I can safely say that July 2016 was one of the best months in my life and if I would have a time machine, I would gladly turn back time. Santiago de Compostela is relatively a small city located on almost the most west point of Spain and it is one of the most beautiful cities in this region of Spain called Galicia. Furthermore, it is a city with strong Christian background, where Camino de Santiago, the pilgrim way of almost 780 km ends.
Santiago de Compostela wasn’t my first choice when deciding my exchange city, but I was never luckier in my life, that somehow I ended up in this amazing city. I had my internship in the department of Neurosurgery, and I don’t even know how the month had passed, because each day was unique and really interesting. Everyone in Neurosurgery team was really nice and most importantly the doctors spoke English on very high level.
My day in Neurosurgery started with all the doctors meeting at 8:15 and discussing treatment, methods of operations and well-being of patients. Then it was time for rounds, where we met the patients personally. At 10 o’clock it was time for surgeries. I absolutely admired the work of the whole team, their amazing approach to students and their willingness to explain every part of the operation.
The best thing about the operations was, that everyday there was a different matter to attend. The amazing diversity allowed me to see operations of aneurysms, brain tumours, hematomas, hernias of lumbal discs and even some operations close to plastic surgery such as remodelling old scar tissue on the head or inserting, replacing and removing metal implants.
But enough about work. J Apart from having amazing experiences in the field of neurosurgery, you will have a time of your life discovering the Galician lifestyle. You will go out with your international friends and enjoy Spanish beer or Sangria with some tapas (a little snacks they bring to you every time you order drinks), tortillas or you will simply go out to party. And that is the best part, because Santiago is known as a city of pilgrims and Christian faith so it sounds kind of boring in terms of parties, but don’t be fooled. Santiago is a very dynamic city, where lots of young people go out to have fun. You have lot of choices to go out to party. You can choose to dance to Latino rhythms, you can go to a bar, order drinks and talk, or just simply go out to the park and have a little party there.
Also, fun doesn’t equal only fun at the evenings. There are a lot of things you can do in daytime too. When you want to relax and chill for a bit, you can always take a bus and in one hour you are in a beautiful beach with white sand and if you don’t mind a little bit colder water, you can have a nice swim in the ocean.
One thing that I can recommend are the trips around Galicia organised by IFMSA. I strongly advise you to go and attend these trips. You will find yourself on the most beautiful places, such as the Cies Islands with the one of the most beautiful beaches in the world where you otherwise couldn’t go by yourself, you can visit Finisterre, a place that was in the past believed to be the end of the world and you can even cross borders and go visit Porto in Portugal.
Overall, I can say only and only good things about my stay in this small, yet crazy city. My experience in Santiago was amazing in all ways possible and I’m sure that if you pick Santiago de Compostela as your city for clinical exchange, you won’t be disappointed.