Hola, ¿qué tal? In July I participated in the IFMSA clinical exchange and I heard this common Spanish greeting several times everyday. Choosing Spain as a country for doing my summer internship has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.
I spent a whole month in Albacete, a small town in the heart of the region called Castilla La Mancha. The town itself is located somewhere in between Madrid and Valencia and it is more of a modern industrial place with more than 170 thousand inhabitants. There is a medical faculty with its university hospital Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Albacete.
I was assigned to the Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics. The Local Exchange Officer had warned me in advance that the doctors would not speak good English at all and that it might be a problem for me as I did not speak good Spanish but still I was insisting on this department as I found the specialty very interesting and attracting and also I wanted to improve my Spanish as much as possible. The doctors in Gynaecology were awesome! First of all, they learned how to talk to me in a slow and clean Spanish which I appreciated very much. They also showed me a lot of interesting cases, let me scrub in, examine the patients, help in deliveries and showed me around in the in vitro fertilization laboratory. I was amazed how open, friendly and caring they were towards their patients and towards colleagues. They also seemed to be quite chilled. The morning meetings started always at 8:30 am and there was a coffee break around 11 am when doctors kept asking how I liked Spain and if I had any travel plans and they gave me a bunch of travelhacks. The lunch always started at 2pm. We got free lunch and dinner at the hospital on the expence of the host community.
During my stay in Albacete I was living in a flat with other exchange students. We were a group of 10 people living in 3 different huge flats in one building. The accomodation was really good as there was a lot of space and one of the appartments turned out to be very suitable for making parties. The most legendary parties were the National Food And Drinking Party and The Goodbye Party (La Última Y Nos Vamos: La Fiesta De Despedida). Everyone cooked something very typical of their country so we got to taste Slovak, Mexica, Lebanese, Bulgarian, Hungarian and Polish food. And naturally Spanish cuisine as our Spanish friends from Albacete were icredible and took a very good care of us.
In the weekends we used to travel around a little to see new places, make new memories and meet new people. The local commitee organized a trip to Valencia where we had a chance to meet other students from Murcia and Valencia. We were a huge group but the trip was well organized and we had a lot of fun despite the almost unbearable hot and humid weather in Valencia. The next weekend our friends from Albacete got us cars and drove us to Cuenca, a beautiful town with romantic narrow streets and stone buildings surrounded by marvellous nature. Afterwards we were heading to Chorreras, the waterfalls where you can swim and jump into the water (I recommend the swimming but not the jumping). On the third weekend we travelled to Cordoba. We took a bus and it was a long journey but totally worth it, I strongly recommend visiting Cordoba not only for its breathtaking multicultural history but also for local cuisine. Salmorejo cordobese with tortilla de patatas is a very typical dish. The last weekend before our departure we stayed in Madrid. Nightlife in Madrid is unbelievable! If you go to Madrid and don´t party, you have never been to Madrid at all.
Thanks to this exchange I have met the most wonderful unforgetable epic people. It´s been already two months since I left Albacete and still I think about its people and all the cool kids I have met there.