Turkey – Izmir 2016

Spending summer in Turkey was amazing experience. ‘‘No problem.‘‘ – two most common words, most frequent phrase and probably one of ten expressions that Turkish people can say in English. Vice versa, even though Turks dont speak English, it can not stop you from doing anything. No problem. Neither will them. However, there are 3 groups of Turks speaking English, as far as I know – bazaar  vendors/sellers, Turks at the airport and 20% of hospital staff.

For my summer internship I chose department of Neurosurgery. The first day in a hospital I was introduced to the Head of Department, after a brief chat he took me to the clinic, assigned me to my tutor, by proffesors words – ‘‘ the best English speaking doctor at the department… ‘‘ That was true,he was not only the best English speaking doctor there, he was the only English speaking doctor. My tutor was about 30 years old resident, who did not have much time for me.I attended several morning visits, but those were not very beneficial for me. #100%Turkish . Anyways, being at clinic was never my vision of 2016 internship. Somehow I managed to obtain access card to all operating rooms.As I said, no problem. I was able to observe surgeries ranging from C-sections, scoliosis repairments, stomach carcinomas to some really advanced neurosurgery, where I spent the most of my time. I met there another English speaking doctor, neurosurgeon, who was really understanding and helpful. Neurosurgery is really precise and specialized field. That is one of the reasons why you can not scrub-up and assist. The other reason was that many residents were desirous to assist, anyways, the operating field were so small that no help was needed. You could observe most of the operations on the screen of a computer.After all, I think there were better departments to choose from, as far as I know from my friends from General Surgery, more doctors spoke English there and students were allowed to assist to most of the surgeries.

We were 12 students in our exchange group, boys and girls living separately 30km apart in the same city, just for a record : Izmir is a city with the population of whole Slovakia. We lived at the dorms of average standarts of living, rooms for 4 students, shower, toilet, fridge. No kitchen, no kitchen equipment or opportunity provided,nor needed. One meal at the hospital included, average school canteen food at hospital cafeteria for external students,in other words,lower quality and  cheaper food for us. On the other hand you could really eat out for price of less than 2 euros delicious turkish traditional food…many of it. Street food was great. Transportation is one big minus of the exchange.Nothing like a month-bus ticket, nor student bus ticket exists for exchange student there. I assume that up to 100€ euros were used for transportation there – going from dorms to the hospital and back, to the city, to the beach,etc… Alcohol is a very expensive issue in Turkey, the cheapest beer in the supermarket is 2€, at a bar ranging from 3 euros and up.

I was saving the best for the last few lines. Temperature was always beyond 30 °C , not a single rainy day hit Turkey. National tours were well prepared, many amazing things were there to see, additionally to the fact that Turkey has amazing people, history and nature to see, everywhere around. You only regret chances you didn’t take, and I going to Turkey was the right choice, although I was really indecisive mainly because of the bomb explosions and other events at Atatürk airport at the time of mine departure from Slovakia, but everything ended up well and one month there was not enough and we all could only wish, this exchange lasted longer.


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