The sole reason why I chose Taiwan in the first place was beacause my sister went there for SCOPE in 2012 and had an amazing experience. By the time I got there I was already filled with high expectations, but this time, for the first time in my life, they were completely fullfilled, even topped! And now I am about to sell it to you, so pay atteniton.
Like probably most of us, I didn´t know much about Taiwan before coming here. To be fair, they don´t know much about Slovakia either, though they are really keen to learn about it. But what I got to know about them was wonderful. They are the single most adorable nation in the world, with beautiful country, tasty street food, rich culture, great hospitals and kind people.
If you are wondering about hospital work, it really depends on which city and departement you choose. Medicine in Taiwan, namely Taipei, is brilliant and really top end. For example, in Slovakia there is only one robotic surgery device Da Vinci, in Taiwan there are over 20. Hospitals are all clean, modern and air conditioned, thank God. The weather there is hot and humid, so be prepared to sweat all the time. Also, dress code for most hospitals are casual clothes with long pants, only with a short white coat on top. Doctors and nurses alike are very friendly and helpful, willing to show you everything you ask for, they all speak basic to good english. Dorms were modest, but clean. You won´t be spending there any time apart from sleeping anyways, so don´t worry about that. My hospital regime was really relaxed, I could come and go whenever I wanted to. When I was there everybody was happy and if I wasn´t nobody was bothered. I could stroll around the operating rooms, observing various operations in different departements, cardio, orto, urology, general…you name it! So don´t worry about being fixed only to your departement. What I should probably mention, August is a Ghost month in Taiwan, so people are afraid to have difficult elective surgeries because the “gates of hell are opened”, so that would affect some departements.
Anyways, apart from hospital work being amazing, the exchange is more about the people you meet and places to see. Get out as much as possible, make friends and travel, there are always places and events to visit. Eat street food, it´s cheap and super tasty, there are endless options. Old budhist temples everywhere, vast rainforests with wonderful hiking trails between rivers and tall mountains (above 3000m), marvelous beaches with many watersports, fairly good beer. Traveling by train or bus is fairly cheap and pretty fast. During your month there are always two social programes on the weekends, one of them being Traditional Chinese Medicine Camp with many interesting workshops like herbal medicine or acupuncture.
If this wasn´t enough, know that you will feel like a superstar wherever you go, they treat Europeans with respect and kindness. They will want to take pictures with you, offer you food and gifts, help you with anything you need. Local people are truly amazing. Going out is mostly about food, but most places close after 9pm, apart from night markets. Though in Taipei there many clubs and music bars with party life. Anyways, you can get anything you want in convenience stores which are open 24/7. Prior to coming here, you definitely want to get your international driver´s permit for scooters back home, so you can rent a scooter here, which is really convenient.
Of course there is much more to that, but at least I hope this helped to make your mind. Taiwan is amazing, no doubt!