan did everything he could to make my exchange great. He even let us use his house to cook for the National Food and Drinks Party. We would regularly meet with him and other contact people to go for a drink or just to show us around town. We also met some random Serbians and ended up going out with them regularly. The Serbian IFMSA organised a trip to Zlatibor mountains as a National Weekend. It had some technical flaws but I got to see incredible places (caves, waterfalls, lakes, traditional villages) and I also met people who were on exchange in other Serbian cities. Kragujevac itself is not a big city, so you only need a few days to get to know it very well. It offered us plenty of time to travel, especially on weekends. We spent the first one in Belgrade which is very rich in history but also feels young at the same time. The second weekend was reserved for the Zlatibor mountains. On the third one, we decided to go to Bosnia and Hercegovina. It was quite complicated to plan it, we had some problems with purchasing bus tickets but in the end we managed. And it was worth it. Mostar is very distinctive and you can see the West meeting the Middle East there. Also Sarajevo has a very unique charm, surrounded by mountains and sprinkled with a lot of mosques. The whole Balkans has the atmosphere of newly established peace and freedom, that′s why people are so nice and they appreciate the little things in life.

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